wedding invitation
Andi Diamond Photography

Exes are like toddlers. Lots of people have ‘em, but they don’t necessarily belong at your wedding. And as the bride- or groom-to-be, it’s up to you to figure out whether you want to invite an ex to your wedding, plain and simple.

To help you make the call, read through this guide on whether or not you should invite an ex to your wedding. (Your ex never did make anything easy, did they?)

DO invite them if:

You’re friends now.

Duh! If you’re truly in a good place now with your ex (yes, this is possible, especially once you’ve found The One!), and you’re actually friends who even catch up once in a while, it’s totally acceptable to invite an ex to your wedding and want to share your day with them. After all, they were a huge part of your life at one point, and helped shape you into the person who your current spouse-to-be came to love, so, for that reason, they’re a big deal! Cheers to you for being friends with an ex and proving the impossible, possible.

They’re in your friend group.

While breaking up with someone who remained a mainstay in your social circle sounds like it was probably a b*tch back when it happened, you’re way past it now and you’ve moved on to greener pastures. Meanwhile, your whole friend group has remained intact. If you feel comfortable and on good enough terms with your ex, no need to truncate the group by leaving the ex off the list simply because you dated once—they’re officially in friend-zone now and it sounds like they’ll fit in just fine at your wedding with all your mutual pals. Plus, you have the benefit of your friends to keep your ex in line all night (just in case).

They’re a plus-one of a friend and you’re OK with that.

Exes dating friends can occasionally go off without a hitch—if this describes what’s going on with one of your exes, and a friend on your guest list just happens to be dating him or her, go ahead and spring for the plus one. They’ll determine whether they feel comfortable going to your wedding together, and if they do, I guarantee there will be nothing but good vibes. Some breakups happen not because two people aren’t good people, but because they’re not good together—and it should be celebrated when they find those people that they are good with, even if they happen to all be friends! Nothing like an open bar to squash whatever residual awkwardness might be hanging around...

DON’T invite them if:

You’re doing it to make them jealous.

If you and your ex are on speaking terms but you’re still subtly in the one-upping-each-other phase of the breakup, using your wedding as the ultimate “I won!” trump card is not a good look. Yes, you can love your new spouse and be totally happy with your wedding and still get some strange satisfaction by your ex being a little bit jealous of it over Instagram, but, no, you should not invite him or her to witness it all from the front row in hopes that you’ll enjoy your wedding even more because of it. Those petty feelings do not belong at a day that’s all about your and your new spouse’s love for one another—and you’ll already have plenty of fun without needing to be fueled by your ex’s misery all night.

You don’t get along but think your wedding will bring you together.

If you think the lovey-dovey vibes of your wedding day will be the perfect place to call a truce with your ex after years of not getting along, think again. Once more, your wedding is about you and your partner, not you and your partner and your ex you hope to make up with after all these years. Plus, your wedding will be one of the most emotional days of your life—in a good way!—so if you invite an ex to your wedding, mix in all those level-11 emotions, and pour on a bunch of champagne, you’re only asking for drama. Yes, most exes will be happy for you when they find out you’ve found the one and are living your bliss, no, you don’t need to invite them to the wedding to hear them say it IRL.

Something just doesn’t feel right.

Maybe you and your ex are cordial, have some of the same friends, even hang out sometimes. But, even so, there might be something in your gut making you feel uneasy about taking the big step of inviting this ex to your wedding. Whatever it is, you don’t have to explain it to anyone, let alone figure it out yourself! It doesn’t mean you’re still in love with your ex and shouldn’t be getting married just because you feel weird about your ex being at your wedding—there’s a ton of emotional baggage that comes with breakups, and it can feel weird bringing that baggage into your current relationship at any stage, especially to an event as significant and meaningful as your wedding. Let your day be as carefree and easy breezy as possible, and leave your ex out of it if that’s what you want. Even if your friends, family, or whoever are encouraging you to send an invite—you’re the one who gets to call the shot. Once your day arrives and you’re busy enjoying it, you won’t even think twice about the decision you made—promise.