In his daily duties as a royal, Prince Harry may be bound by endless rules and traditions, but when it comes to his marriage, he is not here for your old-fashioned morals, thankyouverymuch. According to a report, he is inviting two of his ex-girlfriends, Chelsy Davy and Cressida Bonas, to his wedding to Meghan Markle.
A source told the Daily Mail that he had remained close friends with both Davy and Bonas after making sure "there were no hard feelings when they split up." While inviting your former flame to watch you exchange vows may seem a bit unorthodox, we say: Good for Harry. His brother, William, by the way, seems to take the same approach, having attended the nuptials of a former flame in Kenya. And get this: He went stag, without Kate Middleton.
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According to Rachel Sussman, a New York City-based licensed marriage and family therapist, whether or not it's appropriate to invite your ex all comes down to your current relationship with them. "Usually by the time a couple gets engaged and married, his friends are her friends, and her friends are his friends," she says. But if your spouse-to-be has never met the ex in question, that's another matter. Is there a reason you're keeping them distanced from your fiance? Are there still feelings romantic there? "It’s quite odd if somebody wants to invite someone to the wedding that their husband or their wife at this point isn’t friendly with."
Sussman suggests bringing up the topic to your partner as a question: "I’ve been going over the guest list, and I am thinking I want to invite this person. Even though we briefly dated, we have a really nice friendship. Are you open to having him at the wedding? Are you comfortable with this?"
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For many couples, it will be apparent which exes should or shouldn't be invited without an explicit conversation, especially if the ex has become a dear friend. But it's still considerate to discuss the invitation together. When Anna, 34, who married her husband a few years ago, asked him whether she could add her ex-boyfriend to the guest list, "He reacted the same way as to every other friend I invited," she says.
Exes can play formative roles in our lives, and those memories don't disappear once the romance is over. "We were in college together and he was my first real love," Anna says of her ex. "I feel that we went though a lot together, and much of who I am today is because of him. He is also the life of any party." The ex attended with his then-girlfriend, and the husband was unphased.
But if your fiance reacts negatively to the notion of inviting your ex, try to find out why without pushing too hard, advises Sussman. If the reason is jealousy, then this is a great time for both of you to have a conversation about that and how it's going to affect your marriage. But she stresses not to overrule or ignore your partner's feelings or opinion.
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"This isn’t your boss at work saying, I respect your opinion but I am overruling your decision," Sussman adds. "You either have to agree to disagree or reach a compromise. You have to come up with a solution."
"When you have an ex that is still a friend, there is no reason why you shouldn't invite that person to your wedding," say Tifany Wunschl, etiquette expert at Gourmet Invitations—but that doesn't mean they have to be front and center throughout the celebration. There are ways to abide by wedding guest list etiquette and make everyone happy: At the reception, seat your ex far away from the bridal party or sweetheart tables to alleviate the awkwardness for your partner, she suggests.
And if you find yourself introducing your ex to other guests at the party, you know, maybe skip out on the "first true love" story. "An old friend" will do just fine.