Ask the Wedding Maven: Exes at the Wedding with Special Guest Advice from the Plunge

by Marta
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Dear Wedding Maven,
My ex-boyfriend and I met through our parents; they’ve been friends a long time. I recently received an invitation to his wedding, as did my parents. They’re going, but I can’t decide if I should. We were pretty serious at one point, and everyone, including us, thought we would get married one day. I’m the one who called it off. Should I go?

Signed,
The Groom’s Past

The Wedding Maven says:
There’s really no right answer here. If you wish your ex well and would like to see him happily married, then go. If the idea of having to sit next to your parents while their dream son-in-law walks down the aisle with someone else gives you hives, then don’t. If you think you might become a sloppy drunk, definitely don’t go.

My husband’s ex did not come to our wedding, and while I could have done without the teary call explaining why, I appreciated her knowing herself well enough to stay away. One of my friends recently went to her significant ex’s wedding, but did not stay for the reception. She wished him well, but didn’t think she could take all the sympathetic hugs she would get if she stuck around for dinner. Another woman I know not only went to the wedding, but did a reading (of course, she was actually the bride’s ex, and the bride is now straight, so that might be a subject for a different column).

Whatever you do, you deserve a little treat just for going through this. I vote for a fabulous new dress to wear at the wedding – or on your first date with the guy you do marry!

The Guys at The Plunge Say:
The short answer: probably not. The long answer: Yes. But only if you meet eight—and all eight—of the following criteria:

1) You haven’t hooked up with the groom in years.

Years. As in, before you were on Facebook, before Hurricane Katrina, before you’d ever heard the name Barack Obama. If you have a recent sexual history, forget it.

2) You’re still good friends with him.

And we don’t mean kinda-sorta-not-really friends, the type of acquaintance you only see once every two years, the type of person you just send a holiday card. Are you part of his life? If not, no reason to wedge yourself back in. If you’re still (platonic) good friends, then maybe.

3) You’ve met the bride.

Simple enough.

4) You’ve met the bride several times.

Nope. Just one awkward handshake/hug at a holiday party isn’t enough.
You need to have actually spent some time with her, hung out with her, know something about her (besides her being that bitch who’s now marrying the one that got away.)

5) The bride doesn’t secretly hate you.

Okay, so this one’s tough, as the whole concept of a secret, admittedly, is that you wouldn’t know. Use your judgment. Be honest with yourself. If you think she sort of secretly hates you and is jealous of you, don’t go. Period.

6) You’re not super-tight with all the groom’s buddies.

You mentioned that “everyone” thought that the two of you would get married one day. Warning sign: does this mean that you’re close with all his old friends, from back in the day? If so, do the groom’s friends all like you more than the bride? Bad situation: you jack up the odds of making her uncomfortable. Is this your fault? Nope. But it is what it is.

7) You’re not a sloppy drunk.

And most importantly…

8) You’re convinced the dude is really, really, really over you.

The most relevant piece of info you provided: “I’m the one who called it off.” You left him. And you know what? His fiancée probably knows that. This means that even if she doesn’t doubt your intentions, a tiny, itty-bitty sliver of her might wonder if, in the groom’s heart of hearts, he still wants you. If this is the case, then your very presence casts a shadow. So. Only consider going if you’re 100%positive that the groom’s over you, the bride knows it, and that she’s enough of a self-confident badass to feel secure in all that.

If you can look yourself in the mirror and say, yes, all of those eight statements are true, then go for it, and try not to “accidentally” slip him tongue as congratulations.

The Plunge is an always irreverent, often entertaining, occasionally useful site for grooms. Written by men. (Our dirty secret: Shhhh…. We have lots of women readers, too, looking for window into the male psyche.)

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