Etiquette Q&A: "Can We Invite My Ex-Wife?"

Join us every Friday for our new etiquette Q&A column, where editor-in-chief Diane Forden answers one reader's biggest etiquette question. 

Q. My fiancée and I have a great relationship with my ex-wife. I’d like to invite her—and our daughter, of course—to my wedding. What is the etiquette on this? 

A. As a rule, it’s recommended that ex-spouses not be invited to the wedding, even if you have an amicable relationship. There are several reasons for this: Your child may be confused by her mother’s presence at your nuptials. Guests, too, may feel a bit uncomfortable and not know quite what to say to your ex (not only does this put your former wife in an uncomfortable position but the focus is now on her instead of on you and your new wife). And consider the fact that your ex may find it emotionally difficult to witness your re-marriage, no matter how well she and your fiancée get along. If, despite all of these forewarnings, you still want to extend an invitation, make sure your future wife is absolutely OK with it. If she indicates even the slightest bit of hesitation or doubt, then don’t put the invite in the mail.

—Diane Forden