Question: My fiancé and I are getting married next summer, and we’ve settled on most of our guest list. One of his good friends from college, let’s call him M, is someone who definitely makes the guest list. However, his longtime girlfriend, A, is someone whom I would never dream of inviting to my wedding.
A and I were in the same college major, took many classes together, and while we tolerated one another, we never really got along. We were also opponents when running for a leadership position, which I won. A is extremely loud, loves to be the center of attention, and once complained to my face about how annoying my fiancé is (this is while we were dating). I also know that our other college friends do not like A either, and wouldn’t want to sit at a table or hang out with her. She isn’t known for being very kind or considerate to others. The thought of her belting Beyoncé on the dance floor (we were music majors and she has a LOUD singing voice), or even just having to say hello or see her sounds terrible. And why would we want someone at our wedding who doesn’t like the bride or groom very much?
I know it is customary for long-term partners to receive a wedding invite, and they started dating a few months before my fiancé and I got together (we’ve been together almost seven years). My fiancé shares my dislike for A, but we don’t want to hurt M’s feelings or cause drama. I jokingly suggested to my fiancé that maybe we can strike a deal where if A doesn’t attend our wedding, I won’t attend their wedding if they get married someday. My fiancé suggested inviting A, but sitting down and gently telling M that if A doesn’t want to attend we totally understand and don’t mind. I still think that it could cause some drama if he doesn’t take it well, or that she’ll still attend anyway. Are we wrong if we talk to M and explain why A isn’t welcome?
Answer: Wedding season is upon us and, like you, so many people are struggling with how to determine who makes their guest list. Now I don’t think there is a true right or wrong answer here, as it is you and your fiancé’s special day. However, your decision could still have implications that affect your friendship with M.
Considering the fact that your friend M and A have been together longer than even your fiancé and you, it would likely be considered a snub to exclude her. This may negatively impact your friendship with M, as that is his partner and where his loyalties likely lie. I would not be surprised if he ended up declining his solo invitation, as a means of showing respect to A. Which I would not fault him for in this situation, and if he were the one writing in it would likely be the advice I would give. He has the rest of his life with A to consider, and sacrificing his partner for one of your days would not be in his best interest. So when considering invites, it may be easiest to ask yourself how important it is to have M present, happy, and having a good time.
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Now that doesn’t mean your fiancé can’t have a talk with his friend and set some boundaries before your big day. I think this is nonnegotiable actually. For example, if A were to show up in white, make it all about her, can’t keep distasteful comments to herself, or is disruptive to the function in any way you deem valid.. she leaves. If you have a wedding planner or day-of-organizer this is something that they can be tasked with, so there’s no need for you to be worried about confrontation. A maid of honor/bridesmaid could also be tasked with being a buffer between you and A. During the conversation with M, your fiancé could also try broaching the idea of, ‘if A doesn’t feel comfortable she doesn’t have to attend.’ I do think it’s important this discussion comes from your fiancé, as his relationship with M is the longstanding one. However, if you do want to exclude A, that is your choice and valid. I would recommend just sitting down with M and gently telling him your feelings, seeing if he has any idea how A will respond, and maybe even offer up the compromise that you won’t attend his wedding if she doesn’t attend yours.
There is the chance that M is super understanding, A isn’t bothered by being excluded, and everything goes well without any issue or strain on your friendship. I will just say though, I’ve been to a few weddings recently and except for the one I was a bridesmaid in, I had minimal contact with the bride and groom. You’re going to be so busy and constantly bombarded with people on your day, you may not even have time to eat let alone talk to A, so it may not subtract from your day in the way you fear. There’s no guarantee with that though, so if you do think it will cause you constant stress and discomfort, then you make the choice to not invite her and let the chips fall where they may.
Morgan Absher is an occupational therapist in Los Angeles who hosts the podcast, “Two Hot Takes” where she and her co-hosts dish out advice. She writes a weekly column, sharing her advice with USA TODAY’s readers. Find her on TikTok @twohottakes and YouTube here. You can reach her by email at [email protected] or you can click here to share your story with her.