Wednesday 26 April 2017

I invited my ex to my wedding . . .

With Will and Kate sure to have some former loves on the guest list for their big day, Deirdre Reynolds looks at the potential minefield that is the 'ex factor'

Deirdre Reynolds

Deirdre Reynolds

As every girl knows, you have to kiss a few frogs in order to find your Prince -- but would you really invite them to your wedding too?

It seems that the upcoming royal wedding will have the Ex Factor, after Prince William and fiancée Kate Middleton reportedly invited a number of former flames to their big day.

Second in line to the throne, it's perhaps no surprise that Prince William (29) had his share of female admirers before falling for Miss Middleton at St Andrews University eight years ago.

Among those likely to have received an envelope embossed with the Queen's initials in the post recently are Davina Duckworth-Chad, who went on a romantic cruise on the Aegean Sea with Wills during the summer of 1999, and Rose Farquhar, a childhood pal believed to have been his first 'proper' girlfriend.

Meanwhile, bride-to-be Kate (29) had no shortage of suitors before reeling in her very own Prince Charming either.

Journalist Willem Marx, thought to be Kate's first love, and lawyer Rupert Finch, whom she dated while at St Andrews, could also make the cut on April 29.

For most people, even remaining friends with an ex is unthinkable -- let alone paying for them to witness your wedding to the person who replaced them.

So, are the royal lovebirds incredibly mature -- or is it a bust-up on the dance floor just begging to happen?

"Inviting exes to your wedding is a potential minefield," says Ciara Crossan of Weddingdates.ie. "If the relationship was years ago and both parties have moved on, there shouldn't be a problem. But if there are any deep-rooted resentments, then inviting your ex to your wedding is one surefire way to expose them.

"If you do intend to invite exes, it has to be fair game," she adds. "The bride shouldn't ask her ex-boyfriend to the wedding, but then ban the groom from inviting his ex too.

"In any event, if things ended badly, the ex might not even want to go the wedding in the first place!"

While exes are usually exes for good reason, so-called 'ex sex' exists for a reason too.

Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee and Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton are just two of the celebrity couples who couldn't resist giving it another go -- by wedding their ex a second time.

So what are the chances of some Graduate-style scene occurring at Westminster Abbey next month?

"If you suspect that your ex still holds a torch for you, inviting them to your wedding is a really bad idea," says couples therapist David Kavanagh of Avalon Relationship Consultants.

"Likewise, if the groom hasn't seen his ex in three years but suddenly wants to invite her along to the wedding, it's a bit suspicious.

"After the demise of a long-term relationship, it usually takes around two years before all romantic ties are severed and the couple can just be friends -- even if the decision was mutual. The only motivation to invite your ex should be that they've played a significant role in your life and you want them to be part of your special day."

"The effort the ex makes to integrate with your new relationship is quite significant," he adds. "If your husband or wife-to-be doesn't feel liked or respected by your ex, then it could have disastrous consequences on your marriage."

Even if both parties have moved on, spotting an ex in the pews as you say 'I Do' can still be problematic -- take the thorny issue of 'plus-one'.

"If your ex turns up with someone way hotter than you, it can put a dampener on your big day," warns psychologist David. "Even if they've found 'The One', the bride or groom may secretly find themselves thinking: 'What have they got that I didn't?'

"Plus-ones can be tricky. But out of respect, the ex should turn up with someone you both know rather than a randomer -- especially if it's some leggy blonde who's going to steal the bride's thunder!"

Then again, finally getting her fairytale ending, 'Waity Katie' is unlikely to be too upset if her ex arrives with a commoner on his arm -- and with 1,900 invitees, dodging them shouldn't be too hard either.

Anyway, maybe exes can just be friends after all.

Hollywood's happiest divorced couple Bruce Willis and Demi Moore certainly appeared to prove so when they attended each other's subsequent marriage to model Emma Heming and Ashton Kutcher, respectively.

"Of course it's possible to remain 'just friends' with your ex," adds relationship guru David. "I think it all depends on the maturity level of the couple."

Still, we can always live in hope of fisticuffs at the afters of the wedding of the decade.

Irish Independent

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