Ask the Experts: The Ex Factor

By Andrew Rapp | Boston Weddings |

Q: My fiance is good friends with several of his ex-girlfriends and wants to invite them to our wedding. I don’t feel threatened by them, but I don’t really feel like having them attend my wedding. Is there any way to keep them off the invite list without seeming vindictive?

A: This is a tricky situation that can be resolved by a simple rule of thumb: When in doubt, leave them out.


Q: My fiance is good friends with several of his ex-girlfriends and wants to invite them to our wedding. I don’t feel threatened by them, but I don’t really feel like having them attend my wedding. Is there any way to keep them off the invite list without seeming vindictive?

A: This is a tricky situation that can be resolved by a simple rule of thumb: When in doubt, leave them out.

“If it’s come up, you shouldn’t even invite that person,” says Donna Kim, owner of The Perfect Details in Concord. On their wedding day, the comfort of the couple—both of them—comes first, and anxiety over the presence of an ex is unlikely to subside.
Leslie Barbini, owner of The Wedding Belle in Nottingham, New Hampshire, reminds her brides that those emotions might cut both ways. “They might not be comfortable attending either,” Barbini says. “It’s one thing to know that an ex is getting married, it’s another thing to watch it happen.”

Have the tough guest-list conversation before the invitations are in the mail. Be honest about your feelings and remind the ex of what the wedding means to you and your fiance. “This isn’t about his past, it’s about his future,” Barbini says.

TAKE IT AWAY
Q: For my reception, I’d like to have centerpieces that my guests can take home and enjoy. Can you suggest some items that would be useful, but still elegant?

A: The key to utility is to remember that one size will not fit all. So instead of doing identical flower arrangements on every single table, mix it up with your centerpieces to make sure you find a match between your take-aways and your guests’ tastes.

“I would do a collection of small antique vases and candle-holders,” says Leslie Barbini, owner of The Wedding Belle in Nottingham, New Hampshire. By choosing many smaller items rather than a single large piece for each table, you broaden your choices—and their appeal to guests. “Smaller groupings make a table look much more ornate,” she says.

If your wedding has a theme, try a creative twist. Because of her Newburyport location, Linnea Tangorra, principal of Tangorra Wedding Planning, gets many requests for beach-themed weddings, where seashells, sand dollars and antique lanterns have all been employed as alternatives to live centerpieces.

For a holiday-season wedding, one of Tangorra’s clients used collections of ornaments as centerpieces. Another popular choice is framed photographs of the couple or, if you have them, photographs of the guests at each table.

A word of caution: Don’t mix rental items with take-aways. “I get horrified by what people actually take from a wedding,” says Donna Kim, owner of The Perfect Details in Concord. Encouraging open season on the centerpieces can cause pitchers, serving items and even flatware to walk out the door.