Etiquette: Do I have to invite him?

glittery_brideJanuary 25, 2006

I am currently planning my wedding which will have only about 20 guests. As you can see, this will be a very small, intimate affair.

To keep the guest list down, we are not allowing anyone to bring a guest. Of course, those who are married or engaged may bring their significant others. (I'm even asking that my brothers and sisters not bring a guest.)

My problem is this: one of my very best girlfriends has a boyfriend whom I simply cannot stand. The details are not important, but suffice it to say that this person and I do not get along at all! This man's presence at my very small wedding would sour the event, as everyone knows his deceitful, hateful ways and blames him openly of treating our good friend badly. He hates me, and I know he would come to my wedding just to aggravate me.

They have been 'together' a number of years, but they are not engaged or married. I don't have to invite him, do I?

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The etiquette rule is that you must invite spouses and fiances. I believe Miss Manners, at least, expands that to people living together and those who always socialize as a couple -- not just one's current boy/girlfriend, but some sort of permanent relationship. So you may be right on the line here with this couple, as you say they have been "together" for a number of years. In my opinion, though, with only 20 guests, you could get away with it.

The thing is, does having a rule on your side, or not, really help all that much? It seems to me that your problem, if any, is your friend's feelings -- no rule in the world can solve that. Will she feel that you are disrespecting her relationship? Will she be hurt some other way? Can you have a loving conversation with her before the invitations go out? I would NOT focus on your dislike of the boyfriend, or any rotten things he's done (that will force her to defend him, and for sure it will make her uncomfortable). Nor would I cite any rules of etiquette -- how could she help but think, "Some friend -- she cares more about some silly rule than about my feelings"? Rather, just stress the very small size of the wedding. Something like, "Petunia, I need your help with a problem I have with the wedding. We really need to keep it to only twenty, so I'm afraid that we can't invite anyone's boyfriends or girlfriends, even Adolph. Even my brothers and sisters are coming alone. I just needed to make sure that you and Adolph understand that it isn't that we don't respect your relationship with Adolph; it's just that I can't see any way of inviting him without letting everyone else bring their boyfriends and girlfriends. I know that your relationship is a lot more serious than any of theirs, but they'll never understand that, they'll just be mad at me if I tell them "no dates" and then they see Adolph there. The four of us will be sure to do something together after we get back from the honeymoon, okay?"

Does that feel like something you could do?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2006 at 7:52PM
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I'd have a very hard time not inviting him, as they've been together for years. He's not her fiance, but it's very similar. If I were your friend, I'd be very hurt if you didn't invite him. But if you want to try to get away with it, Gellchom's advise is as good as you can get. Do be prepared, though, that she might say she'd rather not come if he's not invited.

I'm sorry you're in such a situation.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2006 at 12:31PM
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