Avoid Awkwardness! What to Do if You’re Going to See Your Ex at a Wedding

It’s hard to get through all your friends’ weddings without bumping into at least one ex. If you know your college boyfriend or first serious girlfriend is on the guest list for an upcoming wedding, read our tips for handling the situation like a champ.

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Photo by Stone Crandall Photography 

1. Dress to impress. Even if you’re totally over this person…even if you know it’s what’s on the inside that counts…you’re probably going to want to look your best at this wedding. So plan to get your hair or makeup done, slip into a dress that shows off your curves, or borrow a killer pair of heels from your best friend.

2. Don’t panic if you don’t have a date. So your ex is happily married and you’re single? Not a big deal! Attend with a good friend, or just go alone. If your ex judges you for not having a date, be happy that you’re no longer dating the kind of person who prioritizes romantic success above everything else.

3. Review your resume. OK, you don’t have to review your actual resume, but take 10-15 minutes to think about the cool things you’ve accomplished — professionally or personally — in the past year. You don’t have to open the conversation with, “Gosh, I’m just SO TIRED from all that marathon training I’ve been doing…” but it’s helpful to have the things you’re currently into or most proud of fresh in your mind.

4. Remind yourself why you broke up. That way, if your ex looks great and says all the right things at the wedding, you can easily remind yourself that [you wanted totally different things in life/he refused to get a job/she hated your dog/etc]. Not sure you’ll remember the reasons once you’ve had a few cocktails? Ask your bestie to text you the list midway through the night.

5. If you want to talk to your ex, start the conversation.  You’ll feel less anxious if you have the conversation early, and by taking the lead, you’re in control. As soon as you spot your ex, offer a warm greeting, ask him or her how she has been, share something cool you’ve been up to lately, and then say, “I’m glad to see you’re doing well! Enjoy your night!” Boom. As Olivia Pope says, “It’s handled.”

6. If you don’t want to talk, prepare an exit line. If you’re uncomfortable chatting with your ex, have a gracious but firm response ready. “I don’t want to talk to you tonight, but have a great time at the party!” “I don’t think we can be friends and I need some space tonight. Thanks for understanding.” Plan to deliver your line and walk away before he or she can make you feel guilty for setting (perfectly reasonable!) boundaries.

Get more guest advice on Loverly:

8 Unspoken Wedding Guest Rules You NEED to Follow

8 Really Good Reasons to Keep Your Wedding Guest List Small

How to Deal With Conflicting Wedding Events (Yikes)