My husband’s ex-wife is his Best Woman

Guest post by Cassie
Wedding Party

When John and I got married, our wedding party consisted of one person each. My Maid of Honor was my best friend of twenty years, Kate. His Best Woman was his ex-wife, Katie. My biggest concern was that people would mix up their names.

Since then, I have been told a dozen times, “You let his ex-wife be his Best Woman? That's so weird! I could never do that.” Usually it's followed up by a little laugh, as if it's common knowledge that all ex-wives are evil and all new wives should be jealous of them and hate them.

I try to set aside my issue with them suggesting that I “let” John choose his Best Woman, and I point out that I adore Katie as well.

I met Katie about a year before my wedding in Las Vegas at the wedding of my now in-laws. I could have gone to their wedding already planning to hate her for her role in my husband's past. I could have gone there planning to chase her away from my John's present. But I chose to trust him and keep an open mind about her because planning negativity is a sad way to live.

Katie and I clicked instantly. While John was busy helping his mother prepare for her wedding, or handle the challenges of navigating Las Vegas, Katie and I stood off on the side giggling about cats and love and life. I would have naturally picked her out of any crowd as my new best friend. By the time our weekend in Vegas was over, I'm pretty sure John was worried that I'd go home with Katie instead of him.

I sometimes think it's a bit weird how similar my husband's ex-wife and I are, but it makes sense. He picked us both! We have similar builds and coloring. We love cats and alternative religions. We would be happy to spend every weekend at Ren Faires (in costume, of course!), and we share the same sarcastic sense of humor.

She has known John much longer than me and knows his idiosyncrasies. Warnings she gave me when we were dating have come to mind a dozen times and helped me weather a few rough spots with him. Advice she gave him has helped him be the partner I need. We honestly wouldn't have gotten to the altar without her.

So when John announced his choice of Best Woman, I was thrilled that his ex-wife would be in our wedding. Since then, I have remained grateful that Katie was there and that she held such a special place in our wedding party. She has proven herself our friend and an ally to our relationship. What else could I ask of a Best Woman?

How are you including exes in your wedding?

Comments on My husband’s ex-wife is his Best Woman

  1. I love this. I am still very good friends with my ex husband. He and my new husband are also close. I hear frequently “that is so weird”.

  2. This is so lovely. I wish to God all exs could be like this. I know that’s a lot to ask for, so I’ll wish instead that exs could at the very least be civil to current partners. Your gown is amazing.

  3. I had two exes on my side:

    And he had one on his:

    I’ve even joked to him that in the photo it looks like they’re the newlywed couple because he had his arm around her! But they’re just good friends who broke up years before I met him and after knowing her for several years through him I consider her a friend too. They weren’t married, but they did date for several years & it was his longest and probably most serious relationship before me. I’ve had some acquaintances say “that’s so weird that you guys had exes in your wedding parties!” but anyone who knows us well understands. We both have exes who we did not part on good terms with, but most of our exes are friends and some of them are our best friends. Of course we wanted to include them in something as important as our wedding!

  4. That guy I married actually asked MY ex boyfriend to be in HIS wedding party. Sadly, my ex wasn’t able to make it to the wedding, but still! How awesome is that? 😉

  5. Holla! My ex (bf) and best friend of half my life was on my side of the wedding party when Hubs and I got married. Bestie told me once that, aside from everything else, he’s glad we’re in each other’s lives b/c he got to meet and make friends with Hubs. HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!

  6. I think this is awesome! My ex will actually be walking me down the aisle at my second wedding. As she jokingly pointed out “Your dad gave you to me, so it’s my job to hand you off this time!” I get why some people find an ex’s involvement weird, but for some of us, we didn’t end because the other was evil or did something horrible, we ended because we work better as friends.

    • My friends did this! Her ex walked her down the aisle, and then the “old” husband and the “new” husband had a duel at the alter. Obviously the “new” husband won, the marrying resumed, and they got some epic pictures out of it. 🙂

  7. I had my husband’s ex be apart of our wedding last year. Walking down the aisle and calling forth the fire element in my handfasting ceremony I wrote.

    We met a few weeks before the wedding and I tried so hard to be on good terms with her despite the abuse she put myself and husband through since she found out we were together. I invited her to join in my wedding in hopes that she would see that I was not a threat or in anyway against her but in the end she made the rest of the day about her when the ceremony was over, throwing a fit about everything including the ceremony she was apart of. I spent what should have been my day trying to comfort and reassure her. It was crazy and overly dramatic. If I was to do it again I would rethink having her involved or attend.

    I think it is great to have an ex apart of things but only if it can be a healthy relationship between you all. I encourage others to be open to it but in my experience it blew up in my face.

  8. I totally agree. I always thought it’s so weird to try to keep away people from your partner, no matter what their previous relationship was.
    Neither of us were married before, but we both have good friends that we used to go out with. My fiance likes some of my ex-BFs, and some not so much. Same goes vice-versa.

    Jealousy is destructive and has no place in any relationship. If my partner wanted to go off and be with someone else, he would. But instead we chose each other, and sometimes you just have to trust that.

  9. I’ve had a few conversations with my mom about why I’m still close to my ex- (who, yes, will be in our wedding party, along with one of my partner’s ex-es). We think that a lot of it might be how it’s increasingly okay for men and women to be friends and/or interact in equal but non-romantic ways. Something I’ve seen among my friends is people who dated inside of a larger group of friends in college. There’s lots of dating going on among the gamers, or theater kids, or cross-country runners, sometimes serious, sometimes not, but at the end of the romance, it’s generally preferable to remain friends (or at least friendly) instead of leaving the group. Plus there’s a foundation to the relationship that isn’t romantic.

    I think that it’s sad that for a lot of people like my mom, having male friends just wasn’t allowed if they were married and you were single. My mom lost a number of male friends after she got divorced because all of the sudden it wasn’t acceptable for them to be friends. I really hope that this attitude is dying off as men and women continue get comfortable interacting in non-romantic roles.

    • That’s a good point. One to two generations ago it wasn’t all that common for males and females to interact non-romantically, now activities are generally integrated allowing for mixed gender friendships that exist outside of your partner’s friends.

      I think since we’re living a good deal longer, we have a greater possibility to change over time in a way that won’t necessarily be congruent to how our partners change. You end up breaking up because you aren’t the same as you once were together, but if it’s amicable, then you can work better as friends than you did as a couple.

  10. I asked my husband’s ex to do my hair & makeup for the wedding. After we did our trial run, I decided I wanted to do my own makeup after all, but lo and behold, on the day of, I was trying to do my eyeliner and my hands were shaking so badly that after half an hour of yelling “Jess!!!!” every five minutes, I just had her take over. She’s an awesome lady and one of my best girls now.

    I’m so glad this article was posted! It’s really important for people to realize that exes don’t HAVE to be evil or even difficult to deal with. She’s a sweet girl, very different from me, the relationship with “our” man didn’t work out, and that is to EVERYONE’s benefit. They are better friends now than they ever were when they were together and she considers us part of her kith, if not kin (i.e., her family OF friends).

    Love OBB – now I just need to get my pics up into the flickr pool of her doing my hair, among other things 😉

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