Invite Etiquette - deterring the ex-wife from attending an event
Hi, Miss Manners.
I have been dating John for a little over two years, meeting him just after his now ex-wife left him for another women. They have a daughter together, however, he raised her two older sons from a previous relationship. The children are Jay, 25 (married and on his own); Jake, 23 (single and leaving with mom); and Tara, 17 (in high school and leaving with mom by choice).
John recently put the family home up for sale, sold it and purchased a new home. He is focused on making a life for himself since everyone has made their own choices and he is now an empty-nester.
I am throwing a surprise housewarming party for John. I feel that after all the pain and destruction the ex-wife caused, his family and friends should celebrate his decision to move forward and start a new adventure.
I have mailed invites to his close friends and their wives, his mother and father, siblings and Jay and his wife. My concern is how to invite Jake and Tara without their mother (the ex) showing up uninvited. The reason I'm concerned, ex-wife has shown up with their daughter at two funeral wakes of John's family members who passed this year. This caused a major issue with his family.
I promised from the beginning that I would keep things classy and avoid all contact with ex-wife for Tara's dignity and respect for me.
How do I invite Jake and Tara without ex-wife assuming she can come with one of them to the event?
Do I need to come out and tell each of them, not to bring their mother? Can it be done, by not addressing invite to Jake and Guest?