Sure, he was invited, but no one expected him to show up. He never does, but you have to invite him anyway. Account for him on the guest list, send him a personalized invitation, everything. That’s the rule. If you don’t, you’re dooming yourselves from the start.
Though he doesn’t expect to be invited to the rehearsal dinner, you do have to save a seat for him at the main table on the day. You have to serve him a meal, including cake. You have to select one of the gifts on the gift table and pretend that it’s from him. Without even making an appearance, he’ll be able to tell if any of these things is not done.
You have to save a place for him in photographs. Act like he’s there with you. Hook your arm around nobody–he’ll fill himself in when he goes through the photos later. (How he gets the photos isn’t entirely clear, but it’s probably like how he knows if there’s a piece of cake for him.)
You have to thank him in your speeches. You have to shower him with praise for all the things he’s done for you both. You have to tell him how nice he looks in his black suit, even if you have to invent the details. And someone must pretend to dance with him.
The one time he actually showed up, no one knew what to do. It wasn’t a particularly special wedding. The venue was breezy and green, and it was springtime, but many weddings are like that. (Maybe it was the promise of glow-in-the-dark bocce after the sun set? Or the customized Jenga sets with their names on the blocks?) They tried to carry on as normal, serving him dinner, including him in the festivities. But it was strange with him actually there, looming over everyone, red eyes singeing at the edges, ash falling out of his hair into everyone else’s hair, their food, everywhere.
He gave his best wishes to the bride and groom and his voice was like a furnace blasting. They thanked him warmly, trying to keep their nervousness out of their voices, and they asked him how they’d gotten so lucky. What attracted him to this wedding, out of all of them?
He answered in a series of small pyroclasts, which rolled out of his mouth and melted into the linoleum. They seemed to spell something. But no one could decipher what it meant, and no one was brave enough to ask.