The perfect name

We’ve spoken about the politics behind changing your name for marriage before on AOW.  It’s a fascinating topic; everyone’s got their own reasons for why they did or didn’t, would or wouldn’t change their name.  I did it because I preferred my new surname, and because it felt like officially starting an adventure together with Mr K.  What felt right to me would horrify someone else. 

Hollie writes eloquently about her struggles and her rationale with this very issue.  There are lessons here; about communication, about identity, and about compromise.  Thank you, Hollie.  Over to you:  

 

I have a confession to make: the thought of changing my name when I married my lovely husband Bren  filled me with dread. It was off all things married the one that I wasn’t looking forward to AT ALL. Even picking his dirty pants off the floor held more appeal for me. And as you know, that’s saying rather a lot…

Before you ask, no I’m not some staunch feminist, just an independent woman (ok maybe woman is going to far that sounds far too grown up to be me!) trying to make sense of what marriage means to her.

I know for some women the thought of getting a brand new shiny surname when they get married may well be the icing on top of a very exciting cake. For the romantics among us it’s often seen to be the ultimate declaration of your marriage (aside from the lovely new ring you’re sporting that is…) and signals the start of the new phase of a couple’s life together.

For those who are ‘blessed’ with names they’d rather be rid of getting married is the perfect opportunity to get banish it forever while trying out a new fancy signature. Not that I’m suggesting that in itself is a reason to get married you understand, just a very happy by-product indeed.

Despite all the benefits of taking your beloved’s name I just knew it wasn’t for me. So much so that it became a bit of an issue during our early engagement. Not between me and Bren – he was blissfully unaware of my inner issues – but between me and my conscience. To be honest it made me feel like crap. I knew everybody would be expecting me to take his name ‘cos that’s what you do right?

I felt by not taking his name I would be insulting not only Bren, but also his family, and would somehow be suggesting that their name wasn’t good enough for little ol’ me.

But despite the potential for upset, I knew deep down that it wouldn’t be happening that way for us. We just weren’t going to be Mr and Mrs W. after we got married.

I think part of the problem is that I’ve had such a distinctive name for the first 26 years of my life. I know that my parents went to great lengths to pick this perfect name for me, even leaving me nameless for the first few days of my life until they could decide whether the name they picked for me was ‘too much’. Thankfully they came to their senses and little Miss Hollie Honeyman it was.

With a name like Hollie Honeyman whenever people hear my name for the first time they would nearly always comment on it. These have largely been positive comments apart from one former employer who at the interview exclaimed that I sounded like a porn star and on that basis alone the job was mine…! Forgive me when I say I took the job, but in my defense I was a poor student after spending all my student loan in Topshop.

Added to that, I slogged away for three years to earn a Doctorate, the thesis of which has my maiden name proudly emblazoned across the cover in lovely gold letters. Even though I have no intention of working in this field for the time being, I don’t want to severe the obvious links between me and all that hard work… I admit now that I’m writing this that does seem like a bit of a cop out, but at the time of having just got engaged and being in the midst of writing the beast it did seem like a seriously important issue!!

During the course of my name issues I wrestled with all sorts of options when trying to come up with a solution to the surname conundrum. Unfortunately none of them made me happy (yes I’m hard to please).

I considered having my maiden name as an extra middle name (essentially the same as taking his surname so this was rejected) or double barreling both our names (this would result in a four syllable, 17 character epic of a surname that seemed just a little bit too… well, upper middle class for me). I also briefly thought about simply keeping my name as it was, but that didn’t seem right either.

Had Bren announced that he didn’t want to wear a wedding ring – pretty much the only outward display that a man is married – I would have been devastated. No actually I would have been beyond devastated. Part of me would have questioned why we were bothering to do it, if the outward social signs that we were married would be missing.

After thinking about all that (and getting more than a little worked up in the process I admit) I realised something. This wasn’t just about me and how I felt about changing my name. It was about us about showing everybody that we were married and we were ruddy proud of it.

In the end, I did what I should have done at the very beginning and spoke to Bren about it all. At first I think he was a little offended by my struggles (perhaps my phrase ‘you need to trade your surname up or equal, but never down’ wasn’t the most sensitive way to approach the subject!), but after a very short while he was really supportive.

I think it helped that I pointed out that I wasn’t planning to name our children with my surname – it was my issue and mine alone. After much too-ing and fro-ing we decided that I would become the proud owner of that four syllable monster surname. As a bit of a compromise I decided to have his surname before mine, with the idea that over time I will most likely drop my maiden name off the end. If that happens only time will tell…

The more I think about it the more proud I am of the decision we made together about my name. Yes I am a married woman, with a husband I adore and being a wife is part of my identity, but it isn’t the be all and end all of who I am. Getting both our names in there represents the real essence of marriage – the coming together of his family and mine to create a new branch of the family tree (don’t get me wrong though I would have been bloody grateful if one of us could have been blessed with a single syllable surname!)

A very proud to be,

Mrs Williams-Honeyman

xx

 

Categories: Becoming A Wife, Politics and Feminism
59 interesting thoughts on this

58 Comments

  1. Posted April 24, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    That really is an awesome name! Well
    Done Mr and Mrs Honeywell,

    I hate the way me new surname sounds, I like my old surname- and I still refer to myself as that. My mother in law booked flights for us as a present and used my new name thinking I’d be really excited but I was gutted about changing my passport. I don’t think I’ll ever think of myself as Anna A. Always Anna S but then that gets even weirder when I know George is an A.

    It’s a tough one. Love that you went for a double barrel. Ours just don’t sound right together :(

    • Jenny
      Posted April 24, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      I had a couple of people make a comment at the wedding or around the wedding weekend about my new passport – I was so shocked they thought I’d have had time when planing and sorting out the wedding to bother getting and paying for a new passport for our honeymoon that was two days after the wedding! Tradition really isn’t rational at times!

      I’m so sad you felt you had to change your name Anna even though it doesn’t feel like you, though I totally understand it gets confusing when you add kids into the mix. I’ve so far kept my maiden name despite MIL constantly calling me Mrs husband’s name. The expectation to change my name is one of the things that really rages me up about traditional assumptions about getting married! I’m resisting it unless at some point I feel comfortable with my husband’s name as mine. I’d love to double barrel because then it is both of us forming a new family rather than me being swallowed up by his (I sound like a b*tch I know!) but husband doens’t want to change his (for some reason he feels traditional about it). Has your husband changed his name Hollie, or just you?

      Great post, I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels so reluctant to give up her maiden name!

      • Posted April 24, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        The expectation to change my name is one of the things that really rages me up about traditional assumptions about getting married!

        THIS.

        For kicks, I like to ask men if they ever considered, or would consider, changing their name, on marriage. They look at me like I have three heads. “Why would I change my name? It’s who I am. It’s my identity.” Well, why should a woman feel any differently?!

        • Celia
          Posted April 25, 2012 at 9:36 am | Permalink

          I ask my male friends that exact question whenever the subject comes up. No-one has given me a satisfactory answer yet. I don’t consider ‘it’s traditional’ to be a convincing enough response. Once upon a time, dowries were traditional, and we’ve managed to eliminate those…

          I love my name. It’s MY name, and I have absolutely no intention of ever changing it. But not one of my close friends has kept theirs, even though some of them adored their maiden names. I keep schtum, but inside it makes me a little bit sad that they would give up such a core part of their identity without a struggle.

    • Posted April 24, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      “me new surname” I HATE my phone- I swear it changes things after I’ve hit send!!

  2. Posted April 24, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    I hate to break this to you but… that’s actually five syllables. But an extra syllable just means extra fabulousness, so that’s okay!

    I’m glad you’ve reached a decision you’re both comfortable with. That’s all any of us can do, and nobody has any business telling us whether it’s the right one or the wrong one. There will be plenty of compromises and difficult decisions to be made in life, and the fact that you and your husband talked this one through and came up with a happy solution is great practice for married life.

    • Posted April 24, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      One thing I was going to ask – will you use Mrs as your title, or Dr? I only ask because while I am oddly comfortable with having taken his surname, I can’t stand the Mrs part. Weird, eh? I use Ms whenever I have to give a title. Mrs Hisname just sounds so… old, and like I’m his mum. *shudder* I also feel like I don’t always want to advertise my marital status – men don’t have to, so why should we? So I always thought that if I’d been a doctor/had a doctorate it would have been much easier, because Dr is Dr whether you’re married or not.

      • Jenny
        Posted April 24, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        There was a really good Women’s Hour about using Ms and how people assume that means you’re divorced rather than just not wanting to give away your marital status. Apparently there is a town in France who are banning Miss and just calling every women by their version of Mrs. I want to lend my support to their cause!

        I’ve started to use Ms on forms because Mrs maiden name seems wrong but I don’t want to have to use his name either! So confusing!

      • Posted April 24, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        Oh god I could write a whole post just on what to use as my title. I’m with you on the Mrs thing – that just doesn’t sound like me at all. In my head I associate Mrs with somebody who is middle-aged (at least!!) and sadly if I use Doctor on a form people assume I’m a man… As you can imagine that doesn’t go down to well. Ms just isn’t right either and Miss is a plain old lie, so I try to avoid giving a title and just use Hollie.

        • Jenny
          Posted April 24, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

          I burst out laughing at the Dr = man comment! I can’t believe people assume that. There really are things wrong with our society still!

          Ms doesn’t feel right either but it’s the best of a bad bunch for me, and I figure how else will the stigma of it being old/divorced ever be removed if younger people like us don’t use it!

          • Posted April 24, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

            people do assume you’re a man. Or that you’re a medical doctor, because *pft* what OTHER kind of doctor can there be?! Good grief.

      • Kate
        Posted April 25, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink

        I thought I had it all worked out about my name after the wedding but now I’m not sure… I have a PhD so I’m Dr Quick, but was planning on using Mrs Husband’s name and then keeping Dr Quick for work as I’ve had a couple of papers published so don’t want to “lose” them.

        But would I be Dr Married name rather than Mrs? Very confused!

        • Posted April 27, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

          I’m currently trying to figure this out! Have my viva in week so will *fingers crossed* soon be Dr Steele. We also got engaged during the PhD slog and I’ve never imagined being Dr anything else, particularly as I’ve published too. So then it will be Mrs Hillsdon on the weekends/out of work? My main query is over changing bank details/IDs etc. I need to find an established academic who can advise on this! I also need to pass the viva first…

  3. Steff
    Posted April 24, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    BTW awesome name. Love it.

    For me there was never any question about changing my name, I had no connection to my old name (apart from the ‘Mc’ which I tried to pre-pend to my new name but the other half is having none of it) and similar to Anna K it was about starting a new adventure, a new family identity that was ours.

    And plus, when you’re a massive fan of a certain wizarding related book series are you going to turn down the chance to become a family member?? Hah, not a chance.

    • Posted April 24, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      Hah see that’s where my mantra – you trade up or for even comes in! Potter is defo trading up for me :) x

  4. Posted April 24, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    I was sooooo excited about changing my surname, purely because I loved the romance of it all. Three days before the wedding? Massive cold feet on the name change! Nearly a year on, and I’m still only a Smyth on Facebook (to keep the in-laws happy!).

    I might change it sometime, but seeing as I’ve just spent the best part of £80 renewing my passport in my maiden name, I doubt it will be any time soon. Maybe if we ever have kids. My parents think I’m being really odd about it, and I do feel a bit guilty. But not enough to change! Nope. It’s part of my identity, and that’s that.

    Px

    • Jenny
      Posted April 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      Oh god I wish I’d never changed my name on facebook! It’s the only place where I’ve changed it (in day-after-the-wedding excitment and peer pressure) and now I want to change it back but can’t be bothered with all the messages asking if we’ve gotten divorced!

      I’m so with you on the identity thing. I can’t get over the feeling that I’d be giving up my identity by changing it!

      • Posted April 24, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        I changed my name to Anna Marie on Facebook and I kept my own bank account because it really pissed me off using the joint one’s card!!!

      • Posted April 24, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        That’s exactly what I did!! I got home and changed it, and then I thought it looked weird and panicked and decided to hold off changing anywhere else, and now I can’t change back because I’m worried everyone will think we’ve split up! I tell myself it keeps the in-laws happy… when my best friend saw it on FB she cried (we grew up together) because I wasn’t “me” anymore….and that was pretty much how I felt too. Bah!

        Px

    • Posted April 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      Pensky…your surnames would kick ass double-barrelled. On so many levels.

      That is all.

      • Posted April 24, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        I’m a Penelope too, it would be nuts! There’s no way I could pretend to be that posh though….

        Px

        • Steff
          Posted April 25, 2012 at 11:18 am | Permalink

          Just found myself thinking how awesome a name Penelope would be if we had a daughter in the future… then remembered my new surname is Potter. Not so much. Gutted.

    • Posted April 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      Oh god the faff of changing passports etc! I’ve paid for the deed poll for my new name (but yet it would be free if I just took his name) but still haven’t gotten around to doing everything else. Apart from facebook the day afterwards that is. Other people seem to find it all exciting, but admin is just a total pain in the arse to me. x

    • Clare
      Posted April 24, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      Penny I totally did the same. Changed it on Facebook in a fit of excitement, and then regretted it a few days later. After a few weeks I ended up adding my surname back in, so, in the world of Facebook, I am now double barrelled, and I know some of my new friends think that’s what my name really is. But in reality it’s still my maiden name, and will be for the forseeable future.

      Also, I had a long discussion with my (in fairness, quite aged) inlaws when trying to explain to them that yes, the malaysian authorities *would* believe I was married and therefore allow me a spouse visa, despite me not having changed my name, as I have a marriage certificate to prove that I’m married to him. I’m still not sure they believe me.

      • Posted April 24, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        Haha! I have had conversations where I’ve mentioned in passing that I would keep my surname if I were to get married only to be asked, “But… if you have children, aren’t you worried people won’t believe you are the mother?”

        • Posted April 24, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

          For real?! I’d have to answer that with “well obviously I’ll be getting the results of a DNA test tattooed across their foreheads to make up for it”.

          K x

      • Posted April 24, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        Ah yes I have people just make up what they think my name is! I really don’t think it’s that hard a concept to get to grips with, but it’s funny how much it genuinely does seem to confuse some people.

        Clare that comment about your in-laws did make me laugh! Bless them.

        x

      • Posted April 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        I should do the double barrelled thing on FB too! Hilarious. Probably left it a bit late at 10 months after the wedding though….I have to say I am unsurprised at your in-laws… I have been getting reactions right out of the stone age from both sides of the family!

        Px

  5. Posted April 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Just to throw another name issue into the mix… Does anybody else get really quite angry when people write to you and use not only your husband’s surname (which if that is your name is fair enough obviously), but also their INITIAL?!

    That could just be me though!

    x

    • Posted April 24, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Ha. Same initial as Mr K, so when that stupidly sexist practice assaults my mail, I can pretend they are writing to Mr and Mrs Anna K…

    • Jenny
      Posted April 24, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      Oh yes Hollie, this angers me no end! I find it so insulting because a) it makes me an & Mrs only, like it’s not worth addressing me specifically and b) it is always people who know I’ve not changed my name!

      Anna that is an amazing coincidence that saves you so much anger! ;)

    • Posted April 24, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      You know, the only person who really does this is Fin’s granny (Mr and Mrs Findlay Hisname), and I think to her it’s just the proper and respectful way to address a married person, so I actually find it quite charming. I know it means she sees me as part of the family, she respects our marriage, and I like that. But if a bank, say, or a person my age addressed us that way, or if anyone addressed me on my own as Mrs F Hisname, I would punch them in the face.

    • Posted April 24, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      This doesn’t actually annoy/bother/anger me. Tell me, have I got a really high tolerance for these sorts of things or do I just not care? I can’t decide.

      ps. Kirsty, I addressed our wedding invites to married guests like this. Would you have come to our wedding and punched me on the day, or declined the invitation? I’m imagining it would be worse than the time I called you and Fin “Dogparents” hahaha!

      • Posted April 24, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        I should point out to other readers that I did retract the label Dogparents pretty much as soon as I’d first mentioned it.

  6. Liz
    Posted April 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    I got married in September and still haven’t gotten round to changing my name, I don’t have anything fundamentally against it but I think it is taking me time to get my head around having a different name.
    However, I am now 12 weeks pregnant and filled in the forms at hospital with my surname in the first box and then his name, with a note to explain, in the maiden name box. They decided that his name is the one to use! And my passport runs out in 3 months, so I suppose now is the time to start changing it.
    On the issue of women being referred to as their husbands full name, when it came to writing our wedding invitations after 35 years of marriage my mum point blank refused to have it say Mr and Mrs T H… invite you, so it was their first names and surname – so it seems that this is something which has been on women’s minds for many years!

    • Jenny
      Posted April 24, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      Your Mum sounds like an awesome role model!

  7. Esme
    Posted April 24, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Yes, yes, yes and yes to this post and all of the comments. I wanted to change my name for various reasons (one of which being that my Mum is remarried and so only my Dad has my maiden name) but I completely respect everyone else’s choices. I think it’s one of the last taboos with getting married – suggesting that you wouldn’t change your name. It’s absolutely ridiculous, how dare someone comment on a personal choice?

    The Mrs T Wilks thing really gets me – it makes me feel that I’ve become an addition to my husband rather than us becoming a family.

    The main thing that surprises me is what Catherine said above – when men say that they would never even contemplate changing their name. Tom was all for it! I had a conversation with a friend’s boyfriend recently who said that if they get married, she won’t have a choice – she’ll be taking his name because his children will have his name and it’s not an option for his wife not to have the same. I laughed at him, teasing him for his outdated view but he was deadly serious. Why is this one of the remaining things that is one way for women and another for men?

    • Posted April 24, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      “an addition to my husband rather than us becoming a family” < .expresses my feelings across this subject completely and perfectly.

      Px

      • Jenny
        Posted April 24, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        Hell yes! It’s you being added to an existing family rather than establishing a new one between the two of you!

        Also, Tom is so the exception to the rule. He can bake mahoosive cakes too!

  8. Posted April 24, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Love this, Hollie you have the best name ever.

    I am actually changing my surname, and I keep getting told off for it. Apparently I am a terrible feminist, I’m telling the world that my husband owns me, I’m supporting the patriarchy. Even though the surname I have now, the one I was born with, is a man’s surname. Have I spent my whole life telling the world my Dad owns me? At the end of the day, I just don’t identify much with my surname, actually I don’t like it, so I’m not fussed about changing it. I want to live in a world where either decision is okay though.

    K x

    • Posted April 24, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      Katielase, that’s so naughty that people would tell you off for that. I felt similarly to you about my maiden name, plus I couldn’t wait to take my husband’s name because us having the same name is, in my opinion, a symbol of our love and our commitment. Either decision is really OK and the feminist view ought to be that you are empowered to do what’s right for you/both of you. Go you! x

  9. Helena
    Posted April 24, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    What a fabulous name!

    Hollie, you’ve expressed exactly what I’m feeling at the moment. I am going to change my name after our wedding but I am doing it with a hugely heavy heart and not a little bit of resentment – my reason for doing it though is that I do want to have the same name as any future children we have and our names double barelled sound like some kind of risqué sex act or dirty protest so not really an option!

    I am also with you on the ire reserved for people who use the husband’s name/initial to address the wife as well. It’s bad enough that I’ve given up half my name; why oh why would the whole thing need to be subsumed into his?!

    • Helena
      Posted April 24, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      I’ve just realised this sounds quite bitter – I’m really not! I love my h2b very much and can’t wait to be married to him, I just don’t see why it’s assumed (by others to be fair, never ever by him) that I will be the one changing my name.

    • Posted April 24, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      Haha!! Well now I so want to know what your surnames would be when they are put together!!

  10. Jessie
    Posted April 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Wouldn’t it be amazing if when you got married you just got to pick a brand new surname for the 2 of you so that you both had to change?! I’m terribly attached to my surname and suspect I’m in a bit of denial about changing it. He’s joining my family too so why does it have to be so onesided?!!!!

  11. Katie
    Posted April 24, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Great Names Mrs Williams-Honeyman.

    I didn’t want to change my name. I like my maiden name, but don’t like my husband’s surname. My maiden name is quite unusual, and I trade under it, with my business. I had to keep it for business use. My husband is very old-fashioned, and he was upset when I didn’t want to change it. Well, I have changed it, to his surname, on Facebook.

    It’s a bit deceivious but not changed it on anything else (yet). He still hasn’t noticed, and we’ve been married nine months yesterday. Our children will have his surname though.

    xx

  12. Posted April 24, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    In addition: I have come across people who have actually blended their surnames into a brand new one (friends of friends so can’t remember the exact name, but imagine Dunwell + Murphy = Dunphy), and also a friend’s parents who gave their son their father’s surname and their daughter their mother’s surname. Especially poignant now their mother has sadly passed away and the girl gets to carry the maiden name on. I love this – would really like to do it. Husband has always said he would be up for it!

    Px

    • Jenny
      Posted April 24, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      Ah I love that, how sweet and very sad.

      • Posted April 24, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        Awesome idea!

        A surname blend would give us either Flemmiths (I think we can all agree that’s a no-go right there, sounds like a fur ball) or Griffing, which is okay but I feel a bit mardy that I only contributed the -ing. I am now a suffix. Hmph.

        Someone suggested we create a brand new surname but it turns out we’re way too silly to be allowed that kind of responsibility. And once we got past the “teehee let’s call ourselves something rude phase”, G wouldn’t let me choose a molecule as our new surname, or let me make him become Mr Darcy, so I stropped off.

        K x

  13. Posted April 24, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    You have a fabulous maiden name, and you’re lucky to have such a fab double-barrelled married name too- the names go well together!

    I’m always really shocked when people DON’T want to change their names. I couldn’t wait to take my husband’s name because it was all part of the whole two becoming one thing… oh cheesy I know!

    X

  14. Gemma C-S
    Posted April 24, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    I have made this comment on AOW before, but what the hey – I didn’t want to give up my maiden name which has a unique story about our family intrinsic to it, and my husband wasn’t particularly tied to his surname. So I decided to double barrel, and so did my husband. We’re both C-Ses now. Although the reaction from some people to him changing his name was so strong (you’re WHAT? but WHY?) that it was actually funny. I know that this approach wouldn’t work for everyone (although Penny, – do it!!) but it worked for us.

    • Bella
      Posted April 24, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      Just one of the reasons I love Mr C-S (platonically!)!

      I’m changing, and can’t wait to, but that’s a whole heap of another story. I do feel, however, that if I ever became a published author i’d be irritated that the ‘me’ of 27 years isn’t the me who is published… is that seriously silly?! I have the option of 2 names – the irish and the english translation – I think I can use both but still TBC on this one… Fab post too Mrs W-H !

  15. Posted April 24, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    I can’t say I had the same sort of inner wrangles over my name change around the time of my marriage but I definitely thought about all my options. I was always the one who would question the point of changing names, just as I’d question whether I wanted to be Miss or Ms when I was single.

    I guess I saw changing names as losing something. And when you have a legal career, you build up a reputation pretty quickly around your area, people *know* you and I did sort of worry that people would forget who I was if I changed. Then I thought, hang on, I’ve not got decades of experience, these people are reasonably intelligent, surely they can get over the fact that I got married (though some assumed, in my line of work, I had divorced and reverted to my maiden name?!) As it turned out, I had a career change anyway so all the energy I spent thinking about that was pretty much a waste.

    Interestingly, my husband thought I would want to keep my name but I decided to change it. I love history and I see my maiden name years as a weighty tome in the history of me. I don’t think of it as losing something, which I did when I was younger, I see it more as a change, a new beginning, a brand new book. And I think Tom is happy he can call me Mrs Stendall (even though that does make me sound like his mum which sets off all sorts of alarm bells in certain situations)

    In reality, within weeks of changing my name I saw Lucy Maiden Name written down somewhere and actually thought ‘who is THAT?!’ for a split second before I remembered (like an idiot) that it was me/is me/was me. Gah!

  16. Emily
    Posted April 24, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    It’s funny but though I had a bit of name change angst about a month before the wedding, which was actually more slight panic at the enormity of the whole thing, I’m def changing my name as soon as I’m back from my honeymoon (in my defence it has rained pretty much solidly every day!). And I saved two wedding invites from friends until after the wedding especially so I could say that the Rev and Mrs Keith B would be delighted to attend. I also addressed our invitations in the old fashioned way and no one actually decked me… I thought about it but i personally don’t feel I’m K’s property anymore than I was my Father’s. But I have friends who’ve changed, not changed and made up a new name out of their and their husband’s names. X

    • Posted April 25, 2012 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      The Rev and Mrs Keith B… I like it!

      I guess it is all about why you agree or disagree with some element of tradition/etiquette, isn’t it? I certainly don’t see the Mr and Mrs His Name as ownership, it’s about togetherness. So maybe that’s why addressing married couples like that on invitations doesn’t offend me? I hope/ guess that the people you have invited will respect that and then decide against decking you on your wedding day.

      Hope you are enjoying your honeymoon Mrs B x

  17. Mahj
    Posted April 24, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Yikes, very late to this comment gathering!

    Before Martin and I were even engaged, we were watching the episode of Friends where Phoebe changes her name to Princess Consuela Banana Hammock (am laughing as I type) and I just came out and asked Martin what he thought about women changing their name when married. Without even missing a beat, he told me that when we got engaged and then married, he would want me to take his name. I was gobsmacked as he’d said “when we get engaged” and I was having a small fit of glee and also because he was so sure about his belief and normally he is really laid back about stuff.

    Needless to say it was never an issue for me. I had always planned to take to the surname of whomever I married. I like the symbolism of it. It feels complete to me. And when I now get called Mrs Brammall, I still giggle quietly to myself. My old surname of Ansari almost seems a lifetime ago now.

    Hollie, I admire you for sticking to your guns about your name change. It is obviously something that you felt strongly about and now you have found your equilibrium :-)

    xoxo

  18. Peridot
    Posted April 26, 2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    On the surname thing – believe me, if you have a surname that has led to ‘hilarious’ ribbing at school, you’re keen to ditch it. I have always hated my surname and fiance’s is rather nice. Even though I’ll be spelling it out for the rest of my life.

    Was interested to see what Anna wrote about her husband wearing a ring though. My fiance has decided not to – he doesn’t wear any jewellery (not even a watch. Infuriatingly) and doesn’t like the idea of it. Of course I THOUGHT about insisting he had a tattoo on his wedding finger – but although I would LOVE to see his face, there’s always the danger that he’d take me seriously. Actually I don’t mind. A wedding ring – to me – doesn’t guarantee ‘husband behaviour’, it’s what’s in his heart. And I believe that men wearing wedding rings is relatively modern; my grandfather certainly never did and yet was married to my grandmother for 70-odd years. And his last words were to tell her how much he loved her.

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    [...] wonderful Hollie wrote about the big decision behind changing her name – and inspired a huge number of [...]

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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