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AIBU to be surprised that in 2013 people are up in arms about a woman keeping her surname on marriage?

(239 Posts)
ComposHat Thu 31-Jan-13 23:45:48

For clarity's sake, it is worth stating that I am a gentleman mumsnetter who is due to get married in the spring.

My fiancée is keeping her surname after the marriage. It wasn't something we'd discussed, it was just something both of us assumed that we would both keep our surnames on marriage.

Anyway over the last few weeks I've been shocked at some people's reaction to this.

My fiancée met her Aunt who was over from Australia who asked her what her surname would be after marriage, to which she responded 'same as it is now.' her Aunt was a bit dumbfounded and her Aunt's husband who is a bit of a stereotypical unreconstructed Aussie male, starting going on about 'what sort of bloke would stand for that' I'm amazed he hasn't put his foot down' etc etc.

A male friend of my parents had a similar reaction. He asked my mum how she felt about there being another Mrs Hat in the family and when she explained there wouldn't be, he was beside himself.

Am I really surprised that people have such definite opinions on such things and feel entitled to express them to us in quite vehement terms?

nickelbabe Sat 02-Feb-13 21:35:56

I have to admit to being secretly disappointed in dh's niece changing her name thi summer.
and the reporter from our local paper did too- she keeps posting on a local facebook board inher new name and having to explain who she is. it's weird.

BegoniaBampot Sat 02-Feb-13 19:10:41

a close female relative is getting married next year, now curious as to whether she keeps her name or not. very traditional area, bets are she changes. I did as well, at least ai considered it and we talked about it.

pointythings Sat 02-Feb-13 15:32:01

I took DH's name, but only because mine is Dutch and awkward - think impossible to spell, impossible to pronounce for English-speaking people. So given that we were going to make our lives here, it seemed logical. I just didn't fancy endlessly sending back official and essential documents until they were spelled correctly, nor did I fancy the endless telephone conversations ("Could you spell that? Could you spell that again? Are you sure? Double what?").

So I changed. (And people still ask me to spell my (DH's) surname, but at least they can pronounce it when they read it).
My mum double barrelled herself, but she completely understood my choice.

And if anyone had told my DH that I had to take his name and to put his foot down, he'd have put his foot somewhere. Firmly.

PenelopePipPop Sat 02-Feb-13 14:40:03

I get introduced as Frau Professor Doctor PenelopePipPop when I go to conferences in Germany. And all I had to do was go to university for approximately a thousand years. Oh and some other women (now dead) had to pitch up at university demanding to be let in to the lectures, and then demanding to sit the exams, and then demanding that if they passed the exams the bloody universities should give them the same degrees they gave to the men...

Hobbitation Sat 02-Feb-13 14:35:22

I'm surprised that people get upset about someone not changing their name. I'm also surprised that people get upset about people wanting to change their name. I can respect either decision, personally.

RevoltingPeasant Sat 02-Feb-13 14:32:20

Ha! DH and I got married in a registry office this summer just gone and the registrar asked if I would be keeping my name.... I said yes.... 10 minutes later we picked up the envelope with our marriage certificate, with our different names on, with 'Mr and Mrs Wotsit' on the front.


Also, I booked us in for an appt with a mortgage consultant recently and so the appt was in my name. When the woman came to the waiting room to call us in, she said 'Dr Peasant?'

DH and I both walked up and she held out her hand to him and said 'Nice to meet you, Dr Peasant!'

Mind you, we do live in the Victorian period Devon. Things move slowly here...

13Iggis Sat 02-Feb-13 13:40:45

'Militant name retainer' - love it! Shall we get badges made? grin

EuroShagmore Sat 02-Feb-13 12:41:00

I'm always surprised when people change names upon marriage. It's 2013! I'm baffled as to why this tradition didn't die out in the heady days of feminism in the 1970s!

(I am a "militant name retainer" (or at least I was referred to as such on another MN thread on this topic... I think it was supposed to be an insult but I take it as a compliment). I didn't change my name upon marriage and if we have children I want them to have both our names. I was quite unsure about getting married but actually love being married. The only time I get sad about it is when I am addressed as Mrs [Hissurname]. I feel like in the eyes of certain people I lost a bit of my identity the day I walked down the aisle. Mr Euro has now taken to opening cards addressed to Mr & Mrs Hisname and disposing of the evidence before I get home to stop me getting annoyed about it!)

ComposHat Sat 02-Feb-13 12:28:14

So if you are a Dr in your own right, you'd be Dr Dr Smith? I like that

In which case I would by changing my surname by deed-pole


LRDtheFeministDragon Sat 02-Feb-13 12:12:24

I guess so. I know you can be 'Dr Architect' or stuff like that, where you stack up one title with another job description.

13Iggis Sat 02-Feb-13 12:11:24

So if you are a Dr in your own right, you'd be Dr Dr Smith? I like that smile
I would wait till thank you card time, and then just make sure there's an address label or something with the corrrect form of your names and address.
Not many people have "changed" my name for me, strangely it's mostly cards from my side of the family that do it. I haven't bothered to correct them, maybe I should.

LRDtheFeministDragon Sat 02-Feb-13 12:03:04

Ahhh, thanks penelope, that is interesting to know.

Btw, I don't think anyone's mentioned the best reason to change your name (have they?).

If you change it and move to Germany, and your DH is about to become Dr something, you get to be Dr Mrs Whatever.

I like the idea of stacking up titles. grin

babanouche Sat 02-Feb-13 11:56:11

we're not married but I would keep my own name, without a doubt. However, our kids have DP's surname. My justification at the time was that the law sees the mother so strongly as the main parent, and by having DP's name, DP would feel more 'linked' to them.

I now feel this is truly bollox and kick myself for not giving them my name. Gah!

PenelopePipPop Sat 02-Feb-13 11:50:48

LRD there has been a slight increase in marriages in recent years, partly attributable to the licensing of civil venues. But a large proportion of those are remarriages making this a difficult social trend to read. The proportion of children who are born to couples who are not married at the time of the birth has continued to rise sharply in the same period but birth rates have also risen.

So it could mean that people who have been married once are more likely to marry again. But people who have never married may be more likely to never marry. In any event there is nothing to suggest a resurgence in marriage as an institution will happen any time soon. Hence repeated attempts to get parliament to sort out a statute which will allow courts to allocate interests in the family home between longterm unmarried partners who split up, especially if they have children. Or, if you are a massive optimist, give people £3 a week to get married and stay married!

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeGoes Sat 02-Feb-13 11:45:26

I wish I'd thought of it before my wedding.....

nickelbabe Sat 02-Feb-13 11:30:57

Scone - i like that Julia is a Dr smile

ComposHat Sat 02-Feb-13 11:29:54

whoknows & vinegar that is brilliant! I shall do it forthwith!

nickelbabe Sat 02-Feb-13 11:26:37

good plan, WhoKnows
that would work well.

"neither of us..., so our correct form of address will remain Ms DF DF'surname and Mr Composhat Surname"

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeGoes Sat 02-Feb-13 07:56:19

You could just put a line in your general guff saying that "neither of us will be changing our name following the wedding".

whiteflame Sat 02-Feb-13 07:16:40

That's interesting cerealqueen. I remember when I was about 4 years old a bunch of ladies that were over for tea laughed at me knowingly because I said I wouldn't change my name even if I got married.

While they were laughing, I thought "you're wrong, I really won't". Joke's on them now smile

I've wondered sometimes if it were that moment that made me so determined to keep my name. They were women, they should have supported me!

GingerBlondecat Sat 02-Feb-13 05:46:21

I concure with TraceyTricksterFri 01-Feb-13 00:04:38

I am astonished that an Australian would be so surprised.

I'm also aussie and am baffled you had that reaction

SconeRhymesWithGone Sat 02-Feb-13 03:14:49


We used an "At-home" card included in the invitation, which is fairly common in the US, but I am not sure whether it would be correct ettiquette in the UK. We were moving house right after the honeymoon so it was useful for that, but the main reason we included it was to let people know that I was keeping my name. I think you could also add other information like email addresses and make it more informal than these example:

ComposHat Sat 02-Feb-13 01:15:20

I was busily working on stuff for the invites tonight and I was wondering if there's anyway we could subtly slip it into the general guff about the wedding/the venue/hotel/reception/travel that my fiancée will be keeping her surname on marriage without it being a bit out of place?

I thought it might be less awkward than explaining at the wedding and we get cards addressed to 'The new Mr and Mrs ComposHat'

VinegarDrinker Fri 01-Feb-13 23:36:51

It never occurred to me for a second to change my name. DH never mentioned it either, I think he'd have collapsed in shock if I had said I wanted to. My own Mum has never and changed her name and DH is a child of a single lesbian feminist mother.

DS is firstname myname DH'sname so he can choose to use either, or both (or neither!).

I couldn't give two hoots what any other individuals do, but I have to say, it does surprise me that "taking your husband's name" is still so common amongst women in their 20s/30s.

I love the idea of having an affair with my husband.

YorkshireTeaDrinker Fri 01-Feb-13 23:28:25

I took my DH's name when we got married. My main motivation was to ensure that any DC would have the same name as both parents. I had a bigger problem with the thought of any DCs taking my DHs name and the rest of the family being Mr X, Miss X and Master X, and me being Ms YTD.

I have friends who both took a new name entirely on marriage (which was actually the name of the place that they first met), and kept their original surnames as middle names, which I thought was great. I like the idea of a couple sharing the same name and creating a new family unit together. Yet still acknowledging the family that they have come from.

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