Wedding woe: naming names

Last updated 11:00 12/09/2012

Today's wedding woe brings up a couple of different side issues in my mind. Here goes:

Hey Greer,

I've got a bit of a question for you, or maybe your readers can help!

FH and I are getting ready to send out our save-the-dates (!!). Thing is, last year I changed my surname and while I did it for my own reasons, I saw no need to announce the change to my father's extended family as I thought I might catch some grief for my choice. 

But what do I put on my save the dates and invitations? Most people know me as [newname], but my father's side of the family still know me as [oldname]. Some of them haven't even met FH, so if they get a save the date with only my new name on it they may not even know who it is! 

Any thoughts?

Cheers,

MJ

***

Hi MJ,

I think there are a few things going on here and maybe some people will see it differently.

First, good on you for changing your name if that's something you've always wanted to do. I know a few people who have done this so it's something that happens and I can understand the family issues around it.

Looking at our save the dates, we didn't even use our surnames anywhere on it. That wasn't a conscious decision, just something that happened design-wise. Here's an example of where the couple has just used first names and I don't think it's confusing: 

Save the date

When I first saw ours, I did wonder - for all of a split second - if people would get it in their letterbox and wonder who on earth we were, but the more I thought about it the more I realised that if that was the case, why on earth was I inviting them? (It also helps that I've got a rather distinctive first name. If we were "Sarah and James" I can imagine there could be confusion.)

Another option for you could be to use the phrase "The future Mr and Mrs [new-new name]" - but that would only work if you were taking on your future husband's surname. 

I don't know what kind of design you're going for with your save the dates but including a photo of you both somewhere on it could also solve your problems.

Just to repeat though, if you honestly think your family (or other guests) are going to be confused by who you are, I would have a serious sit-down and re-look at the guest list because that just seems bizarre to me.

Put yourselves in their shoes: if any of your guests did the reverse, would you not know who they were?

Do you have any advice for MJ? Have you had similar issues? Ever received a save the date from someone and you couldn't work out who it was?

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26 comments
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Lucky#13   #1   11:11 am Sep 12 2012

Just don't stick your surname on it. You could call them up on the pretence of confirming their address "sorry, I can't remember whether you're at 22 or 24 Smith Street" and say to look out for a save the date in the mail shortly. It'd save future awkwardness.

Then again, I also agree with Greer - if you think they might not know who MJ & FH are, it might be time to cull some of the folk on your invite list.

Melj   #2   11:24 am Sep 12 2012

Our save the dates (and our invites) just have our first names on, although we had a similar dilemma with that as we both are known by shortened or alternative versions of our first names to some of our guests and by our full names to other guests, but we took the same stance as Greer and used our full first names (since that's the ones our family use and the ones we have to use in our vows) and if people don't know who we are then they don't deserve to come

SR   #3   11:27 am Sep 12 2012

If they can't figure out who you are from first names + a picture, they shouldn't have anything to do with your wedding. Hell, really, the picture is optional.

Aj   #4   11:33 am Sep 12 2012

I agree... if you don't have a particularly close relationship with that extended family, why are you inviting them in the first place? They don't even know your last name. If they felt hurt or angry they weren't invited, you can use the small wedding budget excuse.

Lil Miss Trouble   #5   11:35 am Sep 12 2012

We only put our first names on ours but on the envelope I put the sender details (on the back) as either Geoffs or my name depending on which side of the family/friends I was sending it to. Those close to us had theirs given directly to them so no need for addressing those ones. So you could do something similar and just put your 'sender' name as your old name to those who know you by that name and use your new name for the rest

Chelc   #6   11:50 am Sep 12 2012

Forget the save-the-date worries... what are you going to do when you're saying your vows, complete with the new surname! Isn't it better to tell anyone coming to your wedding that your name has changed BEFORE they're sitting there watching you get married and wondering why your name isn't what they know it is? Get it done with now and save yourself and your extended family embarrassment closer to the wedding.

k   #7   11:55 am Sep 12 2012

Well..you'll probably come across this dilemma again when sending out the Wedding invites...so perhaps it's time to let them know you changed your name?

Donna   #8   12:26 pm Sep 12 2012

I agree with everyone else. Just use your first name. There is no need for surnames.

No need to invite grandpa's long lost uncle. It's YOUR day. Do it the way YOU want. If others can't accept that, that is their issue and clearly not yours.

Sam   #9   01:34 pm Sep 12 2012

I say fair enough on the name change, people do these things for personal and usually good reason. I think if you haven't told them by now or are worried about what they will think, should they really be coming to your wedding? Alternatively, just go by first names but I think you made the decision to change your name for a good reason so stand behind that decision and be proud of it if people have an issue thats their problem not yours. And again, if they aren't close enough to you that they won't know who the invite is from, why are they invited?

tm   #10   01:52 pm Sep 12 2012

First names only, I like the photo idea though.

@#6 ive never been to a wedding (inc my own) that included last names in the vows?


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