Image / CreativeButterflyxox on Etsy
I had an innocent question that I took to twitter the other day “can you still be a ‘Miss’ after you are married” which sparked some fascinating opinions and interesting responses! So I thought I’d continue it on here and also provide a bit of help to those thinking about their new name and title once they are married after their wedding, how to go about changing it and what options you have.
Times have changed and there are a number of options available to women [and their husbands!] now and the best thing is, it’s entirely up to you! Now I may be a wedding planner but I’m certainly no expert in the name changing field so the UK Deed Poll have kindly provided some very helpful answers to some questions that you [and I!] had…
Q – What do you need to do if you decide to take your husbands name?
This is the most popular scenario and you can use your marriage certificate as proof of a name change to get all your records updated.
Q – Once married do you have to change your title to ‘Mrs’ when taking your husbands name?
No, whilst it is standard practice to change your title to ‘Mrs’ when taking your husbands surname you are under no obligation to do so. If you wish to keep your current title it is a good idea to make a mention of this when getting your records updated, as it will often be assumed that you now wish to be addressed as ‘Mrs’. [Editors Note: It seems a popular choice is to take the title 'Ms' which doesn't dictate your marital status.]
Q – Can you keep your maiden name for work purposes but use your married name for more official documentation such as banking, passport etc?
This is possible and is a popular choice for women who have built up a good professional reputation under their maiden name.
Q – If you keep your maiden name do you have to notify anyone?
If you keep your maiden name you will not need to update your records unless you wish to change your title in which case you can notify the relevant bodies of this.
Q – If you choose to keep your maiden name entirely, what title should you take and do you have to change it legally?
If you wish to keep your maiden name entirely you are free to either keep your existing title or to change it. If you wish to change it there is no formal process required and you can simply write a letter to record keepers asking them to modify your title.
Q – What happens if you and your husband both want to take the same surname?
If you and your husband both wish to take the same new surname the easiest option is to use a deed poll. A deed poll is a legal document that acts as proof of name change. The process is straightforward and a deed poll application can be made online.
Q – What title can you have if you are married but use your name?
You can have whichever title you prefer. It is entirely your choice as to whether you choose to use Mrs., Miss, or Ms.
Q – Can you use your maiden name as your middle name and take your husbands surname? How do you change this?
This has become an increasingly popular option as women choose to keep up the tradition of taking their husbands surname but also maintain a link to their family name. In order to do this a deed poll is required which can be applied for online.
Q – Does your title and name have to be the same in all your documentation, such as passports, driving license, bank statements?
Your name should be the same on all of your documentation. Practically this isn’t possible as you will have to get your records updated one by one but you should aim to do this as quickly as possible so there are no lasting discrepancies between documents.
Image / TrueConnection via Etsy
I also thought I’d provide a few different experiences from recently married women and which titles and names they decided to take. I’ve obviously briefly thought about my own name after I’ll be married and for me personally I’ve always enjoyed being a ‘Miss’. I’m not sure why, I think for me it represents being young and with a masculine sounding name, I think I’ve always like the femininity it gives me! So I’ll be sad to see it go!
Emma Gibbs / Author of The Honeymoon Project Blog
“I had been using Ms as my title for quite a few years by the time we got married – mainly because I felt frustrated by the fact the women’s titles traditionally give away their marital status. When we got married and I decided to keep my surname, it was the logical thing to keep using Ms. This was largely for the same reason; in addition, Miss definitely came with unmarried connotations and so was obviously not “right”, but being Mrs Gibbs when my husband was Mr Woodcock also seemed wrong – almost like we were married to different people and having an illicit affair…”
Caroline /Author of Patchwork Harmony
“We are not particularly traditional generally and our wedding will not follow a traditional formula. But there are certain little things that I guess we feel are nice to do, and changing my name is one of them. Marriage is about commitment and sharing, and I see sharing our name as one way to show our commitment to one another. I don’t see it as something that will change me, certainly not in a bad way anyway, and it is also about carrying on the name and becoming a family.”
“I have been using Ms rather than Miss ever since I left university about 14 years ago. This decision was definitely influenced by both my parents [a strong feminist mother and a father very keen to make sure his two daughters felt empowered as women]. Men are a Mr whether they are married or not but women are defined by their marital status. In asking is it Miss or Mrs, you are basically asking, so are you married or not?
When I got married last year I kept my name and I swing between still using Ms Quinton and using Mrs Quinton. Mrs Quinton gives me a feeling of being grown-up! And it sometimes stops people patronising me. I look younger than I am, which can sometimes be frustrating, so throwing a Mrs Quinton into the mix makes me feel a bit better. Really silly I know and not very true to my feminist roots but I have at least kept my name!”
Caro Hutchings / Photographer
”I like the idea of being a Miss partly because I just don’t want to admit that I am getting old but I do think that if I am using my maiden name then it should be with miss and my married name should be with Mrs… I like being married but don’t feel I need to announce it to the world sometimes. Professionally I am still a Miss and personally I am most definitely a Mrs – it feels nice to keep a bit of the old me somewhere.”
I’d love to know your thoughts, and what you might do or have done. It’s a really interesting topic and with so many options it’s great to hear from others about why and how they changed their names.
Emma / Bride to be
“My name is Emma Goddard and when I get married in August, I will be taking my husbands full surname to become Emma Cardinal-Richards. I know some women might have the feeling of losing their identity but I’ve always had a romantic notion of taking my husband’s name as a ‘belonging with’, not ‘owned by’ him. To me it’s the start of a new family, a new stage of life and it’s exciting to mark that with a change of name….. Plus he’s got a great name!”
So – as you can see there are many different options available and there is no ‘right’ way – each to their own. I’d love to hear what you did or will be doing with your name…!