Monday, 13 September 2010

What's in a name?

There were oodles of children at my cousin’s wedding, around 200 guests. The groom has a sister and the bride 3 siblings: all are married with children. So the exclusion of the cousins’ children was simply about numbers. No offence taken!

Noisy church service with lots of guitars and songs; Mother, Favourite Aunt and I enjoyed a good sing; our husbands were resigned to silent horror or surreptitious eye-rolling. The service was a great deal shorter than the previous wedding ceremony in this part of the family (I’m afraid they were taking bets).
My cousin is training for the church (following his father and our mutual grandfather and great grandfather), so every other person we met seemed to be church of some sort.
We were given tea and tiny sandwiches while the photographs were taken outside church which we all thought was a great idea - and Pimms while we stood waiting to meet the bridal party at the bride’s home. The garden had been cut down over the previous year to allow the erection of a marquee for the occasion, so there were (small) fruit trees inside it and a considerable slope to the ‘room’. It was imaginatively decorated with bunting and place settings made from a mismatched collection of tea cups and saucers, a sale style label with our names and a little muslin bag of sweeties. The bride and her mother had made the chocolate coloured bridesmaid dresses with royal blue sashes, co-ordinated male accessories and the similarly co-ordinating bunting. The dress was an off the shoulder scoop-necked, drop-waisted and trained fitted frock in lovely cream lace: very pretty!
Supper was extremely good, and generously wined. The speeches were generally good with plenty of laughter in amongst the obligatory thank-yous. We were clearly too old for the disco’s music and decided to call it a day at around ten.

My Church Uncle and Aunt are unhappy with the groom and bride’s decision to opt for a hyphenated combination of their surnames. We are a largely female line of the family and there are only two ‘boys’ with the necessary surname left. One is so far unmarried and nearly didn’t attend for fear that everyone would say “Your turn next”, and the other has this weekend ‘abandoned’ the name. My Family-Historian Uncle was understanding, but provided a list of example family names where this had happened before (some with hyphens, some with as many as 4 names strung together). It may be conventional to take your husbands name, and it is certainly the simplest solution, but it is definitely not the fashion… I expect, as I type, a spray of spluttering about female identity, independence and general disagreement!


Sarah said...

My mother is an only child and her surname will die out with her since there are no male cousins. It's not an unusual name though so there'll still be lots of them about, just not related to me.

I took my husband's name for convenience, then took my own back at the divorce, and very pleased to have it back I am too!

diney said...

I took my husband's name when we married 35 years ago as that was the thing you did - but I often wish now that I had kept my maiden name as it defined me as a teenager as it produced a nick name, now used by my nephews and still used for me by old school friends who refuse to move on!! It just feels more 'me' - especially as both my parents have died. However, it's too late to change now. Good luck to the younger ones who stick to their guns (and their identity!).My maiden name was also easier to pronounce so folk didn't annoy me by mispronouncing it. Grrr!

hausfrau said...

Hello Sarah, do your boys have your ex-husband's name, and does that cause any problems?
Hi diney, and welcome. My own surname simply resulted in the same old joke so I was quite glad to leave an unusual surname behind. My brothers have boys who can carry it on! I can report that I rather embraced with pride my change of name and status: but I was a very old bride generally assumed to be on the shelf!