In recent times, the tradition of women taking their husbands' last names has been challenged and reformed by many couples.
While marriage is an institution that many people swear by, many have reformed a few traditions that came along with it. One such tradition is, taking on one's husband's last name. Now, many women do not follow this tradition. Recently, in an interesting TikTok video, Brenna Lynn—who goes by @brennatalkstoomuch on TikTok— discussed how she and her husband got an invite with just his names and expressed her concern regarding this happening frequently.
“That awkward moment when you get a piece of mail addressed to Mr. and Mrs. ‘your husband's first and last name’. Number one, I didn’t take his first name. I still have a name,” she said in her video. “Not only is that not my last name, but it’s also no longer his last name. We both changed our last names to something new that represents both of us.”
Many times, people just presume that the wife has taken the husband's last name without checking in with the couple. The practice of taking the husband's last name is rooted in tradition, earlier women were supposed to take their husband's last name as they became a part of their husband's family from their paternal family. Since this practice has been prevalent for so long, people presume it sometimes.
People in the comments section also shared their own experiences with this notion of marriage. @endipatriarchy commented, "My mom writes 'return to sender' on the front and on the back writes “I am not my husband’s property and will be addressed separately.” @emma wrote, "My fave is 'husband first name/last name & family' like?? I’m just a grouping now??"
@BenFox wrote, "My parents get mail to 'Dr. and Mrs.' all the time; when my mom is the one with the doctorate (and her spouse isn't a woman)." @Millie wrote, "I got alumni mail from my college and they put my 'Mr.' partner’s name first. I was like who paid the tuition and got the degree here?!?!?!" @peanut butter commented, "Yes!! I addressed all my wedding invites to Mr & Mrs. with both of their names!! a small gesture but means so much!" @Ann commented, "And I'm not even married to my man and we get Mr and Mrs on all his families mail to us."
As per CNN, only 20-30% of women are now keeping their surnames after their marriage. The New York Times has reported that the practice of generating new names for the couple is also on the rise now. This is especially done by LGBTQIAP+ couples, who do not agree and follow the norms of heteronormative relationships. As per theknot.com, most LGBTQIAP+ couples do not take their partner's last name.
They either come up with new names or merge the existing last names of the couple. Some people also don't change their last names, as it is already documented everywhere and the process to change it can be cumbersome. However, this video is a welcome step as it helps people be more thoughtful about sending invites to couples.