Tonight at dinner, my husband asked me if I had read the Washington Post opinion piece entitled The One Fight To Have Before Your Wedding. I told him I hadn’t and asked what fight it was and if we had had it. His response was “oh yeah.” Based on that, I figured that I had to google the article and see what he was talking about. As it turns out, this was not a fight that he and I had had, but rather one that I had with societal norms at every turn throughout our wedding planning.
The article is about the outdated and obnoxious tradition of removing a woman’s first name when formally addressing invitations and using the title Mrs. instead of the sometimes preferred title of Ms. For example, Mr. John Doe and Ms. Jane Doe becomes Mr. and Mrs. John Doe. The concept of a woman completely losing her identity through this outdated tradition infuriates me, and, as my husband not so fondly remembers many years later, this was a sore subject throughout our wedding planning. (To be clear, he completely supported me and the modern principles of equality; it was just much of the rest of society that didn’t get it.)
During our wedding planning, I asked my close women friends how they preferred to be addressed and addressed their invitations accordingly. A couple did prefer the Mr. and Mrs. John Doe approach, but the vast majority either wanted no title (John and Jane Doe) or Mr. John Doe and Ms. Jane Doe. Very few of my friends, regardless of whether they wanted their first name dropped or not, wanted the title of Mrs. If I wasn’t sure of someone’s preferences, I addressed the envelopes as Jane and John Doe. Even though I was planning a formal wedding, I was happy to break traditional etiquette in the name of equality.
I will save for another day my struggle with my post-wedding name and my disdain for the title Mrs. For now, I will just say that I am glad that Catherine Rampell wrote about this, though I am not surprised by all of the ugly comments that follow her article. (And congratulations to Ms. Rampell on her upcoming nuptials!)