Wednesday, 9 March 2016

#WeddingWednesday - What's in a Name?

Photo taken by Anna Hardy Photography

Thought I'd do a "what's happened since I tied the knot" blog post. Here are some key highlights:

  • I fallen more in love with Rich. 
  • Joyful weeping is still a 'thing'. 
  • I have started to have 'proper' weekends which means NO checking emails, no looking at or listing things on eBay. 
  • We plan tasty meals to cook and which adventures to take around our manor. I even have a note in my phone "buy sensible walking shoes." That's marital bliss right there.
  • I've become more house proud. As I type this there is a guy dousing the office and bedroom carpets with a hefty dose of chemicals to get them clean. I'm obsessed with cleaning the shower screen, we've put up a picture feature wall at the top of the stairs, not to mention the couple of hours we spent 'gardening' last weekend which involved digging up manky rhubarb that was the size and weight of a small child. With orange roots, weirdly.
  • Our wedding is going to be featured on Love My Dress. After asking guests not to put any photos of our wedding on social media I threw all my principles to the wind when this opportunity came a'callin. So here's another wedding pic for you to enjoy...
We used this shot for our 'thank you' cards
  • Long-term conversations have taken place - when to start a family, how we will balance that with me being self-employed. We've even nailed what to call our kids. 
And now for the meaty stuff. I have found changing my name really hard and I didn't expect this and it has thrown me. I happily signed our 1st set of Christmas cards post-wedding Mr & Mrs Brown - it was a fun 'hey look as us, we're married! This is still so original and new!' type thing. Receiving post addressed to Mrs Brown was a novelty at first but then I started to feel as if a stranger was living in the house. Ringing various companies up to change my name I received loads of congratulations from the opticians, the doctor, the dentist. But with each call I got a sinking feeling - I was giving up a piece of my past in exchange for a joint future. The people that I have my pension with require a strange amount of ID for me to change my name on their system so I gave up and left that as Miss Roper. Then I received a letter from them addressed to Miss Roper and I felt a little indignant but happy to see my old name still existed in some form. I was all "but I'm a Mrs now, I'm married, except I'm used to Roper so hoorah old buddy! my old friend! nice to see you! but oh, wait, I'm a Brown now and that is a little unknown and a bit scary so is there another option I can use for now? Mrs (Roper) Brown perhaps?"

I am still Stephanie Roper for work as The Wardrobe Angel and out of work I am Stephanie Brown so some might say I have the best of both worlds but I just don't see it as that 'neat' and boxed off. Calling into my parent's house the other week, my Dad greeted me by saying "Mrs Brown." I visibly palled. Honestly, I feel part of who I was has been ripped away. I never thought giving up my name would be so hard: that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, right? Well, no, because it's not just a name, it was 35 years of my identity. 

Do remember when a Snickers used to be a Marathon and when Star Burst used to be Opal Fruits (made to make your mouth water)? Both tasty confections went through a rename and came out the other side. I'm sure I'll get used to it, that this feeling of separation anxiety for Roper will reside and my residency as Mrs Brown will become the norm. Maybe it just takes a few more bits of post through the door and ordering everyone to call me Mrs Brown until it finally sinks in?

In the meantime, I'm off to raid the confectionery counter. 

Stay wardrobe happy...til next time x


  1. Not surprisingly, strident feminist me has very strong feelings about this! You talk about feeling like part of you has been ripped away and I know I would feel exactly the same. Caitlin Moran has a handy test of whether something is ok or not: "Do we expect it of men?" And no, the vast majority of people would never expect a man to surrender something so tied to identity as their name. I hate the name Brown, find it boring beyond belief (erm, if other people are reading this comment this is gonna sound so rude innit?! Like I'm telling you your new surname is shit. Random people: I'm a Brown too so I'm allowed!) yet despite spending my whole life detesting it there's no way I could give it up.

    Lest this sound negative in any way, can I also just say that I'm thrilled you are part of our Brown family. I guess I just don't believe that you need to have the name to belong (e.g. I strongly identify as a member of the Kotze clan despite not having the name). But also I know for some women it's really important to share a family name within the marriage... Argh I am just rambling now. We should have a proper chat about this some time!

    1. I never expected to feel like this!! I didn't even give it that much thought as I was staying Stephanie Roper for work but I've really struggled this year - it's like taking on another identity!! I'm proud to be part of the clan dude!! Wouldn't give that up for the world!! Big Love xx (for all readers Janet is my sister-in-law!)


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