Wedding Details: How Do I Tell People I've Kept My Maiden Name?

Q: My husband and I tied the knot in July. I did not change my maiden name because I disagree with that wedding tradition. My birthday was last week, and I received several cards addressed to "Mrs. Smith" (my husband's last name). How do I politely let these people know I haven't changed my maiden name? I sent thank-you notes with my maiden name in CAPS on the envelope, but some people just don't get the hint. I'm about to scream! What should I do, short of returning future mail with the incorrect married name circled and "No Such Person" written across the envelope?

A: First of all, you need to be more patient with people. Even though many women today do keep their own names after marriage, people's brains are still in traditional mode, and they just assume. It sounds like you made an effort with your thank-you notes to let them know you're retaining your name, but it may take a while for people to get it. You don't need to tell the people who sent you cards that they got your name wrong unless it comes up naturally in conversation. Simply keep using your own name when you send birthday cards and the like, and point out politely that you've kept your name when it's appropriate. Your frustration is understandable, but as long as you, your immediate family and closest friends, your employer, the Social Security Administration, and the DMV know, you can rest assured that everyone else will catch on in time.


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by The Knot