How To Address Mail To Couples With Separate Last Names

Canada
March 8, 2009 11:24pm CST
My husband and I kept our names when we got married. No Mr. & Mrs. John Smith (or even Mr. & Mrs. John & Jane Smith) for us. We are Mr. Hisfirst Hislast, and Ms. MyFirst MyLast, or Ms. and Mr, not to be hung up on who comes first. Over the year and a half that we have been married, we've seen many interesting ways that confused people have ATTEMPTED to address our mail. For those who wonder how to handle situations where the couple is not married but living together, or married with separate names, here are some simple solutions, including my favourite, one seen on a bulletin from the Danish restaurant where we held our wedding. Some women will chose to be Mrs. after marriage, even if they've kept their names, others will choose to be Ms. Some might even hold onto Miss but Miss is becoming rare even for single never-married women today. BTW, I'll throw in examples for hyphenated names as well). Let's say the woman's name is Christensen, and the man's name is Bennett. The best piece of mail we ever received looked like this. Leah & Walker Christensen/Bennett Now I thought that was really awsome. Our first names were right above our last names, and the individual names were separated by a /. A & would have served the same purpose. This came from the Danish club where we had our wedding. My father sent us a Christmas card addressed to: Leah & Walker Christensen Bennett. This was OK too. Even if he didn't take my name and I did not take his, both of our names were still very much included on here. In both of the above cases no titles were used, but they could have been, if desired. Ms. Leah & Mr. Walker Christensen/Bennett Ms. & Mr. Leah & Walker Christensen Bennett For hyphenated names, just add them where applicable, putting a hyphenated name where the bride's name is, if she is the only one who hyphenated, or addressing it to Mr & Ms./Mrs. Name1-Name2 if they both hyphenated. Ms. Leah Christensen & Mr. Walker Bennett (or vice versa) is also acceptable, as is Mr. & Ms. Walker Bennett & Leah Christensen, or vice versa. Same goes for hypehanted names. Just hyphenate applicable names. Now, in the case of a family where the mother has a hpyhenated name, father has his name, kids have father's name, or hyphenated names, or there is any combo of the two names hyphenated, try this. The Christensen & Bennett family, OR, The Allan-Christensen & Bennett family, if one of the spouses has a hyphenated name. Or even the Allan-Christensen & Bennett-Brown family, if both have hyphenated parents, althought that's rare. I know it's long, but some names just ARE. This isn't exactly a page out of Emily Post, but in today's modern times it seems to work, and everyone's happy. I know of a lot of traditionalists who are totally befuddled by too many names. Maybe this will help. Signed A FEMINIST, and independent woman, who has the full support of her husband, also a feminist, and also independent.
4 people like this
10 responses
@ElicBxn (60894)
• United States
9 Mar 09
I knew a lovely couple where they both took the other's name so they both had the same last name but admitted that since they didn't plan on children, the child's last name wasn't an issue. I will say that since if I had married, I hadn't planned on changing my name - it might be an issue - but I haven't.
2 people like this
• Canada
9 Mar 09
Hubby and I aren't having children either. We talked about it the other night just for fun, and the children would probably have my last name simply because hubby has lots of kids already, some with his last name, a couple of sons, a couple of daughters, a couple more who were adopted by their step-dad and took his name, and a few daughters who are married and changed their names. Being fascinated with names, we talked about first names and middle names, and we both like the same names. He likes a lot of Russian names, and so do I (those obviously aren't from my side of the family) so any hypothetical children we may have would still somehow have names that meant something to BOTH sides of the family.
2 people like this
@Fleura (7257)
• United Kingdom
7 Oct 15
@danishcanadian I have a friend whose surname is Antonopoulou, her husband's name is Schluppeck. Can you imagine that hyphenated?
1 person likes this
@ElicBxn (60894)
• United States
7 Oct 15
@Fleura When I wrote this back in 2009, I had no idea that by now my niece would be married and is hyphenating her name. However, I skipped the confusion when I sent them their first anniversary card by just doing their first names...
1 person likes this
@Vladilyich1 (1454)
• Canada
9 Mar 09
If you look at our address labels, this is how I prefer: Leah Christensen Walker Bennett 26....... ......... .... Canada Even though a lot of the newer surnames are basically unisex, it should be obvious that Leah is female and Walker is male. I could care whose name is first, or whether there is a Mr. in front of my name.
2 people like this
• Canada
9 Mar 09
Thank you, Walker. That's how I originally tried to do them, but the Vista Print prompt didn't leave me enough room, and even L Christensen & W Bennett overlapped over our little coffee cup logo that we chose for the labels. We fit both names on our Arizona address labels, even though they overlapped on the Russian flag we used just a bit, but they still fit relatively well. However, the Canadian ones totally goofed up when I tried that, so I went with surname & surname. I hear way too many women say "it just wouldn't fit" or "it would be too long" as a reason for changing their names. OK, so because it's NOT CONVENIENT for a designer or for others who might not have responded to this discussion you're willing to give up YOUR NAME? LOL
1 person likes this
@Fleura (7257)
• United Kingdom
7 Oct 15
Leah is a woman's name from the Bible, but Walker must have originally been a surname that has now been adopted as a first name (like Taylor for example) so no, to me it is not clear that it should be male.
@patgalca (14618)
• Orangeville, Ontario
9 Mar 09
Honestly, I don't feel the need to use a title at all, especially in situations such as this. There is also some confusion as to whether a widow should still be considered a Mrs., or a divorced woman who still carries her X's last name. Because of this I would just address the letter to John Smith & Jane Doe. My sister held onto her X's last name for several years, decades, for the sake of the kids while they were in school. I did not address her envelopes to Mrs. I just addressed them as above, Jane Doe. Unless someone is a doctor and needs that title Dr. in front of the name, I find it useless these days. When I was a child there was a family across the street where the father and son had the same name. In those days it was Mr. John and Master John (not senior and junior). Where my daughter goes to high school, as she tells me, whether the teacher is a Miss or a Mrs. they do not even call them by their last name, ie. Miss Jones or Mrs. Smith. All of them are referred to as Miss, period. Which is a whole lot better than the way things are these days with kids not having the respect to call their friends' parents Mr. or Mrs. whomever but use their first names. I would never call one of my mother's friends by her first name. That was disrespectful. But I guess with society being the way it is today (common law marriages, divorces, women keeping their maiden names) it is easier for kids to be calling them by their first names now. Since I plan on going back to my maiden name for my writing, I really don't care one way or another. I am Mrs. G. or Ms. B. (though I have yet to encounter the latter). When I was in the hospital having my first daughter I was not married. The nurse called me Mrs. B. and I told her that was my mother. Titles really do seem to be pointless these days. Just do without.
2 people like this
• Canada
9 Mar 09
I totally agree with you about titles, but as far as i see it, if some people INSIST on using a title, they might as well use one that the recipient feels comfortable with. I tend to stay the heck away from titles, but there is the odd occasion when one comes in handy. I guess I emphasis Ms. sometimes, just so traditionalists don't call me Mrs. which I HATE!!!!!!
2 people like this
@Fleura (7257)
• United Kingdom
7 Oct 15
@danishcanadian I have always hated 'Miss' with a passion. Sometimes I think this is the main reason why I studied for a doctorate!
@raydene (9874)
• United States
9 Mar 09
hello Love I address exactly how the sign their names in the event I've never seen them sign them then I but both names individually with a & between them. xoxoxoxoxo
2 people like this
• Canada
9 Mar 09
Well done!!! When someone knows, it's grreat. My purpose for this one was for people who might be confused. Sure sounds like you know what you're doing, though. Good thinking!
1 person likes this
@KrauseHome (35514)
• United States
23 Mar 09
I know my Sister is living with her boyfriend of 10+ yrs. Due to Financial reasons due to my sister having a Son from another relationship they chose to never get married. But when it comes to sending them anything in the mail, I usually will just address something on the outside to her, and then on the Card will put both of their names since I have no idea in how to spell her boyfriends name as well. But this is also a Great way to do it as you have suggested as well. I would never do the Mr and Mrs part of it though.
2 people like this
@winterose (39918)
• Canada
17 Mar 09
well mine comes in my married name except if it is the government and then by law it comes in my maiden name.
2 people like this
• Australia
9 Mar 09
When it comes to things like this, if I know them pretty well, I would just put both first names on the envelope. If I don't know them I would put first & lat names on there usually with male first - I don't know why but I just do.
• Canada
9 Mar 09
Will things go through with just a first name on them? As for male first, that's so ENGRINED on us, that we don't even think about it. I make a POINT to think about it, and my non-conformist ways force other people to think about it, and then those people ASK ME why I did it that way. I always ask them if it makes a difference, and people who would have said "it doesn't" had I "done it right" will argue with me every time. It's fun to screw with tradition!!!
• Australia
10 Mar 09
Yeah, as long as the address is correct, it will get to where it's supposed to go. I know & understand what you're saying about tradition. I did however forget to mention that I also normally put the person's name who I know better first.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (103874)
• United States
22 Mar 09
In the case of mail to my family, I put the one I am blood related to first. My brother and wife are Robin and Renee, my sisters were Yolanda and Tommie and Holly and Selby. My daughter's stuff is Samantha and Jason, my son's stuff is Vince and Elizabeth, UNLESS the items being mailed pertain more to the other one, then it would reverse. For instance, if Elizabeth asked me for a recipe, for instance, and I mailed it, I would send it to Elizabeth, and Vincent, so he would know I was thinking of him as well, even though she had asked for the recipe.
@GardenGerty (103874)
• United States
22 Mar 09
I know you get frustrated. I know it is a somewhat new concept to many. I just want to put my votes in for the ones I felt were the smoothest. I by all means love the Christensen and Bennett family, as that is exactly who you are, a family. I also felt that Ms. Leah Christensen and Mr. Walker Bennett flowed really well.
1 person likes this
@Fleura (7257)
• United Kingdom
7 Oct 15
What's wrong with just using both names as you said, that's what I would do: Ms. Leah Christensen & Mr. Walker Bennett (or vice versa) It seems perfectly straightforward. If they have children with only one of the names then it gets a bit more difficult, some mothers use the majority name for 'family affairs' such as dealing with school etc, and their own name otherwise. I would go with the majority eg the Christensen family, or else use both (the Christensen-Bennett family)
@Fleura (7257)
• United Kingdom
7 Oct 15
By the way what about Icelandic families, they have always had different names. For example the mother (let's call her Elin) would have her father's name as her surname (such as Jonsdottir) and the father (let's call him Einar) would have his father's name (such as Andreasson). If they had a son and a daughter then in most cases they would take the father's name so they would be Einarsson and Einarsdottir. Sometimes (historically if they had lost their father for example, but nowadays for other reasons) they would take the mother's name so that would make them Elinsson and Elinsdottir. I have no idea how they address their letters! The telephone directory goes by first names.
• Philippines
23 Mar 09
well, that fine..but my plan is to use four names...since i got no brother, then if i'll be getting married and have a kids of my own..then if i got a son i would let him bring my surname when i am still single, what i am trying to say the surname of my daddy..and if i have a daughter she will bring the surname of my husband..my purpose is not to stop the surname of my father since i got no brother of my own.