Posts Tagged: marriage

Lady Tip: Don’t Call a Woman By the Wrong Name

LADY TIPS

As you may know, I’m a married woman. My professional (writing) name has always been and will always be Kerry Winfrey, but my legal name will probably change sometime in the not-so-distant future. Changing your name is really inconvenient and also a big decision, so I’ve been putting it off. But in the meantime, I don’t mind if people address me as Ms. Winfrey, and I don’t mind if people address me as Mrs. My-Husband’s-Last-Name. People may also address me as Miss Jackson, if they’re nasty. I don’t mind having multiple identities, like Clark Kent. But the thing that really, really bothers me? Like, makes me smoke-coming-out-of-my-ears mad? It’s when people refer to me by my husband’s FIRST AND LAST NAME.

I truly, truly do not understand this phenomenon. Last time I checked, we were living in the year 2014 (please tell me that’s still the case, otherwise I have bigger problems than names). Why is it even a THING to refer to a woman as “Mrs. Bob Smith”? I get that that used to make sense when, like, women couldn’t own property or make decisions. But guys…I can vote now. I’m still a person. When my dad “gave me away” at my wedding, that wasn’t meant to be taken literally. And I’m PRETTY SURE I didn’t magically assume my husband’s first name when we got married. How weird and confusing would that be?

I don’t even mind being referred to as “Mr. and Mrs. My-Husband’s-Last-Name.” It’s the inclusion of his first name that gets to me. It’s like it completely erases me, like H. just absorbed me or I became his conjoined twin when we got married. My first name didn’t disappear just because I got married.

This whole thing has made me realize how important it is to call people by their correct names. Although I don’t care if people call me by my husband’s last name, I know that’s a huge annoyance for other people. Basically, here’s a good rule to keep in mind if you don’t know how you should refer to someone: ask. It is simply bad manners to disregard a person’s preferences about what she wishes to be called. There’s no quicker way to make a person feel insignificant than to willfully butcher her name.

I know some women don’t even care about this. If so, more power to you. I’m glad you’re so zen about it, because I’m totally not. But honestly? It never hurts to ask.

Real Talk About Wedding Planning: Avoid Magazines, Skip The Handmade Details, & Get Some Help

colorful-wedding-lantern

“So are you completely tired of talking about your wedding yet?” Mama W. asked me the other day.

“Pretty much,” I said.

“Good,” she said. “You have to get over it eventually.”

And it’s with those very-typically-my-mom words in my head that I write this post. Yes, it’s been about three months since I got married and I don’t need to talk about it all the time. That being said, these three months have helped me realize what I learned about the experience. And, in my infinite good heartedness (sarcasm alert!) I’d like to share it with all of you, just in case you’re about to plan a wedding of your own.

The very first thing I figured out was how annoying people are when they talk about their weddings. Yes, I realize that’s what I’m doing RIGHT NOW, but I’m not making you read my blog! You’re here because you like me, or because you’re hate-reading, and that’s fine, too. Whatever. People who talk about their weddings all the time are kind of annoying, right? But, honestly, I would WAY rather hear someone talk about picking out table linens for their $30,000 dollar affair than listen to YET ANOTHER person talk about how their wedding is just going to be “casual.”

I used to be this person. You know, that girl who’s like, “Oh, I don’t want some big thing. I just want a party with our best friends.” And, yeah, sure, that sounds great. But you know who says that? EVERYONE. Okay, we get it! You don’t want to walk down an aisle! You’re hella casual! That’s totally fine, but don’t act like that’s somehow a morally superior choice. Some of us have families who would be hurt and devastated if we didn’t have semi-traditional weddings, and you know what? That’s okay. I ended up getting married in a church, which I didn’t want to do at all, and yes it bothered me a great deal, but whatever. It’s done now. It’s one stinkin’ day, and it’s really, really not the point of the whole “marriage” thing.

What going through the planning experience taught me was that there isn’t one right way to do this. It’s just like planning any other party–some people want to do it up big, and some people don’t. Whatever. Just don’t act like your choice is somehow better than everyone else’s. I’ve been to semi-big weddings and I’ve been to dinners-after-courthouse weddings, and I’ve had a great time at them all.

I also learned to stay away from bridal culture. I didn’t go to bridal expos. I didn’t buy a single bridal magazine. And I tried to avoid Pinterest-ing too much. It is VERY easy to get sucked into the mindless materialism of wedding culture. There’s a truly endless variety of stupid stuff you can buy, and there are lots of articles and websites that would like to convince you to buy them. It’s so, so easy to start thinking, “But my wedding (and therefore my MARRIAGE) will be ruined if I don’t get these adorably expensive centerpieces!” It doesn’t matter. Just step away from Martha Stewart Weddings.

And on that note, you know all those handmade details that every wedding online seems to have? That unique guestbook with the thumb prints, the individual tiny jars of jam for favors, the banner made from vintage fabric? Do not worry about that stuff. Seriously. Pick a few things that are really important to you, focus on those, and let the rest slide. If you’re planning a party for anywhere from 50-350 people, then come on, girl. You do not have time to make that much jam. You and I both know that. Give yourself a break, because no one’s going to notice or complain if you use a few pre-fab touches. I love being crafty and personalizing things, but the care you put into your table runner doesn’t signify the care that you put into your relationship.

If you do have a lot more work than you can handle, just let people help you. They’re going to ask, and you’re going to want to tell them no. Don’t do that. Say something like, “Actually, I could use some help finding a caterer” or “Want to help me make all these tissue paper poms?” If it wasn’t for Mama W., my BFF/maid of honor, and the rest of my bridesmaids, I would’ve been even more stressed out. And I was already so stressed out that I had trouble sleeping some nights.

Also, don’t be surprised if things get dramatic. Since I don’t care about weddings, and my mom doesn’t care about weddings, and H. CERTAINLY doesn’t care about weddings, I didn’t anticipate a lot of “drama.” Well, I was unpleasantly surprised. You might be thinking, “Oh, that won’t happen to me,” but trust me, I didn’t think it would happen to me either. Weddings do weird things to normally sane people, and all of a sudden you’re going to find out that one of your friends or family members really cares about that open bar or which photographer you choose or what paperweight your invitations are. This is gonna make you stressed out like you’ve never been stressed out before, and all of this stress may cause you and your fiance to get into a fight in a TGI Friday’s parking lot. That may or may not be related to a personal story.

Clearly, planning a wedding is stressful. If you’re getting married, really and truly consider whether or not you want a wedding ceremony. Because, let me tell you guys, on more than one occasion I wished we eloped. The thought of being in front of so many people was a little horrifying to me. I did it, because there were specific memories I wanted from a wedding ceremony (an excuse to invite all of our friends, having my dad walk me down the aisle, an experience for our parents, etc.), but it isn’t for everyone. If you’re the kind of person who’s easily stressed out by this kind of stuff, just elope. Seriously. Do what you want and don’t worry about who’s judging you.

Because here’s the thing–weddings don’t matter all that much. Yes, it was very special to say our vows in front of a room full of people who care about us, and I’m glad we did that. But the success of that ceremony doesn’t have any bearing on the day-to-day realities of our relationship. Our marriage is not stronger because our wedding was super fun.

Things are going to be stressful. Many things are going to go wrong. Someone you don’t like is going to do something dumb and you’re going to think, “Ugh, why did I even have to invite you?” That’s just the reality of having a wedding. But who cares? I mean, really, WHO CARES? It’s one day. One party. So try not to stress out too much, or at least try not to stress out as much as I did. Appreciate that all of your friends and family came so far to see you (in our case, several people flew or drove across the country!) and just focus on that. After all, that’s why you decided to have a wedding.

Image via My Inspired Wedding

The Great Name-Change Debate

Hey guys! I’d love it if you pop on over to Blisstree to read my feelings about changing my name after marriage. It’s a topic that really interests me, because it evokes A LOT OF FEELINGS. Not that I’m saying it evokes ambivalence for everyone–some people have always known they won’t/will change their name–but typically people have strong feelings about their personal choice. Anyway, I’m interested to hear your thoughts! Well, not if your thoughts are, “Why are you talking about this I hate you and you’re dumb,” in which case keep your thoughts to yourself, weirdo. Just kidding, I know you wouldn’t even think that. You’re a doll! Never change!

Wedding Tip: Don’t Care About Anything


It’s not like I had my wedding planned out before I got engaged, but I’ll admit that I had a certain hazy vision of how the perfect day would go down. It would be in Fall, for sure, and it would definitely be outside. One of our friends would marry us and I’d walk down the aisle to my favorite Kinks song. There’d be nothing offensive or exclusive (i.e., no “marriage is between a man and a woman” talk or “wives submit to their husbands” bs). We’d all eat, like, artisinal pizzas baked by Stanley Tucci himself in his personal pizza hearth. And then we’d all dance all night under twinkle lights and everybody would get drunk on fancy cocktails.

Well, as it turns out, exactly none of that stuff is happening. The wedding that’s happening in reality is very, very different from the one that took place in my daydream brain. And why’s that? Well, for starters, Stanley Tucci won’t return my calls. But also, please don’t be too shocked by this, but weddings are subject to reality! And reality sometimes means you don’t get to follow your romantic, Anthropologie-catalogue, Pinterested whims!

Shortly after we got engaged and I started thinking of real plans for a real wedding, we decided to move the wedding up to Spring. So we’re getting married in April. In itself this doesn’t sound strange, but we’re getting married on April 20th. Did you read that? We’re getting married on 4/20. 420. 420 you guys. I’m getting married on a day that’s a universal symbol for toking up. For the rest of my life, my anniversary will be 4/20.

So okay. Whatever. I’ve dealt with that. But, obviously, getting married in Ohio in April means we can’t get married outside. Or, rather, we could, but it would be a really bad idea, because it could be snowing or raining. Since I had my heart set on a reception site in the middle of nowhere in my hometown, that meant we had to find an indoor ceremony site somewhere near that. Which meant our only option, practically, was a church.

Then H. gave me some serious pushback abut that Kinks song I wanted to walk down the aisle to, and anyway the church has to approve of all of our music choices and they probably don’t like that newfangled rocknroll the kids are listening to (from the 70s). The reception site is possibly dry or at the very least doesn’t have a bar. H. told me he would kind of like something “fancy” to eat. And then he told me he wanted seat covers? Like, what? Seat covers? Are we getting married in a hotel banquet room from the 1980s?

So I got upset and totally shut down because all of a sudden I was going to have a tacky wedding and I hated it and it was the end of the world. I bet you can tell where I’m going with this. It wasn’t the end of the world.

Because, honestly, a wedding is just one day. And even though you might see pictures of “perfect” wedding on Pinterest, they’re just pictures, you know? I mean, the whole evening wasn’t some magical twinkle light paradise. It’s one day. So what if I have to walk down the aisle to classical music instead of the song I originally picked? So what if our ceremony is going to be much more traditional than I’d planned? So what if everyone makes pot jokes whenever I tell them our wedding date? The important thing is that everyone we love will be there. That’s kind of the whole point of a wedding ceremony, right? To say your vows in front of everyone you care about?

So that’s my advice to any of you who are planning a wedding. Just stop caring about things. Let someone else plan part of it. If somebody’s bothering you about something, just say, “Okay, whatever.” Remember that it’s really, really not worth stressing out over when you have so much other stuff in your life that needs your attention. That’s what I’m trying to remind myself, anyway.

It’s very, very easy to get caught up in The Wedding Machine. People will start asking you questions you’ve never considered, and all of a sudden you’ll start wondering if you should be spending tons of money for flowers to put on the altar or for a super-fancy caterer or for a soft serve ice cream machine (okay, okay, so that last one was actually something I wanted that H. vetoed. I love ice cream, okay?) and you will get stressed out if you’re anything like me. Here’s what I keep reminding myself: every second I spend stressing out about this wedding is a second I’m not writing or reading or working or cooking or doing anything else that’s actually enjoyable. I want the day to be fun, of course, but not at the expense of my sanity.

Although, seriously, if any of you could get Stanley Tucci to show up, I’d really appreciate it.

The Quickest Way to Piss People Off Is to Not Get Married


In December, H. and I will have been together 7 years. And we are not married, a fact that every person I know reminds me of constantly.

I’m not saying we’re never going to get married. In fact, it will probably happen sooner rather than later. But people asking me when I’m going to get married bothers me, and it isn’t because I have problems with the institution of marriage itself (although that can be pretty problematic!) or the state of my relationship with my boyfriend (which is pretty swell!). Instead, my problem with people asking “When are you getting married?” is best summed up in two questions: “How is this your business?” and “Why do I have to get married?”

Growing up, I never dreamed of getting married. I assumed I would, because I grew up in a culture with a pretty traditional view of families, but it wasn’t something I daydreamed about. I never dressed up as a bride for Halloween. I didn’t “play house” much with other kids–mostly because because I rarely played with other children and preferred to hang out by myself, reading. Instead, I daydreamed about writing my first book (dorky but true).

Then, in high school, I became convinced I’d never get married. I simply could not imagine myself being happy as a married person. Let’s be real—I didn’t have any boyfriends (not even weird ones!) in high school, so it’s not like people were lining up to propose. But when I saw girls I knew getting married, like, right out of high school, I knew I would never do that. I saw myself as an adult living alone, being vaguely “artisitic,” probably wearing several jewel-toned scarves. I saw myself with a cat I named after a feminist writer, knowing things about wine, and entertaining many, many temperamental and volatile men who would inspire me to write the tempestuous prose and poetry I’d become known for. I saw myself being weird and alone and happy.

And then I met H. when I was 19, and we’ve been together ever since. You’d think this might be cause for celebration, and it is for me! But it’s not for almost literally every person I know, including but not limited to family, friends, and complete strangers.

I get asked what I’m waiting for, why I’m not married, why H. hasn’t proposed, why I haven’t forced him to propose, when I’m going to “just do it already,” and various other things. All of these questions are based around a few assumptions:

1. I have to get married.
2. I want to get married but H. will not ask me.
3. It’s normal for one person to force the other person to marry them.
4. Marriage is a box you need to check off your list.
5. If I’m not married it means I’m afraid of something.
6. I sit around all day and wait for H. to propose to me.
7. I am sad and pathetic.

Naturally, quite a few of these assumptions offend me, as a feminist and as a human being. For one, most of them put me in a passive role. Just sittin’ around waitin’ for the proposin’ to happen! Secondly, they assume that I need to complete this task in order to graduate to the next phase of my life. Simply put, this is people foisting their life values onto me, and I don’t appreciate it. A traditional life trajectory (marriage, house, babies) means a lot to some people, but it means very, very little to me. Do I want to have a house someday? Totally, but not anytime soon. Do I want kids? Yes, my biological clock reminds me of this every damn day, but not anytime even remotely soon. And do I want to get married? Sure, but it is not the end all, be all of my existence. There are a lot of things I want out of my life, and marriage is just one of the things on a long list that includes publishing a book, visiting a Scandinavian country, and finally successfully baking bread. And that’s where the assumption that offends me the most comes in. When people ask me these questions, what I hear from them is: Your achievements don’t matter to me. Your job, your friendships, your writing, your hopes, your dreams, your life that you’ve built yourself mean nothing, because you haven’t convinced someone to buy you jewelry and then spend many thousands of dollars on an expensive ceremony.

And as much as I’d like to be a super cool lady who can shrug off the narrow-mindedness of others, I’m just not that self-assured. It does not make me feel good when, unsolicited and on a regular basis, people let me know that my life is not measuring up to a standard I don’t even subscribe to. It’s weird, it’s patriarchal, it’s sexist, it’s dumb, and it’s just plain mean.

And you know what else it is? Really, really rude. In general, I think two questions should always be off limits except between very good friends: “When are you getting married?” and “When are you two having kids?” Both of those questions have the potential to be extremely upsetting! I mean, you guys, you don’t know if the couple you’re talking to had a fight that very morning about getting married. You don’t know if the couple you’re talking to recently found out they can’t have kids. You don’t know if they recently had a miscarriage—I mean, 1 in 5 pregnancies ends in miscarriage, you know? These are just rude, invasive, and nosy questions we should all stop asking.

Luckily for me, my close friends totally understand all of this. They’re a mix of married, single, engaged, and divorced people (divorced people are especially cool about not pressuring others to get married) who don’t see marriage as a just another box to check off on the list of life goals. That’s because my friends are awesome.

But, unfortunately, not everyone’s as cool, so I’ll just have to keep answering “So when are you getting married?” with a mixture of flip responses (“Whenever Drake asks me!”), frustrated answers (“When I feel like it.”), vague pleasantries (“Hahaha, someday!”), and subject changes (“Tell me more about your kids!”). It turns out that lecturing people about how their question offends me is not the best tactic to take when I’m talking to someone I’m probably going to have to see on a regular basis (like my grandma).

I love love. I love romance. I love romantic comedies, even (especially) the ones starring Katherine Heigl. I love reading the 50th anniversary announcements in the newspaper. I love seeing my friends get married! And, when I get married (someday!), you’d better believe I’m going to cry uncontrollably. But there’s a lot more to my life than that. I guess the good thing is that eventually, once I do get married, people will stop asking me about this. Then they’ll move on to asking me when I’m having kids. Something to look forward to!