A New Fangled Problem With A Old Fashioned Solution?

by Meg Keene, CEO & Editor-In-Chief

I’m not changing my name after our wedding (I asked David very nicely if he would like to change his, and thus far he has said no. Hence, un-matching names.) These days, with the variety of name options available, I suspect wedding guests want to know what name you are going with, and we’d like a more formal way to tell them then word of mouth.

So, what to do? The best solution I’ve heard is to include the very old fashioned “At Home” cards with our invitation. These cards were once used to formally announce the newlyweds address and the date they would be taking up residence, so you could drop by for a spot of tea, or send a letter. These days, with the addition of the couples names, they can be a great way to let people know what the heck you will be going by. Ours would read something like this:

Ms. Meg Herlastname
Mr. David Hislastname
will be at home
after September first
123 Union Street
San Francisco, CA

We’d include these cards with our wedding invitations. They are adorable and old fashioned, and have the extra practicality of being small enough to stick in your address book or rolodex for future reference. Another benefit? These might prompt people to stop by for that spot of tea! Thus far this is the best, and most practical idea I’ve heard. Does anyone else have other tips and ideas to save well meaning family and friends from wild name confusion? What do you think of At Home Cards?

The cards might look something like these from The Mandate Press, Via Mighty Goods

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. She has written two best selling wedding books: A Practical Wedding and A Practical Wedding Planner. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com. #NASTY

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  • there is this paper company (moo.com) that will make the cutest little cards “mini cards” with your picture on one side and you can put text on the other. How adorable! Your guests can stick your at home card on their fridge! The best part is that they are super cheap!!

  • I’m coming from the opposite direction — because I have already started my career and I’m changing my name, I’m trying to figure out a way to let my colleagues and friends who weren’t at the wedding know my new name. I’m considering sending out post-wedding announcements or something, but I want to avoid it looking like we’re asking for a gift or a card; I have some research to do.

  • I wish we had done this.
    Our friends, and my family, would never assume I’d change my name, so there was no problem- but the more distant family friends and his parents have been a real problem. Maybe they would have been problematic even with at-home cards, but I’m pretty sick of receiving things for Mr. and Mrs. Adam HisLastName. I end up just stamping EVERYTHING with our return address with separate names- but cards are so much classier. Plus, traditional, which here is definitely a bonus.

  • What an awesome idea!! It’s a great solution! Plus, like you said, many people will now have your address – which is not only great for tea, but for holiday cards, etc.

  • I love the charm of this idea. I know if I received an at home card, I would certainly be inclined to “call” on my newly-wed friends. I also like the idea of using an old tradition to share and inform a relatively new tradition!

  • i agree – this sounds like a lovely idea!

    @jessica: moo cards are the best. i’ve been trying to think of any way possible to use them, including getting them into some part of the wedding plans.

  • I’ve seen this done as the last page in the program and I think that’s what we’ll be doing. Cute cards!

  • brilliant.

  • I love this idea! It would certainly get the word out! One thought though, I know when you address wedding invitations to a couple living together, but not married, their names go on separate lines. Would that same thought apply here, and if so would you put both names on the same line? Or does the size of the card prevent that??

  • A very clever solution indeed!

    The grannies will appreciate you keeping with tradition and your pals will think it’s clever.

    We hyphenated our names and had our officiate announce us as “Myfirst New-Last and Hisfirst New-Last husband and wife” at the end of the ceremony, worked out well for us.

  • I think that’s an awesome idea… I would just be afraid that people would come by unexpectedly… you know… people we DON’T want to drop by for a spot of tea…

  • I think those are really cute, actually, and a good idea. My mom kept her last name when she married my dad, and it seems to always confuse people. I also really like the idea of encouraging people to come by for tea!

  • One Love Photo

    Great idea! I didn’t change my name but we recieved so many checks as gifts with my “new name” which I didn’t have, I was worried about cashing them. Luckily the bank let it slide. I must admit sometimes I wish we had the same name. Like when I was locked out of our hotel room and didn’t have a key and the front desk wouldn’t give me a key, since the room was under Jon’s name. But it’s fun to be your own and stick to your roots.

  • Meg

    Maybe next I will post on the secret codes that you can use when leaving your calling cards when you stop by for that spot of tea! :)

    And, Miss Fairfax, the rule is this: If you don’t have the same last name your names go on separate lines, and the lady’s name always comes first (small curtsy). Also, if you keep your name, you don’t become a Mrs.

    And Rebecca, that’s interesting. I hadn’t thought of the problem from that point of view. You are right, tricky! You can’t do At Home cards for people who are not invited, so hummm.

    Thanks all! Now I feel like this is a good idea!

  • Anonymous

    Spectacular idea Meg! Will you have a photo on there too? I though calling cards of olden days were not unlike baseball cards–your photo and stats ;)
    Now I’m wondering if we should do this too somehow (invites have already been sent..).

  • I think it’s a cool idea, but will the dummies get it?!

  • Meg

    Well, East Side, you can always follow up with word of mouth. for the dummies :)

    Oh! And! At home cards can always go out after the wedding (when you can use your married name, if you have one) with wedding announcements (perfectly proper, and do not requite a gift in return, just a note of congratulations).

    Geeze. Now you see the depth of my geeky (though egalitarian) etiquette knowledge.

  • What an excellent idea. I never thought about how to make it clear which name I’ll be using. I think people could get confused, especially as I’ll continue using my maiden name at work (at least as long as I’m in this job, possibly longer…) but take his name officially.

    I think I’ll add a miscellaneous section to our wedding details and note it down there for people to see. Thanks for that idea!

  • Anonymous

    Whoa! How young are some of us on here? Blogger, what’s your take on what Dan Savage says about getting married too young?

  • ‘dunno about you, but i’m recently engaged at 27, and looking at a wedding closer to 29. my fiancĂŠ is two years younger, almost to the day.

    is that still considered ‘old,’ or have new trends now pushed me into the ‘young’ category?

  • Peonies and Polaroids

    You don’t become a Mrs if you don’t take his name?! Weird. I did not know that! I don’t want to be a Mrs, I feel too young for that! And I’m keeping my own name so now I don’t have to!

  • Meg

    Anon – I’m not under the impression that my readers are particularly young. And I don’t think wanting to be or not wanting to be a “Mrs.” has a thing to do with age. I love Dan Savage, but it’s not super aprapro of this thread. So, let’s put the Kabash on the age discussion.

  • I’ve never heard of it before, but I love this idea. I especially like they way you say the two of you “will be at home”. Too cute. Not to mention how budget-friendly this is if you have them printed like regular business card. Great idea.