The Bad Bride Diaries: What’s In A Name?

There are several stages of being engaged that make you consider murdering everybody around you. Or I did anyway. When I was first engaged, I found the initial stage very peculiar and often quite uncomfortable; something that I hadn’t expected. I was delighted to be engaged, of course, but as somebody who finds small talk a challenge at the best of times, the parade of well-wishers became quite daunting. It’s lovely to be congratulated, and I did get some entertainment from the ring reactions (mine is not a classic engagement ring and people either love it, or clearly think it’s awful and struggle to make polite face), but the bit I found made me want to scream was the sudden insistence on referring to me as ‘Mrs Whitney-To-Be’ or something of that kind. Cue awkward laughing from me and having to say that, actually, I’m not going to be a Whitney. Or Mrs, actually. At that point I hadn’t decided if I was keeping my name, or double-barrelling, but dropping Elsmere totally was never going to happen, and I’ve known from the start I’m going to keep using Ms.

Luckily, that phase fizzled out quickly and people managed to remember my name again. The name conversation kept happening though, and it’s been an odd experience. Once I settled on double-barrelling, people seemed satisfied with that answer to what my new name will be, but instead I found married women who had changed their names suddenly wanted to justify it to me, as though I would think them unfeminist for doing so. Names are very personal, and I honestly don’t care what other people choose to do. I just know my name and title were important to me and I wanted to keep them.

Because I am one of those people who loves to research everything, I had a quick google to see what you actually have to do in order to change your name after you get hitched. The answer was honestly baffling.

As a straight couple, if I was to become Mrs Whitney, that’s pretty easy. All I need to do is send off my marriage certificate to the relevant people (the DVLA, the bank, etc.) and that’s it. No legal wrangling required. But from there is where it gets weird. Any other route; going double-barrelled, both going double-barrelled, or Dave taking my name means paying to change names via Deed Poll. It’s mad. Why couldn’t Dave just send off our marriage certificate if he wanted to be an Elsmere? And why is just adding my husband’s name after mine a Deed Poll thing, but if I wanted to change to his name totally, that’s fine? The system is clearly pretty outdated, as more and more couples are opting to go down a different route and double-barrel or even blend their surnames. I think it’s time the system caught up and it was made easier to do that.

Top tip though, if like Dave and I, you’re both planning to double-barrel, the groom could change his name via Deed Poll before the wedding, and then the bride can just go down the marriage certificate route to change hers afterwards. That saves you paying for two Deed Polls.

For some sex couples, one partner can take the others names just by sending off the marriage certificate, but blending or double-barrelling is a Deed Poll task again.

The Bad Bride Diaries: Saving Up For The Wedding

Turns out weddings are freaking expensive. Who knew? By the end of 2017, the average cost of a wedding in the UK had reached a whopping £27, 161. That’s about 11,000 lattes, and quite a lot of avocado toast…

Wedding Money Saving

Even if you’re planning a wedding on a slightly less insane budget, chances are, you’re going to have to do some saving up first. It can seem daunting, but lucky for you, I’ve road tested some easy ways to save a little extra cash that you can then spend on your nuptials.

  • Use online banking? Every time you check your bank balance, move any odd amounts into your savings account. For example, if you had £83.70 in your account, you’d move the £3.70 into your savings. It takes moments to do, and it’s unlikely you’ll miss those odd bits of money, but it builds up surprisingly fast.
  • Keep the change. Lots of people throw out small change, which seems insane to me. Once a week, I sort my purse out and empty out any small change (anything less than a 20p for me, but whatever you find keeps your purse a sensible weight) and it goes into a fish bowl by the front door. When the bowl’s full, I take it to one of those Coin Star machines (or you could ask the bank, but some don’t like to do it) and cash out the coppers for notes. This bags me on average about £40 a time, which can go in the savings, or is a ‘free’ treat, from money I wouldn’t otherwise have had.
  • Set up a standing order for your pay day. Choose an amount you can afford to save every month and set up that standing order so it moves over as soon as you get paid. If you never have the money, you won’t miss it.
  • Ask yourself if you really want an impulse purchase. Lots of us find money burns a hole in our pocket, but interview yourself a little bit before buying on a whim. Do you really want that £50 jacket, or would you rather that £50 bought your wedding shoes? When you actively weigh a purchase against what it would buy for the wedding, it’s amazing how little you suddenly want it!
  • Switch up your coffee habit. When I worked in the city centre, I used to spend a fortune on takeaway coffee (partly because I had to walk past no less than 10 coffee shops in my ten minute walk between the bus stop and my office). Now I’ve changed jobs and work in the middle of nowhere, there’s nowhere to buy coffee, and instead I make a nice coffee at home with my Nespresso Pixie machine, pop it in a thermos and enjoy a bargain coffee on the bus. If you really can’t give up your morning coffee shop treat though, you could switch brands. A latte from Starbucks or Costa could set you back almost £3, whereas if you swap to somewhere like Greggs, a latte is only £1.75, and the coffee is really not that different. Bag yourself a free MyWaitrose card and claim a free coffee with a purchase. There’s no minimum spend, so you could buy loose fruit to add to your breakfast for less than 50p and end up with a serious bargain latte. Every little helps, after all.
  • Stop buying lunch. If you’re working in an office, it’s easy to get into the habit of popping out for lunch, and dropping at minimum £3 a day on a supermarket meal deal, or spending nearer £8 for a coffee and a crap panini in a coffee shop. Instead, make lunch at home (I’m lazy and just make double portions of dinner and take leftovers) and save yourself a fortune.
  • Do an outgoings audit. What are you spending on that you don’t need? Do you have a gym membership, but only go once a month? Cancel it and buy a good exercise DVD or take up jogging instead. Got magazine subscriptions and don’t get time to read them? Now’s the time to cancel them. Paying for a hefty Sky package but only watch a handful of channels? Downgrade your package (often just calling and saying you’re doing this means Sky will offer you a discount). Subscribed to several streaming services? Pick one or two you watch most and cancel the rest, or game the system and share accounts with friends. I know people who share Amazon Prime and Netflix accounts, and split the cost.

Good luck! Any other great saving tips? Drop them in the comments.

Some links are affiliate links, but this is not a sponsored post. 

The Bad Bride’s Wedding Planning Drinking Game

Are you a fellow Bad Bride who finds planning a wedding is driving you to drink? Stress no more, the Bad Bride’s Wedding Planning Drinking Game is here!

Mead Ferment

Take a Sip when
  • Someone offers well-intentioned, but annoying, advice
  • A venue’s website is so badly designed, it makes you want to poke out your own eyes
  • A vendor gives you weird advice about the bride or groom, like making sure they attend appointments or don’t spend the whole budget on a veil
  • Somebody insists you must invite Great-Aunt Sally who nobody has seen for ten years, or your 12-year-old cousin’s new boyfriend
  • You’re asked to make a decision about something you don’t give a crap about, like napkins
  • You suddenly care intensely about things you thought were stupid, like napkins
  • You stress cry over something ridiculous
  • You happy cry over something equally ridiculous
  • Someone tells you a detailed plan for the wedding they want, and have had planned since they were six
  • Someone ask if you’re sure about something you spent three months agonising over
finish your drink When
  • Your mum changes her mind again about whether she’s wearing a hat or not
  • Someone who is not invited assumes they are
  • It’s time for the table plan
  • You consider just eloping
  • You begin to stress dream about choosing a first dance song. Why is your music taste so terrible?
  • Someone asks how you’re paying for it. Rude much? Down another drink if they follow that up with another rude question about your parents paying or not paying, or wedding loans
  • Someone makes polite face about your last name choices
drink everything and cry when
  • You realise what all this is going to cost you
  • You go full Bridezilla