Meet the meshers: why married couples are now splicing up their surnames

Double-barrelled surnames are so last season! Now its all about the spliced surname [Photo: unsplash.com via Pexels]

When women got married they used to just adopt the surname of their husband… but not any more.

A third of married women in their twenties choose to hang on to their maiden name, while Double-barrelling, with its instantly posh-upping capabilities, is another option. 

But while once a popular alternative it seems hyphenated surnames are no longer de rigueur. These days the cool newlyweds are splicing or mashing-up their names instead.

‘Meshing’, as the practice has become known, originally became a done thing in the US, and may or may not have anything to do with the popular culture of merging celebrity names - Kimye, Brangelina, TomKat…you get the idea. But if recent reports are anything to go by the trend has been catching on with us normal folk too as newly marrieds opt to create their own combined moniker.  

Approximately 800 British newlyweds a year choose to mash-up their surnames and the soaring popularity of the practice has meant that the UK Deed Poll Service has had to create a separate system to cope with demand.

“Meshing has changed from once being a rare novelty to now being noted as being one of the main reasons couples may use a Deed Poll to change their names.” Claudia Duncan, an officer with the service told The Standard.

“It allows couples the freedom of reinvention - meshing their names as a symbolic reflection of their union with a completely new start without any history being tied to their surname.”

Previous examples of newly created names by deed poll include Miss Harley and Mr Gatts who became the Hatts, Miss Price and Mr Nightingale who are now the Prightingales and Miss Clifton and Mr Mole now known as the Moltons.

And the trend has also reached celebsville as TV presenter Dawn Porter opted to fuse her surname changing it to O'Porter after her marriage to Bridesmaid’s actor Chris O'Dowd in 2012.

Mr and Mrs [Insert meshed surname here] [Photo: unsplash.com via Pexels]

So what are the advantages of meshing-up your surname? We asked some bridal experts for their industry insight…

It’s more modern – Marriage used to be seen almost as a sort of business transaction, the handing over of ‘property’ ie you and possessions (your dowry) from one male head of household to another. How very unequal! It’s 2016, so why not start your marriage on equal footing with joint names.  

It’s kinda romantic – “Young couples want friends and family to see that they love each other so much that they’ll share almost everything - clothes, pets, homes, cars, sporting interests, and now, surnames,” says Heidi Reid from Glorious Tiaras.

It’ll give you an opportunity to ditch the name that’s been the source of teasing since childhood – Because let’s face it some second names are just really unfortunate. But with a little creativity, you can create a name that’s cooler and with less fodder for torment than either of your original last names.

Double barrelled names can sound clunky – “By splicing surnames, modern couples are endorsing the idea that neither of them are more important than the other, and therefore want to keep both surnames, but in a sleeker sounding way,” explains Heidi.  

It avoids the problems of some other alternatives – “Keeping your own names can result in confusion when you have kids,” says Heather Angell, founder of Your Planning Angel. “Traditionally the child would take the fathers surname but that may inadvertently imply that those children ‘belong’ or are more closely connected to the father than the mother. Merging into your own unique surname can be the perfect solution to this.”

And they lived happily ever after! [Photo: freestocks.org via Pexels]

And the downsides?

Well there’s possibly offending your family for a start. “Completely changing both of your surnames can be seen as a rejection of your past and family tradition,” says Heather. “It can also be seen as the ’end of the line’ of a family name especially if the couple marrying have no brothers or sisters to ‘continue the family name’.” If you are thinking of merging your surnames Heather suggests remembering to try and be respectful to your family and thoroughly explaining why you are doing it.

Then there’s what you do with your name mesh in the case of a break-up. Do you have to change your name by deed poll again? Or just wait to find new love with someone who’s surname is a match in the mash-up stakes?  

Would you combine surnames with your other half? Let us know @YahooStyleUK

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