Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

Up For Discussion: The Name Game (and meet Alison!)

November 4th, 2011 | Julia Braime

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: The Name Game

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This morning on the bridal blog, we have a visitor!

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I recently featured Alison’s wedding story and super fun Chester Zoo wedding on Brides Up North and we started chatting by email.  Alison writes her own blog over at www.alison-staples.blogspot.com and I have been heartened by her upbeat and optimistic approach to life in the face of some pretty steep recent hurdles.  Her writing also made me giggle, which is always good. 

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I have invited Alison to contribute a series of guest posts here on the wedding blog about her life as a newly wed, so she’ll be here for the next few Friday mornings, sharing her wisdom in her own unique way.  First up, she tackles a difficult issue – To take his name or not to take his name?  That is the question.  Enjoy! 

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.Brides Up North Wedding Blog: The Name Game

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But first, meet Alison…

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I’m Alison Staples and this summer my trusty bloke and I finally ‘tied the knot’.

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For many reasons, never thought I’d see the day:

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I’ve always been clueless with men and managed to go through all of the ‘90’s and most of the   noughties without a boyfriend.

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When I finally did find someone who wanted to go on a second date, I promptly left him behind and went on a round the world jolly for 6 months without any guarantee that he would be waiting for me

…….when I got back. Thankfully he was.

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I dropped so many hints and created so many ‘perfect proposal’ opportunities, it made him all the more determined to do things in his own way and in his own time.

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When he finally chose his moment I managed to cock it up by getting cancer. We had to cancel our holiday to New England, where he’d planned to propose, at a day’s notice.

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Once engaged (on ‘The Lovers Island’ on a trip to Anglesey), I refused to set the date until I knew I was on the mend and would have a decent thatch of hair.

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I wanted our wedding to be an amazing celebration and for it to be an opportunity to say thank you to all our family and friends who had stuck with us and helped us through our ‘difficult time’. We chose Chester Zoo – and it was amazing. I was both cancer free and had a full head of hair. You can read about it in our real wedding feature.

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As a professional charity fundraiser, I’ve organised a few events over the years, however I found getting married a completely different kettle of fish. It was mammoth and a bit overwhelming at times. Ultimately though, I did manage to navigate my way through wedding maze and popped out the other end with a near perfect (and on budget) day.

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As a new bride, Julia has asked me to share some of my newlywed know how with you, her readers, as one of her ‘guest bloggers’. I’m someone who has been there, done that and got the tiara!

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I’m sitting on the fence and it’s not very comfortable.

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Everyone keeps asking me what I’m going to do about my name now that I’m married.  But while I feel really honoured to become a member of the Pocock family, Alison Staples is who I am. I’ve spent 42 years building ‘my brand’ and I feel very deeply rooted in my family history.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: The Name Game

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With everything that’s happened over the last couple of years (I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2009), there is a lot to be said for drawing a line under Alison Staples and making a new start now that I’m well. It’s an opportunity to re-invent myself. But I’m also very aware that my sister and I are the last in our current line of Staples. It’s a line that I’ve traced back to the 1650’s.

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I know at the end of the day, I’m still the same person whatever my name, but I spent 18 months fighting hard to make sure that Alison Staples didn’t disappear. She’s a precious person – a big part of me needs to hang onto her.

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Since I got married in June, it has felt at times like my identity has disappeared. Our joint letters are now addressed to Dr & Mrs T Pocock. Where am I?

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I suppose I could hyphenate. Alison Staples-Pocock? Alison Pocock-Staples? No, I don’t think so.

Another option would be to ‘mesh’ our names. Apparently it’s very trendy at the moment. Alison Stacock? Alison Poples? That doesn’t work either.

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Finally, in an attempt to tackle the issue from a different angle, one evening after a particularly competitive game of rude word scrabble – we played ‘the name game’.  With our scrabble tiles, we put the letters P O C O C K S T A P L E S into the bag and pulled out just 6 tiles with a view to seeing what we could make from our combined letters.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: The Name Game

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The first one out of the bag was SPACKO!

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Not a very good start, Try again: POCKAS, COPASK, SPACOK, COPOSE

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All rubbish, so we kept trying and eventually they started to improve: PACKET, POCKET, CASTLE, CLASPE, SLACKS, SCOOPE

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: The Name Game

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Then we got a bit silly and started to organise them into categories:

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TV series name – SPOOKS

Mollusc name – COCKLE

Tour de France names – SPOKES

Rapper name – T-CLOCK

Clairvoyant name – STOKES

Star Trek name – SPOCKS

Prison names – SLOPPS & SLAPPS

Cash n Carry name – COSTCO

Greek name – KOSTAS

French names – PASTEL, POSTAL, LE-SACK & LE-COCK

Spanish name – EL-COCK

German name – SPLATS

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: The Name Game

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However, I think my absolute favourite has to POLPOT. We’ve never had a Cambodian dictator in the family.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: The Name Game

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It was a fun game to play on a warm summers evening fuelled by a bit too much wine, however I’m still confused about what to do and who to be. In the mean time, I guess I’ll carry on being a bit schizophrenic and answer to everything until I get fed up of procrastinating and finally have to jump off the fence. Fingers crossed for a soft landing.

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So, what do you lot think?  Do you plan on taking your new husband’s name?  Are you looking forward to being Mrs His-Last-Name or are you still on the fence?  Leave a comment and me know.  Its officially up for discussion!

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Would YOU like to guest blog for Brides Up North?  Email me at julia@bridesupnorth.co.uk

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  – Images © 2011 Alison Staples (for now!)

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comments

  • Jeanie
    November 4, 2011 | Permalink | Reply

    Oh Alison PLEASE become Alison Popples! Twas my favourite show as a youngster and I would love such a groovy surname!

    Your story is fantastic (and I love your writing!) and I totally understand your feeling about keeping your identity. I really hope you can work together to find something you both feel right with. I am so playing that game tonight.

    • November 5, 2011 | Permalink | Reply

      Popples – that’s a good one. I’ll throw it into the mix. Thanks for your lovely comments. Hope you enjoyed playing the name game. I’m trying out Alison Polecat at the moment. It’s making me feel foxy :-)

  • laura
    November 4, 2011 | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Alison

    I don’t want to change my name to his, I don’t agree with the concept of a woman having to change her name but also I don’t like the sound of my first name with my OH’s last name. I do still want to acknowledge the wedding and so, as I see it as us joining together, I am going to double-barrel my name. My OH doesn’t want to do this but that’s fine by me, it’s his decision. I am dreading having to explain this to all of his relatives who won’t understand my reasoning and may think I’m snubbing their family but they may surprise me and not care about it.

    Looking forward to reading more posts from you

    • November 5, 2011 | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for your lovely comments. I’m sure OH’s relatives will understand. It’s your name after all :-)

  • November 4, 2011 | Permalink | Reply

    What a lovely story Alison. I can completely understand where you are coming from, after being McCullough (yes spell that one!) for 34years I felt truly attached to my surname and all it’s wierd and wonderful spellings!! I finally decided to take the plunge and become a Mitchell (yes I have also been nicknamed Peggy). I thought one advantage would be it was easier to spell, how wrong I was – I still get asked how to spell it!! It is a truly difficult decision (made a little bit more fun by wine and scrabble)but I am sure you will eventually make the right one for you xx

    • November 5, 2011 | Permalink | Reply

      I’m glad you enjoyed. I’m still making a meal out of deciding. Did you know that the ‘S’ in CS Lewis stands for Staples? What with my aspiring literary career – it’s surely a sign! :-)

  • Zoe
    November 5, 2011 | Permalink | Reply

    What a lovely uplifting post, I love your writing style Alison. I was a little sad when I married to lose my surname as I too am at the end of a female only chain, and that paired with moving from a 3 letter surname to a whopping 9 letter surname had me quivering at the thought of writing cramp, and finding a new signature! That said even though I did opt to take my husbands name I am still very much on the fence about the whole idea, maybe one day times will change and it will be the men that take our name? Though I doubt it. And of course I now think a game of rude word scrabble should be the way forward for every couple about to tie the knot. xx

  • Alison Staples
    November 6, 2011 | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks Zoe – really glad you liked it :-)

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about the author

Julia Braime
Former lawyer and bride to be Julia founded Brides Up North in 2010 with a chip on her shoulder. Frustrated by the poor Northern presence in glossy bridal magazines and online, she decided to do something about it herself. Astounded by the rapid growth of her blog and brand, Julia now manages Brides Up North’s online content alongside their busy wedding exhibition season, industry events and related commissions. And she’s always, always, got a new project on the go…

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