(Closed) Addressing invitation to divorcee?

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
Member
2063 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

How about just Jane Smith?

Post # 4
Member
1352 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

Why don’t you like using Ms.? That is what I would put… It’s kind of the in between LOL

Post # 5
Member
426 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I would not say Mrs…. she’s not a Mrs. just because she kept his name.

Post # 6
Member
1798 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

I think Ms. Is definitely appropriate here.

Post # 7
Member
1572 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

What about using “Ms” do you dislike? Genuinely not trying to snark, just curious. As someone who is divorced (and getting married in May), I prefer “Ms”. I guess your other option would be to just do “Jane Smith”. I guess you could also do “Miss Jane Smith”, especially if you feel that Ms is not an option.

Post # 8
Member
1676 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

Don’t do Miss – that really indicates never married at all. 

Post # 9
Member
1699 posts
Bumble bee

@brook20April:  Regardless of your feelings about “Ms”, what the Post Institute says, and how wierd it may seem to you, the ulltimate etiquette ruling about names and titles is that you use the form that the lady herself prefers. If Mrs Smith (or Ms Smith) has a card or sends informal correspondence, you could just use the title that appears on her stationery. Or you could remember how you were introduced (assuming that you were introduced formally), or you could ask her what her preference is.

If you don’t know her preference and cannot find out, that is when you use standard etiquette forms. For a lady going by her birth surname, the standard title is “Ms” (since the mid nineteen-seventies), or for old-fashioned ladies “Miss” — yes, “Miss”, even if she is married. In the sixties business women typically kept their maiden name for business even when they used their husband’s name socially, and they kept the maiden title to go with it. That is still proper for ladies who came of age prior to the advent of “Ms”, or for younger ladies who are Mad Men fans. For a lady going by her husband’s surname, the standard title is “Ms” (again, since the seventies), or for old-fashioned ladies “Mrs” — but Mrs is never supposed to be used with a lady’s given name. Properly, she uses either her husband’s given name (Mrs John Smith) or, if she is divorced, her maiden surname (Mrs Jones Smith).

The only “Miss” and “Ms” are properly used with a lady’s given name — well, those and “Doctor”, “Admiral”, “The Very Reverend” and so on.

Post # 11
Member
750 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

@brook20April:  I was thinking about this exact same issue the other day! My fiance has an aunt who is divorced and she has kept her married last name so far (they have 2 kids together). On the Save the Date I addressed it to “The — Family” since we’re inviting the kids and Save the Dates are less formal.

I asked my future mother-in-law which she thought her sister would prefer, and she says “Ms.” I agree with the previous poster that you might want to snoop around for a bit to find out the lady’s own preference. I have a few divorced friends who do NOT want to be “Mrs.” but think “Miss” sounds either juvenile or spinsterish. I know you say you don’t like it because it’s not traditional, but if you find out that it’s her preferred title, then you might want to reconsider. Also, if you are planning to leave out “Ms.” because it is not traditional… well, TRADITIONALLY you would not address a wedding invitation to anyone without the courtesy title of Mr., Ms., Miss, Dr., Rev., etc.

As a side note, I haven’t gotten anything calling me “Miss” for a long time – I’m 30 and unmarried (FOR NOW!!!). Everything from business emails to wedding invites says “Ms. Crackers.”

Post # 12
Member
1699 posts
Bumble bee

@sweetcrackers:  I am certainly NOT juvenile, but I am a spinster and perfectly happy being so, and I get called “Miss Phipps” on a daily basis. And equally often, “Ms Phipps” — I use “Ms” for business and “Miss” socially, which means modern people who don’t understand that there is a distinction between business and society use the titles interchangeably. As long as they use some sort of title, I don’t get offended.

@brook20April:   I am really a rather traditional person — perhaps you noticed? Traditionally, as was the norm when I was a girl, I often use titles and surnames to address my peers even when I know them well and even in ordinary speech — and I find it a bit off for a correspondent to flaunt my name naked, untitled, in the public venue of the mails.

It may help a little with all the Ms/Mrs/Miss stuff to consider that into the 17th century, common women were addressed as “Mistress Aspasia” or “Mistress Phipps” in exactly the same way that common men were addressed as “Master Tom” or “Master Jones” — and “Mistress” was variously abbreviated as “Mrs” or “Miss” or “Ms” — yes, it is that old — all of which were pronounced as “Mistress”. So if you choose to go with “Mrs Jane” or “Ms Smith”, you can claim to be being very traditional and just skipping over the intervening 18th- and 19th- century narrow-mindedness.

Post # 13
Member
750 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

@aspasia475:  My apologies if I offended you. I was just relaying the feedback I’d gotten from divorced friends and how they felt about Mrs/Ms/Miss with their married last names. One of the friends was 30, one is 65, one is 25. It’s not exactly scientific, but it’s a sample of women who have been in the divorced-but-kept-his-name situation.

Post # 14
Member
1699 posts
Bumble bee

@sweetcrackers:  Oh, not offended — sorry if I came across as if I were. I think it is different when one is divorced, of course — those of us who are in the sixty-five-ish age range remember when that (along with several other harmless things that are normal nowadays) was considered, if not scandalous, at least shameful; and “Miss” was not considered at all appropriate with one’s former husband’s name. I wouldn’t expect divorcees to be comfortable with that unless they were returning to their maiden name. 

I was just trying to show that different titles, even ones that are nowadays seen as old-fashioned, all have various current usage for different people and situations. And, I guess, I was probably, a bit, defending spinsterhood as a respectable status. It does rankle a bit that while being divorced has become a non-issue, being “spinsterish” is still seen as a bad thing. At least it’s better than “old-maid-ish” I suppose 🙂 

Post # 15
Member
10367 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

How about ignoring Emily Post, and going with common sense instead?

My divorced mother would flip the eff out if she were to be labeled as “Mrs. Crayfish”. Just put her name.

Post # 16
Member
10367 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

@aspasia475:  I don’t think it’s that people don’t “understand” that there’s a distinction between business and social title. I think it’s that it creates complications that are wholly unnecessary, and thus choose to ignore it. The social labels of decades past have evolved into something different in present day, rendering much of what Emily Post espouses completely irrelevant.

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