I work in a creative services department as a photographer. A lot of what we do is branding, re-branding, analyzing a current branding strategy and slowly implementing new strategies. It's a lot less “Mad Men” and a lot more “chess with the occasional sing-a-long.” Meanwhile, I'm also planning a wedding.
Last night, it was brought to my attention that I don't have a solution for the napkins at my indie-potluck-homemade shindig. Clearly, the answer to no napkins is MONOGRAM ALL THE THINGS. Should I just have a tasteful (and cost-effective) signature cocktail napkin? What about monogrammed dinner napkins AND cocktail napkins? Monogramed and personalized toasting glasses?
And then I paused. Looked up. What am I doing? Why do I need my name all over the place?
First let me say: monogrammed napkins and other items are perfectly lovely — it's just not something that I feel would work with our wedding in particular.
See, all the designs I'm considering carefully omit phrases like “Mrs. & Mr.” or “The Whoevers,” because I'm scandalously keeping my name. I say “scandalously” because we live in deeply-traditional Oklahoma where most women either hyphenate or change completely to their husband's name. For a multitude of reasons, I'm keeping mine just the way it is.
While we're not exactly keeping my lack of name-change a secret, we're kind of keeping it on a need-to-know basis. It's no one's business but mine and Husband Elect‘s.
So, if we're minimizing the name thing in every other respect, why do we need to put our names on stuff?
What's the deal with monogrammed stuff and newlywed folks, anyway? Largely because I grew up in the south, I feel almost as much like it's as expected of me to have monogrammed, or personalized napkins as it is for me to change my name.
When I was talking it over with my dad and his lady partner (who are also our florists), they acted like the monogramed napkins should be as much of a given as my bouquet. Yet, despite the ingrained expectation, somehow it shocked me. Who on earth genuinely gives a crap about if my name or my fictional shared name with Husband Elect appears on a piece of disposable paper?
Then, I realized it's all re-branding. Still the same great faces you love but now twice the strength! We have merged our identities, consolidated our assets and resources, and now must create a unified marketing campaign. Here's our new name, family: Learn it, love it!
I think I'll just stick to my tidy-white generic napkins… Unless I cave and go for the coasters.