Until I got married, almost 5 years ago, I’d never really thought about marriage certificates. Even in the run-up to the wedding day, the certificate didn’t feature high on my list of priorities – or worries. Far more important was booking the venue (a lovely hotel in Bristol, in case you’re interested), buying the dress (though I only actually managed that the day before the ceremony!), choosing the rings and then hoping they didn’t get lost (my husband forgot to bring them to the registry office…yes, really) and booking the honeymoon (beautiful Rome).
I can’t say I’ve thought about the certificate itself a great deal since the wedding either. It’s filed carefully in a desk drawer and used from time to time to prove identity – slightly complicated for me at times (and for an increasing number of women) as I have kept my own surname for professional purposes. But that’s about it.
A friend’s Facebook link today – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-politics/11041636/Mothers-on-marriage-certificates-victory-Cameron-pledges-to-add-mothers-names.html – though, reminded me of one problem I do have with my marriage certificate: my mum’s name isn’t on it, nor did I have the option to have her name added. English marriage certificates haven’t changed significantly since Victorian times (some other parts of the UK do have different certificates) and the only parental information on the certificate for both bride and groom is about their fathers. Having been brought up in a single-parent family by my mother, I did find this troubling to say the least – and still do, if I think about it. However, today’s news offers hope in this area as David Cameron has reportedly pledged to change this antiquated practice and to ensure that mother’s names can now be added.
It’s been quite some while since I have applauded a Cameron decision, but I do applaud this. It may seem like a small thing to some, but it’s a step in the right direction to true equality – and many women – and men – will appreciate the choice.