How to Address a Widow Who Never Used Her Husband’s Surname?
How do you address a sympathy note’s envelope a new widow who kept her maiden name?
For example: Her name is Jane Smith and her husband’s name was John Taylor?
———————– Sausalito, CA
Address her using the name she has always used:
————Ms. Jane Smith
Them not using the same surmame made them no less married. In the note include something like …. ‘the loss of your husband, John”
In much of the world it’s the norm for women to keep their maiden name. In Much of Asia, South America and the Middle East women typically keep their surname when they marry. It’s really just the European cultures – and places influenced by that style – where women change their surnames.
— Robert Hickey
Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"
When Do Widows Prefer Mrs. or Ms.?
My aunt’s husband died several years ago and she has been seeing someone else for the past several years. They aren’t married but I am inviting him to the wedding too.
—-When addressing her invitation, I don’t know if I should still write Mrs. or if I should refer to her as Ms. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
Whether she prefers to be addressed as Mrs. (Name) or Ms. (Name) is her choice.
—-She may prefer Ms. (Her full name) since you are inviting her with her new beau.
—-She may prefer ‘Mrs. Richard Wilson’ (her deceased husband’s full name) since it is a family event. It’s no secret to her new friend that she was previously married.
The only solution is … call and ask. I’ve never encountered anyone who was offended when asked ‘what form of their name do you prefer’.
NOTE: It’s not a forms of address issue, there are a couple of ways to issue this sort of invitation.
—-#1) Formally – adult guests who do not pressent them self as a “permanent couple” (whatever that is) are issued separate invitations. This includes roommates at the same address and ‘dating’ adults who are living at different addresses.
—-#2) A bit less formally – the principal guest is sent an invitation and you tell them they are welcome to bring a guest. Not everything has to be formal, but I thought I would throw that in.
– Robert Hickey How to Address a Widow