‘Made In Chelsea’ star Ollie Locke has revealed that he intends to change his name to Ollie Locke-Locke, following his engagement to fiancé Gareth Locke.
“I like the idea that his family and my family will be joined together,” said the reality star, who was friends with Gareth for more than 10 years before they got together earlier this year.
While Ollie’s decision to double down on his surname may be unusual, double barrelling your name after marriage is less so. Two years ago, a YouGov poll found 8 per cent of the population would choose to combine surnames with their partner if they got married, and despite the quadruple-barrelled names this may land on some undeservi offspring, the trend doesn’t look set to slow down.
For many, double-barrelling feels the more equal option. For others, it’s just an excuse to get a fun name. When Emma Keef, a communications officer from York, married her husband, she ended up with a Rolling Stones-related joke for life:
Meanwhile Emmie Harrison, 25, a features writer based in Hackney, London, will become Emmie Harrison-West when she marries her fiancé, Jethro West, next summer. Jethro, 23, intends to use the combined name as a reflection of their “entirely equal relationship”.
“We’re entirely 50/50, 50/50 on who does the cooking and cleaning, and 50/50 on food, bills and rent. It’s equal, just like men and women are equal,” Emmie explains. “He knew from the first day of being engaged that I would refuse to take his last name. As a feminist, why would I agree to lose my identity to a man?”
The couple toyed with the idea of Jethro taking Emmie’s surname, but have settled on going double-barrelled. “It means we’ll both suffer when we have to change our bills and passports!” Emmie jokes. “Times have changed now – women aren’t identified by men any longer and I think your name should represent that.”
Matt Millin-Brawn, 33 says combining surnames felt like the natural choice when he married his wife Caz, 30, in July. The London-based couple are yet to change their names officially (although they do intend to), but are already using their double-barrelled names in day-to-day life.
“We chose to double barrel as we both wanted to keep our own surnames but also signal the start of a new chapter together,” Matt explains. “Combining them, and both taking each other’s surnames, was the most equal starting point for both of us. It just felt natural. It’s been three months since we got married and I couldn’t feel prouder to be able to call myself a Millin-Brawn.”
In contrast, entrepreneur and mum-of-six Vanessa Ogden Moss, 42, from Derby, admits the decision to add her husband’s surname to hers was more practical than romantic.
“Four years ago, when I got married, I wanted to set up my website for my online business. VanessaMoss.com was already taken, so I googled vanessaogdenmoss.com and when I saw it was free, I decided to double barrel my name,” she recalls. “It was more of a business decision.”
When she revealed the name change to her husband, he didn’t seem to mind much: “I remember he [had] a huge smile on his face when I told him, so I think he also liked the idea of me adding his name to mine.”
For Ryan Brown, 25, from Hertfordshire, the decision of what name he goes for isn’t so simple: he is facing the same conundrum as Ollie Locke, having fallen in love with a person who shares the same surname. However, unlike the reality star, he and his boyfriend don’t fancy becoming the ‘Brown-Browns’.
“We may actually both revert to his mum’s maiden name (Croft) when we get married instead,” Ryan explains. “I think his reasoning is that he finds our surname ‘boring’, and potentially as a way to remember his nan who passed away last year.”
Although double-barrelling might be coming more commonplace, Alice Beverton-Palmer, 32, from London, says she’s sometimes surprised by the reaction her new longer surname gets. She and her husband have both adopted “Beverton-Palmer” to maintain their heritage and “to show that something has changed in our relationship, especially if we have children”.
“What’s struck me is how what I see as very simple equality – two people, two names, smushed together – is read by other people,” she says. “In this way, it’s been a useful litmus test for people’s attitudes to gender roles.”