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Are You Making the Change?

February 23rd, 2010 by     


Changing your name is clearly a very personal decision.

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What's My Name?

I see plenty of good reasons to change my name, and plenty of good reasons to keep the one I was born with. More than anything, I just like my current name. It sounds good together, and in a small way it tells a little story (though I can’t reveal that here since we don’t dish our real names). Its a name that I’ve been attached to, or has been attached to me, for 36 years. Changing it now feels as strange to me as it would to suddenly be raven haired, 6-inches shorter or speaking a new language. An altered parallel-universe version of me. Bizzaro Snapdragon.

I received a long email from a recently married friend who laid out, at length, why it’s important to change your name when you get married. Among her reasons she listed that it shows respect to his family, it cements your status as a “cohesive unit” and positions you for a successful marriage (she claimed that every woman she knows who didn’t change her name ended up divorced). Well. I don’t know about those reasons. In fact, I flat out disagree with a couple of them. For me, the most compelling reason is actually down the road, if/when kids come into our collective picture. I want the same name as my children.

In truth, I go back and forth on the issue. Snapdragon dude, who comes from an uber-traditional family, says it’s up to me….though my guess is deep down he would be hurt if I didn’t make the change. Again, it’s such a personal decision and one I think each person needs to weigh carefully– and take any advice that comes along your path with a grain of salt. What’s right for me, may not be right for you. And I am thankful to live in a society where I am given the freedom to choose.

What I DO know is this: if you are planning to change your name, take a look at this website: MissNowMrs.com. If you have form-a-phobia like me, you will love spending $30 to plop in some details and have the computer spit out all the completed documents you need to register your new name with the various authorities (license, state, creditors, passport, social security, etc.). Awesome!

3 Responses to “Are You Making the Change?”

  1. Rachel Says:

    I do plan to change my name when I get married. I considered not, but I decided to for a variety of reasons.

    One reason is, a friend of a friend of mine had a huge ordeal when her new husband had an extended hospital stay recently. Because she didn’t take his last name, she had to spend significantly more time filling out forms and producing proof of their marriage to be able to see him and stay past visitor hours and fill out his insurance paperwork – mostly because they had different last names. Anyway, it’s one of those horror stories (that turned out fine, luckily) but which would have been made easier if they had taken the more “traditional” route.

    No matter what though, it’s definitely a personal decision, and you certainly have to do it for your own reasons!

  2. Lilac Bud Says:

    I considered not changing my name for a short period of time. It is such a personal thing. My current name has served me well for my whole life so far. Hyphenating was never an option since I’m carrying around a long last name and marrying into one that’s just as long.

    I am going to take his last name but I haven’t decided if I’m going to let mine go completely yet.

    Thanks for sharing that website! I’ll sure be using it!

  3. Jessica Says:

    My mom didn’t change her name and my parents chose to hyphenate mine. Dad was never quite okay with any of that. I think couples who maintain different last names can have long, successful marriages just fine. However, the fact that my parents couldn’t find common ground on such a basic element (how they will self-identify as a couple) was a harbinger for the divorce that came 12 years later. Moreover, Snapdragon Bud, your concerns about your kids are warranted. Growing up in more conservative circles, it was always a hassle to explain exactly how my parents were my parents to teachers and friend’s parents. It gave me a schizophrenic sense of self as their young child and I won’t even get into how difficult a surprising number of service providers find dealing with a hyphenated last name and how it invites nosy questions.

    No surprise that I’m taking my husband’s last name when we get married.

    Also, for a DIY approach to name changes that can save you $30: http://www.thethirtysomethingbride.com/imported-20100102151706/2010/2/10/save-yourself-the-thirty-bucks.html