Relationships

My Biggest Wedding Question

My Biggest Wedding Question

I’d love to ask your advice…

This past May, my boyfriend and I traveled to San Francisco to celebrate my birthday. We decided to splurge on a fancy Nob Hill hotel (it was a big birthday), and the porter led us to a beautiful room on the 14th floor. My last name is Cahn, but since my boyfriend had made the reservation, every time I called the front desk I was greeted with, “What can I help you with, Mrs. Glovinsky?” I’ll admit, it filled me with a secret flash of excitement each time.

Maybe I had sensed what was about to come. That Sunday morning, as we cuddled up in our California king bed, gazing at the skyline out the window, with room service eggs on their way, my boyfriend asked me to marry him. He laughed about how he’d had the ring in his pocket the whole day before, but since we were running around the city meeting friends, the right moment had never come up. I was thankful for that — my day-old-mascara streaked face, uncontrollable grin, and blubbering ‘Yes’ was not meant for public consumption.

I’m excited about the fun wedding-y decisions ahead — flowers, food, dresses, music — but there is one question that feels more serious: Will I change my name?

My brain has now entered a googly-eyed, post-engagement state of love mush. Although I never thought I’d change my name, suddenly the idea of the two of us — and any future children — having the same team name makes my heart swell.

But on the other hand, I am proud of my name. I have been a writer for over ten years; my byline is my badge. I remember the first time I saw Megan Cahn in the masthead of a magazine. It gave me such a thrill — much more so than hearing “We’ll send your food right up, Mrs. Glovinsky.”

The majority of women in the U.S. change their name after marriage, but I understand the 20 percent or so who chose not to. I recently read an essay by a woman who had taken her husband’s last name, but changed it back two years later — even though they were still happily married. “I learned during this time that you may do something for love, but if it’s incongruent with your own values, it will resurface,” she wrote in her thought-provoking piece.

My fiancé (still feels weird to call him that!) is neutral on the subject. His mom never took his dad’s last name. No matter what I decide, it will be my choice. And it’s nice to know, I can always change my mind.

older-married-couple

I’d love to know: Will (or did) you change your last name after getting married? Would you hyphenate your name? What about your kids’ names?

P.S. 15 wedding dos and don’ts, and the most amazing wedding readings.

(Photo by Leon.)

  1. K says...

    Hello! First of all, what a happy time in your life!! I hope every aspect of the planning is wonderful, including this decision.

    My mom never took my dad’s name (as the story goes, my mom hadn’t really considered changing it, but dad sealed the deal with “I wouldn’t want to change my last name, why should you?!”). It made sense considering my mom was already years into her career and very proud of the name she built there. But oftentimes throughout her life, she still many days where she was Mrs. My-Dad’s-Last-Name from my friends, people we knew in town, or a very traditional grandmother (ha). And even though I have my Dad’s last name, people would use her last name for mine at different events, which I never minded and was still perfectly true (even if it wasn’t the name on my birth certificate).

    I think even if legally and professionally you keep your name, there are still opportunities to have the family team name very present in your life. Which, to me anyways, is the best of both worlds and something I plan to do when the day comes.

  2. Elle says...

    What about you both taking YOUR last name?! It seems so unheard of but honestly, why not?

  3. It is definitely something worth to disuse prior the wedding. I think with a right person I would be ready to change my surname but than again it is a part of culture I was raised in. Best wishes, Iga x http://www.igaberry.com

  4. Sarah says...

    I want to be all “Everyone do what’s best for you…” but I honestly feel very strongly that a woman should not take her husband’s last name. It is absolutely archaic and messages to everyone you know, as well as your future children, that you husband’s identity is more important than your own. If you want to have the same last name as your spouse, you can both take a combined or hyphenated name. Or better yet, your husband can change HIS last name… there is NO reason why a woman should be changing her last name, but the man keeps his own.

    • Tis says...

      Yes! When I had to broach the subject that I would not be changing my name, he listened respectfully. It was clear this was YET ANOTHER thing women really wrestle with and men don’t give a thought to. He ended up saying, “Well I get it and I’m fine, but I’d like to know that if I did ask you to, you would change your name.” To which I had to gently explain that, well, no, I wouldn’t, even if I was asked, that was the point. Thankfully, he got it, but just to be clear I said, “If you are willing to discuss changing YOUR name, then I guess i have to get on board with discussing changing my name.” Well, that made it clear! :)

    • Sarah says...

      The idea that choosing my husband’s name sends a negative message to my children is ridiculous, Sarah. In my marriage, our last name shows our children my husband and I are united in all ways, forever.

      Have you considered that to some people, a name change with marriage is a “get to”, not a “got to?” It’s all a matter of perspective and a personal choice. If Americans were required to keep their birth names, we’d be freaking out at the injustice of it all.

  5. I am still very young (18) and therefore marriage is obviously a lonnng way off (haha), but I’ve always envisioned changing my name… depending on what it would be changed to. If I had a shorter last name, such as your lovely one, I would go for the hyphenated option, but my last name has always been a source of annoyance for me (it’s Ingwersen – literally no one ever spells or pronounces it correctly on the first go). But this is all hypothetical and so far off for me; I suppose we’ll see!
    Hope to hear about your decision soon. XO!

  6. Franzi says...

    Hi Megan,

    that is a really big question. Two friends of mine gambled about their family name (he lost). My sister changed her name as a surprise present to her husband on her wedding day. That was super emotional for everybody. I am a scientist and reading my name on my papers must be similar like you reading yours. It’s like my brand label. How can I ever be without? So I decided to stay with my name.
    Good luck with all the preparations coming up!
    franzi

  7. Tanya P says...

    I used to think that taking my husband’s last name was a sign of becoming, how did one gal say it, chattel? And then I remembered that the tradition of giving a female child her father’s surname comes from the same place. And so I thought, who cares? I took my husband’s last name because I liked it and knowingly traded one unpronounceable surname for another. Our kids have his last name because it would be confusing to give them surnames no one else has.

    That said, many cultures use surnames to trace lineage in beautiful ways. My husband’s Filipino family, up until two generations ago, gave the mother’s maiden name as the child’s middle name – both parents were represented and one could determine which two family lines had blended.

    In a community I lived with in Kenya, when a couple married, the groom’s middle name became the bride’s last name, thus signifying that she was the wife of her husband and not his father. It’s patrilineal in a different way.

  8. When my son was born, my partner and I weren’t married (it wasn’t legal at the time) and he got a hyphenated last name so that his connection to both of us was clear. We retained our own names. His dual name made life easy when either of us needed to handle kid business – school, doctor’s visits, travel reservations. I am a school administrator and we have all sorts of names (and cultural traditions about them) represented at my school. 16 years into parenting, I’m now really glad my son and I share a name. I feel sad for moms whose children don’t have their name as part of their identity….an opinion I don’t share unless asked! If I were doing it all over again, I’d still hyphenate my child if I wasn’t changing. Or I’d change and we’d all be the same. But either way, my child and I would have the same name.

  9. Rach in Oz says...

    I didn’t change my name.
    I like that it reflects my roots (albeit only the paternal side).
    I’m proud of it. Like you Megan, I’m a writer and I’ve worked hard for my bylines; my name is such a strong part of my identity. Changing it would feel like putting on a coat that wasn’t mine. I’m also personally uncomfortable by the history of said tradition and what it signified in terms of ‘ownership’.
    We hyphenated our baby’s name – a first for both our families. I’ll admit I like to hear such an explicit reference to me, her mum, when I hear her name spoken. When people ask me what will happen if she gets married/has children, I say ‘Whatever she likes!’

    • Joanna says...

      I completely agree! We will also include both of our names as a last name.

  10. tam says...

    We are engaged and had discussed the fact that I didn’t want to change my name. But then, when our baby was on her way, the discussion became bigger. I felt that we needed to make final decisions on naming so that our child had a surname chosen before she was born. Would it be her dad’s surname or would we hyphenate? I didn’t want to change my name but also didn’t particularly want a different surname to my child. One day my partner said he had worked out what he was comfortable with. He didn’t want to change his name and didn’t want any of us to hyphenate. He suggested our baby carry my surname and he keep his. I didn’t even think this option was on the table and am grateful for the suggestion. I love how secure he is in his skin and our relationship to go with this.

    • My husband has actually suggested this. How has it worked out for you?

  11. isavoyage says...

    I did not change my name.
    Also, i did not marry.
    But still, if I were to marry (which i won’t), i would keep my name, just ’cause it’s mine.
    My son has both names, his dad’s and mine. This way, we’re a team!

  12. To me it sounds a little shocking that most commentators here don’t even take into account the possibility to chose the women’s maiden name as the team name for all family members.

    • Apple says...

      I agree, but having asked my fiancee about taking my surname instead (and he is a very modern liberal man) he looked a bit worried. It’s so rare that the man takes the woman’s name that I think he was a bit weirded out by it. I also fear if he did that he would be teased by other men for being under my thumb, or in some way I must be bullying him to do it… Crazy but I fear, true… I’m taking both names, I’d love it if he did too, but I don’t think he will. Sigh!

  13. I got engaged this past April, and in the flurry of decisions that must be made – I’m glad I had already decided to take my fiance’s last name. I can’t wait to become our own family unit and share bed, roof, food and a name!

  14. Linda says...

    I was happy to take my husband’s last name and looked forward to it. We have kids and it simplifies everything to all have the same last name. My husband’s parents gave him 2 last names (maternal & paternal) in addition to his first and middle names, so he has 4 names. It makes things difficult on legal forms, and he has always hated the inconvenience and confusion that it usually causes.

  15. Madi says...

    I kept my last name when my husband and I recently got married. It just feels more natural to me. We haven’t hyphenated and I don’t think that we will. We have brought up how to approach this with our kids and have considered hyphenating for them, but we also have talked about them taking his last name so that in the future (should there be daughters) they can choose to keep their own last name too. Who knows? Its an adventure together :)

  16. Belinda says...

    My husband didn’t mind, and romantically pointed out, ‘I fell in love with Belinda King (my surname), not Belinda Woods (his surname). ‘
    Also I want my children to know they are Kings as much as they are Woods, so I keep my surname. I see it as we are both from two powerful houses, the King and the Woods clan, so neither of us can relinquish our title. My kids have their daddies surname though, my way of letting my husband know they’re definitely his ;)

  17. Always a debate in my mind. We already have kids and they have his last name. We affectionately call ourselves a combination of our names (i.e. If his name were Goldman and mine were Smith we’d go by Goldsmith) and a lot of the time people will call me his last name… Or I use his when I order food and stuff cause it’s more common. Someday I’ll change it and just tack his on the end professionally, but I’m in no rush.

  18. This is a tough one. I changed my name for a few reasons – I am not that close with my family; my maiden name was long, unpronounceable, and came from a part of my heritage I didn’t feel much connection to; I honestly liked my husband’s last name on an objective level; and, if I’m being honest, I was a bit frustrated with all the confusion that arose from my mother keeping her name and having a different last name from the rest of us. I also got married young and a few months before making a dramatic career change, so it was easy to start afresh with a new name.

    I find the feminist judgment on this topic to be tiresome (though in most areas I am in lockstep with mainstream feminism) – you know you’re not keeping YOUR name, but your father’s name, right? The patriarchy still wins! BUT the reason I have had some doubts since I changed my name is the snide remarks and judgment I get from other women. In certain circles in the U.S., the split is not 80-20 but more like 50-50 (or even more) toward keeping names. And the offhand comments of friends and acquaintances have made me sometimes feel like I messed up and my new name telegraphs that I am not a real professional.

    Not sure public criticism is a good reason to do or not do something – but my feelings felt real to me, for sure. I know some people who have made up a new name or a combo name – but I have always been interested in family history, and the idea of making up a name without a connection to culture and heritage bothered me. I also think hyphenating everyone’s names could work, but my maiden name was so long that it would have been a crazy mouthful.

    Good luck! At the time I thought the decision was easy… it’s only with time that I’ve wondered if I did the right thing.

  19. Michelle says...

    From a quick skim of the comments it seems like almost everybody ends up being truly happy with their choice. (The few exceptions include hyphenators with unwieldy names, and the people who took their spouse’s name and got divorced.) So maybe it’s hard to go wrong here.

    That said, I don’t think it’s honest to say (as some commenters have) that taking your husband’s name is also a “feminist” choice. It bugs me when people claim that the options are equally feminist. As an analogy, I wax off lots of my body hair, and that’s not a feminist choice. It’s my “free” choice, but not really: it’s a choice loaded with all kinds of internalized social expectations about female beauty; if I didn’t do it I’d feel super unattractive; AND men don’t have to deal with this choice. Choosing to wax my legs perpetuates these norms, so it would be silly to call it feminist. Name changing is similar: it’s a patriarchal tradition, there’s no expectation men will do it, some men still feel upset if their wives don’t take their name, and women by and large assume the full burden of anxiety about the decision.

    Feminism helps even the playing field and helps make women’s choices truly free. We have choices THANKS to feminism. Not all choices are equally feminist.

    Fortunately, I don’t think we’re obligated to make feminist choices in every single detail of our lives to identify as feminists. That would disqualify nearly all of us. Hairy legs would be tough one for me. Keeping my name was an easy one, thanks to all the women who went before me. But it isn’t an easy choice for everybody, and changing your name doesn’t mean you’re not a feminist or you’re a “bad” feminist. Women have all kinds of reasons for taking their husband’s name. Maybe your maiden name is Pimplebutt and your husband’s name is something awesome. Maybe a “team name” is really important to you and your husband refuses to change his. Your feminism, no matter how deeply held, doesn’t have to trump every other value or desire in your life.

    • Jess says...

      I think you put this really well and it made me happy to read!

    • Tis says...

      Yes! And feminism looks different for everyone. I could never change my name. It makes me sad when other women do. That’s completely not the point. The point is we all get to make these choices, of our own accord. That’s a huge win for all of us women! We need to encourage each other to make meaningful choices, support each other in doing so, and celebrate the outcome, regardless of our own opinions.

  20. Ellen says...

    We were together for 10 years before marrying and had a child together during that time. That child received my last name as a second middle name and my now-husband’s last name. Having gone through those years with different last names AND a child, when we married I did take his last name. But I just added it on to my own, full name. I now have four names, just like both of our boys and we all share the same last name. I far prefer it this way.

  21. Congratulations!! So much more excitement ahead. You’re feeling weird calling him “fiance”… Well, brace yourself for the “husband” :p.

    It was never a question for me to change my last name or not. No one in Vietnam changed their names after marriage and my American husband understands that well. I’m incredibly proud of my last name and happy to stay the same. I do understand your feeling when it comes to the children tho… It does feels nice to be called the same, because you’re all on the same team. We don’t have any plan for children yet in the near future but we still discuss it occasionally.
    I want a hyphenated last name for any children we might have. However my last name is “TO”… You see, it sounds a bit ridiculous to use with any other last name, no matter where it stands. My mother often joked about how she’s a lonely Nguyen versus the three To-s in my little family. Now that we have this discussion, I think of that more and more. I thought of having them carry my last name as a tiny bit of the Vietnamese heritage that they will carry for the rest of their life, too. Imagine all the time they have to explain their strange sounding name’s origin… They’ll remember the story well :)

  22. Karen says...

    We’re common-law spouses (in Canada) and have been together for more than 15 years. I’ve always kept my maiden name, and we decided before they were born that we would give our first-born (who turned out to be a son) his father’s last name and that our second-born (daughter) would have mine. Sometimes school staff don’t realize that they’re siblings (since they have different last names), but apart from that minor quibble, the arrangement so far is working well for all four of us.

  23. kaira says...

    I’m in the creative field myself and relate so much to the feelings you’re having. There is so much hard work, many years, and pride that goes along with establishing your name in your given field, the idea of letting it go is heartbreaking. I still wanted to use the name that was so much apart of my identity and career. However, it meant quite a lot to my husband that I take his name (big Italian family ;-) ) and as you said, it feels so nice to form your own little family and be a “team.” So with all those feelings, I came to the decision to make my maiden name my middle name, and legally take my husband’s last name. This way I get to pick and choose when I want to use a particular surname and with in the acting union my name remains my maiden name. Truth be told, it’s kind of fun to have moments when I’m one and moments when I’m the other, but they both are still there on my driver’s license/passport for people to understand who you are and filling out various types of paper work. No matter what you decide, I’m sure you’ll find a fit that feels right for you! Congratulations on the engagement!

  24. Eli says...

    I’m getting married and I’m changing my name. I am independent and I like the idea of keeping my own, but I’m also a philologist and I love words – his surname is just so beautiful and mine is pretty popular. I’ve got no problems with career, because I’m just starting, but if I had an established position I probably would keep my name, or make it hyphenated.

  25. Jessica says...

    My husband and I took each others name, no hyphen, just double barrelled. We did this when I was pregnant with our son as it was important to us to teach our son about equality — both of our families deserve to be represented, and we belong to each other, just as our son belongs with us. It’s liberating to start a new family name to reflect our values of adventure, humour, equality, family and empathy.

  26. I remember commenting on this topic when it was posted before, but, a few more years into marriage and now with a son and baby on the way, my thoughts remain pretty much the same! :
    My husband and I both hyphenated our names (“My name-His name”) and now our kids have that name, too. Sometimes I feel it’s a bit clunky, but I love the meaning and the image of both of us coming together as one. We definitely wanted the same name (and wanted our kids to have the same name), so that was our first priority. Our children are, of course, welcome to do whatever they want to their name someday if they get married – shorten it, change it, make up a new one with their future spouses; we will totally understand whatever their decision. But this was the right way to do it for us, since my husband is so connected to my side of the family and we wanted both of us to be represented in the name. Also, though long-ish, it’s still only 3 syllables and shorter than many standalone last names. So that helped. Lastly, I loved that we both had to go through the name change process together. It made starting a new chapter together that much more official and exciting.

  27. Sheila says...

    First of all congratulations! I kept my name after trying to use both names for a few years – it’s human nature to just say the last of the two names so it didn’t feel right. Then we had kids. Once they went to school it became an issue – for me. I wanted to make sure folks knew I was Daniel and Ben’s mom so I would often be Mrs. Kesner at school and Ms. Dowe everywhere else. That was the perfect compromise. Early in our marriage when someone called me Mrs. Kesner, I’d wonder why they were talking about my mother-in-law. Now, I know of links me to my boys -who are now men. I made the right choice for me, and if you follow your gut, you’ll make the right one for you!

  28. Kendra Wilkins says...

    It did take me a few years to change my name. But when I was pregnant j knew j wanted the same name as my children. And I named my son my maiden name so it worked quite well.

  29. Joanna says...

    But then again, unfortunately, the kids, almost always, get the last name of their father !

  30. Joanna says...

    It is not a question in Greece anymore. Nowadays almost no women changes her last name.

  31. Amanda says...

    Kept my last name. Had his last name engraved on my wedding band. Our kids (okay, our cats) have his last name.

  32. AussieChick99 says...

    I didn’t change my name, because like you (and many of the other commenters) I had already established a professional identity around that. My husband is in the same profession, so he totally “got” that my identity as an individual already had a name and didn’t mind in the least. I would also feel weird (as a tertiary educated woman of independent means) being thought of as an addendum to or chattel of my husband.

    My son has his father’s surname, because that is the Aussie thing to do, but I remember a German friend of mine being shocked that we would do that, he said that in Germany it would be expected that a child would have it’s mum’s surname!

    I do know of one male colleague who changed his surname upon marriage. There are lots of rude comments, and I wonder that nobody thinks it strange for a woman to change her name but everybody thinks poorly of a man who changes his name. It also created merry havoc with work as his qualifications are all under a different name (bachelor name, maybe?).

    Congratulations, and Im sure that whatever you decide will be right for you.

  33. Stina says...

    Don’t do it. Currently getting divorced (which I never thought I’d get obviously). Keep your name. And Cahn is cooler than the other one regardless. Maybe your future husband can take your name?

  34. Vicki says...

    I kept my name. But I had really only ever thought about changing it for a hot second and even in a moment of what would this be like? made a shutterfly account with mt husbands last name (it’s still there and it seems really weird that I ever did that) The idea of changing my name was always weird to me – and why my name why not he take mine? As writer too, I think I didn’t want to see another name in print that didn’t feel like mine. It felt like it would be a different identity. My husband didn’t care that I kept my name (but did say no to the idea of taking mine, for a lot if the same reasons I felt weird about having on other name) We have two boys they have his last name and middle names from my family. It doesn’t bother me when I’m called by their last name, but I’ve never regretted keeping mine

  35. Kerry says...

    I love my husband (haha obviously) and his last name, but would NEVER change my last name. The tradition is rooted in our terrible patriarchal history. As women, we really don’t have to impose this decision on ourselves anymore. Men don’t agonise about this. The amount of time you would spend in your life clarifying that you did not change your last name is far less than you would spend on the paper work to change it. Plus I was always really proud that my mom didn’t change hers.

    If spouses want the same last name, why fall back on regressive gender norms? You could put both names in a hat, chose one, and both use it. Or both hyphenate. Or, if it’s a heterosexual marriage, and it really matter to the guy, he should change his, in recognition of context and history.

    When it comes to kids, this is my idea (sorry for the long post but I’ve put a lot of thought into this!): Pass on maternal last names to daughters and paternal last names to sons, taking one from the mom’s side and one from the dad’s side (i.e. daughters get both grandmothers’ last names and sons get both grandfathers’ last names).

    Sounds confusing but it honestly makes sense. Here’s how it would work, starting from today (i.e. assuming you and your partner don’t already have hyphenated last names):
    –> Woman Road & Man Stot have a daughter, Jane Stot-Road and a son, David Road-Stot
    –> Jane Stot-Road & John Kirpilani-Siv have Son Stot-Siv and Daughter Kirpilani-Road
    –> Daughter Kirpilani-Road & Guy Carter-Ross have Boy Kirpilani-Ross and Girl Carter-Road

    It’s similar to the system in a bunch of South American countries, but retains matriarchal lines and patriarchal lines equally.

    I admit there are a few problems with it: (1) Hyphenated last names aren’t great; (2) siblings of different sexes have different last names; and (3) if your kid turns out to be trans, I’m stumped!

    But I think perhaps it’s worth it for the gender equity and the cool connection to matrilineal and patrilineal lines.

    I’d love to know what others think.

  36. 13 years later, I’m still delighted to have retained my last name. Even getting married at 23, I knew I would always be *me* forever. We’re not having kids, so I don’t have to worry, but I would mostly give them a hyphenated last name (for ease of traveling, etc.) or my last name (I’m the last in a lot of generations).

  37. I come from a place (French Canada) where relatively few people marry, and where it’s actually not legal for spouses to change their name after marriage. Many (most?) children have hyphenated last names.

    My husband and I live abroad now, so I could technically change my name to his. I think once we have kids I’ll use his last name socially in some situations, but my name is so deeply mine that I can’t imagine changing it.

  38. Kept my last name. I’d recommend it.

  39. Sonia says...

    I live in South Korea, where women do not, and historically have never, changed their names when they get married. I’m American and my husband is Korean, and I decided to go with the Korean tradition of keeping my family name. We’re thinking of giving our kids a combined name (our last names blend together nicely anyway).

    Just because it’s a Western tradition doesn’t mean it’s right all the time!

  40. Dalia says...

    I live in Quebec, Canada and it’s not really an option to change your last name. I mean you can do it, but it’s expensive and complicated. Everyone in Quebec just keeps their maiden names but as a result you see a lot if kids with hyphenated last names which becomes a problem when two people with hyphenated last names have children as there is a limit in this province on how many last names you can have! That aside I am a vet and so I’m doctor K—- to my clients and colleagues. All my degrees are in my maiden name and I am proud of what I have accomplished. I have this theory that changing your name was really for women when they got married at 16-18 years old and just went from their fathers home to their husbands home. Now that woman are educated and have established carriers by the time they are married the practice is outdated. I could see the problem with not having the same last name as your kids. My kids have my husbands last name but that’s not an issue here because everyone is in the same boat!

  41. Rosemary says...

    I had no choice because where I live in Quebec, Canada, women must keep their birth name all their lives. Children take the name of their father, but can have hyphenated last names including both parents’ last names. I’ve always felt that this is a wise way to do things, and find it somewhat demeaning to give up one’s name upon getting married. I should say that Quebec is the only province in Canada with such a law.

  42. Brittany says...

    I struggled with this very same thing. Ultimately, I chose to keep my name…it just felt right. I’ve always liked my last name and I didn’t feel okay with having to sacrifice such a big part of my identity as a woman when most men don’t even have to think about it. It’s been two years now and I’m still very happy with my decision. Any future children will have hyphenated names.

  43. Laura says...

    I think it is a truly personal decision based on your own life and your own history. I grew up with a mother and father who had the same last name and that was the primary deciding factor for me changing my name when I got married. Also, my husband really wanted me to change it. Not in a possessive or jealous way but in a sweet “that means we’re really married” kind of way…I do miss my maiden name a little but I feel that fading over time. What’s funny is that now that I’ve changed my name, I feel like no one should have my old name anymore. I recently saw my brother’s business card and thought to myself, “He must not have had new ones printed yet.”

  44. Lee says...

    I didn’t change my name because I take issue with the antiquated tradition. At one time, it signified ownership and in some place that’s still true. I can’t get on board with that. Thinking about these small actions – like giving up your name – and their very real repercussions is how we affect change and the systemic oppression of women.

  45. Stephanie says...

    It’s very much a southern thing, but I changed my name, dropped my middle name and my maiden name is now my middle name. I never considered not taking my husbands name, but my dad had three daughters and he appreciates that his name lives on in all of us as our middle name. Logistically, it’s also helpful. My mom did the same thing and when her dad was in the hospital it was helpful to have his name as her middle name because they never second guessed that she was family

    Also, congrats!!!!

  46. I changed my name only because my maiden surname was incredibly common so I could never get gmail (or any other account for that matter) with my name :) I would always be viv number fifty-hundred. Now with my hubby’s surname – no problems!

  47. Jess O says...

    I think I always knew I would never change my name. Probably the feminist in me, but I didn’t see why I had to change such a fundamental part of myself (my name!) just because I got married when he wasn’t expected to make such a gesture. (Plus I worked hard for my doctorate and am published with my name! I love when my students call me Dr. or Prof. O’Hara and can’t imagine having a different name.) I don’t even remember if we had a conversation about it, but in the end my partner told me that one of the reasons he loved me was because I wasn’t the kind of person that would change their name and that meant a lot. I also lost my father at a young age and so my last name has extra meaning to me that I can’t part with. We have a daughter (and another on the way) and they both will have my last name as a middle name and his last name. (Interestingly my sister recently got married and also chose not to change her name. I will say this is surprising only because our larger family is more traditional and I got a lot of not so nice comments when it was clear my name wasn’t changing from extended family).

    In the end, do whatever feels right (always go with your gut) and congratulations!

  48. Allison says...

    I always thought I would change my name, but then when it came time to actually do it, it just didn’t feel right. My husband was supportive of whatever decision I made. I was almost 30 when I got married, and just kept thinking about how I’d be nearly 60 by the time I’d lived with my new name for as long as I’d lived with my birth name. Occasionally I waver and wonder if I made the right choice, it seems in my circle that nearly everyone changes their name. But ultimately I know it was the right choice for me.

  49. Well like you said, it is completely your choice. I personally took my husband’s last name, but we live in a free world. As long as you are happily married, the name does not matter at all.

    Abby | Life in the Fash Lane

  50. Samantha says...

    I did change my last name, but since I didn’t have a middle name, I also changed my maiden name to my middle name. I’m glad that I kept in one shape or another.

  51. I dropped my middle name and made my maiden name my new middle. That way I have both. I still use my maiden name professionally and use his last name as my normal, given name.

  52. My boyfriend’s ex wife has the same first name. Yup, new adventures of old Christine-except I’m new Christine. For legal and financial reasons, I’ll keep my name if we choose to marry. Plus, I have an interior design business in my name, so I’ll keep it.

  53. emily says...

    It took 30 years for me to make a name for myself — and I kept it. We gave my son my last name as his middle name, so he has both parents’ names.

  54. Caitlin says...

    I’m in the same boat right now! I’m leaning toward changing it and keeping my family name as a middle name because I realized the main things holding me back are 1) the hassle and 2) the fear that it would make me a bad feminist. My fiance is neutral as well but I think would like us to share a “team name” …and petty me would hate the idea that his ex-wife still has it if I didn’t take it. So I’m all over the place, with only 57 days to the wedding!

  55. I didn’t think twice about taking my husband’s last name. As much as I miss my family name, I feel like taking on my husband’s last name and living away from my family has helped me be my true self. Now I am much more independent and love being Mrs. Salazar, and hearing my daughter say her name or it warms my heart when she says we are the Salazar family Mama. I think women get hung up on not wanting to lose their identity and the name change may make a difference, but I personally do not think that is the case. No matter your choice, the more important choice is choosing a partner who will allow you to be yourself and elevate you–the name has nothing to do with that.

    xo Lendy
    http://www.twoplusluna.com

  56. Diane says...

    I kept my maiden name as my new middle name. It was a discreet way of honoring myself as an individual and everything I did before I got married. Every time I sign my name, my middle initial is a quiet source of pride.

  57. Rebecca says...

    My husband took my last name, and it was his idea :)

    • Kerry says...

      Love it!

  58. Julianna says...

    I changed my name on social media, but at work I still use my maiden name and I never legally changed it. More out of laziness and a recently renewed passport than any sort of opinion on the matter though.

  59. Kristyn says...

    I have kept my name which when growing up, I never thought I would do when I got married. My name is 9 times out of 10 mispronounced (as ‘pickle’ I should add) so I always thought I’d drop in a heartbeat. I don’t know if it was becoming a teacher and hearing my name said multiple times a day but when it came time to changing it, it just didn’t feel right to me. This was MY name. I considered hyphenating it for about 3 minutes, but as one might imagine, very few names work well with ‘pickle’. Now I have a daughter and she has my husband’s last name which is now her last name. Since having her I feel even more resolve to keep my name so she sees it as an option for herself if she gets married in the future. I think you should do whatever feels right to you!

  60. Alison says...

    Getting married in two months and have always known I’ll never change my last name! Not having kids, so don’t have to worry about some of the complications that can cause… but wouldn’t do it even then. Whatever you do, I’m sure you’ll make the right choice for you.

  61. jones says...

    I did not change my last name. I was in my 30’s and established in my job and did not want to change it for professional purposes. I also ended up not changing it all because I have a very common first name (as does my husband) and he has a very common last name. I felt like I would just be one of hundreds of people with that name and it made me sad. My last name is short and sweet and unique. We do not have children (and may not), so I can appreciate more issues exist with that, but our arrangement works for us.

  62. Heather says...

    I assumed I’d take my husbands name but then kept dragging my feet. It didn’t feel right and I realized how much of my identity was in my name; I didn’t want to give that up just for a societal norm. I tried keeping my maiden name as my work byline and my husband’s name outside of work, but the lines blurred awkwardly as I became friends with my colleagues. I didn’t want to have to go by two different names so I just decided to keep my maiden name, and five years later I’m so happy I did.

  63. Nina says...

    I was given two middle names at birth in as a way to include my mother’s maiden name and my father’s surname. When I married it was a hard choice to keep all my names and transition from 4 given names to 5 or drop my father’s name? I decided to drop it and keep my mother’s and I haven’t ever looked back. Now, several years later, I feel like I was always meant to have my husband’s surname.

    • Maureen says...

      Same- I had four names because my mom didn’t change her name and she gave us her name as a second middle name. When I got married, I dropped both of those names and just took my husband’s name. So I’m down to three. We have kids so I like having a family name, and I don’t regret the name change one bit. It feels like my identity even more than my maiden name did because of the partnership aspect. My maiden name just felt like the name my dad passed down, and this one feels like the family I’ve created.

  64. Cynthia says...

    I changed my last name when I married, and so did my daughter who was married last summer. I didn’t even think about hyphenated names, because it would have been too long.

  65. Caroline says...

    You already have a zillion comments, so I’ll try to keep this short. I assumed I’d change my name because I had a pretty common one that I wasn’t that attached to, but then I met my husband, a Smith. Because mine was also one syllable, I use all three professionally, no hyphen, and didn’t drop any names legally. It just feels like a bonus name, without any sort of connotation more than that we are married.

  66. Andrea says...

    I haven’t read through all the comments but has anyone suggested that your fiancé change his last to yours??!!!!! It seems to me that Cahn is a lovely last name :) When I got engaged my now husband was totally up for taking my last name- a few of his male friends had done so with their partners. It is 2016 time to think out of the box!!!

    • Rebecca says...

      Same! My husband took mine.

    • Lizzie says...

      That’s great. I think another excellent way to choose is to go with whichever name is most aesthetically-pleasing. My husband’s name (Cogan) won out.

  67. Sarah says...

    I majorly struggled with this for exactly the reasons you mentioned, but ultimately changed my name. My mom kept her name, and people were always getting it wrong, teachers would ask if she was my “real mom” (her name is our middle name and my dad’s name is our last name), when my dad was hospitalized they didn’t immediately believe that she was his wife, etc. Reflecting on her experience growing up, I decided that I would change my name, mainly because I do want children and I figure it will just be easier long term. If I was not going to have children I am quite certain I would have kept my name. But I do have flashes of doubt and I am always jealous of women who kept their names. I think it’s certainly more common now than it was 30 years ago, so maybe it’s not as confusing today.

    I did take my sweet time changing it though- I didn’t decide until 10 months after my wedding and was only forced into a decision because in my state, if you wait longer than a year, you have to petition the court to make a change. An interesting question that I got frequently during that time- “What does your husband think? Doesn’t he want you to change it?” I am fortunate that he recognized this was my name and therefore my choice and told me he wanted me to do what I wanted. Though frankly I don’t think I would have married someone who felt otherwise!

    • Vicki says...

      It has changed so much! I have two boys and it is fairly common for moms to keep their last name – still in the minority, but I find that people apologize for assuming that I had the same last name rather than question me about whether I’m really their mom or his wife.

    • Suzie says...

      I agree this was probably the experience of many of our mothers when we were growing up, if they did not change their last names. However, I didn’t change my last name and no one ever asks me those questions. We also have a child and no one ever asks me if I’m really his mother. (My son has my husband’s last name.) I’m in a professional field and many women in my field (nowadays) do not change their last names. I make it a point to correct people when they assume that my last name is my husband’s. Funny how many people, even good friends, do not realize that you have a different last name even if it’s right in front of them on emails, mail, etc. I still get Christmas cards with the wrong last name.

  68. Rachel says...

    I felt the same as you. I thought I would never change my name, but then I was so excited about the family we were creating together and I wanted something symbolic to show how I was “all in.” So I changed my name. But honestly, it’s such a pain, and it kind of erases your identity before marriage, if I had to do it over I wouldn’t change it. I don’t care enough to change it back (it’s really not a big deal either way), and three years in I hardly think about it. But I wound do the same thing again.

  69. Ashley says...

    Here is a different perspective – I am a woman married to a woman, so there was no “norm” for us to deal with.

    When we got married last year we both changed our middle names to my last name and our last names to her last name (for example if I was Sue Smith and she was Betty Black I am now Sue Smith Black and she is Betty Smith Black). Professionally we go by both names since we’ve each established ourselves in our fields. But casually we go by her last name (Sue and Betty Black or The Blacks). It sort of softens the blow of being called something different from what you’ve known for 30+ years!

    As everyone else has said – it is a personal decision based on your own family and circumstance. For us, it was a matter of practicality (her name is easier to spell and remember) as well as emotionally what we felt worked for us.

  70. I never considered not taking my husband’s name, and was very excited to. However, I kept my middle name and did away with my maiden name entirely, which I now regret. Perhaps one day I’ll add it back in, even if cumbersome. It seems to be such a personal decision. Also with work, your accomplishments are yours no matter what last name is attached to them. You will have earned it and have the portfolio/resume to show for it, under whichever name. Or, a pen name!

  71. Ever since I was a little girl, there was no question in my mind (or in my home, or family) that I and my sister would each keep our last names when we got married. It’s part of my identity. My mother kept her maiden name, and her last name is the middle name for my brother, sister, and I, so it’s sort of hyphenated. When my wife and I got married three years ago, we each kept our last name. But now the question of kids…whose last name will they have? Hyphenating with our two last names in particular sounds weird, and my middle name (my mom’s last name) would be left out. It’s really tough! I want a team name too…for my WHOLE team, parents, siblings, kids, wife, and all.

  72. Joy says...

    I recently found out that in the state where I live, if you want to change your last name after a divorce, you have to get permission from your ex-husband if there are children from the marriage. What?!? Also, it is the law that a baby must have the last name of the father, even if the father is not involved with the pregnancy or the baby.

    • What?!! That is crazy!!

    • Michelle says...

      Are you kidding with that????unfortunately I don’t think you are. What state is THAT? If you don’t mind revealing that is. I cannot believe how misogynistic that seems.

  73. Nan says...

    CONGRATS! I’m a writer as well. Legally, I decided to take my husband’s last name because it made me feel like we were a team. But I also love my maiden last name, so I made it my middle name. At work and for my byline, I use my maiden name, which doesn’t bother my husband at all. Several other women at my workplace have done the same thing. Hope that helps! Enjoy the engagement season. It’s such a special time.

  74. NSU says...

    I took my husband’s name legally, so our future family would all share the same name, and my legal middle name is my maiden name. However professionally, I continue to operate under my maiden name.
    I feel like I get the best of both worlds: continuity at my job (feeling feminist!) and in my industry while still having personal, familial connections. My family is very large and proud of our name (my maiden name), so I also like that I kept it as my middle name, and its our kid’s middle name too, so in that sense they are as connected to my family. I actually rarely used my married name until we had a child, and now I have settled into it much more. Even going through building security (I live in NYC and my job involves lots of meetings in other people’s offices), the guards “get it” when they see my first and middle name as what was entered by my professional contact.
    The one and only complication I have encountered (other than the whole rigamarole of legally changing one’s name–it’s a pain) is booking business travel and explaining for the umpteenth time to my assistant that my name is NOT a hyphenate:)
    Best wishes!

  75. In case you need an 800th person to give advice:)–
    I kept my name. But instead of hyphenating our children’s names, they each have two middle names. Their “real” middle name and then my last name. Its a mouthful now, but we figure they can choose to use it or not when they grow up. For the present, it comes in handy to have my name in there (as they have their father’s/my husband’s last name.)

  76. Michelle R. says...

    I lived in Spain for a few years, and I ended up somewhat adopting their (sur)naming conventions. There, each person has two last names: their dad’s (first) last name, and their mom’s (first) last name. The dad’s last name is always first. So you’re still inheriting the patriarchal names, but at least you get one from each side of your family. So I kept my last name, and our kids have two last names.

    Yes, there is a lot of people who really hate the idea of a hyphenated last name, but where we live there are also lots of Hispanic families so I think our kids will have lots of classmates with more than one last name, too. The U.S. demographics are shifting, so maybe one day it won’t be such a “thing” to have everyone in the nuclear family with the same last name.

    I’m really happy with my decision, very grateful my husband was on board, and I have no regrets. My daughters have both of our names, and they can choose what they want to do when they marry.

    I have several friends who have admitted to me that they wish they hadn’t changed their last name; and if it wasn’t such a pain in the ass, they’d switch it back.

  77. Laura says...

    My boyfriend and I are not married but have a baby. We could not decide who’s last name the baby should have! It felt so great to be able to chose either one without having to pick the patriarchal name just for traditions sake, but it also felt sad for my boyfriend not to have his name even in the running just for the sake of not being traditional. In the end we decided to let chance make the decision for us: the girls name we liked went well with my surname and the boys name went well with my boyfriends name. Since we didn’t find out the gender of the baby until the birth both that and the last name were a mystery! He’s a boy :)

  78. Congratulations!! It’s such a fun time in your life – enjoy it! I changed my name, but I definitely struggled with that decision. I also played around with keeping it professionally, as I own a custom wedding stationery business, and didn’t want to have an abrupt name change be confusing to my clients. I ultimately decided to just change it across the board, and while it took me a little bit to feel comfortable with it, now I love it! To me, it feels so unified to have the same last name as my husband, and I kept my maiden name, and just added my last name on to the end, so it didn’t feel like I was giving something up so much as adding a new part of my life on.

    But all of my friends have handled the change all different ways, so I think it really comes down to finding what works best for you! Good luck!

  79. Erin says...

    I kept my name when I married for several reasons. One reason was that my husband’s last name is a fairly common Irish surname and my first name is Erin which equals a lot of people with the same name I could have had. My last name is very uncommon and I’ve always been attached to it. I was happy not to change and my husband didn’t care (though other men tried to make him feel like I somehow had too much power in our marriage), and no paperwork was involved not to change! Now we have 2 kids, ages 6 and 4. I do have to explain often to people that I have a different last name than my kids (annoying! I gave birth to them!) and my husband, but once most people know they respect that. I’ve given up correcting the random people that call me or meet me once, it’s too much work to correct them. I do wish I had the same name as my children, however. My son has my last name as his middle name, so that gives us a name connection. I call us the “My name His name” family. Most people close to us have caught on and address us in the same way. I have moments where I think I should hyphenate my name now to use socially but keep only my maiden name professionally. Honestly though, that sounds like too much work at this point! I’m still happy with my decision not to change and the annoyances I experience occasionally don’t make me regret it. Congrats on your engagement and good luck with all the choices (easy and hard)!

  80. Shannon Schnurr says...

    So my mom didn’t change her name and and brother and I were hyphens (“Vincent-Brown”). And even though it was a little annoying having a hyphenated last name I liked my name. But when I got married almost 6 years ago I had a hard time knowing what to do. If I kept my hyphenated last name then what we do for our kids? A triple hyphen seemed ludicrous. And I wanted to have at least a part of their name match mine. So, I changed my name to my husbands. It was just easiest to get us on the same page as a family. I had female family members who were very disappointed by my choice but it was just what made the most sense and ultimately it was about the new family I was created (with my husband and now our kids). One thought though, I did have a friend whose husband was willing to change his last name to hers. Just saying :)

  81. Amy says...

    I took my husband’s last name and added my maiden name as a second middle name – it feels like I’ve added to my identity rather than losing a name or changing. This was just about a year ago, however, and I still haven’t settled on how I prefer to use it! Generally by default most people call me by my new last name, but sometimes I prefer writing both my maiden name and new last name. I did start a new job right before getting married, so professional consistency was less of a factor for me.

    My husband and I discussed our options quite a bit before getting married. He doesn’t feel especially tied to his last name and his parents are divorced, so we could both have switched to his mother’s maiden name, or both have switched to my last name, and I’m not sure I can say all the reasons why we did it the way we did except that it felt right. Or most right, out of all the options!

    • natalie says...

      I did this too! And we often refer to ourselves as a mashup of our last names, which was a running joke while we were engaged.

      We will also name our children with my maiden name (I really don’t like that phrase!) as their middle names. It seemed easier than going hyphenated, and then the mashup name feels less like a joke, too.

  82. Amy says...

    I’m in my thirties, I live in CA, and I got married a few months ago. Among our friends and co-workers, women keeping/changing their names is about 50/50. I was initially thinking to keep my last name (I am Asian, with a definitely-Asian-last name, and my husband has a very WASPy last name) because like other commenters, having a last name that doesn’t appear to “match” one’s ethnicity can be kind of a hassle dealing with strangers’ comments or questions. However, I realized there are so many “John & Yokos” on the west coast especially, I probably won’t be questioned all too often, if at all. BUT, aside from that, I also no longer feel a strong connection to keeping my maiden name (my father’s last name), because as I’ve grown older, my relationship with my father has unfortunately changed for the worst, as I’ve learned more about my parents’ marriage, my father as a person and his side of the family. I just don’t feel compelled or obligated to carry it on for him or his family. I know it sounds harsh, but honestly I feel more proud carrying my husband’s name for myself and my children going forward.

  83. I took my husband’s name. Having been a teacher and school administrator I always got confused about who the parents were of kids with parents with different names. Because of that, I felt it was important that my whole family have the same name. Luckily, I like my new last name. Maybe if I didn’t I wouldn’t have done it! It does feel good knowing that we’re all connected in that way. Many other parents are surprised when they learn I took my husband’s last name. Where I live, I’m in the minority. As others have said, do what feels right to you and your husband. You’re a team now! Gotta make decisions together.

  84. Bea Nestor says...

    I would take his name! I took my husbands name and have just loved it. In answer to Shakespeare – there is something in a name. It makes you feel like a unit. It made me feel closer to his family – like I was officially one of the clan. It still gives me a thrill, 3 years later, when someone calls me Mrs. Nestor. My marriage and my husband are some of the most important pieces of my life. Way more important than any job. Taking his last name was a public way to say to the world – we belong together. Also – when your friends get married – they’ll be grateful for an easy address on the wedding invite :)

  85. bridget says...

    I hyphenated my last name when I got married… and wish I just kept my maiden name without the hyphen. It is was so long combined. A few years ago after marital bumps, I “officially” dropped his part and the hyphen. Legally it is still hyphenated, but professionally and for anything I sign, I use my maiden name. 3 of my 4 kids use my maiden name on social media and joke that they are going to officially change it to my maiden name. It isn’t hard to change it legally, but costs about $450 to file with the courts and its a pain, so unless I get divorced, I won’t legally change it, but ugh! I really like my maiden name,

  86. Legally, I didn’t change my name, and I’ve gone back and forth on whether or not I’d ever choose to do so. Right now, it’s a “no”, but just before my son was born (last May), I seriously considered it.

    Professionally and socially, I use my husband’s last name. For me, this strikes a good balance – I retain my former name identity at the core, but nominally, we’re on the same team. :)

    Good luck, and congrats!

  87. Jennie says...

    I got married two years ago and I ended up waiting 6 months before deciding whether to not to change my name. There’s no real reason you have to rush into it. After 6 months I realized I actually did enjoy being called “the —s” and wanted to be publically “linked” to my husband. I have a really unique maiden name, however, and still didn’t want to give it up, so I added it as a second middle name. That way I feel like I didn’t lose the original me, just added a new part, exciting part on. Plus, it looks like a boss to have two middle initials. ha.

  88. Kate says...

    I’m getting married in September and have been feeling the exact same was as you are: looking forward to being an official, titled unit but sad to lose my family name. In the end, I have decided to change my middle name (which I do not have a strong connection to) to my maiden name.
    To me it is the best of both worlds!

  89. Mo says...

    I kept my last name.
    For me, there were more reasons to keep it then to change it. I think every person has a different reason why it’s important to change her last name or to keep it. The important thing is to actually take the time and think about why you want to do it and not just change it because, well, that’s just what you “do” when you get married.
    I get “Mrs insert my husband’s last name here” from time to time and it totally makes me smile. I never correct people. I love being his wife and I love that it didn’t even faze him that I wanted to keep my last name. He sometimes is called “Mr insert my last name here” at other places. He also doesn’t correct them. It makes us laugh.
    As for our future children, that is still a debate. I believe each couple should way the pros and cons for them as a family and their core beliefs. We will likely just use my last name but that works for us. The important thing to remember as everyone says their opinions AT you is to know what, at the core of your chosen partnership, works best for you both.
    Congrats!!!!!

  90. You think you have problems…. when I married my fabulous husband, I’d had my first husband’s last name for 10+ years. It’s a common name, like “Miller.” My maiden name is Italian; many struggle to pronounce and spell it even though it’s phonetic, like “Comminello.” So I had MANY choices: take my fiance’s name, return to maiden name, or stay with the “generic” name I’d had for most of my professional life.

    But it got trickier. My fiance had changed HIS name in college. He gave up his Jewish name and took his mother’s complicated Armenian maiden name, like “Der Mardrerosian” after his parents’ messy divorce.

    My Dad insisted I take my fiance’s name and got mad and patriarchal when I said I wanted to return to “his” name. But it was hardly “patriarchal” take my husband’s mother’s name. (His dad’s name was out of the question, of course.) Plus, everyone would mistake me for Armenian when I’m Italian! Armenians are great but I am so not Armenian.

    Another option was for my husband and me to both change to a new name, but he refused, saying I should choose whatever I liked. I also could gone with “Comminello-Der Mardrerosian,” but that was a crazy mouthful.

    I gave up and stayed “Miller.” I regret it often, but changing it is complicated. And, after nearly 20 years, I still don’t know if I’d prefer my maiden name or my husband’s. (My Dad, aged 101, has finally come around to approving either option, since he never liked my first husband. And he calls me “Mrs. Der Mardrerosian” no matter how often I correct him.)

    My advice: trust your instincts. You know which name will make you happy now, so choose it. Don’t try to second-guess your future self. And don’t let my father tell you what to do!

  91. Katie says...

    Before we got married, my husband and I decided that no matter what, our kids were going to have my last name. I birthed them, I felt, they should have a piece of my name.

    But the dilemma was, I didn’t know what last name I was going to have. For the first year of our marriage, I kept my maiden name and hemmed and hawed.

    Ultimately took my husband’s last name because it is waaaaaay easier to spell. I hated always having to spell my last name a kid. It was constantly pronounced incorrectly too. I didn’t want our kids to go through the same battles.

    Simple, for me, was best.

  92. I hyphenated my name because I am an only child and I wanted to keep my family name somehow. My kids have the same hyphenated last name, so the 3 of us have the same name and my husband does not! We tease him all the time to change his name to ours because he is the odd one out. We do know a family that has the same hyphenated last name – including the dad. By the way, one of my kids is a boy and surprisingly we know a few boys with hyphenated last names. So – what will happen when my kids get married? That is their problem :)

  93. KM says...

    My birth-given last name (Atkins) turned into Moreno c/o of my marriage. We live in So Cal (prevalent Mexican/Hispanic/Latino population), and I’m a white-skinned redhead. Once every few months, when asked my last name by someone of Mexican/Hispanic/Latino descent (always a man mind you) and I tell him Moreno, I get an incredulous look in response – I can see him wondering “how did that happen?”. It’s funny. And I’ll say, our two daughters are also some good-looking, light-skinned Morenos themselves.

  94. Alex says...

    I’m getting married in a few months and plan to change my name for my own personal reasons (and use my last name as my middle name for professional consistency), but I’ve experienced a lot of aggressive push back from women I thought were friends and respected. It’s like the pendulum has swung in the other direction – I’m being told I’m a traitor to my gender and feminism because I’m perpetuating a patriarchal norm.

    The argument of keeping your own last name as to not follow the antiquated tradition of taking your husbands’ is hilarious to me – 99% of the time, your last name is your fathers’! You are already participating in an antiquated tradition of being a “man’s property” by using your father’s last name. We can’t even say “ok, then I’ll use my mother’s last name instead” because her last name was HER fathers’! It’s a rabbit hole.

    My point is – use whatever name you want. Yours, his, make up a new one out of thin air – who cares! It’s your name! But don’t let someone else’s soap box sway you.

  95. Gabriela says...

    I changed my name (and actually ended up with a very big one), because I wanted to have the same name as my children.
    My mom never did it when she got married and, since I’m half japanese and do not resemble her so much in physical appearance, it always felt weird for me growing up not to have something to prove straight ahead to people that I was her child. It somehow made me feel disconnected.
    I live in Brazil and here, once you change it, you can’t really go back unless you get divorced, but even if you do, you don’t have to. Me and my husband have an agreement that I’ll keep his name, even in the (hopefully unlikely) case we split up, because it will always be our baby’s name.

  96. Ellen O'Connell Whittet says...

    Congratulations on your engagement! I got married a month ago and went over this debate for months (I am also a young writer)– ultimately you have to follow your instinct, but I also loved hearing people’s experiences and opinions.

    In the end I kept mu name AND took his name, so that I could be ambidextrous. It’s a mouthful, so I’m able to use either name for whatever purpose I confront. Professionally I will keep my maiden name, legally I have both listed as my last name, and for family purposes I can use his last name. It felt like the right mix of not losing the identity I have crafted for 30 years, while taking on a new identity. Good luck with the decision, and enjoy every second of the planning–it goes by so fast!

  97. First of all, it’s refreshing to hear about a couple who got engaged without the pinterest-perfect photo shoot included. Bravo! Second of all, I love the idea of a “team name” for the kids as well. What about making Cahn your middle name and going for a full name bi-line? Seems like the best of both worlds to me!

  98. Mindi says...

    My husband and I were together for twelve (yes. Twelve.) years before legally marrying this past October. I did not take his name. He still gets a little upset about it at times, and I think
    some of his (not mine!) older relatives were surprised, and some still address me as Mrs. His-Last-Name (I don’t mind, but have corrected them when the opportunity has arisen).

    What’s really wonderful is that you have choices! It sounds like whichever way you decide to go, there are lots of other women, and men, out there who are rocking their kept last names, combined names, hyphenated names… It’s great. Best wishes for your engagement. :)

  99. Lindsay says...

    I’m getting married in just under 3 months and I cannot wait to take my fiancé’s last name. I love my current last name, I love my family and have absolutely nothing against keeping it, but I am thrilled that my fiancé and I will be one new family unit and be identified as such. I will always be a “insert last name here” and I know that will not change but I look forward to our kids sharing that name with us. Any way you choose will be perfect for you and whenever you come to your decision, I hope it brings you warm fuzzies inside. No one else’s opinion matters here but yours and your fiancé’s.

    Congratulations and Happy Birthday!! Enjoy this time as much as you can! :)

  100. Linda says...

    This is a very personal and confusing decision (on top of many others as you plan life and your wedding!), and I envy people who “know” off the bat if they’re changing or keeping their names!

    I ended up using my husband’s last name as my middle name–I got to keep my last name, don’t have to worry about the length of hyphenating both our names, and his name is officially (somewhere :)) on my documents. (Though I think if I could do it over, I would have changed my last name–I just needed time to get used to it.) I still use my last name professionally, as I’ve always done, but I use his last name socially.

    One thing I do want to add, is that this process can be confusing for the guy, too… he supports your right to choose but may secretly prefer that you use his name and doesn’t want to pressure you in any way. I’ve seen glimmers of this sentiment post-marriage. At this point in my life, I don’t feel as attached to my last name, so I may eventually swap them. I think at the time, the decision was a way for me to hold onto my independence–I may be getting married, but I’m still me! But really, you are still “you” no matter what you choose as your last name. :)

  101. Caitlin says...

    Hello and Congratulations!!!

    I didn’t have a problem changing my last name, but I also didn’t have any career-related considerations. But, just to hold on to a piece of it – I added it to my middle name (so now I have two middle names).

    Maybe figure out if it’s harder to change it or change it back – you could always take his name after you’re married and thought about it awhile. Have fun!!!

  102. Katie says...

    I haven’t read through all the comments (so many!) but I was recently married and did not change my name. Somewhat because I had work published in my name, and somewhat because it just felt WEIRD and identity changing at this stage of life.

    My mom didn’t change her name and really I can only think of one or two times where it really confused anyone or I had to remind them more than once. It’s not uncommon for kids and parents to have different names, with people keeping names and divorce/remarriage. I would not let that dictate your decision, or wait until you have kids to see!

    I do have a number of friends who have not changed, and it seems like they also had mothers who didn’t change their name or were divorced.

    • Ash says...

      Amen Katie! I kept my name (married three years ago) and have been surprised at how surprised people seem to be about it. It felt WEIRD and while there are a dozen other reason I use to justify having kept my name – I really shouldn’t have to. I love my name.

      The most surprising part has been the subtle pushback I’ve gotten, I’m a big believer in “to each their own” but some women seem to feel that my decision condemns their decision to change – it doesn’t! Even the wedding announcement writer at the NYTimes had a hard time with it, he wanted to put at the end of the announcement “the bride will be keeping her name” and I told him it seemed like a pretty normal decision and didn’t warrant the highlight. He was very taken aback!

  103. Madita says...

    Men (almost) never waste even a single thought on changing their name. So why should we. It’s an out-dated thing which goes back to the tradition of first being your father’s property until being handed over at the altar (exchange of properties) and thus turning into your husband’s property. I think we’re well past this era and can live as happy female individuals not belonging to anybody other thank ourselves. I am German and unfortunately we can’t do hyphernated names for our kids. Our little boy has my last name but as his daddy’s last name is Fuchs (= fox in English), our baby’s middle name is Fox. We will probably get married next year and will both keep our names.

  104. Susan says...

    I married in 1976. Not many changed their name. It never occurred to me to change my name. For the first couple of years I was surprised at some hostility I encountered. We have come a long way! When our child was born I didn’t want to saddle her with a hyphenated name so she has my husband’s last name. Then people who didn’t know me well thought she was from a “broken home”. My daughter kept her name as many of the young professional women I know. They don’t want to lose the recognition of work they already published or are part of their identity. Some will go by their Mrs name in social situations. It is an open field on how you decide to go.

    If you marry in California, you must choose what name you will go by after marriage. There are lists on the paperwork about the acceptable choices; take spouse 1 name, take spouse name 2, (no husband and wife designation) hyphenate in either order, contract and combine names to make one shorter name and the list goes on. You must choose how you will be known legally at that time. If you choose later you must go through court proceedings to do a legal name change. When I married it was assumed you would take your husband’s name so no formal paperwork was needed. I just didn’t change my name.

    Best wishes for a happy marriage. You will make the right decision.

  105. Rebecca says...

    I don’t make it a habit of telling people what to do – truly! – but keep your name. I’ve been married thirteen years and have a child and honestly, none of the reasons women give about changing their names makes much sense to me. It’s your name! That you’ve had all your life! And families these days rarely all share one name, at least for long. A name is not what makes a family.

  106. Amanda says...

    Congratulations! What an exciting time! I’m getting married in October and this one was (thankfully) a no-brainer for us. My fiance loves my name, I love my name, and like you, I have been writing under my name for a decade. Even if I hadn’t been though, I’m attached to it and feel very strongly about my name and its representation of my family and identity.

    On the other hand, I hear you—there’s something incredibly romantic about ringing in your new life with your spouse by committing to sharing a name. There’s pride there. But I feel that we’ve been conditioned to take pride in the act of immediately changing one’s name after getting married, rather than encouraging each individual couple to make the decision for themselves and go with what feels right. Would we feel as romantic about keeping our own names if society encouraged that option more?

    I’ve known couples who merged their last names into one so they could share a combined name with their children. I understand how much it means for an entire family to share the same name. My parents divorced when I was a kid, and remarried each other a decade later, but in the interim my mother kept my father’s name because she didn’t want to have a different name than her children.

    Bottom line — it’s your life! What feels best to you?

  107. Cristin says...

    I decided to change my name, but keep my (maiden) last name as my middle name. Also, at work, I still go by my maiden name on everything except for financial forms, so there is continuity in my published name. So, at home, I have one last name, at work I use another. It confuses the occasional administrator, but generally it’s worked great for me! Oh-and my kids have my husband’s last name, so when we’re as a family, we all have the same last name.

  108. I kept my name, as did most women I know who got married in their thirties. Conversely, almost everyone I know who married in their early twenties changed their names. I think those of us who got married later have established our identities – professional, personal – and our names are who we are.
    Also, my husband didn’t care whether I changed it or not.
    All of our kids, though, have their father’s last name. I don’t mind at all having a different name, it just doesn’t seem like a big deal to me.

  109. Lindsey says...

    I took my husband’s last name. It was not a difficult decision for me, and I have no regrets now. For me, a special thing about being married is sharing the same last name as your partner. My (unsolicited) advice is to do whatever feels right to you, regardless of what we’re all saying.

  110. Kim says...

    Congrats on your engagement and happiness!!! I know plenty of establish professional women who have advanced degrees or publication history under their maiden names. I don’t see anything wrong with changing your name legally, but still using your maiden name for your professional writing. That way anyone searching for your writing career can find everything before/after your marriage can find you, but your husband/kids can all have the same name.

  111. POL says...

    I’m getting married in a few months. I didn’t think twice about changing my name but mostly because I’ve never been a huge fan of my last name. My fiancé and his mother are the only two people in their family that have this last name. I like the idea of him and I starting our family fresh with so little history behind the name.

    Now if I could just wrap my head around sharing a last name with my future MIL…

  112. Mallory says...

    Megan, I am a 24 year old soon to be lawyer and I got married a year ago another an attorney. My experience so closely mirrored your own reaction. Ultimately, I choose not to change my name. This was amazingly easy – no paperwork! I feel as though I got the best of both worlds, because I am frequently called Mrs. Cwach, my husband’s name. And guess what, I am thrilled with that. It does not have to be insulting. Our children will have my husband’s last name. But my name will be incorporated as a middle name or my son might bear my first name as a middle name, I just love Jack Mallory as a name! Also, do not feel pressure to decide. I have many friends that changed their last name a few years down the road!

  113. shannon says...

    Meet in the middle! I recently got married was also on the fence about changing my name. I decided to move my maiden name to my second middle name and take his last name.

  114. Laura says...

    I love my last name – in fact, a ton of people in my life call me by my last name. So when I got married, I didn’t want to lose it, but I wanted my husband’s last name too. So I dropped my middle name (that has never particularly meant anything to me), and replaced it with my maiden name, and took my husband’s last name. And now I go by my full name – first name, maiden name, new last name. I love them all – it feels like the most accurate description of who I am.

  115. Jane says...

    Although I got married fairly young (at 23, my husband was 26 at the time), I never changed my name. Two reasons: I like my name. And I’d already had a pretty serious body of work under my own name. Plus the whole endeavor seemed like it required too much effort: between changing things at the DMV, the Social Security Administration, banks, credit card companies, student loans, etc. Just too much work. We have 2 kids, both of whom have my husband’s last name. I haven’t ever had a problem making appointments or picking them up. Funnily, because I work in our community, I’m more visible, so people assume that my last name is also my husband’s and he frequently gets called Mr. My-Last-Name instead of his own.

  116. Haley says...

    I know women who have kept publishing / performing under their maiden names, but legally have changed their last names. You could also incorporate your maiden name elsewhere, as a middle or first name of one of your kids perhaps?

  117. NAOMI says...

    I grew up with a hyphenated name (mom and dad are happily married, mom didn’t change her name). Logistically, it was a struggle- many state DMVs don’t have hyphen functions, organizations arbitrarily decide to use one or the other name when doing important things like issuing health care accounts. I have been questioned so many times at airport security. I am getting married in September and taking my (future) husband’s last name. Not only will it simplify paperwork (!) but it is nice to think about being a “team.” I know it will be a big adjustment, but there are other ways to honor my heritage and family.

  118. I’ve recently been debating this with myself too and have come to really love the idea of the hyphen. Literally a merging of your name and your new partner’s name just as you merge your families…

    xx

    bombshell-to-be.blogspot.com

  119. Katie FM says...

    My husband and I both hyphenated our names and our children will have our hyphenated names, too. As a teacher it is always confusing when parents have different last names from kids, so I wanted a family name. But the feminist in me couldn’t give in and give up my name. My husband gave my reasons right back to me when I asked him to change to my last name. So we mutually burdened ourselves with a crazy long last name. It is cumbersome, but it is the only thing that made sense to me. As a teacher I go by just my maiden name, but legally and at the doctor and on packages and credit cards etc. it is my long last name. The important thing is to talk it out with your fiance and know that you guys have a choice. You’re not stuck with only 1 traditional choice of kids getting dad’s last name.

  120. Loribeth says...

    I changed my name and at the time I felt positive, but not giddy, about it. Mostly due to family pressure, not really from my husband. But sometimes I wish I had kept my name, I was young but I still had professional accomplishments linked to my name and I loved the way it sounded.

  121. KB says...

    I’m having the same debate inside my head right now. I’ve decided to keep my name… based on the fact that whilst I considered changing my name, he never once thought about changing his. I think in the future if I want to share a name with my children, I would look at a hyphenated or new family name for all of us. I have a friend who’s mother’s maiden name was going to die out with his generation – so they both changed their name to his mother’s maiden name to continue the lineage. I thought that was nice.

    • Susan says...

      Your friend’s situation is exactly why a name change to the husband wasn’t required, at least in the USA. We took this part of law from England. I don’t know if this custom still exists in England .

  122. Kelly says...

    I love this conversation! Congratulations! Marriage is so wonderful! My husband took my last name. It frustrates me that this option is not brought up very often, and feels like a silent signal of our hetero-normative patriarchy. We were both very much wanting that “team” name, while undermining the tradition of acquiring chattel for a man’s family. We considered making up a new name, or hyphenating, but none of those ideas felt right. And then we realized- oh! There is SOMEONE ELSE IN THIS RELATIONSHIP WITH A LAST NAME WE CAN USE! My husband was known by his last name by his friends all through college; they still call him that. His father bristled at the idea, but at the dinner table one night, my husband’s mother said to his father; “you didn’t seem to care when I took your last name”. It feels like the reasoning for taking the man’s name is all stuck in the past. This conversation through this lens does not feel very feminist to me; it does not feel modern; and it does not feel inclusive. In fact it feels a little dated.

    • JM says...

      My husband took my last name too. It definitely ruffled some feathers with family for a little while–including those of my very traditionally conservative grandfather. Fast forward 10+ years into our marriage and most people don’t even think about it anymore. And my grandfather, who was originally so uncomfortable with the idea, told me that he was actually really happy that my kids would help carry on the family name.

    • Yael says...

      So true! I have a guy friend who took his wife’s last name, but he’s literally the only person I know. I wouldn’t consider changing my own name until it’s really an either/or option.

    • Lina says...

      That’s awesome!! So great you both came to this decision together and love his mother’s response to his father! I often hear about men being upset when their wives don’t take their last name and when confronted with the question of why they can’t just take her last name, every answer they come up with is exactly why women shouldn’t be expected to change their names.

    • elsa says...

      THIS.

      I sort of can’t believe how many of the comments here uncritically/unquestioningly bring up the idea of having a “team name” without ever once interrogating the assumption that the team name will be the man’s name.

      I also take issue with the notion that a maiden name doesn’t belong to the woman who has it, but rather, to her father — what makes a name yours if not a lifetime of identifying by it? Not to mention that, by that logic, only men ever have “real” names that “belong” to them, and not to someone else. No one ever raises the point that the man’s name is also “only” his father’s name.

      … not that this is a topic I feel strongly about at all :) Getting married in three weeks, and I’ve always known I’d keep my name. I’d love to live in a world without patriarchal BS, but we don’t, and I think there’s still a lot to dismantle even in something like names. The fact that 80% of women still take their husband’s name means something. The fact that almost no men take their wife’s name means something. Even if the gesture is just symbolic, I think symbols matter enormously.

  123. Laura says...

    Keep your name. You are family after you marry regardless of a new monogram. I kept mine and I proud that I did, as is my husband. If you feel differently once you have kids, you can always change it later .

  124. lora says...

    I took my husband’s name only because I’m not American and my last name was kinda complicated and I didn’t want to deal with my last name being misspelt all the time. However I kept my maiden name as my middle name.

  125. Morgan says...

    I’m not married, and who knows if I ever will be! But I’ve always known that I wouldn’t change my last name for so many reasons. I have my father’s last name, but was mostly raised by my mother (she kept her maiden name which is also my middle name) and step father (yet another name). Our family never had any trouble travelling, acquiring documents, banking, or feeling that we’re part of the same team. I’ve always thought of family as individuals with separate histories who choose to be together, not as the necessity of being called “The Samelastnames”.

  126. JB says...

    I have a fabulous group of girlfriends who all recently got married and NONE of them took their husband’s name. I’m getting married next spring, and I am taking his name, but obviously, I’m in the minority. The reasons they gave were interesting: they loved their name, they didn’t like their inlaws/felt closer to their own family, they were proud of their cultural heritage, they didn’t care if their kids had different last names, they felt it wasn’t necessary/expected anymore, and the hassle of changing all your ID, bills, banking, etc. was too much! Interestingly, we also had one couple who combined their last names into one new word and both changed their names! For me, though, it came down to one thing: my husband-to-be IS my family and we have a family name (that happened to be his first). He was completely open to me keeping my name (which is already, in itself, 3 words long so wasn’t going to double barrel it), but it was my decision and it feels right. I think that’s all it comes down to!

    • JB says...

      I should note, though, my one concern is in my work – professionally, I have a career as a certain name, but at 28, I feel like I’m young enough to make that switch and continue to maintain those connections/build my reputation. If I was older, it be more onerous.

  127. Laura says...

    This is not something that needs to be decided before your wedding. I waited five years after I got married to change my name just because I wasn’t sure. I tried out a few variations in the meantime and eventually made the switch when I had my daughter. I got rid of my former middle name, and took on ad additional last name. My daughter has two last names, as well.

  128. I feel really strongly about this. I wanted my husband to change his name! Who says the woman needs to be the name changer? Needless to say I kept my name. It’s my identity and always has been. I’m Italian and changing it to my husbands English name felt so wrong – my new name just didn’t feel or sound right, but I also had this nagging feeling that it was wrong for me as a woman to change my name and identity just because I got married. It sometimes still annoys me that my children have their fathers name and not mine, and I see such a loophole in the thinking of name changers when children from Divorced parents keep their fathers name but the mother either changes hers back to her maiden name or takes another mans name if she remarries….!! I just think it would be so much simpler and makes so much more sense for the children to have their mothers name! And if the Dad changes his then all the better, but I’m all for keeping your name!

  129. Melanie says...

    This is a great question. For me, I had no doubt I knew I would take my husband’s name (just celebrated 2 years and never looked back on that decision). We both consider ourselves to be feminists but also recognize that a lot of marriage is yielding yourself to the unit of your marriage. Changing my name felt like a natural extension of that. I love that we are called by our last name – I feel like it’s increased the united front of us together taking on life (not that you don’t do that with separate names).

  130. Amie says...

    Congratulations!!! You do what feels right. If you do and 3 years later it no longer feels right, change it. If it 30 years it no longer feels right, change it. Our names hold power, you just get to decide what kind.
    I have a son from a previous relationship and he has a hyphenated last name because his father and I weren’t married. I love having the same last name as my son. I chose to put my last name at the end of the hyphen so when his middle name and the first part of his hyphenated last name are omitted, he and I have the same surname. My current partner and I talk about getting married and he knows I will NEVER change my name. My name is mine. My name is my son’s. He is mine till the end of time and he carries a legacy of our family and I’m his link. It would break my heart to not share that with my child anymore. I do wonder if my perspective would be different if his father and I had been married but I don’t know. When my mother divorced my father she kept his last name so she and I would have the same name. She did it for the same reasons but she also hates having it define her because of what that name means to her. Now after 32 years of having another person’s last name she’s going to change her last name. She hasn’t decided what though, she doesn’t like her married name and doesn’t feel connected to her maiden name anymore either. She’ll figure it out and do what feels right to her.

  131. Susan Horridge says...

    My husband and I were married in 2005 (after many years of dating). It wasn’t until I was 8 months pregnant in 2008 that I changed my name. It was a hormone-driven decision – I HAD to have the same name as my baby! But now I regret doing it, or at least I wish I had given it more thought. I was 38 years old at the time, too, which I think made it a harder adjustment. I’ve always felt like I lost part of myself in the process.

  132. Marion says...

    I actually live in Quebec where you cannot change your name after marriage. And it’s always bothered me. While I respect both decisions, I think it’s just as terrible to force a woman to change her name than it is to not give her the choice. I think for me, the deciding factor was what happens when we have children. I would definitely want to have a common name as my children. After all they are my children and I would hate that they only identify with only one side of the family. Hyphenation is extremely common here, though I do wonder what happens when 2 people with hyphenated name have children?

  133. Rebecca O'Hare says...

    I get married in NYC in 13 weeks time (flying over from Ireland) and I’m 100% not changing my name. I’m quite proud of the fact that I’m not and don’t know anyone who has taken a similar decision. It personally bothers me that it’s always the woman who is required to change her name!

  134. Bethan says...

    I added my husbands last name to my own and use both last names, no hyphen. We agreed to gI’ve our children (four by now!) his last name, but they all have my maiden name as their middle name.

  135. Erica says...

    How Exciting! I am in the engagement boat as well with about 2 months to go! I plan to take my fiance’s last name and have considered following what my mom did. She pretty much dropped her middle name and uses her maiden name in its place. It has a great ring to it when put together and still honors both heritages. Congratulations to you both and enjoy this amazing season in your life!

  136. Emily S. says...

    For me, my maiden name represented a lot: my lineage/family history, my identity as a human and a feminist – it represented me and my ancestry. So when I married several years ago, I kept my name. It was a decision I’d made many years earlier: that I wanted to keep it if I married, because I was proud of my German-American heritage.

    I recommend keeping your name.

  137. Nicole says...

    That’s interesting for me because I had a hard time with that decision. First I wanted to change my name, as is traditionally expected in a way. But then, in the very last minute, I didn’t. Now after eight years of marriage I sometimes regret that decision. We don’t have kids but it would be nice to have the same last name, to show that we are a family.

  138. One of my biggest annoyances about the name change debate is the fact that regardless of whether you choose to take your husband’s name or not, the children end up with his name. So it becomes an odd-man-out scenario. One of my college mentors did something that I thought was really fascinating. She kept her name, and when they married, they agreed that the first child born would take her last name, and the second would take his last name. It so happened that the first was a girl and the second, a boy. So now the women in the family bear her name, and the men in the family have his. It’s one way to maintain that feeling of legacy for a woman.

    Personally, I took my husband’s name for the sake of simplicity, but changed my middle name to my maiden name at marriage. For me, it was a way to hold onto what made me who I am.

    • Kate says...

      “…is the fact that regardless of whether you choose to take your husband’s name or not, the children end up with his name.”

      What country do you live in?! That is absolutely not a “fact,” and it’s sad that so many women think they cannot pass their names on to their children. You gave one great example of how a woman can pass her name along, and another, of course, is hyphenating.

      The whole “what will people with hyphenated names do when they marry another person with a hyphenated name?”-hysteria is overblown. They’ll do exactly what everyone should do: think through all the options (BOTH people), and do what’s right for them, regardless of the pressures of tradition*.

      *That’s not to say they can’t pick the traditional option. I have a friend who changed to her husband’s last name because she thought of them as her real family and wanted to distance herself from her birth family symbolically and on paper. That’s a feminist choice.

  139. Pamela says...

    My husband and I got married in April. I wanted to change my name because it felt special and we are expecting our first child — something about all of us having the same last name just feels “right” to me. However, professionally, I have maintained my maiden name. I’ve been in the same industry for many years. Every contact I have ever made knows me by my maiden name, therefore, it just made sense to keep it. Nowhere does it say that you have to change your last name professionally.

    Take your husband’s last name & keep the maiden name for work!

  140. Colleen says...

    My husband’s last name is difficult to pronounce and spell. His suggestion was that I do not take his name for that reason. So I didn’t and almost 20 years later I am so glad I didn’t change my name. Congratulations and may you have a lifetime of fun.

  141. Michelle says...

    Congratulations! I got married last year and spent the months of our engagement considering this – keep name, keep name just for work, maybe hyphenate. After over 10 years of building my career after medical school I didn’t really give any thought to changing my name for work but deciding what to do the rest of the time was much more difficult that I expected. I had always expected I would simply keep my name but as I thought about what marriage meant to us as a couple I realised that creating the new ”The mymarriedname’s” was really important to me. My husband didn’t mind either way. I changed it for everything outside work and this was definitely the right decision for me. I have got used to my married name much more easily than I was a worried I would – it now sounds like ‘my’ name – and I think it has really helped to reinforce the sense of us as a new family of two.

  142. Amy Sather says...

    I did not take my husband’s last name, but our baby has his last name, mainly because he’s the only boy born in the family who will be able to carry it on. Hyphenating our child’s name seemed weird to me—what happens when he gets married? Will his partner take his hyphenated last name? What if that person wants to take his last name and their own and hyphenate? I know people who have had the mother’s maiden name be the middle name, but I already had that earmarked for something more important to me. Anyway, my decision to keep my own last name was born of two things, I think: pride (I like my last name and what it stands for and wouldn’t want to give it up) and laziness (changing your name on all your stuff is a PAIN). Plus also no matter what especially with kids you end up sacrificing a lot of yourself (or what you thought of as yourself) anyway and so why not keep a signpost of your individual identity? When I sign my name, I feel proud that although almost everything else has changed in my life because of this man, I am still somewhere the woman I was before.

    • Heather H says...

      Resonates with me completely.

    • Celia says...

      I think the answer to the double-barrelled issue is simple – our kids get to decide how they want to make it work when they grow up. I’m keeping my name, my fiancé is keeping his, and our daughter is double-barrelled. When she grows up we won’t be remotely offended if she combines her name with a spouse, picks one half of her name to be known by, takes his name or decides to go by her first name only, a la Cher! I think the concept of a single name carried on through dozens of generations is probably on the way out. And as someone who changed her name as a teenager (to my step-dad’s) I think a name decided by choice can be a lot more meaningful and powerful than one thrust upon you :)

  143. Charli says...

    Wow! There are a ton of comments on this subject. I didn’t change my last name. I knew long long ago that I wouldn’t do it. We will saddle our kids with the hyphenated last name. Adversity builds character and I hope that’s the worst thing they will ever have to deal with.

    Any woman who is engaged to a man and is on the fence about changing her last name should gently suggest to their fiance that they change their name instead. I am willing to bet you will get a shocked, “What? Why would I do that?” type of answer. There you go.

  144. Louise says...

    First of all, congratulations. This is an exciting time–enjoy it. I am keeping my name when I marry next year–something I always knew I would do. My name is who I am–the legacy of my parents and all those in my family who came before me. It is as much a part of my identity as my brown eyes. While my fiance and I will create a family together, my identity as an individual with my own name does not have to go away to be a part of the new family unit. To add an additional wrinkle, I am a single mother by choice and my son has my last name–something that won’t change when I marry my fiance!

  145. Congratulations Megan!!!!

    I got married in February 2015 and decided to take my husbands name, however legally I still have my maiden name. This is due to the fact I am British, he is American and we live in the middle east. We haven’t yet been able to change my passport over to his name but I am dying to get that name changed.
    I think everyone have their own ideas about their last name. Whether you stick with Cahn, take Glovinsky or hyphenate do whats best for you ;)

    Amy | http://www.yankified.com

  146. Congratulations:)

    It’s not a tradition in my family to take on the husband’s last name. I’m actually open-minded about it, except that my husband’s last name sounds really odd with my first name…..

  147. I’m happily married and I have kept my own last name.

    I don’t think taking my husband’s name makes us any more or less of a unit now that we’re married. Unfortunately I think a lot of traditions surrounding marriage are dated in our modern society. The implication of taking my husband’s name feels like I’m, in many ways, catering to him. Why not take MY name after all? I applaud the couples that do!

    For me, it was about keeping my own identity. I had my last name for 30 years, so I just didn’t understand why I’d suddenly NOT have that name now that I was married.

    Marriage is about way more than a name change and the wedding. It’s about accepting that sharing your life with someone is challenging and exciting and lovely and getting caught up in the norms is the last thing on my mind.

    Not only was my husband supportive of me keeping my last name, he named his boat after me — with my maiden name’s initial and all. Pretty progressive guy.

    Enjoy the engaged stage. What fun! And whatever decision you decide is ultimately up to you! Don’t listen to what any of us say. ;)

    • Heather H says...

      Well said!!