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Wedding: My Last Name

by Meghann on May 24, 2012


I don’t plan to change my last name.

Wait, let me take that back. What I meant to say is, I don’t plan to change it completely. I’m going the hyphen route. Come January 5th, I’ll be Mrs. Meghann Anderson-Russell. Has a nice ring to it, right?

This isn’t a new revelation, it’s just always been my plan. Ask my high school boyfriend – it scared the crap out of him when i told him so matter-of-factly over dinner one night (not in a creepy one-day-we’ll-get-married type of way, but in a this-is-just-a-decision-I’ve-made sort of way). ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m not even 100% sure why the topic came up, it was just one of those random statements.

“I never plan to change my last name.”



“Not even when you’re married?”

“Not even when I get married.”

For some reason the idea really bugged this particular boyfriend, and he wasn’t the only one. I’ve had a couple of other boyfriends over the years that weren’t fond of the idea either, they didn’t even like the whole hyphen route. I guess it’s a good thing those relationships didn’t work out.

I knew that eventually I would find a guy who would respect my decision to want to keep my last name. He was out there – somewhere – and I did find him. When I told Derek that I didn’t want to change my last name when I got married (before we even talked about ever getting engaged) he just shrugged his shoulders and said “If that’s what you want – that’s cool.” He knew my mind was made up on the matter from the beginning and totally respected that. We’ve talked through it multiple times since then and – you know what? – he asked me to marry him anyways. I love that man.  

The truth is, I like my name. I’ve been Meghann Anderson since I was born. It’s who I am and I don’t see how keeping that part of me is really that big of a deal. So my last name will be a little more complicated with a hyphen thrown in at the end. Big deal. It’s my decision and I accept any complications that come with it. ๐Ÿ™‚

When the topic of future last names comes up with friends or family, I like to watch their reactions when I tell them that I’m keeping my last name and going the hyphen route. They almost always immediately look at Derek, or – if he’s not there – they’ll immediately ask what his opinion is on the manner. Funny how that works.

I think the biggest question after “What does Derek think?” comes “What about when you guys have kids?” Good question. Here’s where it get’s blurry. I’m not opposed to them having his last name (with Anderson as a middle name, perhaps?) or even Anderson-Russell. There’s no absolute answer yet and we’re ok with that. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. We still have a few years to think it over. ๐Ÿ˜‰

So that’s the story of my future last name. I’ll be Meghann Anderson-Russell and I couldn’t be more excited about it. ๐Ÿ™‚

How did you decide what to do with your last name? Did you always know you would change it/keep it or was it a decision that came later?

1 Lindsay May 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm

My husband and I both kept our last names and when this baby comes in July they will have both our last names hyphenated
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2 Katie May 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I like it! It does have a very nice ring to it. My mom hyphenated her last name when she married my Dad. I ended up with my Dad’s last name only.

3 claire @ the realistic nutritionist May 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Girl, I am SO WITH YOU on that one. Actually, what’s funny. My husband and I had a LONG talk about the last name thing. I told him I’m who I am and I don’t want to change my name, it’s who I know to be. He was really passionate (like, crying) about me having his name. So I obliged. I mean, he was passionate about it and he’s never really pushy about anything.

Well, here we are a full year and a half later and I’m still with my maiden name. hahah. So, funny how things work out!
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4 Lindsay May 24, 2012 at 12:39 pm

My mom hyphenated her last name and regrets it because it’s such a pain to deal with in pretty much every area of her life. If you don’t want to “change” your last name, just keep it!

5 Allie May 24, 2012 at 5:36 pm

i hyphenated my last name too- i totally regret it, biggest pain in the butt.

6 Aly May 24, 2012 at 6:18 pm

I have both of my parents’ last names. My boyfriend also has a hyphenated last name. If I took his last names and combined them with mine I’d have 4 last names. Can you even imagine? hahaha It’s just insane!

I’ve always known I’d give up my last names for one. Having my hyphenated name is, in a word, inconvenient. My boyfriend and I have decided that when we get married, we will both change our last names to one of his so we’ll both have the single last name we’ve been dreaming of.

7 Molly P @mollyontherun May 24, 2012 at 12:39 pm

I like that you are keeping it! I got married and changed my last name-but that’s just what I always knew I was going to do. But to each his/her own! ๐Ÿ™‚
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8 Lindsey May 24, 2012 at 12:40 pm

I changed my last name, and it was not even a thought not to but here is why… I have no connection to my last name as my Dad has been fairly absent in our lives. My husband would have been offended for that reason alone. I do understand when people hyphenate, and might have if my situation was different or if our last names went together, which they do not. I think it is very common and respected to do any of the 3 options these days!
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9 Katie D. May 25, 2012 at 10:48 am

I agree – I wanted a new last name and to be unassociated with my dad!

10 Eleonora May 24, 2012 at 12:41 pm

I live in Italy, and here no woman changes her last name after marriage, although you can do it if you want (it happened to a friend of mine, Estonian married in Italy. She decided she didn’t want people to mispronounce her last name).
So it wouldn’t be big deal here!
The thing with kids is a little trickier, as they usually take the father’s last name. You can’t choose, but kids can eventually have both parents’ last names.

11 Jessica May 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm

That’s funny, I was really excited to change my last name. Livingston was bomb-diggity and all, but it was really common and I couldn’t even buy my domain name (and hey, that’s important if you’re a designer). I just so happened to marry a guy with a last name that’s incredibly uncommon. So, win-win. Plus, it’s neat to flip and page and start a new chapter.
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12 Jessica May 24, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Also, Ryan’s sister wanted to keep her maiden name… so she surrendered her current middle name and replaced it with her maiden name. So it’s Sara Maiden Name Married Name. That way, no tricky hyphenation dramarama.
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13 lynne May 24, 2012 at 1:33 pm

I just heard about that too – maiden name becomes middle name. My friend is doing that.
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14 Kelly May 24, 2012 at 4:42 pm

I replaced my middle name with my maiden name when I got married and took my husband’s last name. Now if we ever have a daughter, she’ll get my middle name ๐Ÿ™‚

15 Stephanie May 24, 2012 at 5:33 pm

I like that idea, Kelly!

16 amyt May 28, 2012 at 12:03 pm

That’s what I did as well – my maiden name is now my middle name.
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17 Cinnamon @eatpraytri May 29, 2012 at 7:14 pm

That’s what I did too! I love it b/c I wasnt a huge fan of my middle name anyway. Its like getting the best of both worlds without the hassle!
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18 Niki@justrunninwithit May 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Good for you! Everyone keeps pressuring me to take my fiancรฉ’s last name, but i love mine!!!
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19 Kathy May 24, 2012 at 12:51 pm

A lot of ladies do that now a days…I wish I had actually…our maiden name is a huge part of us so why ditch it when we get married? I actually think both parties should hyphen their names…he should be Anderson-Russell too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Why do kids only take the dad’s last name then? Why not hyphen their name too? And if its a girl she can choose to do whatever if and when she gets married down the road. It’s all about freedom to choose these days isn’t it?
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20 Anne @strawberryjampackedlife May 24, 2012 at 1:29 pm

A friend of mine has a hyphenated last name from her parents. Her mother kept her maiden name (Alway) and dad kept his name (Cooper), so her last name is Alway-Cooper. I think it works!
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21 SpaceySteph May 25, 2012 at 4:04 pm

A girl I work with did that. When they went to change their last names together the woman at the courthouse told them he shouldn’t because “WHEN you get divorced, it’ll be hard to change it back.”
She was rather miffed by that. It’s not as socially acceptable to have the man change his last name, but its 2012 and you should do what you want! She won her husband over with the “then when we have children everyone will have the same last name.”
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22 Beth @ 990 Square May 24, 2012 at 12:55 pm

I never considered changing my name, and when in passing I mentioned it to my now husband, he said he would never ask me to change it. We plan to hyphenate our kids names.

We got some serious heat for our decision, but its what worked for us!

23 Victoria May 24, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Don’t forget the advantage of being in the front anytime that alphabetical order is used.

24 Megan May 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Good for you! My parents both hyphenated their last name so my brother and I were given a hyphenated last name as well. It was not a big deal at all and I appreciated having our own special unique family name! I was married 5 years ago and the discussion of last names of course came up. Like you, my last name so much a part of me that I could not just leave it and take my husbands. Legally, neither of us have changed our name but among family and friends, my hyphenated last name has been turned into one word and then hyphenated with his last name (following? It’s insanely confusing!). We also created a conglomeration of both our last names as a goofy Facebook name… which many friends have taken to be our official last name. Our poor mailman. ๐Ÿ˜‰
Most of my friends/family take the name thing in stride, but I have had people insinuate that by not taking my husband’s last name, I clearly do not love him as much as a wife should… so apparently it is a touchy subject for some people!

25 Alyssa @ Don't Look Down May 24, 2012 at 12:57 pm

I told my boyfriend that if we get married I don’t want to change my last name and I would consider hyphenating it. But I definitely don’t want to give up my last name completely! He wasn’t very happy when I said that and I suspect he believes he will be able to change my mind when the time comes. It’s not that I don’t want to take his name, but his is incredibly common (Kurt) especially in our hometown and mine is much more unique. Also only two of my grandparent’s grandchildren (my brother and I) have their last name and I want to keep carrying it on.
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26 Maura @ My Healthy 'Ohana May 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Good for you Meghan! I think it’s a very personal decision. You’re right, there is a huge sense of identity attached to your last name. I wanted to change my last name when I got married, but I also decided to change my middle name to my maiden name because it had more meaning to me.
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27 Leanne @ The Skinny Architect May 24, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Fiance and I get getting married in 2.5 years and I still haven’t decided what I want to do. So much of me wants to keep my last name, but I also sort of want his. I am the last person on my dad’s side with this last name and it is so much of who I am, I am having a hard time letting it go. Hyphenating isn’t really an option, both last names end in a vowel and it just sounds funny. Your future hyphenation sounds perfect!
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28 Cheryl May 24, 2012 at 1:10 pm

When one of my professors got married they BOTH changed their last names to a hyphenated version. One was Rosen and the other Lee so they became Mr. and Mrs. Rosen-Lee. I loved that!

29 Jess May 24, 2012 at 1:12 pm

I hyphenated – our names do work well together. It was nice right away when I went to sign things, because I just added his name to the end of my “normal” name. I will admit, though, 10 years later, to be sick of spelling my name all the time. If I could do it again, I would have just kept my own without any addition.

30 Nicole May 24, 2012 at 1:15 pm

I’m getting married in October and I’m not changing my last name either! It drives me crazy when people tell me that I have to change my name, or that because I don’t want to change it I must not love my fiancรฉ. I’m a Ph.D. candidate with publications and I’m just starting to be recognized in my field, so I don’t want to change my name and then not have anyone know me again. Plus, it’s my name…I don’t think there’s any reason to change it! My relatives in Italy and Canada don’t change their names when they get married. Their kids have the father’s last name. I’m not hyphenating either. Socially, I’ll probably go by Nicole Maiden Married, but legally and professionally Nicole Maiden.

31 Nicolette May 24, 2012 at 2:36 pm

I like that you brought up changing a name because of publications. My thesis supervisor (funnily) brought up to us girls in the lab “Get married before you get your PhD otherwise those journal editors are going to get confused!” It’s kind of an interesting side to the name change thing, that is, having a professional as well as a social side, but both sides of the issue certainly exist!

32 Hannah May 24, 2012 at 5:29 pm

hmmm… I live in Vancouver, and it definitely is standard in Canada to change your last name to your husbands when you get married! Same as the states ๐Ÿ™‚ If your relatives don’t, I think thats probably a personal thing not a Canadian thing!

33 Nicole May 25, 2012 at 10:30 am

Hannah, I didn’t mean to generalize all Canadians. I simply meant that a lot of women in my family do not change their names when they get married. Also, my cousins live in Montreal, so maybe it’s a regional thing. Changing my name is not for me, but it’s a personal decision and to each their own : )

34 emily May 24, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I kept my last name, though I did change it on Facebook! Most people growing up called me by my last name (I wasn’t “Emily” until I got to college). Plus, Wax is so easy and people always have a hard time with spelling and pronouncing Adam’s last name. He didn’t care at all, though one time we did overhear my super religious sister-in-law telling someone that I “chose to not really be married!”
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35 CaitlinHTP May 24, 2012 at 1:23 pm

omg. crazy SIL.

someone said AT MY WEDDING that it wasn’t a real wedding because it was outdoors and not in a church. seriously.
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36 CaitlinHTP May 24, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Anderson-Russell does have a nice ring to it, I agree. ๐Ÿ™‚

You know, I was sooo attached to my last name. But if you do decide to just totally change it, it is almost weird how quickly Russell will just seem like your new last name. I look at papers that say Caitlin Noris on them and think it looks kind of weird now – and that was my name was 24 years! You’re still the same Meghann, whether you are an Anderson or Russell or Anderson-Russell.

I like Cheryl’s suggestion of both of you changing your last name to Anderson-Russell. Although that would be a bitch with paperwork.
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37 CaitlinHTP May 24, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Oh, and… since there are so many ladies commenting that they are glad they did not change their name, I will say that I am very glad that I changed my name. I love having the same last name as Kristien. Even though I was attached to my old name, I was happy to change my name and don’t regret it for a second. I like that we ‘sound’ like a unit because we have the same last name.
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38 Jenn May 24, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Just to play devil’s advocate: I grew up with a friend who had a hyphenated last name and he hated it. When he turned 18, he legally changed his name to his dad’s last name only and dropped the hyphen. It was nothing against his mom, but the hyphenated name never fit on scantrons at school and paperwork concerning his name was always messed up (including his passport!!). For ease of use, it was just better to change it. I certainly understand the attachment to the maiden name, though.

Also, no idea why, but I hate the suggestion for the guy to take on the woman’s name and hyphenate as well. I am not very old fashioned (although I happily took my husband’s last name – my maiden name was a beast to pronounce!) but something about that just seems bizarre to me. You are completely eradicating/changing a family name in that case and that seems sad to me. I am sure people will say that creating a new family name is equally exciting, but I disagree. Almost like you’re leaving behind years of history with a name.

39 CaitlinHTP May 24, 2012 at 2:48 pm

You potentially eradicate a family name anyway! I only have girl cousins, by giving up my name, I knew that by changing to my husband’s name, I was potentially contributing to the permanent destruction of the Noris clan. I did feel kind of bad about that… You’re right, it is nice to think of a family name living on for eons and eons.

I pushed to name our potential son Noris but pretty much everyone in my family, Noris members included, hate the idea.
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40 Jenn May 24, 2012 at 2:52 pm

True. I didn’t think about all girls. In that case – I could see wanting to keep a maiden name even. ๐Ÿ™‚ I like the name Noris although it does remind me of Chuck Norris. Pretty awesome name for a kid. Maybe Chuck Noris Boyle?

41 CaitlinHTP May 24, 2012 at 2:53 pm

True story: When I was in middle school, I would lie and say that Chuck Norris was my uncle to stop kids from bullying me. It actually worked.
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42 Jenn May 24, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Awesome. Kids are easily impressed and no one wants to bully someone related to Chuck Norris.

43 Emily May 24, 2012 at 9:36 pm

My husband and I both changed our last name to Mylastname Hislastname (with just a space, no hyphen in between). We both LOVE it. Our “maiden” names (my husband loves that he has a maiden name ๐Ÿ™‚ are still part of our name, so I don’t feel like we’re eradicating a family name. A professor in college told me (who had done the same thing when he got married) that he felt like a new marriage relationship deserved a new name. I thought that was really cool. I don’t regret having two last names at all. I haven’t had too many hassles with forms or anything else. I think hyphenated names are becoming more common and not too confusing for the general public to handle. However, in some states men have to go through the standard name change process (including a court date & advertising the new name in the newspaper), which can be pretty expensive, while a woman can generally change her name for free after marriage. Luckily, Colorado is not one of those states, so we both changed our names for free. However, we’ve been married almost 3 years and still haven’t changed our names on our passports! ๐Ÿ™‚
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44 Hillary May 24, 2012 at 2:38 pm

This is actually something my boyfriend has suggested: both of us hyphenating our last names!
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45 Mel May 25, 2012 at 11:40 am

I totally agree that you can very easily switch to a new name. My name is Melissa and I didn’t start going by Mel until I was 19 or 20 (there were suddenly 19 bajillion other Melissas around me at school). Within a few months it started weirding me out if someone called me Melissa. Honestly, I think I could start going by Penelope Guthrie (the first thing that popped in my head…) and be fine with it pretty quickly.

46 Gavi May 24, 2012 at 1:22 pm

My fiance and I have always agreed that I will keep my last name (in just under two months!). Both of our moms kept their maiden names, so it’s a familiar custom and one that we both respect. I will never feel insulted if folks assume that I’ve taken his last name, but I’m proud to keep mine!

47 Anne @strawberryjampackedlife May 24, 2012 at 1:27 pm

I always knew that I would change it. Not only do I enjoy the tradition, but my maiden name is very difficult to spell and pronounce. No one ever got it right; they even liked to add letters that weren’t there. Now I’ve got an incredibly easy last name that I never have to spell. While I’m sad about being more generic (it can be difficult to find unique usernames), I enjoy sharing a name with my husband.
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48 Mary May 24, 2012 at 4:41 pm

I am changing my last name as well when we get married next year. Mine being Campolieta, and Brian’s Being Ligad… Ligad is so much easier to say, and spell… even though people always want to add an R before the D haha!
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49 Anne @strawberryjampackedlife May 24, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Ha! Mine went from Himebaugh to Turner. How easy is that new last name! I never have to spell it!
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50 Lindsay @ Running the Windy City May 24, 2012 at 1:29 pm

When I get married I’ll probably change my middle name to my current last name and take my then husbands last name as my own. I figure that way I get to keep my last name but avoid having a hyphenated last name.
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51 Aylin May 24, 2012 at 1:30 pm

keeping your last name and going the hyphen route are not the same thing. if you are hyphenating your last name, it seems like you are changing it. or adding something to it.

just clarifying b/c i kept my last name, sans hyphen. and i’m really happy about it!

52 peach May 24, 2012 at 1:33 pm

I think it’s so strange when people react negatively to a woman keeping her name or hyphenating. I say do what you want, but the assumption that women should take her husband’s last name has such deep rooted sexism.
I grew up with a hyphenated last name and I will admit that, as a child, it can be a mouthful but it was never a huge issue. The only thing that I wonder about is when I have children, I want the family to have some unity, but I don’t want them to only have their dad’s last name. Basically, there are three last names to choose from and it gets pretty tricky.
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53 Courtney W May 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm

I always planned on changing my name. Call me traditional…but it’s something I’ve thought about a few times. Also I have to sign my name probably 20 times a shift it seems so please the shorter the better! No hyphens for me.
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54 Mary May 24, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Amen! Same here. Mine gets cramped after signing Mary Campolieta RN on a medication record that is 26 pages long ๐Ÿ˜‰
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55 Jennifer May 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm

I think it is a very personal decision for every couple to make. Saying that I think sometimes woman can disocunt how much it really means to some men even though some say it doesn’t matter. Reminds me of a recent Real Housewives of OC episode where one of the women changed her last name after 12 years of marriage. Her husband said the whole time it was her decision and it didn’t matter to him. When she showed him she changed her name, it hit him like a rock and he was overcome with emotion. They both commented that they felt like they were a family now (with their children) more than ever before.

Marriage is about becomming one. I would just be careful that this doesn’t set a precendent of distinguishment between each other in your relationship. I was sad to take a new name and I could never picture myself identifying with his last name. But now, it is so second nature it seems silly that I was ever any other name. For me, I wouldn’t feel the same sense of unity if we didn’t share everything…finances, emotions, family holidays and our last name.

56 Amy May 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm

You know, I spent my whole life saying that I’d never change my name, I loved it, that name had always been part of me, etc….and then I totally changed it. Because I just wanted to! And I was excited to have the same last name as my husband. I considered NOT changing it, just because that’s what I said I’d always do, but then that seemed awfully silly. Why wouldn’t I just do what I wanted? So, boom, changed. The paperwork was an enormous pain in the ass, and I hated it, but I’m happy now. And the bonus is that my new name is far easier to spell and pronounce…and now no one will ever call our (hypothetical) kids “Moerke (pronounced “murky”) turkey.” Not that I know what that’s like or anything. ๐Ÿ™‚

57 Jennifer May 24, 2012 at 1:38 pm

I also know a couple that created a totally new last name for themselves. I thought that was pretty neat although I would have no idea what I would pick!

58 Paula @ Eat: Watch: Run May 24, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Technically your changing yours by hyphating because you’re gonna need all new credit cards/SS cards/passport, etc. I didn’t do any of that. I kept my last name and didn’t change anything. Partially because I miss my dad and partially because I’m lazy.

If we had kids, they would get Fabian’s last name and then I would change my last name because I would want the same name as my kids. But kids isn’t going to happen so I don’t have to worry about that.
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59 Brittany May 24, 2012 at 1:40 pm

I intend to hyphenate my name after I get married in October. I have a hard time giving up my name completely, as it’s been mine for 23 years. I do want to include my future husband’s last name too, as a representation of our marriage and joining together. That’s why I chose to hyphenate…it’s like a compromise ๐Ÿ™‚ My fiance isn’t really bothered by that…but I’m pretty sure that we have family and friends who will question our decision!
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60 Elizabeth May 24, 2012 at 1:41 pm

I like the new name, hyphen and all. I changed my last name when I got married. I’m fairly traditional and I belonged to a religion at the time that would have had a hissy fit if I hadn’t. Now, almost 14 years later I wish I had gone the hyphen route. My maiden name was unique and ties me to a part of my ancestry almost lost through the years. I love being my husbands last name to, I love adopting his history as mine too, but I would love to have both. I probably would just give our kids his name, although we had contemplated using my maiden name as a middle name.

61 Kimra May 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm

I always wanted to hyphenate, but my husband’s last name and my last name are a) kind of similar to each other and b) each multiple syllables, and it’s incredibly awkward to hyphenate. (We’ve said the hyphenated version out loud to people and had them break down in giggles.) So I kept my name. No idea what we’ll do with kids, though. Our last names start with the same letter, so at least the whole family will have the same last initial!
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62 Victoria May 24, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Like some others have commented, I dropped my middle name. I’m Victoria Maiden Name Last Name, no hyphenation. Professionally, I sign all my pleadings with my full name, but personally, I’m just Victoria Last Name.
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63 Jana @ Newly Wife Healthy Life May 24, 2012 at 1:52 pm

I loved my maiden name and knew I wanted to incorporate it somehow. I now have two middle names, Marie and Maiden Name, and I am very happy with my decision. I still got to keep ‘my name’, but also made that transition into taking my husband’s name as well. It was a win-win for both of us!
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64 Sana May 24, 2012 at 1:55 pm

My last name begins with a W. I am changing it ASAP, I hate being last for things!
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65 lynne @lgsmash May 24, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Hopefully your beau isn’t a ‘Z’ last name, then! ๐Ÿ™‚
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66 Sana May 24, 2012 at 5:44 pm

It’s K and thank goodness!
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67 Kristine May 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm

I changed my name the first time I got married and then when that fell apart, I took my maiden name back. At that point I decided I was never changing my name again. Not only is it an enormous hassle but I also realized after that experience how important it was for me to hold onto the part of me that was independent of any romantic relationship. Keeping my name became a symbol of that independence.

My new husband has no problem with me keeping my name. When/if we have kids, we’ll probably have them take his name, simply because hyphenating with our names would be a humongous mouthful. We’re a family no matter what our names say and he completely respects that this is important to me. He even toyed with changing HIS name to MINE at one point (what a guy!), although he ultimately decided to keep his for the same reasons I kept mine.

It annoys me that everyone asks how the man feels about us keeping our names. As if we have to get his permission. I also get irked when people assume that you’re changing your name and start addressing you as such the minute you say “I do”. Even worse: becoming “Mrs. His First Name His Last Name” like on formal invitations. Excuse me, I have my own first name too, thankyouverymuch.
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68 Katie @ Peace Love and Oats May 24, 2012 at 2:02 pm

That’s funny, I actually would never have considered the groom’s opinion in that! Currently I plan on changing my name, but who knows how I’ll feel when that time comes!
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69 Sarah May 24, 2012 at 2:09 pm

My mom kept her maiden name, my brothers and I have my dad’s last name. It just was not that big of a deal (well except the first time in a new school – did your mom really sign this?).

And your kids, won’t know the difference, I know I didn’t until I was older.

On another note, I am taking my fiance’s name and moving my last name to the middle. His name is short so tacking it on is no big deal and having a long last name professionally is common. It means something to him and I could care less.

70 Ali May 24, 2012 at 2:14 pm

I didn’t change my last name when I got married. I really thought my name was pretty and I had just gotten my Ph.D., so why would I change it. When my son was 4 (and my daughter was 2) he told me that he wanted us all the have the same last name, and that got me to thinking. I had already by using my husband’s last name when people at his pre-school asked….just so they would know whose mom I was. So I just decided to go ahead and do it. I am glad I did now because the kids get confused with moms with different last names. I only know one mom who hyphenated and most people just use the second (her husbands) last name when they mention her. I do know someone who gave both kids her maiden name as a middle name and now she regrets it. But do what ever you want because you can always change your mind.

71 Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy May 24, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I wrote a post about this a few weeks ago! I’m still debating, but I need to decide soon because we need to go get our marriage license! I think I’m going to go the two middle names route. I don’t want to lose my last name, but I’m not sure I want to hyphenate it either (it just doesn’t sound good).
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72 Eve May 24, 2012 at 2:20 pm

I’ve known a lot of people with hyphenated last names, and I think it’s a good decision that is getting more popular! I really like the sound of my first+middle+last name all together, and if I were to marry my bf and take his last name it just wouldn’t be as nice sounding. Plus, I don’t think I really want to take the name of someone else, even though I really don’t love the ties I have to my last name. Haha, my brilliant compromise was to kludge together a new last name that was half his, half mine, but that didn’t go over so well – plus, all the combinations I could think of sound like a vaccination for an STI. No joke.
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73 Bri May 24, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Interesting topic because there’s definitely no one ‘right’ way to handle the name issue. I took my husband’s last name when I got married, partly for superficial reasons (liked his last name, didn’t like my maiden name or its difficult pronunciation) but mostly because I saw it as one more way my husband and I could become and be treated as a team. We’re a little bit old-fashioned, and we really liked the tradition. I also think it’s a bold affirmation of respect. That might sound (or simply be) sexist, but coming from a very strong-willed, stubborn, high-achieving woman, my husband took this as the ultimate compliment. I love being Mrs. So-and-So because there’s no one I’d rather be associated with than the man I’m married to.

Hyphenating was never an option for me, but it seems that for you, Meghann, it’s the perfect balance between maintaining the identity you tie to your current name and forming an association with Derek.

74 melissa May 24, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Technically you ARE changing your name becuase you have to call up all your credit cards, drivers’ license, etc and have it all changed over, don’t you? ๐Ÿ™‚

i didn’t change my last name. i don’t see a reason to. Even though I have a very unique, hard to pronounce last name and my husband has a very simple one. I just couldn’t see any compelling reason to change it at all. It hasn’t caused any issues and I don’t mind if people who don’t know us well assume we are both “Mr and Mrs Hisname”.

I think the hyphenation will cause more problems than if you took either his name or kept your own, but I support your right to choose whatever you want! even if you wanted to change it to Disney or something. ๐Ÿ™‚

75 Belinda May 24, 2012 at 2:25 pm

I love the idea of your future kiddos having Anderson for a middle name and Derek’s/your last name for their last name. Anderson will sound good with boys and girls, and I think it would be neat to share middle names with siblings if it was the mother’s maiden name ๐Ÿ™‚

76 Dukebdc May 24, 2012 at 2:30 pm

I did not change my name when I married last year. I was 33 the day I got married, and was frankly very attached to it.

I had already seen female friends and relatives choose various options. One friend made a new last name with her husband. Several have dropped their maiden, roughly the same number have kept their maiden, and a few have gone the hyphen route*. When I first mentioned to my husband (then fiance) that I didn’t plan to change my name, he was surprised, and asked why. I gave him two reasons: my last name directly connects me to my family history; and having different last names doesn’t cheapen the meaning or committment of our relationship. My husband’s mother divorced his father over 25 years ago and took her second husband’s name. I asked him if he felt his mother was any less his mother because the two of them did not share a last name, and of course he said no. I wasn’t arguing with him, just laying out my rationale, and he actually said I had convinced him I was right. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Socially I get called Mrs. HisLastName all the time, and that’s fine. Any kids will have his last name because that was really important to him.

*[The hyphen route has gotten awkward for one couple, whose children are half-Vietnamese and are named thusly: First Name, English Middle Name, Vietnamese Hyphenated Middle Name, Hyphenated Last Name. Lot of name for a tiny baby!]

77 Jenna May 24, 2012 at 2:30 pm

I did a double middle name.
Jenna Marie-Ogden Sposato
It’s a mouth full but it made me happy to keep my last name and my husband happy to take his last name.
A win-win in my book.

78 Hillary May 24, 2012 at 2:36 pm

This is something my boyfriend and I have discussed quite a bit. He is a bigger feminist than I am, and he kind of hates the idea of me giving up the name I was born with, just to take his name. I’m a little more traditional, and while I don’t love the idea of giving up my name, I do like the symbolism of sharing a name (that our children will eventually share, too). We’ve talked about hyphenation, but that would make the last name REALLY long and obnoxious. Honestly, it’s a bridge I/we will cross when we get there!

79 Emily May 24, 2012 at 2:53 pm

I love change. I’m kind of a freak like that. So I can change something as permanent as my NAME and it’s socially acceptable? Winning!

Also, I married really young (I was 20!), so I wasn’t “established” at all professionally where a name change would be confusing. As long as people still know who you are, who cares? Do what makes you happy. Plus your new married name DOES have a nice ring to it ๐Ÿ™‚
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80 Sarah May 24, 2012 at 3:11 pm

I’m not married but if I do, I will not change my last name at all. Our daughter has his last name, the next one will have mine. this will be confusing, yes, but my dad was the only son and he had 3 girls, so I would like our name to live on.

81 Meghan @ Run With Meg May 24, 2012 at 3:21 pm

I’ve heard many people who hyphenate say its hell to deal with logistically but I love the idea
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82 Brittany @ Eating Bird Food May 24, 2012 at 3:23 pm

I like your idea and Anderson-Russel has a nice ring!

I can’t decide what to do because Isaac’s last name is already hyphenated because his mom went the same route as you and the kids took the hyphenated name. I can’t decide if I should just take Isaac’s last name (both of them) and make my middle name Mullins, if I should just keep Mullins or if I should do away with Mullins and do Brittany Rene Bernstein-Miller. It’s a really big decision and I’m having such a tough time deciding!
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83 Brittany @ Eating Bird Food May 24, 2012 at 3:24 pm

oops I meant Russell
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84 Natasha May 24, 2012 at 3:31 pm

My husband is Brazilian (I’m Australian), and for now we’ve chosen for me to keep my last name – mostly because it would be really hard for me to change all my ID right now! It is something that I will change – but Brazilians have a great way of working with last names – everybody has two! The first is your mother’s maiden name (her father’s last name) and the second is your father’s last name (his father’s last name). When you get married, the woman drops her mother’s last name from her name, and adds her husband’s last name to the end. Ok, a little confusing, but it works! That way, you get to keep part of your name while still having the recognition that you are together. For me, as I only have one last name right now, it means I’m planning on adding his surname to mine. Our children will have the exact 2 last names as me. Easy for us in Brazil, but I do foresee some issues in English speaking countries that aren’t used to this!

85 Stace May 24, 2012 at 3:32 pm

I have the opposite situation kinda… My girlfriend and I recently got engaged and at my engagement/engagement surprise party the subject came up of last names ( I guess most of my friends and family were not sure how the whole last name thing works for us 2 girls) and I easily said that I would change my last name to my fiance’s last name without batting an eye. We have talked about it before and for me I would be proud to take her last name, I like her last name, and although i am not usually “old school” about things, I am in this instance. Now, I don’t think that everyone should have to do it that way and I totally understand people keeping thier last name so I say good for you. Alot, of my friends and family were surprised i was doing this and some even seemed like to act like it was silly that I would. To each their own I say. My fiance is happy that i want to take her name but also told me that she wants me to do what i want.

86 Lauren May 31, 2012 at 10:05 am

I just wanted to throw my two cents in here… as a woman engaged to marry another woman, I can’t wait to take her last name. I love that we will be a “unit” via our names and that it will strongly symbolize to the world that we are married. Also I’ll then have the last name Lopez and I think Lauren Lopez sounds pretty cool. ๐Ÿ™‚

87 erica May 24, 2012 at 3:44 pm

this was a HUGE internal debate for me. i wanted to keep my last name. i thought about hyphenating, but i didn’t know what to do about that blurry what-name-is-your-kids-gonna-have? situation. i never thought about it being a problem until i met my husband who shares the same last name as someone else i know that just well…makes me not really like that name so much (think, the first question everyone asked when they met him in the beginning was “he’s not related to so&so is he?!?! petty, i know.)

i did end up taking his last name, i just moved my last name to my middle name. sometimes i forget and i still say my maiden name all the time (like when making reservations. ha!) i even ordered pre-printed self addressed envelopes for a baby shower invite i was sending out, and had it printed w/my maiden name, and i didn’t even realize till i had sent it out and my friend pointed it out. hahaha.
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88 Allie May 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm

I took my hubby’s last name, but my maiden name is now legally my middle name. The middle name I was given (Elizabeth) isn’t a part of my name anymore, but I’ll pass it down to a daughter, if I have one, as her middle name. This is what my mom did (her middle name was Elizabeth until she got married, and now her maiden name is her middle name, too). It wasn’t really a question for me, since almost every woman in my family (including my grandmother – though she never was very traditional) has done it this way.

89 Rachel May 24, 2012 at 3:57 pm

I took my husband’s last name when we got married last year. We actually had very similar last names in the first place so I didn’t even have to change my initials! The question I always ask women who decide to hyphenate is this: Is your husband going to hyphenate his name too?
If he doesn’t, doesn’t that kind of defeat the whole feminist reasoning behind hyphenating (not that that’s necessarily your reason)? Then what does a kid with a hyphenated last name do when he/she wants to get married?
Interesting stuff.
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90 Chatelaine May 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm

I knew I wanted to share my husband’s name and I already have a complicated name so I didn’t want the trouble of hyphenating it. BUT I had a very hard time changing my name. It took me a year. I was aided in the fact that Ontario, Canada takes months to return your marriage license. We live in California so not only did it take months to be returned, but I had it mailed to my parents. I refused to let my mom FedEx it so I waited until the next time I saw her in person to give it to me. So, 1 year.

I had a hard time with the fact that the person I was would sorta disappear in paper trail. Everything I’ve accomplished to that point stopped. All references were gone. This new person was created on paper out of thin air and had no accomplishements in their name. I dunno, that’s how I felt.

91 Gwen May 24, 2012 at 4:01 pm

I also wanted to keep my full name in the equation. But I also wanted to have the same last name as my children and didn’t feel that I had to hyphen. So I added my maiden name to my official middle name (Gwen Middle Maiden Married). At work, I go by Gwen Maiden Married, with all three in play. Sometimes it’s a mouthful!
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92 Lindsey d. May 24, 2012 at 4:12 pm

I plan to change mine (going the “make my maiden into my middle” route). Although I love my current, unique name, I don’t want any confusion, questions or weird looks. My parents, brother and nephew and nieces (who have my maiden name) are very important to me, but sharing a name with them isn’t as important to me as creating one, singular family with my future husband and eventually our children.

I didn’t think I would feel like this. I used to think it would be really hard to let go of my unusual name, but once I met THE guy, it wasn’t even a question.

However, to each his own and congrats on making the decision.

93 Rachel Wilkerson May 24, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Good for you for knowing what you want and not apologizing for it! People who look to Derek for an opinion? Ugh, so obnoxious.

I seriously start to panic whenever I think of changing my name. I had always planned to (I’m not attached to my last name, don’t have a strong relationship with my dad or his side of the family) and then, well, I changed my blog URL to my name. I knew at the time it would be an issue at some point; I didn’t expect to fall in love within a couple months. At this point, if I change my name, I’ll need to change my URL, and do you know how much Google juice I’ll lose!? Especially if I wait another TWO YEARS to do it?? I don’t want to keep my name but it’s become a part of my career identity; then again, my career is only just beginning and I’ll be married for much longer than I was single, so I feel like I should just suck it up and change my name and my URL when I get married.

Anyway, I get really frustrated just thinking about it. Right now, I’m looking into just changing my URL to something that doesn’t have ANY last names in it and doing that in the next month or so. Then I can start building my Google juice back up again. I feel sad about it but I’d rather do it sooner than later.

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94 Jennifer Demartini May 24, 2012 at 4:55 pm

THIS! Have you ever Googled yourself?! Forget going to the DMV and bank, you have to change and be aware of how much you’re altering your online presence when you choose to tie the knot. Modern problem, for sure.

95 Jamie May 24, 2012 at 4:30 pm

As someone who works for the government with voter registration, drivers licenses, etc. I would STRONGLY advise making Anderson your middle name (or just keeping it) to save yourself many future headaches in the future! Especially if you plan on having kids. It sounds silly but you’d just have to trust me. I used to think I would hyphenate and now I realized what a headache it is. Especially if you tell people your name is x, and it’s legally y.

96 Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope May 24, 2012 at 4:34 pm

I’m getting married in October. I do plan to change my name. I cannot do the whole hyphen thing because it does not sound as nice together as yours does. Part of me is incredibly sad to lose my last name (it flows so well my first and middle) because it’s been ME for 27 years, but now it’s a new chapter in my life and I’m excited to take on this new last name. It will be fun since it’s much more “foreign” name, so I know it will be a conversation starter for sure:) Let’s just say I’m marrying into a Bosnian family, so I get to become Bosnian now, hehe.
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97 Erin May 24, 2012 at 4:48 pm

No name changing here. I kept my own last name. No hyphens, no nothing. I pushed to have us both change our last names to something new (I suggested Veekay since my last name starts with a V and his with a K) but that got shot down. But my husband agreed that if he didn’t want to change his name that I shouldn’t have to change mine, either. Sometimes it’s a pain because people don’t get our names right or they don’t realize we’re married but overall I don’t mind. And we’re not having kids so that’s not an issue.

Although, my husband’s last name is VERY unique and only about 2 or 3 other people (all related to him) in the U.S. have the same name. So, if I changed my name I would be part of a very select group ๐Ÿ™‚
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98 Nanci May 24, 2012 at 4:51 pm

I think that’s great – it has a nice ring to it!!!
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99 Mary @ food and fun on the run May 24, 2012 at 4:53 pm

I can completely see you sticking with your last name. You are completely true to yourself in every aspect of your life, and this should be no different. If you love your name, then by all means you should keep it! I think that is definitely pretty awesome!
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100 Socal Rachel May 24, 2012 at 4:55 pm

When I got married I really didn’t want to change my last name, I had an awesome last name that I loved. His was very common and boring. My grandma gave me great advise, only change your name if you are going to have kids….so I did. Now I’m divorced from that man, with no kids, and changing my name back was a pain. Never again will I change my name.
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101 Amber May 24, 2012 at 5:09 pm

I actually just blogged about this. I will be changing my last name but I am moving my maiden name to my middle name so it will still legally be in my name in case I ever “need” it for any reason. Haha.

Like CaitlinHTP said I am really looking forward to being a unit with my soon-to-be husband and sharing his last name!

102 lynne @lgsmash May 24, 2012 at 5:47 pm

I agree with you & HTP – I love to ‘solidarity’ of having the same name as my man. I understand why women choose to keep their maiden name or hyphenate but I can’t wait to share his name.
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103 Emily May 24, 2012 at 9:43 pm

This is why my husband and I both changed our names. We are both Mylastname Hislastname. Not only do we have the solidarity of the same name, it’s a name no one else has! (but it’s still tied to both of our families)
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104 Megan May 24, 2012 at 5:09 pm

My mother uses her maiden name as a middle name. I’m not sure if she changed it legally to that or what, but it seems like a good way to include it. I’m a bit attached to my last name too, and my parents didn’t have any boys, so I’d like to keep it in the mix. Plus, my fiance and I both have very Irish names, and hanging onto both makes me feel ultra Irish. ๐Ÿ™‚ When it comes to kids, though, they’ll have his last name. I’m so thankful my fiance doesn’t have a hideous name!

Something I’ve seen in my bro-in-law’s family is this tradition of adding the maiden name as a second middle name. Example: Joseph Alex Anderson Russell. I wouldn’t have the patience to write that out, but they seem to like it.

Bottom line is that it’s your name. I’m glad Derek’s supportive of your decision!

105 Jessica May 24, 2012 at 5:12 pm

I think this is a VERY personal decision and you have to do whatever you feel comfortable with. I’m getting married in October and still haven’t decided what I’m going to do about my last name… I see no real reason to change it at all, except it would mean a lot to him (although he’s fine with me keeping it as is). And re: people asking what Derek thinks — yeah, annoying, but in this culture, women typically change their names and it’s reasonable to expect some push-back from “going against the grain” or whatever. Ultimately, I think the name debate is great prep for all of the other things you may be force to defend including how you two create your life together and how you raise your children (I hear people like to get incredibly nosy with the kid thing).

106 Liz May 24, 2012 at 5:19 pm

I didn’t have a problem changing mine–going from a unique, hard-to-spell and pronounce name (Erlenbach) to a unique, short last name (Funk) wasn’t that big a deal for me. The only thing I was nervous about was working with high school kids with that name! Fortunately, that hasn’t been a problem, and legally, I now have all four names (which means that my name doesn’t fit on one line of my Social Security card…) but everyone knows me as Liz Funk. The actual process of changing my name was a HUGE pain in the butt, though!
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107 Kelly May 24, 2012 at 5:57 pm

GREAT last name!
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108 Leah May 24, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Considering my maiden name was Jones (people used to ask if I was serious, if you can believe it) and I have a younger brother, I took my husband’s name and kept my middle name. Most of the women in my family have rearranged their names to be First Maiden Married, but I felt a stronger connection with my middle name (my mom’s name) than my maiden name. It took me a while to get used to my married name (my First Maiden name strung along really easily), since it’s Leah Ha… and sounds a little weird, but I’m totally fine with it now. (one more parenthetical comment for good measure!)
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109 jael May 24, 2012 at 5:24 pm

In Chile we keep our names and the kids get the two last names, as in name + middle name + paternal last name + maternal las name
no mix ups, no hyphen no nothing.

i wouldnยดt ever want to change my name. it is who i am and i really love it

110 Jessica May 24, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Here’s a question… say you hyphenate your name to Anderson-Russell… then you have kids, one is a girl and she decides she wants to hyphenate her name. So is her name ______ Anderson-Russell-_______ ?
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111 Sara May 24, 2012 at 5:38 pm

This is such a personal choice, I’ve enjoyed reading all the different comments and opinions. I used to say I was going to make my last name my middle name, or not change at all, but when I realized I wanted my now fiance to be my forever, I really, really wanted to take his name. I considered still taking my maiden name and making it my middle name, but I like my middle name, it flows and I’ve always used my initial professionally. So, bye bye maiden name. I hope to work it into our oldest child’s name somehow. I thought my parents might be disappointed as my father is the last male with my maiden name, but my mom changed her name when they got married and never looked back, so they understood. I can’t wait to have the same last name!

112 Justine May 24, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Keeping my last name has never been an option for me. No one can pronounce it or spell it, and when coupled with what is, apparently, a difficult first name (no, not Justin or Christine), I decided a long time ago that I would get rid of it the first chance I got.

I cut ties with my father’s side of the family about 12 years ago and thought about legally changing my last name to my mother’s maiden name. For now, I’m waiting until marriage to save myself the trouble and paperwork.
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113 Christy May 24, 2012 at 5:43 pm

I don’t have a, correction, I DIDN’T have a middle name. When I got married my maiden name became my middle name. It was perfect. Might do the same my girls if I ever have some.

114 Ari @ Ari's Menu May 24, 2012 at 5:46 pm

I’ve always been the same way. At first my husband (boyfriend/fiance then) wasn’t thrilled with the idea, then I suggested we both hyphenate, so we both could take on a piece of each other. The truth is, that went about as far as facebook, but one day we really do mean to both get them hyphenated officially! I like that you’re keeping yours! ๐Ÿ™‚
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115 Liz May 24, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Good for you! This is definitely a very personal, to each his own type decision. I have struggled with this as well. I definitely want to take my fiance’s last name but am SO sad to let mine go. Mine is very unique and his is…Smith. As common as it comes. HA. Kind of a bummer.

116 Kelly May 24, 2012 at 5:54 pm

I think this is a very personal decision and whatever you choose is perfectly fine for you. I do find it amusing when family members look to the groom “for approval” – as if! Of course, it’s important for your partner to support whatever last-name-decision you make, but it’s not his name changing, so in my opinion he has no say! (Here, please read “you” and “he” as the general population, not you and D specifically!!!)

I changed my middle name legally to my maiden name so that I would still have a part of it with me. I’m published under my maiden last name and so I publish with both last names now. But for day to day use I go by my married last name with my maiden name as my middle.

So excited for you!

117 Ali @ Ali Runs May 24, 2012 at 6:13 pm

My sister & I both have our mom’s maiden name as our middle name! I love it!

118 Caroline Calcote May 24, 2012 at 6:16 pm

We thought about possibly both changing our last names, but that just seemed crazy and we couldn’t think of what we would possibly change it to (Davis & Calcote…”Calvis”?). We just decided to each keep our own names. Both of our sons have his last name, but Cal, my oldest, is short for Calcote, which is his middle name actually. Mack, my youngest, is named after my Dad who is also named “Mack”. We call him Grandaddy Mack. So really they are both named for both grandfathers. I think it’s fine whatever people choose to do in this situation. It’s really just semantics and I don’t attach any judgment to anyone’s decision.
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119 Angela May 24, 2012 at 6:38 pm

It’s totally shallow but I would probably keep my own if I married someone with a weird last name. I’d have to like it to give up mine!

You’re lucky that your two names go together if you decided to pass that onto your children. I met a child once who had two quite long names hyphenated that did not go together at all. I kept imagining the poor thing having to learn to write it!

120 olivia May 24, 2012 at 6:44 pm

i appreciate this post. i do have to say though, as a women whose parents gave her a hyphenated last name, definitely keep that in mind for your kids. while my name is slightly more complicated and has a more difficult spelling than anderson-russell, it was actually tough on me growing up. i HATED having two last names. in fact, i’m 26 and i still don’t like it. i actually can’t wait to change my last name when i get married.

121 Grace May 24, 2012 at 7:23 pm

It does sound lovely that way! I think I’ll change mine, because I’m already Elizabeth Grace so it might be long if I tagged on two last names with a hyphen.
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122 BroccoliHut May 24, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Interesting topic! I plan on doing something a little different with my name. I will take Seth’s last name but I don’t want to lose my middle name (Whitney). It’s a family name–my mom’s maiden name as well as my niece’s first name, so I hate to lose that family history. My current last name (Yoder) is kind of ugly and always makes me last in anything alphabetical, so I won’t be sorry to lose it.
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123 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey May 24, 2012 at 8:08 pm

My mom hyphenated her name and she eventually just went to my dad’s last name because it was a pain in the butt. I always knew I was going to change my name, but when it came down to it, it was HARD! I actually still have a credit card in my maiden name and just changed my email address (we’ve been married 2 years – haha!).
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124 VanessaG May 24, 2012 at 8:09 pm

I like your name as well. I think its nice that you don’t have to change your name if you don’t want to when you get married. I know that I will be sad to see my last name go, but I will do it because I believe “two become one”. My husband and I will be joined. Im excited for you to get married. You def will be a beautiful bride!!

125 Caitlin @ This Bride's Joyride May 24, 2012 at 8:25 pm

I have found that so many people care so much about other people’s decision on this! I think do what makes you both happy!
I am taking my fiance’s last name, and really want to, but it is hard to think about losing my last name and somewhat losing part of my identity! I know for me when my parents got divorced my Mom considered changing her last name back and all of us kids said we would changes our too. She ended up not changing it for that reason and now I kind of just want to make sure my hubby, myself and my kids all have the same last name ๐Ÿ™‚
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126 Courtney G. May 24, 2012 at 9:04 pm

I was happy to drop my maiden name. I thought I was marrying up but my “new” last name is a common boys first name. So it still gets confusing for people. I don’t regret it though. It was hard to drop a part of my identity in the beginning but it was a super smooth and easy transition for work and my personal life.

127 Melissa May 24, 2012 at 9:06 pm

I’m planning to take his last name. I know quite a few women like to keep theirs, but I’ve always liked the idea of sharing a last name and being traditional like that. For some reason I feel like it will bring us even closer.
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128 Lee May 24, 2012 at 9:06 pm

I didn’t really care either way to tell you the truth, but my husband seemed to want me to change my name (although he would have been fine if I didn’t), so I did. I did, however, make my maiden name into my middle name.
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129 chris May 24, 2012 at 9:06 pm

i was super excited to change my last name b/c my husband’s is an easy-peasy common last name and mine was a huge pain! i know some people love having unique last names (my sis is one of them, i am not sure she will give ours up) but to me it was just a pain! we’ve been married 7 months and i still get excited when i say my new last name and no one asks how to spell it. love!

it’s funny though, a lot of people were really surprised i was changing it. i’m a pretty headstrong independent gal and i got a lot of “really? we did not think you were the kind of girl to change your last name”. that struck me as really odd! but i love the idea of us both having the same name, makes me feel like we are more of a team. when i was a kid i thought i would keep my name for feminist reasons, but then someone pointed out that it’s a man’s name either way – your dad’s or husband’s – so who cares? that made sense to me and i just chose what was right for me. good job on choosing what is right for you!

130 Emily May 24, 2012 at 9:54 pm

I added my husband’s name to mine, and plan to give it to our kids one day. We often got asked, “But what will your kids do with two last names?” My response is, we had to figure out what to do with our last names and our kids can do the same. We won’t be offended, no matter what we do, just as our parents treated us when we told them about our two last names plan. ๐Ÿ™‚
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131 Georgia May 24, 2012 at 10:09 pm

I got married this past weekend (you’re gonna have a ball – loved every minute of it!). I have always known that I want to keep my surname and my partner (oh wow, I still wrote partner…ummm “husband”!) was absolutely fine with the decision. In fact, our celebrant asked him at one of our meetings before the big day how he felt that I was not taking his surname. His response? “I can’t expect her to take my name if I’m not prepared to take hers”. He’s clearly a keeper! ๐Ÿ˜‰

132 Deva @ Deva by Definition May 24, 2012 at 10:34 pm

In Ohio, where we will be getting married, I can add his last name to mine or drop mine completely. I cannot keep my maiden name as my middle name as I understand it looking at the marriage license requirements. Knowing that has made it a no-brainer for me: I’ve always known I was going to take my husband’s last name. When we get married, i will become Mrs. C, and I’m excited for it.
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133 Carly May 24, 2012 at 10:35 pm

I pretty much only want to get married so I can have a new last name. I have my Dad’s last name and don’t associate or communicate with anyone in his family. I have a different last name than every one in my family. If my boyfriend and I get married, I will be so happy to have a last name that I am proud of, identify with, and feel belongs to me.

134 Allison k May 24, 2012 at 11:20 pm

Speaking of the name Anderson… I had ababy boy 2 weeks ago… And his first name is Anderson.
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135 Cate May 25, 2012 at 1:29 am

I love that you’re keeping your last name! Hyphen or no hyphen. I will keep my last name. I think if your significant other isn’t on board with your wishes, then it’s probably not meant to be anyway! I will say, I don’t mind if my kids don’t have my (future) husband’s last name and not mine. My mom said the same thing, and then she eventually took my dad’s last name while we were in elementary school. So who knows what the future holds… ๐Ÿ™‚

136 Elisa May 25, 2012 at 1:49 am

Here in Spain, we have two last names (I think Hispanic countries are the only ones that do this?). Anyway, nobody changes his/her names when marrying, and by default the kids have the first father’s surname as his first, and the first mother’s as the second. For instance:
Father: รngel Pรฉrez Criado
Mother: Laura Polo Nieto
Daughter: Marta Pรฉrez Polo
In any case, you can legally change the order of your own surnames and/or decide that the son will have the mother’s first, though nobody does it because is a pain in the ass. So in this case you could theoretically end up with a kid called Marta Nieto Pรฉrez or any other combination.
Complicated, much? ๐Ÿ˜›

137 Debbie May 25, 2012 at 6:27 am

My last name is now my middle name and I love it. My mom didn’t give me a middle name just so I could keep my maiden name when I got married. I am so glad she did that. I feel lucky to have my maiden name and married name together.

138 Dana May 25, 2012 at 8:03 am

Because I have a very common name, I would like to change mine. I don’t like the hyphen and I wouldn’t want my kids to have it. I enjoyed reading your perspective and reasons and your name has a nice ring to it!
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139 Elizabeth May 25, 2012 at 10:08 am

I’ve never commented before but my partner and I had decided to do something completely different so I thought I’d offer my situation; we aren’t engaged yet but we have discussed this many times. I only have a sister and all of my cousins with the same last name are female so my last name would have died out with my generation. Because of this, I made the decision a long time ago never to change my last name.

I would never expect my partner to change his name and figured if when we have children they can hyphenate (we both have very short last names), but he told me several years ago he would probably take my last name! I’ll probably have my MD by the time we get married which makes me want to keep mine and he has older brothers who are married with children so his family name is in no danger. I offered to have us both just keep our last names and hyphen the children but he hates that idea, haha.

Obviously, this choice isn’t for everyone and since we aren’t officially engaged we haven’t had to run this by our families (though I can’t imagine anyone in our immediate family being upset), but I think it’s a good best of both worlds for us!

140 Laura May 25, 2012 at 11:00 am

You and I are alike! Ever since I was young, I knew I wasn’t going to change my name. I think it’s silly for the girl to change her name-why can’t the man change his name? Back in the olden days, it signified the woman was the man’s property by being called “mrs” aka “mister’s” property.

Did you ask Derek to consider hyphenating with your last name so you’d match?

My FI is fine with me keeping my last name, but is not keen on hyphenating the kids names (when that time comes)

141 Margo May 25, 2012 at 11:05 am

I have my mother’s maiden name as my middle name, and I’ve always loved it. Personally, I was so excited to take my husband’s last name. I joke that it’s because my maiden name was hard to pronounce, but I really took it because I love that it signifies that we’re now officially a unit. That being said, I don’t think it’s cool when a woman chooses to keep her last name. I have a friend who is very upset about changing her name when she gets married, and I think this is silly. If you want to hyphenate or keep your last name, you should!

142 Lena @Fit on the Rocks May 25, 2012 at 11:43 am

This was so nice to read! I’ve always been one of those people who absolutely did not want to change my last name. Just the thought of getting all of my official documents and everything changed gives me anxiety.
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143 Sarah May 25, 2012 at 12:28 pm

My maiden name was super common. So common there were 2 of me at my small, rural high school. I was thrilled to change my last name!

144 De-Lurker May 25, 2012 at 12:37 pm

It’s interesting to me that you have heard negative feedback (from the ex, and having people immediately ask what your fiance thinks). I wonder if it’s a regional thing? I didn’t change my name and it has been 100% a non-issue, but we live in a big Eastern city. No one has ever questioned either of us about it, not even once. I grew up on the West Coast and my mom didn’t change her name, either; same with a good chunk of my friends’ moms growing up. (I have my dad’s last name, with my mom’s as a middle name.) We sometimes get mail addressed to us using my husband’s last name, but that’s it.

145 Danielle @ Long May You Run May 25, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Just be prepared to have people be totally and utterly confused when it comes to alphabetizing you. My maiden name is now my (legal) middle name -not even hyphenated- and people still don’t know what to do!

I also had a hard time deciding if I wanted to change my last name- I didn’t want to “lose” my name and all it stood for, until I realized the only reason I had that last name is because my mom gave up her maiden name, and her mother before that, and her mother before that… So really when I thought about it, the last name means nothing. I know that’s a little pessimistic, but that’s just how I viewed it. Guys, on the other hand, might have a completely different opinion about that ๐Ÿ˜‰
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146 Emily May 25, 2012 at 8:51 pm

The alphabetizing thing hasn’t been too bad for me (I have two last names)–most people ask which letter I like to be alphabetized under. Or, if I can’t be found under one initial, I just tell them the other. Hasn’t been an issue so far!
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147 Doc (The Healthy Ph.D) May 25, 2012 at 2:21 pm

That’s totally reasonable. I’m engaged and I plan on keeping my last name and I’m not adding a hyphen. Any children can have his last name since having a legacy is important to him. It annoys my fiance, but it’s really common in my profession (I’m a chemistry professor), so he can’t really tell me that I’m being too weird.

148 Lynn May 25, 2012 at 2:56 pm

I was unsure about changing my name. My fiance had very storng ides about me changing my name. He is traditional and it was very important to him that I changed my name. So, in just over six weeks I am going to because Mrs. Cliplef.

149 JessicaE May 25, 2012 at 3:28 pm

I am just very old fashioned and I loved the idea of taking my husband’s last name. ๐Ÿ™‚ To each their own, though. It is a very personal decision.

I would say though that it would seem if you don’t want to change your last name… just don’t change it. Hyphenating it is still making it a different name and you will still have to go through all the hassle of changing it on all of your important documents. I guess that was just the only part of your post i wasn’t sure I understood… you don’t want to change your last name.. but you are?

150 Lib May 25, 2012 at 3:44 pm

I always planned on changing my name when I got married. However, if I took my husband’s last name, his mother and I would have the same name, including very similar middle names. We have been married for almost three years and I have yet to change my name. I keep saying I am going to do it before we have kids though….

151 Heather May 25, 2012 at 4:59 pm

I always thought I would hyphenate. I didn’t end up getting married until I was in my 30s, and by that time I had grown kind of attached to my name. After my husband and I got engaged, he told me he kind of always looked forward to having a wife take his name, but he left it up to me.

After much thought, I decided to change my middle name to my maiden name. I didn’t want to lose my identity altogether and my last name was also my step father’s last name, who is the only father I’ve ever known. I love that he’ll always be a part of me in that sense…and I think he was flattered that I wanted to keep his name with me.

152 Katie May 25, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Well, our 2 year wedding anniversary is on Wednesday…and I have never changed my name. I actually never made any plans to change it beforehand…I didn’t know how I felt about it. Basically, I didn’t change it because I was lazy…and realized that the process is a pain in the neck. I changed my name on Facebook, and if people ask me my name in public, I use my married name. However, for legal documents and such like that, I still have my maiden name. When kids come into the picture, I might officially change over…but I honestly feel no urgency to do so. I feel like the social implication is what is important, not what is legally on paper…maybe???
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153 JennyV May 25, 2012 at 9:05 pm

I changed to Jenny MaidenName HusbandsLastName and dropped my middle name when getting married almost 5 years ago. I was (am?) attached to my maiden name and it really felt like I was losing part of my identity… I’m also extremely close to my family and my husband’s family doesn’t quite have as great oc ties so it really bothered me to do it. Keeping my maiden name as my middle name helped ease thag transition.

154 amyt May 28, 2012 at 12:04 pm

I did what many people have all ready said…I dropped my middle name, and put my maiden name in it’s place. SO much easier….and I didn’t have to give up my maiden name.
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155 Jen May 28, 2012 at 2:27 pm

I grew up with a hyphenated last name. I did not enjoy it at ALL. It was way too long, it made things super complicated, and making matters worse, my parents split when I was six and my mom got remarried, took my step dad’s name, and my dad went back to his original last name (he’d hyphenated). So I had a last name that no one else had.

As I got older I kept just my dad’s name, and was convinced I’d keep it when I got married because it felt like my identity. I still thought I’d change my name to my husband’s when we had kids, though, but keep my other name professionally.

Well, in November of last year we got married and….I changed my last name almost immediately. I really hadn’t planned on it, but after we got married I really, really wanted to have his last name. He didn’t not care at all what I did, so it was all my decision, but I’m really happy I have his last name now.
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156 Morgan May 30, 2012 at 9:53 am

I’m sorry, I know I’ll probably get a lot of backlash for what I’m about to say because yes it is ultimately your decision, but I think its incredibly selfish to say “yes I want to marry you and be with you forever, but I don’t want your family name”. It kind of goes against the whole point of “becoming one as husband and wife”. Why get married at all if you don’t want to give up your last name? Why not just continue on the same path you are already on, living together and being in a relationship together? Because after you get married what else will change really….

157 Jessica May 30, 2012 at 10:19 am

I’m sorry, but are you serious? The point of being a husband and wife to have the SAME LAST NAME? Oh my. I think you should seriously rethink what a marriage is.

Do you not understand that this “giving up the last name” thing is CULTURAL and it just happens to be the norm in the U.S.? It’s not a matter of right and wrong. It’s a matter of preference. CHOICE! Imagine that! If you chose to change your last name, fine, but don’t hate on other people for having different opinions.

I guess this is that backlash you were referencing. :]

158 Kristine May 30, 2012 at 10:27 am

As someone who kept her own name, I am really insulted by your comment. Of course I want to be with my husband forever, but I also see no problem with holding onto a part of my identity that is really important to me and is represented by my own last name (my husband has no problem with this either). And who says we should have to take their family names? What’s to stop them from taking our names instead? Or coming up with a new version of a name that represents your new partnership? Maybe it’s a philosophical difference underneath because I also don’t see myself as “becoming one” with my husband. We are two individuals who love each other, respect each other and want to share our lives with each other. That’s what marriage is to us – it’s not a husband and wife melding into one person. Or one name, for that matter.

There are many ways to figure out the last name issue, and I don’t think any of them should be labeled “selfish”. It’s a very personal, very individual choice and I think it is judgmental of you to impose your own beliefs upon a whole group of people.

Whether or not you give up your last name has little to do with what changes when you get married. You are still tied to your spouse, legally, emotionally and spiritually. You have still made an incredible commitment that should be respected and honored. Some people tie significance to sharing a name with their spouse, but some don’t. What you call yourselves is not what’s important – it’s the commitment you have made (and unfortunately a commitment that not everyone gets to make when they want to, thanks to the laws of this country).

159 Morgan May 30, 2012 at 10:40 am

And while I see what you 2 are saying I pose this question, You keep saying that your maiden names holds such strong ties for you to your family, but why do you not feel the need for the same strong ties to your husband’s?

160 Kristine May 30, 2012 at 10:51 am

Because marrying my husband wasn’t about tying myself to his family – it was about committing to him and growing our family together (he’s closer to my family than I am to his anyway, but you don’t see anyone accusing him of being selfish for keeping his own name). And keeping my own name was not about tying myself to my own family either – it was about holding onto a part of me that was around for 28 years before I met my husband. I didn’t become someone else when I got married – I’ve grown, but I’m still me, and it was important for me to represent that in some way. This is my second marriage (I got married very young the first time and I DID change my name). Unfortunately the relationship fell apart and in the process of recovering/grieving that loss, I realized that if I ever got married again, I wanted to keep my own name as a symbol that I’m okay with myself just as I am, husband or no husband. If that’s selfish in your book, I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree (but I wish you would have expressed your opinions in a less judge-y comment). I personally think it means I’m an empowered woman who knows who she is and doesn’t need a husband or a husband’s name to define her.

Meghann, I think you should do whatever feels right to you!

161 Meghann May 30, 2012 at 10:55 am

Kristine, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thank you. ๐Ÿ™‚

162 Jessica May 30, 2012 at 10:51 am

Kristine, your response was so beautifully written! I agree with you 100%.

Morgan, I guess I don’t understand why you seem to believe that having the same last name as your partner means you are strongly tied together. For example, my parents shared a last name and the marriage ended in divorce — so while they had the same “team name,” they were not actually on the same team, you see? Plus, is it not possible to feel strongly connected to both your maiden name and your partner’s name? Why must it be one or the other?

As Kristine so eloquently said, this decision is incredibly personal. And, to me, being a team has absolutely nothing to do with a name; instead. being partners is about how you love one another, how you work together, how you manage hardships, etc. What does a name have to do with any of that?

For me, bottom line: name has ZERO to do with commitment.

163 Kristine May 30, 2012 at 10:56 am

Amen sister! You said it perfectly! ๐Ÿ™‚

164 Rachel May 31, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Why can’t it be the other way around? If the husband loves the wife so much then why not change his name? Why is the onus put on the woman to prove her love and devotion by changing her name? Does the husband not have ties to the wife’s family that he could also recognize by changing his name?

165 Kelly June 1, 2012 at 4:37 pm

I’m not sure why this is selfish. No one would ever call a husband selfish for not agreeing to take his wife’s name. I agree with the other commenters that it is a matter of choice and everyone should do what makes the most sense for them and their spouse.

Personally in all decisions in life if it’s not hurting anyone else I don’t know why we all cannot agree that people should just make the decisions that feel right to them. It always amazes me how judgmental people are of things others do whether it’s choosing a job, a way of parenting, or what to do about your last name.

If my potential husband felt the way you do about me keeping my name that would probably be a flashing red light that we were not compatible.
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166 Megan May 30, 2012 at 10:06 am

I changed my last name when I got married a year ago. I had a complicated last name and hated having to tell people how to say it when I was growing up. So I was excited to change it to something simple. Then 4 months ago my father passed away and my maiden name seemed to have more meaning, a connection to him. Although I won’t change my name back, sometimes I wish I appreciated that my dad gave it to me and we shared it for 26 years before I got married.

167 Jenn May 30, 2012 at 10:44 am

I actually agree with Morgan. I know that maiden names DO hold a strong sense of identity for some people & if it means that much to you – you can certainly keep it as a part of your name. However, I can also see why it might seem insulting to say to your husband that your “old” identity means more to you than having a “new” identity as a part of a marriage with him. Ultimately it is a personal decision, but I can definitely see the point that Morgan is making.

168 Kristine May 30, 2012 at 10:53 am

But my identity as his wife doesn’t cancel out my identity as a whole person. Being married to my husband makes me a stronger, better, more well-rounded person in many ways. But were I to lose him tomorrow, it wouldn’t mean I was all the sudden 1/2 of a person. I’d still have my own identity then too.

Being married changes you but it doesn’t have to “complete” you. You’re complete on your own.

169 Jenn May 30, 2012 at 11:03 am

I guess in the end it doesn’t matter, right? It’s the whole “what’s in a name?” argument that Shakespeare made long long ago.

For me – keeping my maiden name wasn’t even a thought. I just didn’t care that much about it. My identity has nothing to do with my name and it was important for me to have the same last name as my husband. I never considered keeping my maiden name, just as some people would not consider changing it. Just a personal choice!

170 Kristine May 30, 2012 at 11:06 am

I 100% agree that it’s a personal choice. And if Morgan wants to change her name (or anyone else wants to change their name), I completely respect that decision. I just wish those of us who made a different decision would get the same respect and not have people calling the decision “selfish”. Totally unnecessary.

171 Morgan May 30, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Thanks Jenn. I knew in writing my initial comment I would get negative feedback but I am surprised at how only you have stepped up to say they agree. While my delivery of my feeling may have come off worng I find it hard to believe that other women reading this don’t understand what I was getting at. And if Kristine and Jessica will look back at my original post I also stated at the beginning of it that yes ultimately it is her decision, but why is it that I have to agree with it. Whether any of you agree with me or not, I do still stand by my statement of thinking that it is in fact a selfish decision. Plain and simple.

172 Jessica May 30, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Hey Morgan — this will be my last post, I promise! — I just wanted to clarify that I think it’s great that you have your own opinion, even though I do strongly disagree with it. However, I will say that I think using words such as “selfish” in the conversation is harsh and unnecessary. That immediately angers people who are on the other side of the issue, and what’s the point of that?

There is SO MUCH shame, discomfort, frustration, confusion, etc. among women when it comes to name changing (or lack thereof) — for the love of God, let’s support one another as we make informed decisions and NOT condemn or judge others for what they choose.

173 Robin D. June 1, 2012 at 1:40 am

I kept my maiden name. It was never a question and always the expected action.

We both come from cultures where the women traditionally keep their maiden name after marriage. Our mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and so on retained their maiden name. It would seem almost unnatural to do otherwise.

It has nothing to do with love (or lack thereof) or selfishness. I think it’s rather insulting that people can make those judgements on our relationship based on a personal and cultural decision.

As an aside, I’m also a health professional and the logistics of changing my name seem frightening! The usual documents… but also professional documents, my professional license, association memberships, insurance, and nevermind prior academic publications and my general reputation that have all been built on my maiden name! The majority of my female colleagues either kept their name or hyphenated when they married.

I wonder if attitudes towards name changing differ regionally… We live in Vancouver and have never been questioned or challenged about our decision.

174 MelanieF June 1, 2012 at 6:52 pm

It’s not even a question here in Quebec, as it is illegal to change your name when you get married. And to be honest, even if it was legal, I wouldn’t change my name.
My mom changed hers when she got married, and she now only goes by her maiden name. So, here, it’s really something most of us don’t think about. We’re also one of the places where people get married less. I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost 8 years, and we do not plan on getting married. It is very common here. It doesn’t change the love we have for each other.

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