Name change

For as long as I can remember, I knew I would get married.  I was that little girl who pranced around her bedroom in her nightgown, using a blanket as a veil, pretending it was my wedding day.  It was just was girls did – get married.  Somewhere along the way, I didn’t get obsessed enough to plan a wedding binder for my dream wedding one day.  But, I knew I would plan a wedding.  And it would be awesome.  I also always assumed I would take my husband’s last name.  That’s also what girls did – they changed their name.  Not once did I waver from this assumption and I always tried my name with my boyfriend’s at least once, just to see how it sounded.

And now I’m actually planning a wedding and actually getting married and for some reason I’m having a hard time deciding whether or not I really want to change my last name.  For one, I’ve kind of gotten used to it.  Maybe if I had gotten married ten years ago, I wouldn’t be so attached to what I’m called each and every day among friends and colleagues.  Also, a tiny bit of me is sad that my family’s last name won’t get passed down (one cousin has all girls, another is expecting… maybe she’ll get a boy!)  Of course, it’s kind of a moot issue since we’re not planning on having kids, anyway.  My co-workers and clients know me by my current name, but it’s not like I’ve built a work-identity around it.  So, I don’t think it would be a big deal to start calling people with a new last name.

I’m not opposed to Travis’ last name; it’s not a bad one.  And I know everyone has to get used to their name change and it sounds weird after a while.  I’m also not opposed to all the steps it will take to change my SSN, driver’s license, registration, passport, etc.  Yeah, it’ll take time and be a pain, but so is everything else that involves a form.

I am looking forward to being our own little family and sharing a last name would be neat.

I know there are married people out there, so I want to know: did you change your last name?  Why not?  And what is all this I hear about women changing their last name socially (like, among friends and whatnot) but not legally?  Would that be confusing and a big pain in the butt?

Is it weird that I’m having such a hard time deciding?  For the record, Travis has no qualms either way about my name change.  I think a part of him would like it if I “took” his last name, but he wouldn’t be hurt in the slightest if I kept mine.

Are there convenience reasons for having the same last name?  Like, if he’s in the hospital and I say I’m his wife but I don’t have his last name, are they going to ask for proof?  Would we get split up on an airplane because we have different last names?  I just don’t know!

ps – feel free to e-mail me about it, since I know it could be weird having all this in the comments

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7 responses to “Name change

  1. I struggled for a long time with whether I should take Paul’s last name. It was very “American” and I did a Google search of people that would share my name if I changed it — and there are DOZENS in the U.S. I was going on the path of keeping my maiden name but one incident convinced me to hyphenate: one day I had to pick up an important FedEx package for Paul and since we did not share the last name on my driver’s license, they wouldn’t release it to me. Sure, we weren’t “officially” married yet but that incident lingered in my mind.

    From that moment, I decided to hyphenate. I could either go with my maiden name (which is for the record REALLY difficult to spell and unique) or go with Paul’s name. Sometimes, I’m feeling really mischievous and unleash my entire name, hyphenated and all. Combined, it’s 14 letters total and uses almost ALL the vowels.

    I do like sharing a little bit of Paul’s background but it’s always nice that I can change it the way I see fit. Good luck with what you choose!

    • So, your license and passport are all hyphenated? But on everything else you choose which part to use? I never thought this would become such a debate for me, but here we are. Plus, we’re getting our marriage license next week, so I need to figure this out!

  2. re: My driver’s license is hyphenated but everything else has my maiden name. I need to renew my passport and when I do, it will be hyphenated to match my driver’s license. At work, I use my maiden name. When I go shopping, I use only my married last name — mostly to avoid spelling my maiden name. On blogs and anything that might be out in public, I use my married name because of the dozens upon dozens of people that share it with me. I found this web site when doing research on advantages (and disadvantages) to changing your name: http://tinyurl.com/4oz6tpa

    I forgot to mention in the FedEx story was that we shared the same address to which the package was being delivered to and didn’t understand the fuss over not having the same last name.

  3. Dunno if you got your license already or not, but you can pretty much change your name at any point you feel like it. Just keep in mind that it really ISN’T that much trouble to change it, so that part of it really shouldn’t factor into your decision.

    Personally, I changed my last name as both a gift to Jeff and because I like the idea of being on the same team in life. No regrets. Anyone I really care about, pre and post marriage, knows that I’m a Chan, even if it isn’t my legal name anymore!

    As long as you legally have everything in place, you’ll be fine with the things that really matter no matter what you decide to do.

  4. I had a hard time parting with the Abe also. It’s strange when you have your whole life (credit cards, phone, insurance, diplomas, etc) under Abe and then you go and change it to something else. I kept the Abe and added the Walters on the end. Not hyphenated, just 2 middle names. It’s taking me awhile to get used to signing my name differently and going from the front of the alphabet to the back. I still slip up and call myself Abe. The good thing about keeping the Abe is that when I’m signing my name and mistakenly write Abe, I can just add the Walters to the end.
    My mom and I were discussing names for the baby and we both accidentally used the Abe last name. Whoops. Matt just laughs, but I know he appreciates that I took his name. I don’t regret taking his name, but it was a hard choice for me too. Either way, the marriage is the important thing, your relationship is what matters. Whether you take his name or not, you’ll always be an Abe.

  5. hi there – congrats by the way on your upcoming wedding!!!

    re: name change….i can beat darlene’s hyphenated last name. heh heh.
    it’s 16 letters long AND uses all the vowels.

    i too chose to hyphenate. i noticed that most of my professional friends did. at least 10 of us. but i chose to hyphenate before i got my job 16 years ago. been married 15 years. it was a pain in the butt to get all the documents in and i barely remember what i had to do. at work, i used my hyphenated name, but even after all these years of being married, most of my students and the staff refer to the 1st part of my hyphenated last name because it’s easier to pronounce. it’s a spanish last name (but I am 2nd gen Filipina American) while my husband’s last name is VERY Filipino and for most people, difficult to pronounce (although it’s phonetic).

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