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Should You Change Your Name When You Get Married?

Taking His Name, Keeping Your Own Name, and Options In-Between

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According to recent surveys, somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of brides take their husband's last name when they get married. But is it right for you? Here are some things to consider before you take his name:

The Pros of Taking Your Husband's Name:

  • If you're planning on having children, you'll find life is much easier when going on trips (especially when traveling internationally), dealing with schools, and even just dealing with other parents, if you're easily recognizable as being one family.

  • If you don't like your own last name, here's an easy excuse for a change

  • Remember doodling Mrs. Janet Presley or Mrs. Janet Timberlake on your notebooks? If you were this type of little girl, now you'll have the satisfaction of doodling a name and getting to actually use it.
  • Many brides find that having the same last name as their husband helps them feel more like a family, and a new name is an important symbol of the journey they are embarking on together

  • Monogramming, personalized doormats and dinner reservations become easier (although I hope you're not changing your name for a doormat!)

  • Let's face it, since so many brides do take their husband's last names, people will expect it and will already start addressing you as Mrs. Jones, whether you like it or not. (You may even get that personalized doormat as a wedding present) Perhaps going with that flow is not a bad option.

The Cons of Taking Your Husband's Last Name

  • You're getting married, not becoming a different person. Changing your last name may feel like a loss of self or a loss of identity.

  • It may go against your politics – after all, why does the woman have to change her name, and not the man? Furthermore, changing your name may imply that you are more old-fashioned or traditional than you actually are.

  • If you are the last of your family with your last name, you may not want to give it up.

  • If your name is interesting, or alliterative, and his name is hard to pronounce or just dissonant, it may be better to stick with the name you were born with.

  • If you've become known in your career field, it may be hard to reestablish your reputation with a different last name.
Fortunately it's not just as black and white as his name or your name.

Other options besides just taking his name

  • Hyphenating your last names – sometimes just the bride hyphenates, while the groom stays with his last name solo, but most of the time both change their names. You all can decide whose name goes first!

  • Keeping your maiden name as a middle name. This way, you can choose to sometimes put Amanda Smith Jones and sometimes just Amanda Jones, depending on the circumstance

  • If you're worried about being the last in the family with that name, consider taking your husband's name, but using your maiden name as a first or middle name for a child. So if your name was Lisa Alice Fielding, your son could be Fielding Charles Burwell.

  • He could take your last name. While only a small percentage of couples are going this route, it will mark you all as modern folks who aren't afraid to change up tradition. If you've got the cool last name, and his is, well, dorky, both of you can win with this option.

  • You can combine the last names into a new name. If your last name is Miller and his is Peltson, why can't you all become the Millsons? Or there's really nothing stopping you from choosing a new name all together – think of it as a chance to make a clean break.

  • Consider changing your name legally, so as to make traveling with the kids, dealing with schools and other personal matters easier, but still using your name professionally. It will be a small hassle setting things up when you change jobs, but will make day-to-day life much simpler.


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