The Name Game: Should you Take your Husband’s Surname When you Marry?

Kathryn Underwood was always last to be called in the school register. I’m not sure why it bothered me so much that I was stuck on the end every time, but it did. I felt like an outsider and I longed to be all snuggy in the middle with the Matthews’ and the Smiths’ and the Jones’. “It’s OK though”, I justified to myself, “when I get married I’ll never have to be at the end of a register ever again…”

And then I married a Williams.

When I married, keeping my maiden name was something I never even considered. I’m actually a little surprised with myself that this was one of the few traditions that I never thought to rebel against! I’ve personally never felt that taking my husband’s name had anything to do with me being an oppressed woman, and I certainly never felt it was an archaic tradition that made me somehow become my husband’s possession (just as I didn’t even consider that my father wouldn’t walk me down the aisle. I actually felt this was a really special part of our wedding). I know many people do feel this, but me? Nah not so much…

I love that we have the same name and we often joke about being ‘Team Williams’. I never felt particularly tied to my old surname. I didn’t dislike it but it didn’t define me. I defined me. However I think deciding people should call me Kat instead of Kathryn (when I was about 16) was empowering. I chose to be Kat, just as I chose to be a Williams.

However I really started to think about this topic when I received the following email last week. Charlotte has, without a doubt, the coolest surname ever and is unsure of what to do with it when she marries her boy…

Hello Kat

Firstly may I say precisely how much I love your blog! Barely a day goes by when I’m not pawing over its beautifully designed pages. Thank you for existing!

Now on to my question. I want to make it clear that I’m not expecting a conclusive answer but I want to discuss this issue with someone objective who will share their opinion without rolling their eyes at me and telling me “that’s just the way it is – get over it!”

My fiancé and I planning to get married in 2014. We already have distinct plans and ideas for the day and wanted to get everything sorted as far in advance as possible so we can use our outstanding creativity to DIY the hell out of many many things. However, one detail we’re still confused about is our names. I have a pretty wonderful surname. My surname is Cloud. It makes me smile every time someone tells me how nice a name that is and it’s always bothered me that I’d have to drop it. I decided I didn’t want to drop it a while ago, but my fiancé won’t take mine. Although his argument isn’t that “it’s not the man’s job to take another name” (I have heard this opinion a lot recently!) it still leaves me wondering what on earth we’re to do. His surname (Fleming) is just a general English surname that a good few people will have. It’s not offensive, but it does become so when coupled with Cloud, so double barrelled is right out.

I then thought about each of us keeping our own surnames. I really don’t like this idea. I do feel that sharing surnames is an important part of being a married couple, and if we don’t share surnames then I won’t feel as married as I could. If we have children, I don’t want them to have a different surname to either of us; I want people to know that they’re ours, not just mine or just his.

I have heard of couples inventing their own surnames in situations like this but I’m quite lost now. I’m not really sure what I want to do and the easiest thing may well be to suck it up and drop my surname. Our families will be expecting it and if he drops his in any way they may feel betrayed. This does remind me though that many marriage traditions exist because a woman was property to be traded, and I don’t want to be branded as the property of his family name. I know that attitude might not fit in nicely within the ideals of someone who values marriage, but I’m full of contradictions!

Is this a situation you’ve come across before? I would appreciate some words of wisdom.

Many thanks

Charlotte Cloud

Charlotte Cloud! Yes, she’s right, that is the coolest name ever. It certainly made me smile as I saw it sat there, looking all cute and pretty on the page. Honestly though, I don’t feel well equiped enough to answer her dilemma on my own. My one tiny piece of advice would be that you have to do what’s right for you. In your gut you probably know what the right choice is and just because there are pressures from both camps (to change or not to change) you are the only person who can say what is right or wrong for you. After all it’s no-one’s name but your own!

To name oneself is the first act of both the poet and the revolutionary. When we take away the right to an individual name, we symbolically take away the right to be an individual. Immigration officials did this to refugees; husbands routinely do it to wives. – Erica Jong

Anyway, in order to get a more rounded idea of opinions on this subject, I took to twitter and facebook and asked my wonderful followers to help me out. And oh boy did you! In droves! I had literally hundreds of messages from you all (you can see the ones that were posted directly to facebook here). I wish I could post them all but alas it would equate to the worlds longest blog post so here are just a few of my favourites…

♥ Emily Quinton – I have pretty much always know that I wouldn’t take my husband’s name if I ever got married, and I interestingly so has my sister. I was absolutely sure about it until my little girl asked me why I wasn’t a Lewandowski too and it was nearly enough to make me do it. But no, I have kept my name.

However, we have had several conversations about merging our two names and becoming Quinski. Some of our friends call us the Quinski family and I do really like it. The coming together of two families into one new name. We haven’t done it yet and I’m not sure if we ever will but you never know! There was some objection from family members, so perhaps it might be too political and a step too far. I think the fact I haven’t changed my name is enough for some people!

 Lyndsay Kirkham – I didn’t change my name. Firstly, we were living in Brussels, Belgium at the time and it just isn’t done there, so the logistics of getting name changed on documents would have been a nightmare (and you do not want to do anything administrative if you are an expat living in Brussels).

Secondly, I was pregnant with my son and the idea of him carrying both of our names was really lovely to me. My husband is English and I am Canadian, so I really liked the idea of our son carrying both of his cultures in his hyphenated name.

Third, my name is my own. I have had this sucker my whole life and didn’t see why I should take the name of my husband. It did seem a bit archaic and unnecessary to me. I mean, it is lovely and romantic to think of becoming one family under one name – but that really isn’t what marriage or family is about. It isn’t about the symbols, it is about the day to day respect and love that you give each other and how you treat your marriage in ‘real time’.

Finally, I am a writer and didn’t want to take away the connections to my poetry and articles. Few they may be, I didn’t want to start fresh as a Mrs….

♥ Corinne Hills – When I got married (the first time) I happened to marry someone with the same surname (no, we weren’t related!) so I kept my surname. Now I am remarrying my partner is taking MY surname, this is partly because we have children and I have a son from my 1st marriage so I want us all to have the same name.

Changing your name is a tradition, nothing more and keeping your own name shows no less of a commitment to your lives together. I like that my partner has changed his name, his dad left when he was a baby so he was never very attached to his name which helped. I suppose if you are planning a family it can be nice to share a name.

♥ Clare Waterfall-Hallam – I am a Waterfall by birth. I got stick for it being a child, then Sarah Green (the real one) told me through the telly that it was a lovely name. Something I already knew, but it made a 6 year old me brush off the childish comments more easily. As you can imagine there are not many of us Waterfalls so the name is very defining. On occasions our name ‘sticks’ and can be a hindrance, it can also be a gift.

As a love struck teenager-20 something, I’d practice my then-boyfriend’s surname as my married signature. After all that is what you do, take his name. Then the bastard broke my heart and I spent a long time not knowing who or what I was. After a long time I looked back at the 6 year old me. What did I want to be when I grew up? So I made big efforts, with the help of a great support team and became who I wanted to be. At 32 years old I was marrying my Rob. He is an awesome man but I had taken a long journey to appreciate that I am an awesome person too. I had been Clare Waterfall for these 32 years, I liked her and wasn’t willing to leave her. My Dad has 3 daughters and his brother is in Canada so our line stops here. It’s not an age old lineage, we adopted the name 3 generations ago when the Birches of Waterfall moved to Manchester. I simply wanted to keep something of my Dad and my Grandpa and of me.

Another thing that bugs me is the assumption that a woman ‘should’ take her husband’s name. Like she belongs to him in the same way your mum writes your name in your school jumper, let’s everyone know who’s it is! This opinion has come with time and experience of a shocking presence of latent and sometimes aggressive sexism that runs still in our generation (that’s another story all together). I decided that I should like to double barrel. I want to share a family name with him and any kids. For my creative work and tv credits I retain Clare Waterfall. For school I am just Hallam, it saves the kids doing Facebook stalking etc. and gives me a very clear separation between teaching and making.

My husband initially remarked that I should take his name as it’s commonplace in the UK. I expressed my feelings and he totally got it! He told me he was marrying Clare Waterfall and that was all that mattered. However he didn’t want to take my name, for pretty much the same reasons, all his tv credits are Hallam, plus I think the latent sexism crept in, a proud and traditional man in many ways. With regards our children, Rob was quite insistent that they be Waterfall Hallam over Hallam Waterfall, which was a relief as that is what I wanted too! I cover all bases because ultimately my heart lies in many camps. I do love it when they call ‘Mr and Mrs Hallam’ to a table. I love being Clare Waterfall and I love sharing my name with my son. I am indecisive and greedy. I don’t know why people are reluctant to double barrel. It is not a snobbery or elitism thing. It is pride in both families heritage. I also cannot understand why it has to be an issue. My friend’s country you keep your name, there isn’t even an equivalent of Mrs. Mrs, belonging to Mr.

I’m still not sure what the correct and proper camp is, perhaps I’m straddling the two or perhaps I’ve created my own. Either way I’m happy with my many names! I would just like to add, when facing protestations from chaps over why I didn’t automatically take Rob’s name, I ask them if they would take their wife’s. Most flat out refuse with many a justification, many of them are the same as mine. Sometimes that quells the issue, other people simply don’t get it.

I wish it really didn’t matter, after all, A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

♥ Jill Blanc – I love my surname “Blanc” so didn’t want to take my husband’s name “McDermott” (Ugggh!), and was very adamant about it, which kind of disappointed him. As it was getting closer to the wedding, we were having hassle with family and stuff so wanted to show my love for my wonderfully supportive husband-to-be, so I told him I would take his name… he actually got really emotional and really appreciated it. It made me happy that I made him happy!

I then decided to start designing wedding stationery and Jill McDermott just didn’t have that creative ring to it so I went back to Jill Blanc. Now in my personal life I am known as Jill McDermott… and in my work life I am known as Jill Blanc… I love the separation of it!

Gilly Rosenthol – My fiancé and I started discussing marriage maybe two weeks after we started dating.  A few days later, I turned to him and said suddenly “I don’t have to take your name, do I?”  He said “Good god, no!”  Even as a kid, thinking about my future marriage, the idea of taking my husband’s name never felt right to me.  Why would I suddenly give up my identity to take on his?  I can see that it’s convenient for a family to have one joint name when there are children involved, but I’ve never felt the urge to have children, and since I’m 42 and my fiancé already has a 15-year-old daughter, we’re definitely not planning on having any more.  So when we marry, we will each get to keep our own names, with all of their history and identity, while we join together to create a new identity as a family.

As to advice for someone who isn’t sure she wants to change her name… I’d say, first of all, try to look at the reasons why you feel you should, or reasons why you don’t want to, and explore the feelings behind them.  And remember that the only choices are not keeping your own name or taking his!  You can hyphenate, you can both take a new name together, you can change your middle name, you can keep your names but come up with a plan for naming future children, you can keep your name professionally but change it personally… you can do pretty much anything you can come up with that feels true to yourself and your partner.

♥ Fiona Howard – soon to become Butler I’m sure if there are 10 brides there will be 10 different reasons why they decide not to take husband’s surname. I’m also sure my story will be a little controversial and the truth is I think I didn’t take my first husband’s name because I wasn’t 100% committed to my marriage – or so I realised when it collapsed.

I always said I didn’t want to change my name for reasons like a) I’m too lazy, b) In Japan (where I was born & my Mum is from) you have to change your name and I wanted to rebel against that heritage, and c) I’m an only child so would be nice to keep my surname. And insisted I was called Ms Howard. But looking back I think I didn’t want to change it because I didn’t want to fully be ‘in’ the marriage. I must have had some reservations. We married after being together for 8 years and seemed natural thing to do. I loved him but I guess I wasn’t in love with him any more (cliché but it’s true) Marriage lasted 2 years, and after I told my mum I’m leaving him, she told me that she always knew I shouldn’t have married him. Mum knows best!

I’ve met someone wonderful now, got engaged 6 months after we met and getting married in 3 months time. And I can’t wait to change my name. It definitely feels different from it was with my ex – I will be so proud to be called Mrs Butler.

♥ Audrey Caldwell – I did take my husband’s last name. Here’s why: I liked it and even if you keep your maiden name, the truth is the maiden name is still your father’s name (or Grandfather’s if your mother kept her maiden name, but it comes from a male head of family eventually). If most women avoid taking their husband’s name for sake of feminism, keeping their father’s name – a symbol of paternal familial ownership – is still not any mark of feminist revolt and thus defeats the purpose of not taking a marital name! So, just thought I would share that, as it helped me make my decision when I wed.

The true goal of the feminist revolution is to allow women choices, so choose whenever name you like and want most!

Vicky Holmes – I am getting married in September and it has been quite a job deciding what to do with my surname.

I work in academia, I have publications under my maiden name and therefore can’t start publishing in another surname (although I know others who have). I have the option of having a work name and a personal name.  However, from people I know who have done this it can cause quite a headache. For example, travelling to conferences – you are invited under your work name, but your passport has your married name.

Plus, after 30 years of having this surname, I am simply just quite attached to it (I did consider the double-barrel route, but “Dyson-Holmes” sounds like a hybrid cleaner). Although, I won’t be offended if people call me Mrs Dyson.

People reactions to me not changing my surname has been quite surprising.  While others have said ‘why would you?’, others have implied I am not wholly committed to the marriage if I do not take my husband’s surname.

Asking my students opinion (most of whom are 18), both male and females have said they expect that their wives would keep their maiden name.  However, the boys then added that they will expect their children to take their surname.

My advice is, don’t feel pressured into changing your surname, do what you feel comfortable with.

♥ Mandy O’Hara – After I marry in a little over a month, I WILL be taking my fiances name. I LOVE my family name and I’m sad to see it go, but at the end of the day, it’s only a name. I know I will still be an O’Hara at heart and no one can take that away with a legal document. I take my fiances name with pride not because he “owns me” now but because we love and respect each other and for me personally it’s important that our (future hopefully!) children have the same last name as both of us. It may be an ‘outdated’ tradition but I look forward to the day when I can proudly write Beck behind my first name as a sign of our love.

♥ Lydia Stamps – My maiden name ‘Stamps’ is a pretty unusual name, I love it and it’s such a part of my identity – ballsy and pretty strong. So understandably I was reluctant to change my name, especially as my husband’s name is rather ‘beige’ – Evans. In the end however I went ahead with a name change as it was really important to me that as we go forward we have a joined family identity. We plan to have kids and personally, I want us to be bonded and joined by name, to feel like a unit in some way. We did consider going double barrelled, but our names don’t really work together. My husband and his family are also very proud of their Welsh heritage and for his family it was a big deal that I was ‘becoming an Evans’. While I think this is utter tosh, and hate the idea that I’m now part of some kind of clan I do think it’s great that they are so proud of their family and that’s no bad thing to be a part of.

I did draw the line at a family crest ring I might add, and I have insisted that when my passport needs changing my husband will pay for that entirely! It’s his name after all! I would advise anyone who doesn’t want to change their name to stay strong. I’m lucky that my maiden name is still a part of my identity via my business and I’m proud that I still have that part of my roots present in my life day to day. If I didn’t I would have probably stayed a ‘stampsy’. I don’t think people realise the importance of a name until it’s gone it’s not a decision to take lightly if you’re on the fence.

♥ Caroline Baines – I don’t think it’s a case of possession, I think it more symbolisies you becoming a family. Your dad ‘giving you away’ to me is just “I’ve taken care of her for so many years, please love her, and look after her too” not, “she was mine and now she’s yours”. I love my fiance so much, and even though his last name clashes with my first name (I’ll become Caroline Crilly, it sounds like you have a mouthful when you say it aloud!) I’ll be taking it with pride. I’d like our children to have the same name as both parents. I do see why some people chose to keep their maiden name though, one of my closest friends didn’t bother double barreling, because she didn’t want to lose her last name (it’s a very unusual last name, with not many family members to carry it on).

♥ Claire Jackson – After ENDLESS deliberation (and long, agonising chats with my besties) I’ve finally decided to change my middle name to my maiden name and take my partners surname after all. I’ve already changed my surname since I was a teenager through my parents divorce, so it really was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. I sure am glad my ‘CJ’ tattoo will still represent who I am today.

♥ Paloma Murillo Trigo – For me it was a tricky one. In Spain, where I was born, no-one loses their maiden name. Children get 2 surnames, first dad’s and then mum’s (my full name is Paloma Murillo Trigo, Murillo being my dad’s last name and Trigo my mum’s) And this is the way it is, and always has been.

So when I got engaged to my lovely English now husband, it wasn’t an option, I didn’t like the idea of becoming Mrs X, I wanted to keep my name, because this is what I grew up with, this is what I know, and I like my surname (Murillo was a very talented artist!) For these exact reasons my husband was a bit annoyed, as he always thought his wife would have the same name as him.

So I decided to look into it, and see if I could maybe have both of our surnames in a double barrelled one… and it turns out, in Spain, you can only change your name under a number of circumstances, Marriage not being one of them (‘yay!’ I thought perfect excuse…)

Rebecca Paul – I would burn my bra and swing it happily round my head alight, for women’s rights and equality (in both directions, it is a two way street after all), and although I’d have a very cold lady front and be down one bra, I’d do it with the smile of knowing I believed in what I was doing.

I plan to marry next year, and I already know for certain that I will be taking Paul’s (my HTB’s) surname. It isn’t because I feel I should, it isn’t because it is expected of me, it isn’t even because I prefer his surname to my own. It is because I want to, more than anything in the world…

I grew up in a multi-divorce family, my parents are divorced, my maternal grandparents are divorced, and despite that not putting me off marriage, it has meant that I yearn for a single family name. I yearn for my children’s parents have the same surname as they do. Throughout school I hated having to explain that my mother had a different surname, and yes, that my two youngest brothers did too. It made me feel our family was fragmented. My younger brother took it literally and went off the rails, only listening to those in our family with the same surname as us two, clinging and clawing on to his identity, taking years to feel truly like himself. And although I never kicked out, I felt the same.

I want ‘Team Lismer’. I want people to know that we face the world together as a unit, that we are part of something bigger and that we belong to the same family.

So why not have him take my surname I hear you cry? He would in a heartbeat…

But my surname is Paul. And no-one would ever take him seriously again…

♥ Gala Darling – I changed my name to Gala Lumiere Darling when I was 23 years old. The name came to me in a dream, I wrote it down, & made it legal a couple of months later. For me, changing my name was an act of magical transformation. I had never identified with the name I was given at birth, so choosing a new moniker felt like I was establishing my independence, asserting my place in the world. I have always felt like Gala Darling is a big name, one I have to live up to, & I feel like I am becoming that person more & more every day.

I never identified with my birth name. I was always in a class at school with a bunch of other Amy’s, so I’d be “Amy P” or whatever & it was terrible. It just didn’t feel like it fit. I started using the internet in ’96 & the ability to choose your own name or handle was so exciting to me – it felt like I could step into an identify that was more comfortable. I suppose that is what empowered me to make the choice to legally change my name in the first place! Good old internet!

When my husband & I got engaged, I never even considered taking his surname.  Actually, he thinks about officially becoming “Mr. Darling” quite regularly!

I think from these few messages alone, it’s clear to see that no-one can give anyone else a conclusive answer. It’s easy to see why some people find the whole subject such a minefield actually!

What you you think? I’d love to hear more ideas and opinions on this subject especially if you have any advice for Miss Cloud.

Did you take your partner’s name or did he/she take yours? Or did you keep your own individual surnames? Did the thought of having children with a different name to your own have any influence? What do you think about making up your own surname and would you ever do it? (I kinda love this idea…) I’d also really love to hear from any gay couples – what are your plans when you marry?

Supporting Cast


  1. katy

    I am getting married in September and will be taking my husband’s name. Though I’m still getting used to the idea of my new name, I really couldn’t be happier. I think it really comes down to our beliefs about marriage…this is something whole and life-changing, and my identity with my husband as a family (and in years to come, our children) is the most important thing. WE will be in this life together, not as individuals, but as a couple. So taking his name is exciting.

    I will add that I’m getting married fairly young, in my early 20s, and if I was older (with done under my maiden name,) the decision might be made differently! So in that way, I completely understand women who keep their names when they get married.

  2. Miz Wright

    I chose to keep my name because, quite frankly, I LOVE being Miz Wright – and my partner likes being married to Miz Wright. I considered changing it, but interestingly, never to my partner’s name – I thought about changing it to my Mom’s maiden, as I’m the last one in our family line, and there were no male children in my generation. It was more as a symbolic gesture than anything, as we’re childfree, but it was about my connection through the generations for which I would be the terminus.

  3. Oh – this is a good one!

    I married a Japanese guy and I hate paperwork, so I never got round to changing my name in the alloted time.
    However I started using my husband’s family name as soon as we got married in business because it helps me build trust with my Japanese clients and gets me past the ‘can you use chopsticks’ kind of conversations and into and open communication partnership more quickly.
    I had always intended to change it, but it took a while to decide. Finally when it came to renew my passport (4 years after getting wed!) I decided to go for it and did it by deedpoll. It’s a lot of work changing everything like bank accounts and investments in 2 or 3 different countries.
    By deedpoll, it’s about 70 quid, so reasonable and you get to choose – dead simple I got the forms from the Internet, got a friend to sign on my behalf to say I am who I say I am and BAM.
    I decided to lose my middle name, Louise and take my English name Everitt as my middle name, rather than double barrelling, which would be an unholy mouthful in Japanese.
    Like Gala Darling, it had a nice sense of renewal, and empowering sense of it having been my choice and I get to keep one foot in my heritage while at the same time being on ‘team Furuya’ and acknowledging my cross-cultural marriage.

    Officially I am Ms, not Mrs – although loads of peeps call me Mrs F.
    It’s nice to have the choice isn’t it? Until recently (And I DO MEAN RECENTLY, like 2008 or something) it was illegal to have a different family name to your spouse in Japan.

    Ms Cloud.

    Set a bit of time aside and think, really think about your choices.
    try each one out for size and when you visualise having that name, check where the feeling registers on your body. Does it feel ICK or does it feel mmmm?

    And don’t foregt you can always change and deedpoll is an option for whatever you want in a name – you could keep Cloud and hyphenate, middle name it or make up a whole new name.

    The sky’s the limit (see what I did there?)

    Ms Furuya

  4. Hi Kat! I got here from Gala’s Carrousel post and really enjoyed reading your post.

    I am not officially engaged but I have already talked about this with my boyfriend. I will not change my last name, even if he would like that. I really like my surname not only because it’s really special and rare but because I have a really special connection with my paternal family (from where comes my surname). I’m portuguese, and here, like in Spain, we have the tradition to keep the two names from both sides of family, like Paloma Murillo Trigo explained. So I’ll keep my last name and he will keep his. When we’ll had kids they will be named after both: Sequinho Silva.
    But my decision is easy also because we don’t make a big thing about the family name like people do at some countries. The woman here are not treated like Mrs Surname. We never use last names without the first name. So I am Tânia Sequinho now and I will always be.
    But I really understand every example that you bring us here. =) And I only have one advice to Charlotte: choose what you feel it will make you happy, don’t choose change your name only because you know people will criticize. And about your kids names, you could decide that when time comes. =) And don’t forget that it’s much easier to deal with what others say than with your own regrets. So choose what you really want. =)

  5. Jasmine Graham

    I have a name dilemma of my own!

    I was born Rachel Antonia Graham. My mother is McAllister, my father is Graham. They divorced when I was a baby and my name was swiftly changed to Jasmine Daytona McAllister, and this is the name I had until I was 17.
    I never knew my father until then and we met because my birth documents were Graham and all my school and medical documents were in McAllister, so getting a passport or a bank account in McAllister was a nightmare and so I tracked him down because I needed his legal permission to be McAllister…which sucked. We formed some kind of shakey awkward relationship and I ended up moving in with him after a few months because my mother and I fought a lot and I figured it would be better. Eventually, more for convenience than anything, I started using the name Graham. It wasn’t me rebelling against my mother or ‘choosing’ my father, it just saved a lot of paperwork and headache. In the end my father and I fell apart and we no longer speak, but I’m still Jasmine Graham because, well I just am I suppose.

    So, now I’m 20 years old and engaged to the most wonderful man in the world, and he is a McNally. I love him dearly…but I’m not exactly ecstatic to take his name. We’ve discussed this in great length and to no avail, I don’t know what name to have! I’m not keen on his and I feel no love for either Graham or McAllister. We’ve discussed just making up our own name, but although he isn’t in love with or defined by his name, he can’t think of anything else that fits with Dan. I do love my middle name though, Daytona. And since reading this article I’ve just realized that maybe that is an option?

    I don’t know what we’ll do but in the end I’ll always be me no matter what, I’ve changed my name enough times to realize that!

  6. Jenni

    I got married in June this year and one thing I was totally SHOCKED about was how many times people asked me to explain why I had no intention of changing my name. I am all about the choice, as long as you feel free and are free to choose then it’s all good as far as I am concerned. But it did bother that there are women out there of my generation that ‘had never considered’ not changing it and were unaware ‘it was even a thing.’ How can you make an informed decision when you don’t know both sides of the argument?

    I have to say I am a bit depressed after reading the comments, not at the lovely ladies commenting, but at how many men are simply unwilling to consider changing their own name – I include my own husband in this. I totally get wanting children to have the same surname ( I also am a product of divorced parents) so you are all a family.. but if men refuse to consider changing their name, and the woman wants everyone to have the same surname, she is kinda being held to ransom on the issue, no? It’s like the man is graciously saying, “thats OK honey, you keep your surname and i’ll keep mine don’t you worry your little head about it”, but then when kids come along, it is automatically assumed they will have the man’s name!

    The amount of grief I got about it, from friends, family, even my own feminist mother was unbelievable! I like to think this is because he has a truly amazing name (Jack Joy) and I would become ‘Jenni Joy.’ which everyone wanted for me, but I don’t want to sound like a storybook character! My name is Jenni Woolfe, and I like it, it is such a part of my identity and it seems so strange to give that up. I simply can’t understand why so many women happily give up their names they have had for their whole lives to become a ‘family’ without questioning why their husbands aren’t willing to do the same. I would love to hear from people how this makes sense to them.

  7. Farah

    i am getting married in oct and my fiance really would like me to change my name. he seemed surprised (and maybe a little bit of hurt) when i first told him that I thought I wanted to keep my own name.

    i am myself a lil indecisive, this is not something that big of an issue for me which i cant compromise on ,,, but ya i love my full name so lets c

    i have 1 and half month to figure it out 😀

  8. Hi. I am getting married in a few weeks. The jury is still out (thoughts and advice welcome). I have decided I am taking my loves name because it is important to me how it symbolizes a family unit and having the same names as children etc. what I can’t decide is if I want to have a hyphenated middle name or hyphenated last name.
    Lunden, Elizabeth, Abelson-Hunter or Lunden, Elizabeth-Abelson, Hunter.
    I Have my own business some reason to keep Abelson as part of last name. I also write my name alot cause I am a therapist and sign many documents (so long name not as exciting).

    My husband in general likes the idea of taking my name but doesn’t actually like my name so much…which is fine I like hunter.


  9. Mona

    I am not a professional, I don’t want children, and although my patriarchal surname is rather boring sounding even if nobody pronounces it properly, I’m keeping it. It’s always been me. I’m not changing just because I’m legally bound to the person I love. Why isn’t this sacrifice demanded of the male partner? I don’t care that my long-term boyfriend loves his Lebanese surname that doesn’t sound good hyphenated with mine. He doesn’t care.

    We forget how much of this is bound up to Anglo-Saxon cultural influences, like fathers walking daughters down the aisle. Does it matter that these rituals no longer symbolize ownership when society does reduce the feminine partner in a marriage? I’ve seen friends go from Ms. Jane Doe to Mr. and Mrs. John Smith. Jane still exists. I still exist. Plenty of cultures use matrymonic surnames, and that’s another hypen option if your current ones don’t mesh well.

  10. Stephanie

    For my first marriage, my ex-husband and I met when we were 16. I always did the doodling of my first and his last name together. I even couldn’t wait to take his last name. At 20 we were married, and I decided I would hyphenate my last names. I didn’t change my social security card or anything else other than my drivers license. I would go by my married name, we had kids together and I liked sharing a last name with them. Its how I would fill out forms, it’s who my mail was addressed too…but my maiden name was always my “real” name.

    I got remarried last year, and I toyed with the idea of changing my name in moments of romantic splendor, but I haven’t done it. It’s been almost a year. My drivers license still has my old hyphenated name on it. If you ask my husband if it bothers him, and he thought about it he would probably say yes, but it’s not something he thinks about or at least he doesn’t say. I do plan on taking my old married name off of my license when I get around to it and just keeping my maiden name by itself. I actually just got my cosmetology license and I was so mad that I hadn’t changed my last name yet on my drivers license so it’s on my cosmo license. Now I will have to pay to get a new one with just my maiden name on it. It’s who I am. I’ve always been a Newton. My husband and I do not have children together and don’t plan on it, so I don’t see a point in it. I don’t feel I am what his last name is, and if he isn’t keen on taking my last name (I wouldn’t expect him too…that’s weird! LOL!) I don’t see it being any less weird taking his last name. I’m not even a crazy feminist, but I am when it comes to me keeping my given name. My reasoning for it is my father passed away when I was almost 11 years old. I felt like his last name was all I had that he gave me and in honor of him I would keep it.

  11. Louise

    I’m in a bit of a dilema. I got married in June, and after a couple of years of trying to decide what to do with my name, I decided to take my husbands name….because it felt like the right thing to do (thinking about kids in the future etc). My maiden name is Commander, and I am SO proud of that name. Im now a Bryant, which is fine, but I so so so miss my maiden name. I’ve already changed my name with the banks, driving license etc. Would I be allowed to change it to double barrelled?? And if I double barrel and my husband doesn’t, does that mean I wouldn’t be a Mrs? Im leaning towards being Commander-Bryant (for me), but Mr and Mrs Bryant as a couple….does that work?!!

  12. Rachel H/C

    I am Jewish and my husband is catholic. My maiden name is very Jewish (Herzberg) and my husband’s surname is very catholic (Christ). Both families were dubious about our union and our names, but really it is irrelevant. I remain herzberg for work and am herzberg-Christ for all else. Our son is also double barrelled. Lovely to retain both equally important heritages.

  13. Post author

    Louise -its your name son you can call yourself whatever you like – & if you want to double barrel you can still call yourself Mrs!

  14. Rose

    Old married lady here. Married back in 1977 when every woman took their husband’s name – except me. I had no desire to be a Mrs tagged onto someone else’s name. Women have been raised to lose their names upon marriage while men have been raised to be the proud carrier of the family name, no matter how God awful the name is.

    My daughters have my hubby’s name and at their school I was always called Mrs L., no problem. Husband had no issues with me keeping my name because in China women do not take their husbands names and his mother kept her own name until they immigrated to Hong Kong where with the British influence she decided to add his fathers name to hers. She continued to always use both names, never once considering to delete hers.

    I have always encouraged my daughters to keep their names upon marriage.Their given names flow beautifully with their surname. Or at the very least just add the husbands name to theirs and always sign it as such. Like their grandma. Much to my disappointment both daughters have no qualms about changing their names as long as the name is a nice one.

  15. Hollie

    I have been with my husband for 11 years and we were married last year on our 10th anniversary. I love him dearly but I knew I would never change my last name. As an only child in a tiny extended family of only or no children (all girls), I am the very last one in my lineage with my last name. If I were to change it, it would be lost – the end of a long heritage. It broke my heart to think that my name would end at me and my husband saw that. I never once asked – he volunteered. So after we were married he changed his name to mine as a surprise. He came home one day and showed me the paperwork – a new license, passport, everything. I was so proud and I love him even more for it. Sure he took some flack from his family but when he explained why he wanted to do it – for me – they understood. And now when we have children we will never have to worry about not sharing a name as a family. I often tease him that he’ll be heralded as the saviour of our name in the genealogy books. He likes that 🙂

  16. Melinda

    I changed my surname because I wanted to…I hate my maiden name. It was very uncommon and to be honest, most people couldn’t spell or pronounce it. So when I married my husband, I became Mrs. Smith…the most common name in the world and I love it!

    I no longer have to spell out my last name or correct pronunciations for other people. Smith is short and sweet. My maiden name was kind of awkward and it didn’t really suit me, plus I have no real relationship with my biological father so it made me happy to sever that tie and take on a new identity.

    I believe that it’s about personal choice. Women should do what is best for themselves, so if you want to take your husband’s name, then do so…if you don’t want to, then don’t. Simple as that.

    So it depends on what the individual wants, really. My driver’s license no longer says “Moyston”. It says “Smith” and I like it that way.

  17. Caro B

    This is an interesting topic. I got married 7 years ago and kept my maiden name for work. My children have my husband’s name as their surname and my surname as a middle name. Gradually over time and especially when the children went to school, I was often called Mrs B. (husband’s surname) so eventually changed most of my paperwork but kept my surname as a middle name. My gripe now is with Christmas cards which are addressed to Mr and Mrs A (husband’s initial) and surname. It really really bothers me, some of the older generation I can understand doing it but friends and younger family members! My initial is C not A, I am sometimes tempted to send them back saying Mrs A B. NOT known at this address only Mrs C B. but this seems ungrateful and a waste of my time!

  18. Kaywinnet

    My future husband’s last name is Dyke. We have so many issues with this, from his name having to be misspelled in the computer system at work, to not being able to send in job applications, all because its marked as vulgarity. I have no desire to hand this name down to my children, especially when the alternative is my last name with a big curly Q.


    His father passed away when he was a child. His mother burned almost every item the man ever touched. His last name is all he has left of his dad. We are completely lost as to what to do. We both really want a cohesive family unit, and both agree Dyke isn’t the way to do that, but he (rightfully) feels that he’s losing part of his identity by changing his last name. We’ve honestly postponed the wedding twice because we didn’t know what we were doing or who we were becoming afterward.

  19. Sam

    Please keep in mind that when someone says “everyone in a family should share a name” it can be interpreted as disrespectful to people from blended families like me! I know that is not the intent, but it can be interpreted that way. Blended families can deal with enough prejudice (oh your childhood much have been so hard!), and hurtful comments (oh he’s just your stepdad, not your real dad) on an everyday basis. We are often looked down upon as being “less of a family” or a “broken family” which couldn’t be further from the truth in my case!

    That being said, if you feel like everyone in YOUR nuclear family should share a name, that is your business. I see no reason to change my name to my future husband’s family name because no matter what I do, I will never share a name with all my family members! When I get married, I will be no less related to my dad and his family than my husband will be to his birth family. Why should I share a name with his family of origin and not my own? We are creating a new family, the MyName-HisName family, made up of two (and hopefully more to come!) individuals with distinct personalities – and distinct names. To be clear, I don’t plan to hyphenate the names of individuals, but the name the family is referred to will be hyphenated (ie. this is the Smith-Jones family. It members are Suzie Smith, Bob Jones, and Marcus Jones, and Mary Smith).

  20. Rose

    Who says you can’t have a cohesive family unit under two names. You each keep your own, especially as he feels he’s losing his identity by giving up Dyke. Or How about the children having his name as a middle name and yours as their surname? Or make a new name out of a portion of both, but might be difficult though with yours starting with a Q.

    Interesting how he feels that changing his name results in an identity loss. Men are so brought up to become attached to their name, unlike women, who will gladly give up a nice maiden name for a God awful husband’s name.

  21. Allie

    No “should” about, just do WTF you feel is right for you. I kind of like the day of adding my fiance’s surname without hyphenating. There is something about a hyphen that seems slightly equivocating, like it’s saying “I’m sort of this person and sort of that person.” Without it, it’s just like you’re getting another name to add to the one you already have. Plus, it reminds me of the long names that soap opera characters have lol.

  22. Jodie

    I was just thinking about this topic when I came across your blog! 🙂 and I’m also an Underwood! But I love my surname. I’m an only child and my Dad has no brothers or sisters so I am the last Underwood and I feel if I were to change it I would be killing the Underwood name! Me and my partner (his surname is Harrold and I really am NOT fond of it!) have spoken a little about marriage and I questioned him on him taking my surname. His answer? NO. with saying “the man keeps the name” as is his excuse. I wouldn’t double barrel as I feel Underwood-Harrold / Harrold-Underwood is just too long. It would be fine us both having our own surnames but my dilemma is if we had children I would want us to all have the same name, no double barrel just the same. My partner doesn’t mind my surname it’s just his view is “right” and won’t listen haha! HELP!

  23. Jenny

    I took my husbands name for two reasons, and two reasons alone. 1) My maiden name was von Westphalen, which is just von gross. It’s just too German sounding. 2) My husband is in the public eye and I don’t want to cause him any embarrassment. So, if it gets ride of a boring name that reminds me of my father and enable me to save my man from being ridiculed, so be it. I’m tired to people telling me that I’m living in the 19th century because I chose to give up the name that my father gave me. But, in the end, as annoying as people that try to make me feel bad are, their opinions do not matter to me or my loving husband.

  24. Rob Carter (nee Smith)

    My husband Patrick and I were married shortly after same-gender marriage became possible in Canada in 2005. It didn’t take long for me to realize that my future in-laws were very proud of their ‘Carter’ name and their Irish background.

    With a surname like ‘Smith’, my family had never had any particular pride in this very common surname.

    Patrick asked me a couple months before our wedding if I would mind taking his name – and I was very happy and excited to, and said yes right away! However, after thinking about it for a while, my husband felt guilty that I would make such a big change for him and offered to take mine (or even flip a coin).

    But I was very happy to take on the Carter name! Every government office had to implement changes to their systems in order to have a male change his surname due to marriage – but it was mostly no problem!

    It seems like a lot of comments here seem to favour keeping your maiden name, but for Patrick and I it seemed like an important symbol of our marriage. We both agree it shows a real sign of unity and commitment for a married couple to share a surname – especially if we do eventually decide to have children!

  25. Sabrina

    This was a great article. I loved reading about all the different ways a surname can be dealt with, and it gives me more to think about for when my partner and I get married. I like my surname- it sounds great with my first name, and I’ve been comfortable and fairly pleased with it for my whole life. However, my partner has a VERY common last name, which I absolutely DO NOT want to take.

    First of all, it doesn’t sound good with my first name. Taking the name would make me feel less an interesting individual and more a name you just read off of a list and forget within five minutes.

    Secondly, I don’t want to feel like, A) I’m just his wife now, and little more (which he would never claim I was, but still), B) I’m shunning a part of my family in favour of his, or C)I’m ignoring all of what I know of my family history to become a part of his (more extensive/better known) family history.

    Thirdly, I just want to point out that this isn’t a commitment issue for me in the slightest. I am deeply In Love with my partner, and I can’t picture my life any other way than with him by my side. We will have our five-year anniversary later this month (Hooray!), and I’m sure I don’t want anyone else in my life other than him.

    I feel like my surname is really unique- I’ve only seen two or three other people in my life not from my family with the same surname. And though he’s proud of his lineage, which is admirable, I just flat-out don’t want to take his surname.

    I’ve tried explaining this to him, and telling him I want to keep my name, and he says that “every fibre in his body wants to agree with me,” but he still really, REALLY wants me to become “Sabrina B.” instead of “Sabrina E.” In fact, he would probably be upset if I didn’t change my surname. I really don’t know what I’m supposed to do- I want to make him happy, but I just can’t be known as Sabrina “B” my whole life!

  26. I can’t wait to change my name! Lots of my girlfriends surprised me when they said that they did not change or will not be changing their names when they get married. As you said I think its cool that we’ll have the same name and even better when we have kids and we become a ‘team’!

  27. Amy

    I am getting married, and have decided to keep my own name. I am divorced and took my ex-husband’s name the first time around. I loved having that last name and I felt empowered to have removed the last name of a parent I didn’t like or respect. But, upon divorce went back to my birth name. And so was using my birth name when I met my now-fiancé. I love him and am committed to him, but couldn’t understand why I was dragging my heels, and as soon as I contemplated keeping my name, that anxiety and reluctance went away. He was completely understanding of me wanting to keep my name. It just didn’t feel right to me anymore, to take the name of a husband. I was a different person, in my first marriage, than I am now.

    But then came the issue of children. We are only planning one, IF it happens. We might never have them, but I wanted to address the last name issue so I wouldn’t have to worry about it with a newborn. We, after much struggle, have decided to double barrel. I will have my name, my fiancé will have his, and our child, if we have one, will have both. That way! None of us have the same last name, but we’ll still be linked to our child. No one gets left out.

  28. badgerchild

    Well… I’m forty-something, married twice before. I don’t go by my birth first name. I changed my name for both previous husbands. I changed it back to my maiden name after the first, and didn’t after the second. Now I’m married again. So my name before the marriage was Birth-First-Name Maiden-Name Second-Husband’s-Name. But everyone calls me Acquired-First-Name. I went down to Social Security with my new third husband (hey, even Goldilocks got three tries) and now I’m Birth-First-Name Maiden-Name Third-Husband’s-Name. I still go by Acquired-First-Name despite a certain amount of peer pressure from work colleagues to change it back. But my dear husband didn’t intend for a second to not keep his own name. In fact one of the sweet things he said to me after the wedding was “you’ll always be a (his family name) no matter what happens to us or what name you decide to use.” Lovely 🙂

  29. Maiden Name Lover

    I want to keep my maiden name. But equally I could change my name too.

    However Im worried about when I have children.

    Im not worried if society recognises us as a family unit. No. Im more worried things will get complicated when we deal with any authorities in the UK.

    So is there more paperwork involved when you decide to keep your maiden name. This is in the case of if you have children.

    And equally is there less paperwork involved if you take your husbands name.


  30. Delyth Williams

    I get married in June 2014 and I’m worried about changing my name for a few reasons. First off I’m a teacher and I’m so used to being called by my maiden name I’m not sure I’d like that change. Also I think Delyth and my future husband’s surname ‘Blythe’ rhyme, I don’t want to be that girl! Also I am quite attached to me name, it’s been my name for 30+ years! I don’t really want to double barrel but I suppose it’s an option. I am also at a loss what to do!

  31. Sam

    My fiancée and I are getting married next year. He has an amazing surname but he is going to take my surname because he is estranged from his parents and hasn’t spoken to them for nearly 10 years. We see him taking my name as the end of sad family times and the start of happy family times…joining my family. My parents adore him and already see him as a big part of the ‘clan’ so him changing his surname will just be the final part.
    Like every other part of our wedding, we are doing it because it makes us happy!

  32. Lou-Lou

    I absolutely hate my partners surname!

    It doesn’t help than I’m not a fan of his mother and the thought of becoming the next Mrs “x” (decided it’d be best not to post his distinctive surname rather than risk him somehow seeing it and us having to have another debate about it…)

    On a another (and possibly slightly controversial) note- his name is a dead giveaway as to what country his parents are from and I’m embarrassed to say that I’m worried about the implications of that.
    There always seems to be huge amounts of negative press & racism directed at people with his ethnic background (I’ve already been in several rows with strangers after overhearing Daily Mail reader type comments, including one very old, very prejudiced old lady whom I thought was going to have a heart attack after the dressing down I gave her. Either that or I was!)
    At the same time I wonder if feeling this way is really not helping and just giving in to the racism…

    This is a great topic- lots of different reasons and emotions going on!

  33. Ali

    We’re getting married in May and we’re both too stubborn to give up our surnames! Mine is Lewry (which I love) and being from a family of girls there’s no-one to keep the name going. His name is Beale and being the only son in his family he has the same issue. Also, my first name is Ali so people would forever be calling me Ali McBeal! ARGH.
    We do however want to be a team so we’ve decided to go double-barrelled despite not being a fan of the whole fancy double-barrelled stigma that goes with it! Lewry-Beale. It’s going to be a bitch to spell on the phone and our future kids might hate us but it seems like the right thing to do. It feels like we’re becoming an equal team.
    I think if you really love your surname (and Cloud is a pretty super one) then you shouldn’t feel bad about keeping it :o)

  34. Louise Duirwyn

    We made a family name up for ourselves, which worked really well until we parted our ways and now we both love our made up name ‘Duirwyn’ but have new families too….all very complicated really. Now when it comes to marrying my new partner I will probably double barrel. I do like the idea of a whole generation of double barrelers muddying the waters of surname assumptions. Though it all gets a bit long-winded too.

  35. Annie

    My partner’s surname is Parrot, which to be honest I’m not crazy about. I know he’s not a fan of his name either, as he was subjected to a lot of bullying as a kid which he says he wouldnt want to subject any children of his own to. He has considered changing his last name to his second middle name, but if he didn’t do that I’m not sure I would take the name Parrot if I marry him.

  36. I am going to double barrel my name when we marry. For me, it means I get the best of both worlds – keeping my old name which is unusual and massively part of who I am and adding my husband’s surname which our son also shares….

    I find that most people don’t consider this option. It would be interesting to hear why?

  37. Emma R

    Truth is I’ve never even considered not taking my husbands name. We have few males on the Rushforth side of the clan and the surname is very much embedded in Yorkshire (where a lot of us still live!!) so inevitably it will fizzle out,However in June this year I will become Mrs Manners-Lilley (in fact midwife Manners-Lilley!!!) and love the thought of my new identity as a wife and hopefully a mother not long after!! Plus we definately think triple barreling is out of the question, not ro mention it would be a nightmare signature and make us sound like a law firm!!!!

  38. I was born in Portugal and only when I moved to England I realised why so often a security question was “your mother’s maiden name” (yes silly me I know). Having grown in a country where a wife doesn’t loses her name but instead gains one (or 2) extra names by marriage I never really realised that in some countries you actually stop being “Miss Smith” to become “Mrs Evans”instead of Mrs Smith Evans”. However even in Portugal the increasing trend is for women not to take on their partners name. Kids will have their mums maiden name plus their father surname. When/if I get married I don’t know what I’ll do, but one thing is for sure, I will always keep my parents surname even if I adopt my partner’s “Walsh” surname. I can’t imagine it any other way.

  39. Amanda

    Hi Charlotte,

    You are speaking out of my heart. I was born in Germany but my family’s origin is from Hungary and Latvia. Even I always felt German I was kinda happy to have a name, nobody in the world (but the Hungarians) know where it comes from.

    So when I got married it became very very tricky… My husband’s name is tin in English and a very common name. My name means angel or light in English and is so rare that I know all people with this name on the whole world… But I have two brothers carrying that name and he only has a sister (who was happy to give that name away without a blink of an eye…)

    So we had fights over fights and still have – luckily we married in HK where it is a big hassle and actually impossible to change your maiden’s name as it is not in their culture. In the end I decided I will keep my name, I just can’t help it, even I was always sure that I will take my husband’s name. Funny thing is that everyone I am talking to, calls me crazy even considering to take my husband’s name…

    Well yeah that’s my story and I really really try to force myself for the sake of my husband to take his name – but I simply can’t. His name is also the worst name to double as his name also means cake tin, so I would be a light tin or an angel tin? Just weird… But I would never feel offended and I never correct people if they call me by his name – why should I? In the end I still married the man of my dreams, and as long as this topic is the only one we are fighting about – so be it…

    Good luck Ms Cloud I love your name and wouldn’t change it – even I prefer your husband’s name to mine 😉


  40. Martyna

    I am of Polish origin and I am marrying a wonderful Irish man in August this year. I would love to take his name. I think it would sound good and ‘proud’ combined with my first name. It would certainly add a certain charisma which I like. There was a writer and a painter by that name, so it definitely satisfies the little artist’s soul in me.

    However, like many women here, I have grown quite attached to my own name after all these years. My name is who I am, it is my identity.

    For a Polish name it’s an easy one to spell (AND to pronounce, believe it or not :)) so it doesn’t cause me any trouble in my everyday, administrative life. Also, it literally means ‘Noise’ in Polish which I think is rather awesome, especially because I am a singer and, well, I do make a lot of noise 😀

    Even though I consider myself a feminist, I see becoming a Mrs as a symbol of my love and devotion, my personal commitment, and a link between our worlds.

    He wouldn’t mind if I kept my own name, and I am sure he would change his name too if I wanted him to. But in a way, a name change would be like a personal transformation, re-definition of myself and a new chapter in my life which I feel I do need right now.

    Hyphenating is something I would NOT consider in my case at all – it would just sound awful and not very memorable (like a vacuum cleaner brand… from space). I want my name to be catchy, easy to remember and easy for me to identify with… somehow being a ‘mixture’ does not sound very appealing to me!

    I guess time will tell, I’ll decide when the time comes.

    To Ms Cloud: it looks to me like you already know deep in your heart that you want to keep your name. If that is what you feel, then you should do it – after all, it is your name and a part of who you are. A name change is a big deal and nobody should enforce this decision on you if deep inside you don’t feel it’s right.

  41. Laura Brown

    I am getting married in November this year and really struggling with what to do about my name. As you can see, I am Brown, which I have always have, and I see is part of me. However, as one of the posts put in the blog, that name is my fathers name. My relationship with my dad is not great. He was violent and cheated on my mum for many years. I have chosen to not be in his life since I was about 11.

    My finacee’s surname is Evans. I don’t want to take his surname for the feeling of being possessed. I never said this before as I felt people may see me as being overly feminist or being a rebel for the sake of it, but I really don’t want to change my surname to just Evans. Again, Evans comes from his father, and his story is not far different from mine.

    I thought of going double barralled, but Evans-Brown or Brown-Evans doesn’t really work. Both very common names! As I write now we haven’t spoken about him changing his name, but he is very laid back, and I would assume his response would either be yes because of his dad, or no because its easier to stay the same.

    I also see it, as much as I get along (very well!) with his family (well, whats left) I feel taking his surname is like moving from my family to his. I know it sounds silly, but I wan’t to remain part of my family. My sisters are both Brown, and my mum still is too, but she is about to get married to my wonderful step dad who has been caring for us since my dad left our lives. His surname is Shrieves and I am sure my mum will take his name. He has done more for our family then my biological dad ever did, and I do kind of resent the fact I am still under his name.

    I am still stuck really, but hopefully something will help us resolve this, we have a while yet till our wedding and I cannot wait!

  42. While I’m not about to be married (or engaged- c’monnnnn, boyfriend…), this post has certianly hit a few home truths, and is quite relevant to my current circumstance.

    I plan to legally change my name to MJ Valentine this year. The very few people I have told has responded with a mix of both admiration and scepticism (“But why? We all love our ‘Maddie Moo’!”).

    The truth of the matter is, I just don’t identify with my current name anymore. I’ve changed so irreversibly, so completely, that my name feels like an age-old cement weight, tying me to the miserable, sorry sod of years gone by. It doesn’t excite me, and it’s not a real reflection of my true self.

    I’ve struggled a little with the reaction I know I’ll recieve from my family- I’m sure the change will not go unmentioned, and I do worry that my parents will take offence. But, I hope that, in time, they will come to understand and respect my reasons for changing my name.

    I’m not trying to distance myself from my family. I just believe that changing my name will simply crown what has been a tremndous amount of personal evolution and growth. It is hugely important to me to be able to make this choice for myself, as I make all my other choices.

    It is defining and empowering. It celebrates what is unique and special about me. I know I’ve made the right choice- and the knowledge of this is enough.

  43. Emily Clark

    Oh wow talk about throwing a spanner in the works.
    I am getting married to the most amazing man next year and as he knows I am very in to equal rights he keeps asking me if I am sure I want to take his name.
    I have always thought that I did because it makes it plain to other people that we are one unit. I also have the classic spelling issue with my maiden name as it can be spelt Clark or Clarke and a lot of people assume it is the second and I have to correct them, so I will be glad not to have this.
    He has already lived with 2 names, although not officially. His mum registered him at school under her maiden name but he birth certificate has his father’s name. His mum also remarried so she is now a third surname as are his younger siblings.
    I had a fleeting thought on the bus home one time that we should just make up a new name (I was talking to a friend who changed her surname by deed poll) but as we don’t intend to have children it seems a little pointless, like the surname equivalent of a cul-de-sac. This article and the comment have brought the idea back though. There are a lot of people in his dads family and to be another Mrs Carter on the list seems a bit samey.

  44. In our culture we do not take anothers name on marriage. So I am a McKessock, my fathers surname, my mother kept her own name through-out her life, my children have my surname AND their fathers and it was decisions between myself and my partner to what to call our kids. A name does not matter imo and this english ‘tradition’ of a woman taking a mans surname is total rubbish.

    In Scotland, traditionally, a woman or man always kept their own name and if he or she didnt like it, they change it (you have the right in Scotland to call yourself anything at any point in life .. with or without a marriage)

    You know who you are in your heart. Make your own choices. But never be bullied by so-called tradition or anything else to change who you are.

    🙂 Anna

  45. Christine Russo

    Ok I have an issue my fiances daughters name is Christina Marie Garcia. My name is Christine Marie Russo. When we marry should I keep my last name then hyphen the Garcia? He said no but I really don’t want to have the same name as his daughter. I guess it would be different if she was a part of out life but shes not. We really don’t even see her. It kind of makes me feel uncomfortable.

  46. frances may

    hi hoping you can help me I am marring a wonderful man he is going to take my name as we have been told if I take his name I will have to adopt my own children is this hoping you can

  47. We don’t really have a choice when it comes to taking or keeping surnames (I live in the Philippines!) but if it were an option, I’d love to keep my last name then just put a dash to include my husband’s so I can keep my father’s honor.

  48. Lyn

    I recently came across this article while researching the legalities of changing your name when getting married. I’m shortly remarrying after being widowed 6 years ago. I would like to go double-barrelled for a variety of reasons – partly as an homage to my late husband and also because I receive certain monetary remunerations from his estate. However, my fiance isn’t keen to take what he sees as “your husband’s name”. Is it acceptable for him to keep his just his name and for me to be double barrelled?


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