Wedding Etiquette Forum

Name Changes

Ok so I know this is a very personal and subjective question/topic, but i'm having trouble deciding what's "normal" and what's not. I am the baby girl of two and there are no other men in my family to keep our family name alive. I love my last name!, and am less than thrilled about losing it to take my fiance's very bland/generic name. But when I told his family that I wanted to keep my name and add his on, they acted like I was crazy for possibly having 4 names (first, middle, maiden, married). My poll for you girls is, Do you know or have you kept both middle and maiden names without having to deal with hyphens or a long last name? What are my options? I need a sounding board! :)

Re: Name Changes

  • I haven't changed mine yet, and might not, but if I do I'm moving my last name to be a second middle name.  I woudn't let his family's thoughts on it sway you.  It's your name.
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  • I can't tell you about any experiences with changing my name, because I'm not married yet, but I can tell you why I came to the decision I did.

    I'm in the same boat as you. Only child, and my last name would "die" with me. But, then, I figured our kids would have FI's last name...so what was the point? Plus, even if I kept my last name, I'd constantly get CALLED by FI's last name, addressed that way on envelopes, etc., because people would just assume. I'd also imagine once I had kids and they went to school that people would just automatically call me Mrs. Same-Last-Name-As-Kid. I didn't want to have all the correcting conversations, and I actually started to like the idea of taking his last name, so that's where I landed with my decision. 


  • I agree, it's your name and it's your decision to make. I will admit I haven't heard of anyone keeping their maiden and taking an additional last name without hyphenating, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. I will be taking my FI's last name and probably dropping my maiden, but I've never been terribly fond of my maiden name.
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  • I went First Maiden Last and dropped my middle.  I believe this is a pretty common option; and both my mom and grandma did the same.  I've been very happy with that change, it made the transition super easy because for a few months I went by all three names and now I've started phasing my maiden out (since I never really used my middle name before I don't see a reason to now)

    Having four names is fine, but that means you'll need to actually use all four names on legal documents and keeping the extremely unique "Marie" wasn't worth it to me.  I imagine your maiden would be becoming a second middle, right?  Can you have two last names if it's not a hyphenate?  honestly I have no idea...
  • Everyone on this board is really making me think about moving my maiden to my middle name now. Hmm.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_name-changes-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:18864be3-6845-425d-a729-aeee3f3d7e67Post:e4df3749-09b5-4faf-bd56-9ec8b3cd715f">Re: Name Changes</a>:
    [QUOTE]I went First Maiden Last and dropped my middle.  I believe this is a pretty common option; and both my mom and grandma did the same.  I've been very happy with that change, it made the transition super easy because for a few months I went by all three names and now I've started phasing my maiden out (since I never really used my middle name before I don't see a reason to now) Having four names is fine, but that means you'll need to actually use all four names on legal documents and keeping the extremely unique "Marie" wasn't worth it to me.  I imagine your maiden would be becoming a second middle, right?  <strong>Can you have two last names if it's not a hyphenate? </strong> honestly I have no idea...
    Posted by Kate61487[/QUOTE]

    <div>Yes.  I'm doing this because I'm already established in my career.  I anticipate occasionally getting called Mrs. Married Name, but most people in my circle check before addressing invitations, etc.</div>
  • I think it's your name do it how you want.  You should make sure your FI is on the same page with you, and okay with your decision.  His family's opinions don't matter at all as long as the two of you are agreed.  H told me it was my name, do what I want, so I took his and haven't looked back.

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_name-changes-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:18864be3-6845-425d-a729-aeee3f3d7e67Post:e4df3749-09b5-4faf-bd56-9ec8b3cd715f">Re: Name Changes</a>:
    [QUOTE]I went First Maiden Last and dropped my middle.  I believe this is a pretty common option; and both my mom and grandma did the same.  I've been very happy with that change, it made the transition super easy because for a few months I went by all three names and now I've started phasing my maiden out (since I never really used my middle name before I don't see a reason to now) Having four names is fine, but that means you'll need to actually use all four names on legal documents and keeping the extremely unique "Marie" wasn't worth it to me.  I imagine your maiden would be becoming a second middle, right? <strong> Can you have two last names if it's not a hyphenate? </strong> honestly I have no idea...
    Posted by Kate61487[/QUOTE]

    <div>Yes, you can.  I did it for several years, but honestly OP - it's a PITA.  Another friend did the same thing and we both changed ours around the same time.  I ended up dropping H's last name and my friend ended up dropping her own.  If you want to know more about why it's such a pain, I'll be happy to share, I'm just too lazy to do it now :-P</div><div>
    </div><div>From a been-there-done-that perspective, your best option is to either use it as a middle name or not take your H's last name at all.</div>
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_name-changes-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:18864be3-6845-425d-a729-aeee3f3d7e67Post:a4ab24b4-b9b6-48b4-8e05-564ada77240d">Re: Name Changes</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Name Changes : <strong>Yes</strong>.  I'm doing this because I'm already established in my career.  I anticipate occasionally getting called Mrs. Married Name, but most people in my circle check before addressing invitations, etc.
    Posted by egm900[/QUOTE]

    Huh, good to know :-).  I guess I just figured I could go by Kate Maiden Married at work just as easily with it as my middle. (But granted I've only been in my field for 3 years, and 90% of the time I just go by my first, haha)
  • I never changed my name but our daughter carries exH's name.

    She dropped her middle name and put her maiden name there and took his last name.

    Not to throw you off, I am MOB so it was a little more unusual 20 years ago to keep your name
  • I changed my name from First Middle Maiden to First Maiden H'sLast. Like others, I felt a stronger connection to my maiden name than to my birth middle name, and wanted to keep the maiden as part of my name, while still sharing the same last name as my husband.
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  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_name-changes-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:18864be3-6845-425d-a729-aeee3f3d7e67Post:a541d388-dd4c-4861-8912-03b0c099b9b1">Name Changes</a>:
    [QUOTE]Ok so I know this is a very personal and subjective question/topic, but i'm having trouble deciding what's "normal" and what's not. I am the baby girl of two and there are no other men in my family to keep our family name alive. I love my last name!, and am less than thrilled about losing it to take my fiance's very bland/generic name. But when I told his family that I wanted to keep my name and add his on, they acted like I was crazy for possibly having 4 names (first, middle, maiden, married). My poll for you girls is<strong>, Do you know or have you kept both middle and maiden names without having to deal with hyphens or a long last name?</strong> What are my options? I need a sounding board! :)
    Posted by kelseypal[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>I kept my middle name and last name, added his with no hyphen.  What a PITA that is.  There are so many computer systems that do not recognize 
    <div> spaces in the last name.  American Airlines (actually all the airlines) for example tickets me as MaidenHisLastname all smashed together..  Some cc do the same.. Others separate.. Still others add a hyphen because can't they don't think smashed together looks right, but they can't have a space, so hyphen makes the most sense.  It's not unusual to have to say "try maiden name or  try maiden-his. No? Okay try hislastname" when asked the question "last name please"</div><div>
    </div><div>Other companies ignore my maiden and only use hislast name. Or ignore his last name and just just my maiden.</div><div>
    </div><div>If I had to do it again I would have just taken his name only and moved my last to my middle.  I didn't mind being his lastname.. I just had some professional stuff with my maiden that I still wanted to be connected to.</div></div>






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  • I did not change my name when I married, but I have four names (two middle names).  It is not that big of a deal, except to people who have limited life experience.
    My son's last name is his father's (my exH).  My son's second middle name -- yes, he has 4 names, too -- is my last (maiden, if you will, or always) name.

    Here's the thing, though, I have found that people assume my last name is the same as my son's.  I have been called Mrs. exH's LastName forever, it seems.  Now, newly re-married, some people (H's sisters and dad plus a couple of my aunties) assume I changed my name.  Whatever.  It's all good.

    BTW, you do not have to make this decision immediately.  There is no expiration date on legally changing your name to your husband's, if that is your choice. 
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_name-changes-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:18864be3-6845-425d-a729-aeee3f3d7e67Post:78ed22cf-c02a-41ff-94b2-63d21f3b0e5a">Re: Name Changes</a>:
    [QUOTE]I did not change my name when I married, but I have four names (two middle names).  It is not that big of a deal,<strong> except to people who have limited life experience</strong>. My son's last name is his father's (my exH).  My son's second middle name -- yes, he has 4 names, too -- is my last (maiden, if you will, or always) name. Here's the thing, though, I have found that people assume my last name is the same as my son's.  I have been called Mrs. exH's LastName forever, it seems.  Now, newly re-married, some people (H's sisters and dad plus a couple of my aunties) assume I changed my name.  Whatever.  It's all good. BTW, you do not have to make this decision immediately.  There is no expiration date on legally changing your name to your husband's, if that is your choice. 
    Posted by Lisa50[/QUOTE]

    I'm not sure if this is how you meant it, but that sounds super condescending. Is having four names the most complicated thing ever? no.  Is it more difficult than having three? I'd imagine so.  People expect three, so I'm sure you've done an amount of clarifying when you're giving official informaion, especially over the phone. 
  • Both FI and are hyphenating to MyLast-HisLast. Your name change decision is yours and only yours. It's a very personal decision and honestly, it really isn't anyone's business, but your own.
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  • Another option nobody's mentioned? Him changing his last name.  Check out http://apracticalwedding.com/2012/03/men-changing-last-name-after-weddin/ for reasons this couple did. And all of them make sense and benefit them.

    Worth considering :)
  • Another option:  Keep your last name completely, but go by his socially.  This is what I did.  It made everything easier (didn't have to get all my credit cards, bank stuff, license, SS card, etc changed), and I still have my name.  The only place it gets dicey is if people who know I'm married and to whom need to know my legal name for some reason.  I have run into some confusion there.  For example, my FI is a pharmacist, and a lot of his colleagues know me.  I get my medication filled at one of his pharmacies, so if I go in in person, I need to be sure to specify my last name or they'll assume it's his last name and everyone gets confused.  Or my grandma, who for a long time refused to accept that I didn't legally change my last name,a nd kept sending me checks made out to "Jessica HusbandLastName" even though I repeatedly told her I couldn't cash them.

    But now, almost a year later, I'm still happy with my decision.

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  • It doesn't matter what your future ILs think.  Make this decision with your FI. 

    I kept my last name, but I don't make a big deal if I get called by his last name socially, although it is a little annoying when our good friends don't bother to check.  I like my last name, it's short, and I never have to spell it out for people.  Any future children will have his last name.  My H had a slight preference for me to take his name, but he wouldn't ask me to do something he wouldn't be willing to do himself.

  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited March 2012
    In my experience having 4 names is not a big deal.  Having  2 of the four as your last name is without a hyphen is








    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • I will be honest, I didn't have time to read everyone's replies.  So if I duplicate, oops! 

    My plan is to keep my maiden name as a middle name, so I will end up with four names.  The main reason is if/when kids come, we will have the same last name.  And our names are a bit long to hyphenate in my opinion.  I will still go by my maiden name at work.  In my job, it is better if people can't find me! 

    OP, I also am having a hard time giving up my maiden name, as I have been that person for so long (in my mid 30's).  I find it interesting that my fiance, and I think maybe many males, see it as no big deal for us to change our last names, but ask them to change theirs?  Heck no!  That bothers the little feminist voice inside my head.  I still kind of wonder if I have to LEGALLY change it.  I mean, could I just answer to Mr. Fluffernut's last name and not correct people?  But that might be an issue too.

    It's your name, and you need to decide what you're comfortable with. 
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  • I hyphenated.  It is long.  My name is on 2 lines on my driver's license.  A couple of my credit cards are just my first initial so my last name fits.  First name is 7 letters, last name is 9 letters-5 letters.  I don't regret it.  Sometimes I get called by the whole shebang, sometimes just maiden, sometimes just his.  I don't like just his since it rhymes with my first name (not as bad as Julia Gulia from The Wedding Singer, but still too cutesy for me).
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  • I moved my maiden name as a second middle name. It's been fine. When filling out stuff where they look for just a middle initial I just use the first middle name (my original middle). Reason I kept the last name and included it as a second middle was because I have a business under that name and thought it would be easier for the transition. I still get checks written out in my former last name but the bank has taken them. Overall, no big probs for me having 4 names, sometimes it has proven easier at least having my former maiden within my full name...sometimes just a little explanation is needed. No matter what, going through any name change or not there is crap to deal with.
  • If you have 2 middle names, just make sure you pick one to always use on forms that have one space for a middle initial. Otherwise you will have to remember what name you used for what, and that can get really complicated. My mom kept her maiden name as a second middle name, and that is her only complaint. If you are careful about it, it shouldn't be a big deal.
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  • I'm late to this but was wondering if any of you ladies who added a second middle name had any problems. I've read a couple people on the internet who went to the social security office and they wouldn't do it. What were your experiences?

    Lizzie
  • Another vote for  name hoarding.

    I'm going to move my maiden to a second middle name as well.  I'll use both maiden and married names professionally and in theatre and probably just married name socially. 

    I'm an only child and my dad was the only son and HIS dad was the only son as well, so i feel like the "last" so I don't want to drop that  name completely

  • goobersinlovegoobersinlove member
    500 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited March 2012
    Does anybody these days just drop their maiden last name and take their H's, plain and simple like that? "First Middle NewLastName."  Uncomplicated. Easy to say over the phone and fill out on forms. What everyone is going to naturally call me anyway. No confusion. No using one name socially and another professionally.

    Obviously to each there own and everyone will do what they feel is right for them. I'm just extremely old fashion and I would feel weird to not take my FI's last name or mix it with mine. But that's just me.

    ETA: I feel no connection to my maiden name.
  • To all the ladies here who said they made their maiden name into their middle name(either replacing the original or as a second middle name).

    I am curious how this works.. I know it is different in different places, but I have been trying to do my research and feel like I'm spinning in circles.

    In Ontario there are two ways to change a name:

    1) Assume the last name (the easy way) -- you take on his last name and your birth certificate stays the same.   Your name will change on all other official documents: healthcard, license, passport, etc.  It's a lot less paperwork.  

    2) Full name change (the hard way) -- when you do a full name change, you receive a new birth certificate with your spouses name on it.  This weirds me out.  I was not FI's last name when I was born, so why would I do this? 

    From the research I have done, it seems that the only way to change my maiden name into a middle name is to change my birth certificate.  I really do not feel comfortable doing that.

    I will XP this in my local boards as well, but I was wondering if it is the same in the States?  Were you all able to assume your maiden name as a middle name without doing a full legal name change that requires a new birth certificate?  I noticed quite a few of you list this option and I am jealous!  It would be the ideal situation for me.

    P.S. Sorry to hijack this thread, but I have been wondering about this for a bit and it seemed like the perfect time to find a bunch of maiden to middle namers all in one place :P
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  • I intend to legally change my name to FI's last name.  I already have 2 middle names - one after my great grandmother so I would never drop it, and my mom's maiden name (all of my first cousins on that side do since my mom and her sister were the last of that line).  However, I do intend to keep my last name professionally.  I've been in the business 10 yrs.  Why complicate things?
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  • JenLaxx - like Schatzi said it's going to be different in each area. 

    I live in Illinois, married in Indiana.  Our marriage license application didn't say anything about name changes (at least not that I read).  I went to the Social Security Admin office; I filled out a form with the name I wanted (First Maiden NewLast) and took that form, my soc sec card, drivers license and passport (I don't think I needed all of those, I just wanted to be safe) and marriage certificate.  It took like 3 minutes once I actually got up to the desk.  Then I took that same documentation to the DMV and changed my license.  The whole thing had nothing to do with my birth certificate.  If at any point I need to provide my birth certificate as ID I believe I just have to show the marriage cert as well to explain the name change...
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