Wedding Etiquette Forum

Pros and Cons of Name Changing

Hey Ladies!

I got married last Saturday (yay!!!!).  I'm in Arizona so we just sign the license with our maiden name, but now everyone is asking me what I'm doing with my last name and I really am unsure.  I looked up pros and cons online, but I'd really love to hear from all of you on perhaps more personal reasons of why you did/will change or not change or name.  It's sort of a big deal and I want to give myself time to think about it.  I wont be leaving the country any time soon so I don't have to worry about passport logistics.

Help a sista out!

Re: Pros and Cons of Name Changing

  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited March 2014
    Firstly, congrats!

    There are a lot of factors that go into this so just ask yourself the following questions:
    1.) Would you prefer to keep your name because of professional purposes?
    2.) Have you discussed what your children's surnames will be (if you choose to have children)?
    3.) How important to you is having the same name as your spose?
    4.) Have you thought about hyphenating your name?
    5.) It sounds silly, but how do you like the "sound" of your partner's last name with your first name vs your maiden name vs a hyphenated name

    I am going to add my Fi's  surname to my surname (hyphenated) because it is easier for me professionally (and I like my maiden name) but I wanted part of my name to be the same as my future children. It is a very personal choice, and you can't go wrong here. What does your gut say?
  • Bubblegum5586Bubblegum5586 member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    edited March 2014
    Congrats on your wedding! In this day and age it's fantastic to really have the option of making the decision yourself, and what is best for you and your family. There are a lot of ladies on here that can give you the pros of why to keep your name (school, work/careers, family pride... etc!). Since I changed my name I will share that; Cons - ITS A PAIN! - not really... just time consuming at first (SS office and RMV are super annoying places to be) and then everything else sort of falls into place after that. I still am changing over a few small things, but for the most part, I got it done within the first month. Pros - Honestly, for me, I never thought that I wouldn't change my name when I got married. As much of a "modern women" that I am, that was one traditional element that I liked. I want to have the same last name as my husband and kids. I like being a "Mrs.". My mom changed her name when she married my dad, so that's kind of what I knew. Also - My husband is from a family of mostly boys (with most living in the same town), that all played sports, so their last name is very important to them. It's associated with a lot of family town history and with their family sports history. His family is very big in fantasy sports too and I have been competing in the hockey league for years. This is my first year as a "Jones" and my FIL is thrilled that the top four spots are all "Jones's", as much as I know I am a welcomed family member, I enjoy hearing my FIL boast about how great his kids are (including me). I don’t know how helpful this was, as it wasn't a cut and clear list… just some of my feelings. ***** TWICE I EDITED TO ADD SPACES AND ITS NOT SAVING THAT WAY

  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    I don't really have a reason why I changed mine; I just liked the idea of taking my husband's name.
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I really don't think there are pros and cons to changing your name but I do think you need to decide what is best for you and your situation/feelings.

    I didn't even give it a second thought when it came time to change my name.  I always knew I was going to when I got married.

    Did you consider changing your name at all prior to your wedding?  If so what was your feeling on it.

  • Congrats on your wedding!

    That's a really super-personal choice and it depends on your personal beliefs and your family dynamics and your DH's beliefs.

    I chose to drop my birth middle name, move my maiden name to my middle name, and take DH's surname. It was REALLY important to him that we have the same last name, although he said all along it was my choice and he'd support whatever I did. It was equally important to me to keep my family name, because I'm SUPER close to my family.

    My mother, both of my biological aunts, both of my grandmothers, and all of my great-grandmothers did what I did -- moving the maiden name to the middle spot and taking the husband's surname -- so I enjoyed carrying on that trend. 

    I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'
  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    It never occured to me not to change my name. I always knew I would when I go married. And it is important to me to have, me, H and future children all share the same name.

    Not that is a reason for or against changing your name but every woman I know, whether they changed their names or not, is still called by her husbands last name.

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  • Jells2dot0Jells2dot0 Cowtown mod
    Moderator Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I agree with pps that it's personal. My personal situation has led me to change my name twice. (married, divorced, married). when I got married the first time, I really struggled with changing my name because of my career. I changed it anyway. When I got divorced, it seemed like a total PITA to change it back to my maiden name. So, I kept it as my married name until I got remarried. I thought long and hard again about how I wanted to change my name when I got remarried. I knew I didn't want to be MrsJells1dot0 forever, but I really wanted to keep some part of my name that would carry with me forever in the case of another divorce. So, I took my DH's last name and made my maiden name my middle name. FWIW, I am not having any children, so that is a non-issue. Looking back, I wish I had stayed Jells Maiden Name all along. No offense to my spouses, but it really is a PITA to change it and I really want my career history to carry with me.


  • Like others have said, this is a very personal decision. We both kept our names for lots of reasons, but mostly because we wanted to. 

    More rational reasons: I've established myself in a career with my name and didn't want to lose any traction by changing it. I have very strong family ties to my last name, as well as to my middle name, so I didn't want to lose either and I didn't want four names. Both those reasons actually apply to my DH too. 

    DH thought about changing his name to mine, but it wasn't right either. We don't feel that sharing a name makes us more of a family. We plan to hyphenate our children's names.
  • I decided to keep my maiden name for a few reasons. My friends through high school and college always referred to me by my full first and last name because it had such a nice cadence to it (and I have the same 3 initials). Changing to my H's last name would really break up the rhythm as well as my nice triple letter initials. 

    But apart from that, I also never felt like I needed to change my name to consider myself linked with my new H, or with any future children. My mom has a different last name than I do (my parents are divorced, but she also chose from the beginning to keep her maiden name), but it had absolutely zero baring on my childhood or our relationship. Future child(ren) will probably share a last name with H, and might possibly share a middle name with me if it sounds nice.
  • InkdancerInkdancer The Shire member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    I am changing my name because I have my biological father's last name and as he has never been a part of my life I feel no need to remain connected to him. I will be taking FI's name and dropping my maiden.
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
  • I am changing my last name, I was told once that you are either taking the name of the man you chose or the man your mother chose.
    I like the idea of being Mrs. Jones  not Ms. Smith. I also am looking forward to being able to sign things Husbands name (Mrs).
    I like the idea of having my "future" children's names being the same as both FI and I. I dont want to have a kid Smith-Jones and then have them marry Brown-Williams, would they then be Smith-Jones-Brown-Williams.
    As for career wise, Both FI and I are in the same professional field, I don't see it being an issue. To me I don't think being married would feel real until I was Mrs Jones. 

    I am changing my name but I understand that some women don't and that's ok, as long as it is what you want to do and not because someone is telling you to do it.

  • my Fiance and I are both adding each others last names once we are married. 
    We both come from super different cultures so it was important for me to keep both those cultures represented in our last names. 

    I love him even more for doing that... Our kids will have both our last names. 
    My sister and her husband  did that and I WISH I could too.  However, my DH's name is Chinese and they say their names "backwards" (aka they say their family name first, individual name second) so it wouldn't work at ALL.

    My hesitations are my personal conflicts with women having to change their identity to the man's last name, but then I also really do want to share a name with my children and so does my husband.

    I was considering hyphenation but then I've heard a ton of my students who have hyphenated names voice their frustration with it.  I guess I could hyphenate my name and then just have my kids have my husband's surname?  

    I'm definitely going to give myself time to  consider it and make sure I'm making the right decision.  It's a PITA, as everyone else has said, so I don't want to do something and then change my mind.

    I just wanted to hear some personal experiences so I could feel less alone in this struggle and maybe see how others solved it!
  • MandyMost said:
    phira said:
    I am not changing my last name. A lot of people assume it's because I'm a scientist and I'm published under my current name, but so many scientists change their last names after marriage that it's not really a thing anymore.

    I just don't see the point. I've had my name forever, and changing it feels like my story up until the wedding is over. While I'd love to have the same last name as my partner does, I'm a little wary of the fact that it's almost always ladies who are name-changing, and not dudes. We've already discussed children's last names; they will likely have my last name.

    The good news, honestly, is that you can change your name later if you want. You don't have to make a decision RIGHT AWAY.
    My reasons are very similar. I've never considered changing my name to be an option. It's my NAME and my name has NOTHING to do with my marital status. For the record, I also don't like the Miss/Mrs. designation, because your title should also have nothing to do with your marital status--it's an anachronism back to when a woman's worth was largely tied to her marital status. I go by Ms. now, and will continue to do so after I'm married. 

    If you ask a married man why he didn't change his name after he got married, you'll generally get scoffed at with a look of "that's absurd, why the heck would I change my name?". I feel the same way. To me, changing your name because you got married just seems absurd. Like, why not legally change your birth date, too? Just as absurd to me!
    Same for me!
  • Like the PPs have sad it is a personal choice. My FI is changing his last name to mine. It is really important to him that we have the same last name. However my dad died when I was young and I have his last name and it is important to me that I keep it. Moving it to my middle name isn't an option because I go by my middle name. So the compromise was him changing his name to mine.
  • I will be changing my name. I like my last name, it's an easy one, but I like the idea of sharing my FI's last name more. My sister hyphenated my nephew's last name, and frankly, it's a huge mouthful for the kid to have to deal with. I'm not a fan of hyphenations.

  • I refused to change my name when I was married the first time - good decision since I would have had to change it back!

    I am changing it this time because it is very important to FI and his family. He's the last male with his last name in his family and old-fashioned as it is, I don't have a connection with the family that my last name comes from and he does, so I'm going to change it. It helps that my brother legally changed his name so we don't have the last name for me to feel connected to him through. My daughter has her father's last name so we've never matched.

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  • Oh, it also helps that I like FI's last name and think it sounds awesome with my first name.

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  • I will be hyphenating my last name. I didn't want to lose my last name for personal reasons. I also choose to keep my maiden name as well since my daughter has my maiden name. I want to be able to share a last name with my child now and my future children.
  • I'm in the camp of using my current last name as a middle name and taking my FI's name. We will both have the distinction of "Doctor" once we're both done with our current educational programs, but I wanted to keep my own last name somehow on my doctorate diploma. My parents have worked their tushes off to help me throughout my education, and I feel that they deserve far more credit than FI's family for my achievement. Plus, the FILs get to see their family name on FI's diploma anyway. Ha. 

    Some food for thought- some states have new voter ID laws coming into practice this year (including my own state) where the name on your identification card has to EXACTLY match the name on your voter registration card. "Close enough" isn't acceptable. If your unmarried name is (for example...) Catherine Caroline Cook, and that's the name on your driver's license, then your voter registration card had better darn tootin' say "Catherine Caroline Cook". If you get married and change your voter registration card, but not your drivers license, to "Cathy Cook Miller" , you can't vote that day without either : 

    1) signing affidavits that state you are indeed who you claim to be,
    2) using a "provisional" ballot, leaving, then coming back another day with the proper paperwork that backs up who you claim to be, or 
    3) standing in another long line to officially change your name on your voter registration that day.   

    Sounds fun, right?  I think same thing goes for passports? I've never traveled out of the country, but my mom told me how she got lucky that her maiden name just so happened to be on both her passport and drivers license when she went thru customs in Canada for some cruise she went on. Other women around her in line couldn't go through because their names didn't match and they didn't have a copy of their marriage certificate on hand- although who really does?
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  •    My personal reason is that men are not required to change their names.  I just do not agree that women are the same person all of their life, and then have to adopt a different identity, once they get married.  I don't judge anyone who changes their name, it is a very personal decision.  
       Growing up,  my father wanted a boy because he didn't want his family name to die with him.  He named me after him, and when he got the boy he wanted, he named my brother after him, too. It always made me feel like I was disposable because I was supposed to change my name when I got married.  It made me feel like I didn't count.  I have been the same person for 35 years, it just feels weird to change my name, now.  My children would have my FIs last name.  But I want them to know, that they will always count, and we won't be hoping for a boy for something as stupid as a last name. So I have an uber feminist view on name changing.  It is an extremely personal decision... to each his own.  But I think the name I was born with was the name I was meant to have forever. Keeping my name is not a nod to my father, it is a nod to me.
  • I'm legally changing my last name, but professionally I'm going to hyphenate it. Although I'm just starting out in my career, I have a few papers under my maiden name, and one of the things I really like about my maiden name is that there are 3 other people that publish under that name. I'm also pretty excited that my hyphenated name will only lead to really me when it's searched for… However, my last name is a PITA, so I'm actually looking forward to not having to deal with it legally. My FI's last name is pretty common and easy to spell/pronounce. I'm also assuming that people will be able to link my maiden name with maiden name-FI last name, especially since I'm presenting this summer at a conference that's huge in my field under this name :) (My boss is also pretty well-known, and his last name is unique, so people should hopefully be smart enough to link the names together, as well. Especially since the lab is pretty young, so it's not like we have a ton of people in it)

  • I wish I had kept my maiden name.  I can't really give you a reason why, it's just a feeling.  I did give my son my maiden name as his first name.  It's a fairly common first name for boys and people who didn't know me before have to be told it was my maiden name.  

    Some practical issues with changing your name:  You cannot change your name on some things.  I had a couple of loans before I was married.  They will carry my maiden name until they are paid off.  You need to present your marriage license with your birth certificate from now on to prove you are the person on the birth certificate.  And a silly but annoying one, it takes a while for it to become habit.  Three years in and there are still times I pause before giving my last name or have to think for a second before signing it.  That muscle memory is hard to overcome.  
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  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    I will be changing my name. I also can't really give you a concrete reason why. I don't know. I've spent 34 years being my name. I'm ready for a change. I like FI's name (bonus: it's shorter and easer to pronounce). I'm actually really excited about changing my last name to his. 
  • I didn't really want to change my last name.  At least not until we had kids.  

    But he wanted me to, so I agreed.  Never actually did it because of international travel and then we started to have issues.  

    And tomorrow we are getting divorced.  I'm just glad that I don't have to change it back.  
    sexy, harry styles, best song ever, cute, beautiful, asdjglñlñ, marcel
  • I am changing my last name.  I like how my last name sounds with FI's, and even though he offered to change his last name to mine (which I respect him greatly for), it just sounds silly.  
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  • FiancBFiancB MinnesOOOta member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    I like the idea of it. It will be kind of a pain for me because I'm going from a really simple short name to a long Polish one but I don't care that much. Truthfully I don't get along that well with my family so it sort of is a fresh start for me. I was going to switch my last name to being my middle name and then our kids could have it for a middle name as well, but now I'm not even going to do that I don't think. I'm pretty eager to let it go. 

    You shouldn't change it just because you feel like you should though, nor should you feel not feminist enough or something for changing it. Do what works for you. 

    We joke sometimes that he should take mine since it's simpler, but he is pretty traditional with that kind of thing and again, I'm ready to let my name die (family had all girls so it is going to die, which gave me some hesitation at first. Oh well).
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