What Sarah Did… Debated The ‘Name Change’

Cover-Image

I know it’s nearing the end of January, but I haven’t had the chance to say this yet, so…Happy New Year Bridelings! Who else is pumped to say this is the year they are to be wedded?! Exciting! Also, many congratulations if you got engaged during the festive season. For us here in NZ, it was a relatively quiet season, quiet enough for me to notice the alarmingly vast amount of people who said, “it’s your last Christmas as a Williams!” I have my birthday in-between Crimble and New Years so I also got “wow your last birthday as a Williams” and then on NYE “oooo exciting, this is your last full year with your birth name!”…But each time I heard these little quips I never felt the excitement, in fact they left me a little flat and melancholic.

Why? Well there are lots of reasons why brides and grooms debate this and the more I looked into it for today’s post, it appears it is a difficult decision for quite a lot of people – which often starts from the engagement! Yay! You are going to be a Mrs!! Whoop whoop! Mrs… what…?

Hello! My New Name is…

PHOTO-1

Confession time girls – how long was it after you became engaged till you ‘practiced’ your new signature? Or maybe you were practicing it before you were engaged! Because it’s from that point you are already thinking about your ‘new’ name. If I am being honest I have had a nagging feeling regarding ‘the name change’ since we became fiance-fied and with the wedding zooming in at a rate of knots, it’s turning into a bit more than ‘mulling it over’! Why? Because, silly or not, there is a small part of me that has an issue with losing my ‘Williams’. I feel gloomy at having a ‘new’ name and I’m not even sure I can give you a specific reason why. I am not famous, published or a feminist, so there isn’t that incentive to keep it, I have a cousin to carry on the Williams name so that it isn’t either, my new name isn’t embarrassing or offensive and I don’t care about the legal expenses involved. So it’s none of that. I am however proud of the heritage associated with my name; proud of my family and my name is of course part of who I am.  I love and respect my new family to be and of course ‘ma man’ (otherwise there wouldn’t be a wedding would there), so that’s not part of it either… there is just something very sad about no longer being a Williams. So I have five months to decide which new Mrs I am going to be. Or maybe till the end of this post…

Keep it? Ditch it? Combine it? Blend It?

PHOTO-2

Over the past 14 months I have thought about doing all sorts of these new hip surname trends, but more specifically the double-barreling. Whilst it would sound lovely, it does generate a 17 letter long surname, coupled with the fact I will then be victim to being a double-double-barraller (I’m a Sarah-Jayne you see), not to mention how the kids (once make’d and baked) will struggle learning to write it. Personally I think it will make them kick-ass spellers; I appear to be alone in this reasoning! But to me there is something really nice about combining the bride and groom’s surname. Along with your commitment to each other you are creating a new unity and ultimately a new family and lineage, so why doesn’t a new name match that? I think its great! This is an excellent reason for considering ‘name blending’, you can get some really good combo’s with the right names, but would your groom consider adopting this? You could be a Miss Black and your future hubby a Mr Smith, then whizz that up and you’ll be a Blacksmith! Not bad, not bad. It seems quite popular in America these days but I cannot see Callum saying yes to being a ‘McWilli’, although as I write this ‘McWilliams’ aint too shabby – meh, never gonna happen. If I did choose to double-barrel or blend, either way, it would just be me, I would have to find a way to walk on water and prove it before Callum changed his name in any form and to be honest, I wouldn’t want him to either. No matter what, one thing I am positive of is I do want the same last name as our children. See my quandary?

PHOTO-3
 

Say My Name, Say My Name

If you have been keeping up with my posts you’ll know I like to do a bit of research into the old wedding traditions and if I had a word limit of 10,000 I could write an awful lot about this. The history is checkered across the globe and in addition, everyone seems to have an opinion on this. If you have a sneaky Google into the popular thoughts of the celebrities on this planet, you come across a whole heap of such nonsense, intrigue and inspiring tales of name changes. Kate Winslet’s is simple however; she wanted to carry on the family name. I admire that. Then there is Queen B, aka Beyonce Knowles aka Mrs Carter, she’s got it right, she retained her persona as well as generating a new one under her married name (and used it as an awesome marketing trick for her tour!).

PHOTO-4

Different countries do different things. Statistically in the UK (but don’t quote me because the figures I have found vary from article to article) around 89% of brides change their names after marriage, which includes the double-barreller and blend. Most commonwealth countries have the tradition of changing the surname, which seems to be attributed to genealogy and the women becoming an ‘extension’ of her husband. In the USA, it is generally the same, although more often than not the bride chooses to keep her maiden name as a middle name, followed by her new man’s surname. Brides in some countries in South America do not change their name at all after marriage, keeping their birth name their whole life. In Greece, you HAVE to keep your maiden name, that’s the law! I’ve often brought this quandary up over a cocktail or two with friends, colleagues and acquaintances and I have found some people are adamant, if they were to marry, they are keeping their surname and the children would also have their surname too, “if they are coming from my $*#$!* they are having my name!” Sheesh! Others wanted to honor their father, or like KW, they know the family name stops with them so they want to carry it on. There are people who don’t change their surname because they end up being called someone famous and they just don’t want to deal with the comments, personally I think being called Sarah Batman would be ridiculously cool! Ordering pizza would be hard though…

PHOTO-5

Following on with a bit of research, I delved into the feminist side of things, a feminist named Lucy Stone caused quite a stir in 1921 when she fought to retain her own name, rather than take her husbands’. She succeeded and is known as the first US women to retain her birth name. In fact, it caused such a stir a ‘league’ of women’s rights activists joined forces to form ‘The Lucy Stone League’, all fighting for their right to keep their own name after marriage, reason being to retain their identify. I don’t think I am in this camp. I don’t feel that strongly about it. According to the feminist bride the reason for name change is as follows (I must note here that I have directly quoted from the website, so it does not mean I agree with the views expressed):

  1. The first is that upon marrying Abraham, his new wife no longer existed as herself but as the “wife of Abraham.” So if you’re not religious, this name-change reasoning doesn’t really float.
  2. The second reason exists because before paternity testing existed, the only way to prove a child was the rightful heir to a man was through name. Without the father’s name, the kid was considered a bastard. The only way to get his name was for the mother to be married to the father. Marriage being the only option for a secure life for women. None of these reasons exist anymore.
  3. The third reason name change exists was for inheritance reasons. The legal, non-bastard kid had to have his fathers name to legally claim his inheritance, title and property. The mother for a long time, even with the husband’s name, had no rights to inheriting any of her dowry or family estate, it all passed to her son who also shared the family name. This reason also no longer exists.
    Mmm…

Does it all really matter? Is it JUST a name? I say, do what works for you. I do feel a little sad about saying bye bye to the family name I have had for 31 years, but I will always be a Williams no matter what. When all is said and done, come signing of the register, my name will probably change and it ‘likely’ wont be a double-barreller and on that day I am sure it wont even be an issue.

I am keen as a bean to hear your thoughts on this one girls and guys, what do you think? What are you going to do/did you do? Who cares/who doesn’t? Have you had any angst or discussions about this?

What does hubby to be think?

Sarah x

Author: Adam Crohill
Adam likes Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain.

175 thoughts on “What Sarah Did… Debated The ‘Name Change’

  1. Phew! So glad this is an ok topic of discussion!

    The boy and I were punting this topic recently and he was genuinely shocked when I said that I didn’t really want to take his name. Not because it’s awful/rude/offensive, but purely because I’m one of three girls and there’s no other family member to continue the name. I have always felt really strongly about keeping my name for this reason!
    The boy however was very upset and hurt and it took him quite a while to discuss the ‘name game’ again. His main issue was, which name would the children have?
    It’s taken some serious discussion but we’ve decided that if we’re lucky enough to have kids that they would have my maiden name as their middle names.

    I did try and propose a blend of our surnames, somehow he wasn’t interested in being a ‘Boozier’…can’t think why!

    1. Of course it’s ok to talk about! People don’t often like it though 😉 what you’ve described sounds EXACTLY like what’s been going on in our house for the mentioned 14months! I have been adamant I will be a williams-mccurach, but look at that for a mouthful! Callum even came round to the idea recently, only for me of course though. But then the children? “Oh they’ll have my name” 🙁 so we also like the idea of the tiddlywinks having my surname as a middle name, it is an option for us girls too! Thanks for sharing Charlie, I’m glad I’m not alone! Xx

      1. Sarah you’ll be surprised at how quickly ‘Williams-Mccurach’ will roll off the tongue before you know it. I personally think it sounds very elegant xx

            1. Thanks Claire, it is lovely. I guess when the wedding pics come on the blog it’ll e a perfect title… “what did she call herself?” I have heard a story about a friends, friend who travelled to the USA with her daughter and they actually had to question her because her name was different to her daughters – I would hate that, it can’t happen that often though! I am hoping that was just bad luck!

              1. I think that does happen sometimes but on the other hand – look at all the blended/step etc families that have different names… they’re still families 🙂

                (plus better safe than sorry vis a vis abduction of children!)

  2. We got married last summer and I have taken his name. Our name is, however, very hard to spell so while I am legally using his name, we use my old name for takeaways, restaurant bookings and all domestic travel (he’s got quite used to being Mr Banks on occasion).

    One thing it will say is what a massive faff it all was! Bank accounts, passport, driving licence, pilot licence, membership cards (Tesco have just stopped converting my club points to Avios because the names don’t match). If you do change, you’ll need to be good at filling in forms!

    Good luck with your wedding. x

    1. Hearing you Kate!! No-one EVER spells my fiancés surname right – EVER! I know it sounds lazy but I don’t want to have to spell my name out each time I say it! Maybe I’ve had it too good with being a Williams! Funny thing is Callum does the same… Uses my name to order and book things. So I have used that as a point of reference in my case before “even YOU don’t like using your surname”… Doesn’t win though 🙂 xx

      1. Hey Miss Williams (thought it was appropriate to address you by your surname!),

        Great read hun. Good work on all the research, must have taken you ages! Like you, I have also had over the Christmas and birthday period, “ooo, this is the last time you’ll be celebrating as a Morris”, and it does feel weird and I’m not sure how I feel about it.
        I’ve been a Morris for 30 years, it’s a massive change to all of a sudden be known as something else, isn’t it? Even Andrew has said that must be really odd for me, having to change my name to Clark after so long; I know he wouldn’t want to do it. He’s not expecting me to do it, but, I dont want a different name to my children, and to be honest, I do like the tradition of taking your husbands name – I see this is part of the marriage process.
        I’m personally not into the double barrelling of names. What happens if I become Holly Morris-Clark and I have a girl who decides, like her mother, she also wants to keep her surname for identity reasons – we are then in the realm of triple barrels, which is just getting out of hand?!
        I’m not a lover of the mixing of names either – I don’t see the point becuase you then both lose your surname, so surely this defeats the purpose?! Holly Clarris or Holly Morark would be my options! This then leaves me with being Holly Clark and back to the origonal reason I started commeting on this post – the spelling. Everyone seems to spell Clark with an “E” on the end, and I know this will annoy me, but I guess I’m just going to have to make sure I spell it out alot, to avoid getting mail addressed to Holly Clarke!
        At the end of the day, this is no real “biggie” to me and I’m happy becoming Holly Clark.
        Speak soon lovely xx

  3. Great post!

    we’ve had many a disucssion about this – I have no real reason to keep my name (I have a brother who will carry on the family heritage) but its just something thats part of my identity.

    After much discussion I will be happily taking on his family name, but I will be keeping my maiden name at work – I worked bloody hard to build my career and thats a big part of me.

    1. Ahhhhh… work!! I would be on the same page BUT… the trouble with being a Sarah Williams is there is generally always another one around. I started a new role last October and AGH another one before me left a legacy… so now when i write emails, EVERYONE thinks i’m the old one. So thats actually in the plus side of the basket for changing my name!! x

  4. THANK GOODNESS THIS HAS POPPED UP!

    I am in a similar quandary, my soon to be surname is Cowle (like Simon Cowell but spelt differently) and my middle name is Beth…first name is Alex………

    Now it’s not this that necessarily bothers me..It’s the mix of saying goodbye to my wonderful name, which at 9 letters I can’t really combine, (unless I turn long distance runner, Seb-Co) I know how to fast type it, I’ve also got it down putting the emphasis on certain letters when spelling it out to people, (S-E-b-A-sti-A-n) plus how many of you can then say, “Yeah, like the crab!”…

    Perhaps I can make sure it makes an appearance if we have boys, but coming from a family of 5 girls I’m not so sure on my chances!

    I only have 7 months to decide, I hope I make a choice by then!!
    x

    1. What does your man say Alex? Maybe he will take your name! I do know a couple who did that. The guy took her name. I have massive respect for him! As you inch closer to the day the decision doesn’t get easier. The more people, even my parents, tell me I’m being silly the more I’m adamant too try and keep it! Aghhhhh!! I had my name mentioned in a book last year and even tried to use that a a good excuse 😉 xx

  5. What a lovely blog and interesting topic. I wonder how many brides take their husband’s name still. I decided to do a hyphenated name and find it a little cumbersome since it is so long.

    1. Thanks Devour – again, ‘cumbersome’ is actually something to consider… writing emails with a long surname… is something else that just came to mind! xx

  6. I’ll be taking his surname, luckily it is a gorgeous surname imo (Swann). I quite fancied double-barrelled but he was having none of it and I want us to share a surname rather than him staying the same and me being double-barrelled (which he’d be okay with). He has a little boy who is also a Swann so I like the idea of joining the Swann clan and us all sharing a surname.

    Had you asked this question 10 years ago when I was with my ex I would have said, firmly, that I was keeping my surname. His Dad is German and his surname, when pronounced, sounds like a cat vomiting up a hair ball.

  7. I haven’t changed my name and never will. Much to my in-laws disapproval who still refer to as Mrs J Smith in correspondence, so not only wiping out my surname but also my first name identities.
    My husband is quite happy and supportive of my decision.

    And to be honest I’m quite shocked when my recently married friends say that they are going to change their names. I just don’t see the need for it in this day and age. But i suppose, each to their own.

    Like the first commenter, if we are lucky enough to have children they will take his name but have my name as their middle name to avoid any airport dramas.

    One thing to watch is that wedding guests don’t write wedding present cheques to ‘Mr and Mrs Smith’. We had a nightmare trying to get them cashed and luckily found a sympathetic cashier eventually who would process them on production of various IDs and the marriage certificate. Stopped us from having to go back to the guests – awkward.

  8. I’ve been contemplating this recently too, as I am getting married in the spring!

    It’s a tough one – especially as people have such different views on it! I am a feminist – and have no qualms in saying so – but I don’t think there can be a feminist ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer to the quandary! It seems really divisive to me for women to criticise other women on the choice they make. One of the main arguments people put forward is that it reflects a time when a bride was legally being passed from father to husband as a possession and that even though society has changed, there is still this implication in a woman taking a man’s name rather than the other way around.

    Personally, I can see the attraction of taking your husband’s name and being a unity together, but also completely get why people want to keep their name, especially when I’m from a family with an unusual name and there’s only my sister and I in our generation!

    My current plan is to take my husband’s name but to make my maiden name an extra middle name – a bit more work as it it involved changing your name by deed poll – but I think is a good compromise and avoids double-barrelling/combining which would not work with our names!

    1. Nothing wrong with being a feminist Alison, on some level I think all women in this day and age are in some small way (I worked on a coal mine for three years – at times I wanted to riot against the guys! 😉 ) I love that you feel that way but are also making the compromise. The surname becoming a middle name is an excellent option. X

    2. I am so with you on this Alison – feminism isn’t about mandating that women do or don’t change, its about having an equal right as anyone to make a choice

  9. I’ve decided to keep my surname for work – I work for my dad’s company and having his surname comes with a certain ‘clout’ when speaking with clients etc!! Very selfish I know but it works!!

    I’m one of 4 girls so I will be very sad to change my name but double barrelling didn’t sound right (Breen-Robinson) and blending doesnt really seem to work either – although I am excited to be Mrs Robinson (here’s to you and all that…)!!

    I suppose the good thing about changing to be a Robinson is that when I order takeaways etc it won’t come address to Miss Bream anymore!!

  10. Bahhhhh I hear you on this one. We have chewed it over soooo many times. I already have a pretty long double-barreled surname (my feminist mum kept her name and me and my brother got both). I also have a decidedly Gaelic first name, which sounds awful with his very Italian surname (I’ve confirmed this with all friends and some near-strangers). So what to do?? Triple-barreled is a no-go, it still sounds all wrong and frankly who has the time?? I certainly don’t. We considered the blending option but sadly it just doesn’t work (Sparkey-McBigot was a fave). In addition, I’ve kinda come to love my long, unspellable, pain-in-the-neck name. It’s part of who I am. So in the end I’m sticking with mine and he’s keeping his. As for kids we’ll cross that bridge if and when we ever come to it!

    1. Siobhan I agree, who has the time that’s how I feel, but then the other part of me says, ‘no. Do it!!’ Interesting that your mum double-barrelled! I also like your attitude about crossing the children bridge when you come too it, do what’s right now for you both. Other alternative is making a completely new name for the pair of you? You could be anything! 😉 xx

    2. Hi Siobhan my situation has so many similarities to yours – super long double barrelled surname courtesy of the mother and my decision to keep my surname despite it being awkward and almost impossible to spell. But I love it; so glad you decided to keep yours too!

  11. I’ve been double-barreled since birth, and I am definitely not passing on that burden to my children. Two normal names stuck together, and said quickly, means no one understands what my last name is 🙁 Can’t go through smart gates at the airport, because the hyphen breaks the machine! And there’s never enough room on forms for the whole name.
    You also have to think, if you do double barrel and give it to your kids, it will most likely end there. Because there’s definitely not going to be triple-barreling, someone is going to lose out. I know that I don’t want to offend either of my parents by dropping one, so I’m dropping both and taking my fiance’s (very boring) name – so I’ll offend them equally!
    I totally understand my mum’s very feminist reasons for doing it, but I won’t be following her lead.

    1. LOVED hearing this – great to hear the other side of the coin… the airport thing would annoy me actually ha, these silly things! Thanks Rosie 🙂

  12. Oof! Big topic

    OK, first things first, you don’t have to be a feminist to want to keep your name. Secondly, if you think women should have equality of rights, pay, opportunity etc then sorry, but you’re a feminist. Its about time us smart women (and men) started being proud to be feminists instead of pandering to the stereotypes about man-hating and bra-burning. There are all kinds of feminist, they’re just one!

    Moving on – have you ever asked yourself why your finances are so opposed to changing their names/you keeping yours/children having yours? Why should it be any different for them that it is for women, just because they’re men??? Its about time we started engaging them in this discussion because do they honestly think that you’re their possession once you’re married?

    I’m not saying women should or shouldn’t change their names, I’m saying that everyone (men and women) should feel like they can make their own decision with the support of their partners.

    There is so much intelligent writing out there on this issue, far better than my ramblings – seek it out and educate your loved ones, because if you don’t, who will?

    1. I completely agree with you Claire – women should stop being put off by a label and an image given to feminism by (male!) society!
      Interestingly, my fiance is Iranian and there married women keep their maiden names – so there is no obligation at all from that side for me to change it.

      1. precisely!! I’m proud to be a feminist and the more people who are, the more powerful the ‘label’ is and the less powerful the stereotypes

        I actually like telling people I’m a feminist and hearing them say ‘but you wear skirts and lipstick, you don’t look like a feminist’ in a confused tone 🙂

      2. Hi Claire – your comment was music to my ears! In fact there was a very eloquent piece in the Guardian a couple of weekends back about a woman’s decision to keep her name and also give her name to her children too. She’s a Hardy – the last of her family and they’re from Dorset so just had to keep it otherwise it would die out. I find it fascinating how some men are so intimidated by a women’s decision to keep her own name yet would refuse to do the same if asked to do so. Well said lady!!

        1. (blush) thanks!

          This is really one of my bugbears (hence the multiple comments!!)

          Now any advice on how to deal with people who deliberately refer to me as Mrs Hisfirst Hislast even though they know I didn’t change my name?!?!

          Grrrr

      3. I also agree – I think the issues about what people think, the inconvenience of admin etc pales in comparison to the statement (to yourself, your partner, the world) it makes to change when you don’t really want to

    2. Well said, Claire! It drives me crazy when feminism is treated as some kind of extremist outlook when it’s about equal opportunities for everyone.

      As far as the administrative inconvenience goes, I have a double-barreled name from my parents (no hyphen) and I struggle to think of a single time it has caused me any hassle (I realise, though, that it is only eleven letters long). I am not sure what I will do in terms of changing or not changing it because triple-barreled names are pretty unwieldy…my intention, though, is to retain my double-barreled name for work and socially, and to change my legal surname (making my current surname my middle name).

    3. Thank you Claire! Every time someone brought up being (or not being) a feminist in this post, I was thinking this!

      And thank you, Sarah, for this post! I probably should have realized, but didn’t, that this was such a widespread issue for so many women. My fiancé and I have been contemplating this issue so it was nice to accidentally stumble upon this article and see there are a lot of people in the same boat!

      I love my last name, McKenzie, and have a hard time letting it go. My fiancé on the other hand, doesn’t really care for his last name, Mouer (rhymes with sour/flour). Thankfully, he is very open about what we do with our names, to the point that I think he would even take mine if we really wanted, but I think he worries about offending his father if he lets his go. Blending has come up in the discussion – we jokingly started referring to ourselves as the McMouers in travel blog posts (being a McK, it’s really easy to blend!) but we had no idea it was a common thing for people to do! Both our families are super on board with the blending – his mom even had some sweatshirts custom made for us for Christmas that say “McMouer.” I also think the idea of making a new lineage for your family is a really cool idea, and I hadn’t really thought about it that way before this post. Still, I think neither of us feel 100% comfortable with it, even if we can’t pinpoint why.

      Another thought was to change it completely (he’s a musician and wants a cool stage name anyway, so why not start there?) but then we’re back to losing both our names completely. And as pointed out above, hyphenation can be cumbersome, silly as it may be.

      So, who knows?! Maybe we’ll just both keep our own come wedding time and we can decide to change them down the road if we feel so inclined.

      Anyway, just wanted to thank you for tackling this post and showing me that so many other people are in the same boat! Good luck to everyone finding what works best for them!

      1. Thank you for the thanks Ashton! It’s one of those things, that people still get worried to talk about… why? Although I will admit I was a little nervous I would of caused too much of a stir! I think its refreshing to see so many people have a point of view on this. Because it is a very personal thing so its nice to see so many people sharing. I also love the change you are making – thats what I think is very awesome about making that little unit together. Good luck with the wedding Ashton! x

  13. This has given me a chuckle whilst I’m meant be half listening into the office meeting, just getting my priorities right!! I have had the same dilemma – my surname is Chesham, my current initials are JEC, perfect, I can live with that and I even have the numberplate to match. However in July I am set to become Mrs Williams (sorry Sarah!) but my initials will become JEW – tricky!
    We also dicussed the mashing-up of surnames, in fact my Mum on a family acitivity weekend away to Centre Parcs with my parents, sister and brother in-law was chalking up our team names on the blackboard when she came up with ours. Ma & Pa were The Cheshams, sister & bro in-law The Kirbys and Simon and I became the Cheesey-Willi’s!! I don’t think that will go down well when booking treatments in a spa… 😉

    1. Brilliant Jenna! Haha! No apologies needed either, my mum calls our surname ‘common’, I them correct her and say “no mum, it’s ‘popular'” haha. I like that I’m welsh and I’m a williams though, makes it mean more in some silly way. ‘JEW’, mmm, if it helps the first thing I thought of was jew on the grass on a fresh spring morning? Does that help? It’s hard with the Willi jokes though 😉 that’s even one of my friends nicknames for me – since I was about 9! Good luck Jenna! Xxxx

  14. Hahaha Janine!

    I am also glad this has come up…but still undecided after reading this post and comments.
    My name is Donovan, which I love- it sounds nice, shows off my Irish heritage and I’m incredibly proud of my family. Being one of four girls, none of my immediate family will pass the name on but I do have a zillion cousins so I can’t really use that argument. Matt’s surname is Jones, and whilst it is totally inoffensive, every time I think about being a Mrs Jones, I get all possessive about my surname and feel that I will somehow become more anonymous if I lose my name.
    I have no issues with the idea of linking my identity with Matt’s, after all we have been together since the age of sixteen so he definitely is an inextricable part of me, it’s just that my fantastic family are at least as much a part of me as Matt is…
    I personally think that Donovan-Jones sounds nice, but ultimately our kids would be called Jones. I have a friend who married last year and both bride and groom took both names, which I thought was a lovely touch and very open minded of the groom- I suggested that to Matt and he thought I was joking!
    I suspect I will end up changing my name like you Sarah, but not without reluctance…

    1. nothing against your lovely fiance but why is it so funny to suggest a solution that works for both people in a relationship – isn’t that what you’re meant to do when you love, care for and support someone?

      Sadly, its up to us to let them know that there are other options out there and its their responsibility to have a sensible conversation about it with us.

      1. I’m very lucky that when I suggested we BOTH take both names, my fiancé agreed without any argument whatsoever. One of the reasons I know he’s the right man for me.
        Although my name is relatively unusual, hard to spell and pronounce, both of us have one syllable surnames – I’ll admit that makes it a lot easier to double barrel!

        1. Clare – I’m curious how you and your fiancé are choosing to work out both of you having both names, meaning, what order are you choosing for your hyphenation?
          “Your name – his name” for you and “his name – your name” for him?
          Or are you both doing the same order so that you will have the very same last name?

          This was an idea just recently brought up between my fiancé and I know it would work any which way but I was curious how people generally choose to go about it!

  15. I am due to marry next year, the eldest of three daughters, so I do feel a massive sadness about losing my name, I love my name (Tyson), I think it’s quite strong, and once you get over the “mike Tyson” jokes, I love it. It has been used by my nickname for years and it’s very easy to type and sign.

    If I change my name it will become Holland. I think we are missing a massive opportunity to become the Tyland family, but my partner thinks it looks like the name of a bad piece of Ikea furniture.

    My parents are together but never married, so I grew up with a mother whose name does not match mine. It has never really been an issue, though she has often been assumed to be Mrs Tyson by schools, brownie leaders, doctors etc etc throughout my childhood, which never seemed to bother her. So if I keep mine, and our possible children have their fathers name, maybe that would be fine?

    I dislike double-barreled. I prefer to leave it to the aristocracy, they have names better suited to it, I think it can often be a little clunky. But each to their own.

  16. What a great post, I’m so glad a bride is blogging about this! My partner and I (still unmarried – though he knows I’ll never change my surname if ever we do wed!) spent the whole nine months of my pregnancy debating our son’s surname to be. Whose name to take? Endless spelling issues & lengthy calls to customer services… Plus we both disliked voluntarily double barrelling…! But in the end we gave him both our surnames – after all, he is part of both of us, and that means so much more than a confused telephone call. And we non-hyphenated the surnames to slightly circumvent the double barrelling thing!

    1. LOVE this Frances, confirms using both somehow is a great and lovely thing to do. It also leave the tiddlywinks when they become grown up to make a choice for themselves too x

  17. Afternoon lovelies! This is such a pertinent topic for me because nearly 18 months on after being married I still get asked why I didn’t change my surname when I married the boy. I love my surname ‘Gautier-Ollerenshaw’ – always have and always will. I’ve had it for near on 30 years and I wasn’t going to change it just because I was becoming a married lady. Yes it’s convoluted and people pretty much always spell it incorrectly but it’s different and it’s part of my identity and I love the fact that no-one else in the whole wide world has the same surname as me which is more than you can say for my first name.

    I toyed with the idea of triple barrelling by adding on ‘Collins’ to the end of my name but the whole thing was ridiculous. Most importantly the boy completely supported me in my decision to keep my own name – for him it was a no-brainer and he didn’t see it as an issue at all which is more than I can say for some folks.

    All he asks is that the kids, when they turn up have his name and I’ve agreed as long as it’s doubled barrelled with ‘Gautier’. He’s happy with that…at least I think he is but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

    And lastly, Sarah you’re quite right that it made me a kick-ass speller as a kid – still to this day I cannot abide folks who can’t spell correctly!

    1. I love your surname and reading it, makes me want to do it and stick to my guns (I must say here that Callum doesn’t care what I do – he just wants me to be happy and ultimately, if we did want the kids to be double-barrelled, he won’t make a song and dance out of it!)

      A) I like that your surname is longer than 17 digits 😉 Yes, for the last 14 months I have been counting peoples surnames as proof that it really isn’t an issue for people; and

      B) I actually really like Gautier-Ollerenshaw-Collins. Sophisticated!!

      1. Sarah! Stick to your guns! Or at least please do what your heart wants it to do. And more than 17 digits is deffo not an issue – I can actually get it on my bank cards and everything and somehow I’ve never had an issue at airports either.

        Maybe when I’m feeling a bit playful I’ll lengthen the name to include Collins too 😉

  18. I got married a couple of weeks ago and while I always knew I wanted to take my husband’s name, I also didn’t want to give up my surname. However, I didn’t want to double-barrel my surname, so I’ve kept my surname as a second middle name. It has involved a bit of hassle, as I had to get a deed poll, but I am so glad I did it, and so is my husband. We also plan for our kids (when we have them!) to have my maiden name as a middle name too.

  19. When I got married, I thought about this for a while. I assumed I’d keep my maiden name because I was ‘that kind of girl’ – we discussed double-barrelling; him taking my name and both having separate names but here I am several years later having changed my last name to his.

    The thing that triggered it for me was my very complex family dynamic, and very personal reasons. I don’t speak to my father, who was himself adopted into the last name that is his and was my maiden name. My mother is remarried too, but more than anything, after I’d thought about it for a long time, I decided I wanted to show my love for the man I was going to marry, and to show how he’d helped me put the demons of my past behind me.

    As a wedding photographer, despite me having done it, there’s always a slight element of surprise when people do change there names – i still identify with that determined feminist I used to be but everyone has such personal reasons for their choice.

      1. Claire, after seeing your comments pop up here and there on this feed, I just wanted to say:

        You’re awesome!

        Thank you for realizing and promoting the diversity of feminism!

        1. wow, thanks 😀 what a lovely comment

          Always happy to rant about feminism, I think the more ‘normal’ women who are proud to identify themselves as feminists the better, it makes it easier for those who feel scared of doing so.

          and much as I love the pretty of RMW, I love even more the fact that this post has nearly 150 comments on it – just goes to show what an interesting, varied and smart bunch of women (and men) read this blog.

          more please RMW 🙂

          Claire x

  20. I’m going double barrelled. As far ad I know, I’m the only woman in the uk with my surname and tend to be known by it as it’s quite unusual so I’m not giving it up. Also as I’m part Spanish and over there your name doesn’t change, I feel even the more reason to keep it. I’m happy to go double barrelled as my son is and future children will be (in keeping with the Spanish tradition) and am working on my fiance to double up too, though he’s not as keen. My English nana thinks I’m ridiculous, but hey! (She is 93!)

  21. I have been constantly asked to defend my decision to keep my name, yet I would never dream of interrogating someone else on such a personal choice (what’s more personal than ones name?) based on my feminist viewpoint.

    My opinion on all things wedding-related is that you shouldn’t blindly follow tradition without questioning it – so discussion and careful thought about this seem totally necessary whatever you end up deciding.

    Politically, and in general I think if it’s a choice, it can be a happy, confident one. But if it’s an expectation (I also get the ‘what’s your new married name then?’ questions) then it can feel like an oppressive point…

    1. same here! I also got ‘what does your husband think of that then?’

      and no, I have not yet punched anyone on the nose but we’re getting close!

      1. bahahaha, suspect the phrase ‘stuff your patriarchal bullsh!t’ may be pressed into use fairly soon 🙂

        (probably won’t say ‘stuff’ either!)

      2. It’s amazing how people feel totally okay commenting on your personal choice!

        I took a Women’s Studies Master’s degree, and some of my friends from there are completely aghast at me when I say that I am changing my name as though I have betrayed them. I’ve had to remind them that I am an intelligent woman who has thought about the issue fully and have made a decision myself that I am happy and comfortable with and it is in no way a denial of my feminist beliefs.

        On the other side, people have been equally surprised when I have said that I am keeping my maiden name as a middle name!

        1. I think that’s partly a wedding thing too – its a wedding so it must be ok to comment on other people’s choices (ditto baby names!)

  22. This is an interesting topic, one that I’m currently having an internal mind battle over. My maiden name is already double barrelled (mother & fathers surnames combined) & I recieve many compliments about it. I even wangle better tables in restaurants by using my name as a hot topic! My fiancé has a nice, but plain, 5 letter singular surname. I can’t go triple barrelled, that would be rather extreme. My fiancé doesn’t mind what I do but he’s just not changing his. So what to do? I’m thinking of dropping one part of my surname & taking his as a combo, but I will insult my mother or father in this scenario. Ugh, help. It’s a big decision!

  23. I actually got quite a few surprised reactions from friends and colleagues when I said I was changing my name (I’m working on a PhD related to women’s rights so maybe it didn’t mesh well with my feminist image!). The thing was, I never liked my surname (Clipson) – hated the sound of it and the way it looks on the page, and especially that people always spelt it wrong or misheard it. So I was actually really happy to become Mrs Rhodes – I think it sounds so much nicer and people make nice comments about it instead of doing a puzzled face at me! I do think that if I’d had a name I liked I would have been inclined to double-barrel, and we have no plans for little ones so that wouldn’t have been an issue. Loving this discussion!x

  24. I didn’t even have to think about it – I will definitely be changing my name. My parents divorced when I was 3, and my mum reverted to her maiden name before remarrying a few years later and taking my stepdad’s name. My father has never really been in my life and my mum was actually considering changing my and my brother’s names to her maiden name before she remarried, so I am perfectly happy to let his name go!

  25. Ooohhhh the name game hun, loved reading your post and its one topic that still plays in the back of my mind since our chat with the other girls. I am still sort of contemplating on my surname change as even though I often get aaahhh savery rice, sausauge and all that jazz I love it. I dont think I could do the double barrell as it would be to cruel on the kiddies- savery McCoy, I just couldnt do it. Iv actual spoke to my dad since we spoke and he said whatever my last say is I will always be a savery which is true. I do think however your double barrell sounds like royalty 🙂 xx

    1. Haha! True, I do like the sound of it! But Nicola is the only one so far to like the symmetry of the double-double-bareller!! I think thats an issue for me more than anything.You will always be a Savery – now instead of a sausage you’ll be a crisp 😉 Big love xx

  26. My husband and I have decided to combine our names and double-barrel. Thankfully both of us have 4 letter names. Unusually my husband doesn’t seem bothered about changing his (even though my name is very foreign, unusual and no one has any idea how to spell it and his is very English!). I feel quite strange since changing mine.. I’m considering just using my maiden name on its own for professional purposes but I’m worried that will make me feel more confused. Thoughts anyone?

    1. Thats my issue Claire. I can be bothered with the confusion. People in work actually said hat to me yesterday. You can use your Williams professionally, meh, I like consistency! 🙂 Having said this, again, as lots of the other girls have said, it is a personal choice. You get one shot at this life, so I say be called what you want, when you want! x x

  27. I am not changing my name for a variety of reasons. Firstly, I will get bored of writing to banks, doctors etc and am likely to never finish this task. Secondly, there will not be anyone to carry on the name after me. Thirdly, my passport will only be a year and a half old when I marry and I refuse to pay for a new one (they are blooming expensive!). Fourthly, if I am absolutely honest, the main reason is I do not want the same name as his mother….!!!!! I probably sound a horrible daughter-in-law and it is not that I do not get on with the MIL but I really do not want to have the same name as her. I have spoken honestly to my fiance about it and it is not an issue for him.

  28. I love this topic! I love my surname and I’m very attached to it and like another bride on here, I come from a family of all girls so no-one to carry on this lovely name. I have always been very honest about keeping my surname and H2B has never tried to make me change my mind. However when we decided to get married last year I joked he should take mine and he said ‘yes’! He said he understood how important my surname was to me but he still wanted a family name so he would take mine!

    My boy rules! His family were not happy at all and tried to change his mind and people are really funny with me when I tell them. They think that I’ve forced him to do it or something! I’m really excited about it all!

  29. Well this topic has got a lot of chins wagging – it’s so lovely to hear so many points of view

    My fiance’s mum never changed her maiden name (has kept Davies all her life), so this has given Jacko a different perspective on things as he’s got experience growing up with a different surname to one of his parents (for the record – it was totally non-traumatic, hasn’t left him scared but was intriguing for some people. He fully supports and embraces the decisions his mum and dad made). Thus, I haven’t got any pressure from the in-laws to carry their name…interestingly, Jack’s sister changed her name when she got married a few years ago (to Wildgoose – who wouldn’t want to be called Wildgoose – I love it!). They are such a lovely open minded family, they are not putting any sort of pressure or expectation on us. Which means it is all down to me to decide…! Eek!

    Jacko fully supports my decision to stay a Davey, Davo, Dave, DiscoDavo – if that’s what I want, and like SO many of you – that is what I want… but then I second doubt myself because I love the idea of being united by a name with him and for our future together. I keep changing my mind on this topic and up until now thought I had made my final decision and vocalised to Jack and my friends that I will become Nicola Daniel, but I am second thinking it all again now. THANKS MS WILLIAMS!!!!!!!!! I have you to blame for the merry-go-round thoughts in my head right now!!

    Brill post and great convo ladies, I empathise with you all!!!!
    xxx

    1. I know – I have made this difficult for myself. I look at Callum and want one name – simples, but then like you want to keep what I know and love! Time will tell… you however lushalicious locks have less time to consider it 🙂 Get thinking 😉 x

  30. Sarah, as always my dear, this is an AWESOME post!!!! I’m a funny one because I completely agree with everything everyone has to say, which I suppose puts me very firmly on the fence. Everyone has completely valid points, and I love that we all get to make this decision for ourselves.

    Ultimately, I think the decision for me comes down to the children aspect – I simply don’t want a different surname to my children, and I think Rosie raises a very good point that any double-barreling would probably end with them anyway (assuming of course that I don’t have a bunch of boys) and I think there’s something to be said for carrying on a lineage. Plus “Cecchini-White” just doesn’t work for me as a combo. It’s a bit weird.

    I grew up with a different name to my mum (30 years on and my parents still haven’t quite gotten around to getting married….!) and was forever correcting teachers when they asked for “Mrs Cecchini”. I just want to keep things simple. One family name. Done. xxxxx

    1. Personally I LOVE Cecchini. But White is also elegant and I 100% echo the unity of one family name. You will always be a chi-chi to me 😉 On a side note, I use capitals an awful lot for expressive tones… must stop!

      1. Awww I’ll always be your Chi-Chi my dear! 🙂 I like White though. And on a very selfish point, if this cake business ever takes off then ‘Sophie White Celebration Cakes’ does have a certain ring to it! It has the old “White Weddings” link too. At least people would be able to pronounce it – kind of important for a brand! 😉

        P.S. I LIKE CAPITALS FOR EXPRESSIVE TONES!!!

        1. How about cakes by Chi-Chi, do a Queen B and keep both! You need to blog about your cakes… these girls need to see your talent xx

  31. The boy and I have talked about this quite a lot. Usually over one too many cocktails when I get my feminism on. Only issue is, we’re not actually engaged (lets ignore the fact i’m on a wedding blog…la la la)

    I love my surname. Like you Sarah, it is very Welsh and I am very proud of it. He has no tie to his name and doesn’t know his Dad. He said if there was no stigma attached (I know I’m probably going to get shot down now!) he would happily change his name to mine. One alternative we’ve discussed is to take his mum’s surname, and start a whole new family tradition. Decisions, decisions. Obviously one I don’t have to make any time soon! x

    1. the only way there’s going to be no ‘stigma’ is if people do that and are proud of it. There are two guys as my work who’ve done it and where people have commented, its to ask why and then say ‘good for you’. Its really not as big of a deal that it seems like beforehand, once its done, people just get used to it, the same way they get used to women having a different surname. 🙂

  32. You see I’m not entirely sure where I stand on this topic – I’m from a massive Irish family my dad is one of 12 and 9 of his siblings are boys, I have 53 cousins on my daddy’s side who all live within a 2 mile radius of my house, there are already up on 50 great grand children so basically there is no concern about our family name dying out and plus I have 2 brothers. That said, coming from such a large family meant that the family is well known and I’ve always enjoyed that people instantly recognised me by my name.
    Coming from traditional Ireland the women I know almost always take the man’s surname and there was only one person in my whole school who had a double barrelled name, so I guess I always assumed that if I ever got married I would take his name. It was only months after we got engaged that I thought about the whole thing and I mentioned to the boy that maybe I would keep my surname to which he replied “well maybe I’ll keep boyfriend and girlfriend”!!! HARSH, he was joking (kind of) but explained that coming from a small family with quite an uncommon surname he was really excited about me joining the family and taking his name. I asked my mum how she had felt when she married my dad and she said that she couldn’t wait to take daddy’s name! The way I look at it now is that for the first few years (and until my new passport with my maiden name expires because I’m not forking out for a new one when it’s only a year old) that I’ll still be thought of as my maiden name and people will still very much associate me with my family but in the years to come when we have kids and have been together longer than I was ever single, our family name will belong to us both equally and our kids will continue on and the name is something we can both be proud of (apologies for this incredibly long ramble – great blog post Sarah x)

    1. WOW – i hope you do Secret Santa at your house for Christmas!!! Your family sounds awesome! Really enjoyed reading your comment x

    2. Never any need to apologise! This is what a blog is for! I really appreciate your thinking on this one and your view on the whole thing is beautiful actually! I agree, it’s something to both be proud of x

      1. I think after a certain amount of time it won’t feel like ‘his surname’ but rather our surname and I’m only 26 so I’m hoping I’ll have my new name a lot longer than I’ve had my current name!lol
        My mum and dad have been married almost 35 years but when I’m in the town where she is from and people ask who I am, they always remember her by her maiden name and associate her with that name which I love 🙂
        Nicola – our family really is awesome, we don’t partake in massive Secret Santa activity, but we are amazing at Easter Egg rolling, massive weddings, parties and sing-songs! x

        1. Looks like we’re off to Ireland for Easter then Nicola!! Sounds fab your famdamfun! You are right too… My dad always calls me mum by her maiden name – its nice 🙂

          1. You are more than welcome – although I’m afraid with the wedding and trying to get a house ready I won’t be able to fly you both from New York and New Zealand 😉

            1. Damn and blast – thought we were on to a winner there disco-davey! 😉 Awesome fun wedding planning – when is your big day? x

              1. End of June in Italy and i am uber excited today because our venue have been in touch to say that they are building a second pool with a pool bar and jacuzzi!! Makes for a very happy bride, groom and guests!

                1. Exciting! Have you been following RMW RB Sophie? She is planning her wedding in Italy for this May. She lives in Texas though! Check her out. I am at the end of June too, so we both probably have around 160 days 🙂 Italy will be warmer and more exotic than Wales though – jealous!!!

                  1. Woop for Italy weddings!!!!!!! Congratulations Helen! And now I want to hear everything. Please begin….. he he he! 🙂 xxx

  33. This may surprise many if you here but first off I think we should deal with the first issue…..yes I really am a man posting what some of you may feel surprised about.

    My better half Amy and I marry in Sept in Key West. We for nearly a year now have been having this debate. I at first personally wanted her to have my last name, but use her maiden name for work purposes (No not that, she is a vet). I was very strong on this opinion. She wanted to go double barreled.

    However Amy said something to me that really knocked some actual thought into this brain of mine. She said “We are joining together, we are creating a new family and life together. I want your last name but I want to keep the name I was born with. As we are creating a whole new line to our family’s why don’t we merge to two and become a double Barrel?”

    Yes I have thought on this for months and I agree we are a new start to a new family so why not join the names together. So that is what we are going to do Surname be damned double barreled we shall be!

    I’m not stupid though mine will be at the end! lol 😛

    1. Awesome to have a guys perspective on this. Welcome Richard! Very wise words – the important thing is two families coming together. The old adage of “A rose by any other name…” comes to mind.

        1. Thats fantastic – Sophie he sounds too good to be true… he is organised as well!! 😉 Key west, what a fabulous location too!! Exciting!

  34. I love my surname as it is at the moment ‘Drummond-Bell’ my parents got divorced when I was baby so myself and my brother (and my two nephews) have a combination of my Mum’s maiden name and my ‘step’ Dad’s surname – they see no reason to get married after 33 years together. My brother will carry on the ‘family’ name anyway.

    Having said that I love my surname I can’t wait to become Mrs Robinson – it makes me smile every time I think of it. Although I’m sure in the first few months if someone calls be by my married name I’ll be ‘who’s that!’

    Changing your name is such a personal thing and there are many external ‘influences’ family, friends, colleagues but as long as both of you are happy then its no-ones decision but BOTH of yours.

  35. I was more than happy to change my surname before, but now that we are engaged I have set up a wedding email address with both surnames palmer-edwards and now have started to become attached to it. But I wouldn’t want the boy to go double barrel as he is Jonathan Edwards and I have always loved the triple jump jokes! Think it will be a case of taking Edwards but also keeping Palmer for work… Interesting to see some discussion on this topic!

  36. Girls this has made my morning. It’s really refreshing to hear so many passionate views about this. My aforementioned lifelong friend who has always called me ‘Willy’ summed it up pretty well just now, ech hem, “Willy your gonna have to face it… Your always gonna be a willy, but I think you’re gonna wear McCurrach pretty well me old china” 🙂 Watch this space!

  37. I got married in October after being engaged just over 2 years. My husband was initially taken aback when I announced that I wouldn’t be taking his name, but accepted it almost immediately.

    In terms of my reasons, there are a few reasons. Firstly, as his surname is O’Brien, it would make my initials NOB. Secondly, I’m a doctor and wanted to keep my name professionally (although MANY female doctors do change their names). Finally, but actually the most important reason for me, it’s because it’s my name…..literally my identity. While my lovely husband didn’t have a problem with the decision (once I explained I’m more than happy for any kids to have his surname) I have had an unbelievable amount of arguments from unexpected places. My brother seemed angry about it. Another family friend gave me a lecture about how it meant we wouldn’t be a ‘family’. I find it hard to understand why people give others such a hard time when it’s something that’s been such a big part of what makes me ‘me’ for all my life.

    I have no problem with any friends who have made the decision to change their name, it’s a very personal decision and one where I think you just have to go with your instinct. I may change my mind once we have kids, but in the meantime I’m happy with my decision and everyone else will just have to deal with that.

  38. So glad this has come up as a topic! It’s something I’ve been mulling over for a while now and I still don’t know what to do… My problem is I don’t really like his surname, which is Willey. Yep, Willey. Would you change your surname to that?! I already get gently ribbed by my friends that I’ll be ‘Mrs Willey’ and I don’t particularly want to go through life having people snigger at my name – which despite everyone being adults happens. I thought about double barrelling, but it just doesn’t work with my own surname. I have no idea what to do. And what happens when we have kids, are they going to have a name that will get them bullied in school (as he did)? I feel pretty bad, because if he had a surname that wasn’t quite so embarrassing then I’d probably take it, which makes me just as judgemental as those that bullied him. Gah!! Does anyone have any thoughts?

    1. Ah Izzy, its fine to say how you feel about it. I am going to give you some advice Sophie just gave me, which, is actually fantastic, I am sure she won’t mind me sharing. Flip your choices on it’s head – if you tell yourself you’re going to go with one choice, then tell yourself you’re going to go with the other, which one made you feel a little bit more of a pang of disappointment? Sophie has words of wisdom! x

  39. Lolly, I’ve actually used your name as an example in the past as to why it’s perfectly acceptable for me to double-barrel my name when I get married this August, so thank you for keeping it 🙂 I’ll be Townsend-McNicholl (not as glamorous as Gautier-Ollerenshaw but you can’t have it all!), which many friends and family are being sniffy about and keep saying is too long.

    I personally can’t imagine ditching my own name entirely – it’s nothing special but it’s mine, and it’s served me well for 29 years. I totally get why some people like the idea of taking their husbands name but it’s not for me, and it’s amazing how judgemental some people can be about this when it’s the 21st century after all and really anything goes.

    Sarah, do stick with what you feel is right for you – I personally think Williams-McCurrach sounds awesome 🙂

    1. I just don’t get why people have such an issue with long names?? Unless they’re on a ventilator and can’t breathe properly or only have one biro to last them the rest of their lives, how can it POSSIBLY make any difference???

      1. I know Claire! And honestly, how many times do you even say/write your surname in the average day? Complete non-issue from my point of view, and I also find the idea that I should abandon all my principles/identity just because I’m marrying someone with a 3 syllable surname pretty bizarre! If it’s good enough for Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall it’s good enough for me 🙂

  40. What a hottttt topic Sarah!
    I remember the lead up to our wedding when the thought suddenly hit me that I was going to have to consider what to do about my surname. Keep it – Hannah Barnes; create an entirely new one – Hannah and Nigel Barnshaw; or go with his name – Hannah Shaw. The decision wasn’t difficult for me, I knew I would go with (and be be utterly content with) Hannah Shaw, however the ease of making that decision still didn’t prevent a subtle “mourning” of no longer being Hannah Barnes. Simply put, Hannah Barnes was ME, ’twas my identity. But 2 years on as Hannah Shaw I barely even think about my old name. Hannah Shaw feels just right for me.
    P.S. you don’t have to rush into deciding, you can decide after you are married if you really want to 🙂

  41. I have a new slant on the name-changing issue… My fiancée’s sister has the same first name as me, so if I take his surname, we will have exactly the same name! It makes me very reluctant to change my name as it feels like that complete name is someone else’s identity, so not only would I lose my current identity, I can’t even form a new one!

    So I have the option of double barrelling (Stoner Whiting) or putting my current surname as n additional middle name.. But Stoner as a middle name has some other connotations I’d like to avoid!

    Any thoughts or advice anyone has on this would be very welcome – I only have 3 months until the wedding now so running out of time to make a decision!

    1. Hi Rebecca

      Don’t panic, you don’t have to decide now 🙂

      I get you with the ‘same name as someone else’, when I got married first time I met a girl in my local bank with the same name as my married name and it made me feel weird and I didn’t even know her!

      Take your time, be married for a bit then see how you feel about it.

  42. I never thought I would be in any way hesitant about taking the boy’s surname but….the closer it gets to W-Day, the more conflicted I feel. I still think I’m 90% sure I will become Mrs O’G but I’m sad to be leaving Miss O behind.

    It’s not that I don’t love my future name, but it does make me feel a bit like I’m going to lose a part of my identity.

    I did suggest that, like a very good friend of mine, my boy take my surname. Didn’t go down too well, but at least he (sort of) appreciates what giving my name up means.

  43. i dont really have alot to add to this, but i just tried to combine our names and came out with ‘shagland’ (he is shaw, i am England) , that could catch on right?! (i think i will just stick with become Mrs Shaw – eek!). It made me giggle so i thought i would share…

  44. WELL!

    I’m a little bit late to this party but i’m all for doing what YOU want to do. If you want to keep your own surname do it, likewise if you want to take your husbands name. If you want to create a new hybrid name, charge on!

    I really wanted to keep my surname (Blackwood) but my husband was a bit upset about this, especially when kiddywinkles were discussed. In the end I went for a double barrel and although it caused a few raised eyebrows, I love being a Blackwood-McCreary and I love that it’s unique!

    All hail the 17 letter surname!!

    1. Well hello Mrs MBMc! It is sooo hard. It shouldnt be though should it. I really like Blackwood-McCreary! What do you think you will do/did for the kiddywinkles?

  45. Wow, it’s so interesting to see such lengthy and varied discussion on this point. Fascinating stuff. Almost all of my friends automatically changed their name when they got married and I remember when I asked a couple of them about it it was clear that they hadn’t even considered keeping their name. Which of course is absolutely fine because whether or not to change your name is only one person’s choice, and that’s yours. And my personal view is that I wouldn’t even think of giving up my name. Not because of family (my parents divorced when I was tiny and my mum remarried, which means that my surname has always been different to my mum and the man I consider my father). It’s also not because I’m a ‘feminist’ (in the derogatory sense of the word – feminism is of course at it’s core something that aspires to equality between men and women. So ladies, we should all be feminists – why on earth wouldn’t we be?) It’s simply because my name is MY name. It’s been my name my entire life, it’s part of my identity and I can’t see why I would give that up just because I got married. And I wouldn’t expect that of my fiance either. I’m a huge fan of couples combining the names (where it works!) and know a few couples that have done that to wonderful effect. It won’t work for us as my fiance isn’t British and it just wouldn’t work, but I do want our future family to have the same name. So the answer is – have both! When I brought it up and told him that’s what I’d be doing, he was pleasantly surprised and said that the thought I’d change my name hadn’t even occurred to him, but that he thought it would be lovely if I wanted to have both. So we’re all winners. It does of course help that the surnames are relatively short (though nobody can pronounce his) – I can see why a 17 letter surname would be a bit of a mouthful!

  46. We’re getting married in June and i’m keeping my name – i don’t want to lose the Welshness that’s such a huge part of my identity. Still not really sure what’s usually done about titles in this case though? Will i be a Ms? Mrs? Or do i get to choose?!

  47. Wow, what a hot topic!

    After a bit of internal wrestling, I’m changing my name (the wrestling was because I’m the youngest of five children, with two older sisters who kept their maiden name, so I’ll be the only one who isn’t ‘part of the tribe’ anymore).

    Anyway, that bit I’m happy about. But what I really can’t stand (excuse me while I grind my teeth…) is when people use the husband’s first name for the wife too- or even just his initial. Why on earth should I be Mrs Christopher’?! It sound ridiculous, and if I’m giving up one name surely I should get to keep one of my own?! Goodness knows how Princess Michael of Kent copes with that one (although she did get to be a princess…hmm…!).

    Am I alone in this being a bigger issue for me that the surname? I’m really not keen on disappearing entirely once I’m married! 🙂

    1. this drives me UP THE WALL

      Is my name Matthew?? no! so why’s it on the damn envelope of my birthday card!!

      I remind people that of my actual name and ask them to use it (nicely obvs!)

  48. It makes me sad when people say they’re not a feminist. Feminism, according to the Oxford Dictionary Definition is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes”. Why would you want to disassociate yourself from that?

    1. I don’t think anyone is disputing this, Christina. It’s a very personal choice, which is being discussed in a lot of detail, no one would suggest for a second that this threat is about women wanting to disassociate themselves from advocating a woman’s right for equality.

      1. I think the discussion is great Nichola. I was referring to the original post. I just think it’s a shame when people feel they have to disassociate themselves from the word feminist as if they’re worried people will think badly of them.

        1. Seeing there is a need for me to declare my stance on this, as I have been taken far too ‘literally’, what I should of said is ‘I am not a militant feminist’. Yes. If you go by the oxford dictionary then most women these days are a feminist. By the literal translation. Of course I believe in equal rights, without it there is no way on this planet I would of just finished 3years employment on a coal mine, managing a team which comprised 80% men. The point of the article is about the name change. No offense intended.

  49. This is something I have thought about since getting engaged. It’s been tough explaining my reasons for wanting to keep my own surname to people as there isn’t really any ‘big’ reason behind it, and I have been greeted with gasps of horror by some at the idea of not taking my fiancés surname. I do worry that by having to refer to myself as a Ms. and not a Mrs. that people will automatically assume I’m a 27 year old divorcee!! I’m sure it’s something I’ll get used to though. I’ve had to get used to people not being able to spell my surname and that’s not been too bad!!!

  50. Its quite funny reading this… both my mum and MIL have asked me in the past two days what am I planning on doing. The MIL really wants me to change it and was quite surprised and I think offended when I said I was still deciding. My mum wants me to keep my name. Recently seperated from my dad… she is now thinkong about changing BACK to her maiden name. I think she has always regretted the choice of changing and really just succombed to pressure at the time. She is very much all for holding on tight to your own identity and not letting it be lost through marraige (even though divorced she still strongly believes in marraige… ). My boy wants me to change… but im still on the fence.the ONLY thing holding me back is the kid thing… but then… having a different surname wont change the fact I’ll be their mother! Im no closer on the issue but… its not one that has to be made now. Can always be changed long after we are married. Oh n double barrelling doesnt work as well… Bronts-Bolzonello is a mouthful!

  51. I won’t be changing my name and never really considered it. For me it’s my identity and I wouldn’t consider changing my first name so seems strange that I would change my surname in the same way. My fiance wouldn’t consider changing his either for the same reasons. We have a running joke that after we get married we will be ‘The Anderburts’ the best amalgamation we came up with. In practice a double barrel would never work for us, our names just don’t flow well together, I’m not sure if I would do it if he didn’t anyway, it doesn’t sit well with me that women are usually the ones to make the compromise.

  52. Ahhh such a timely post…thank you Sarah 🙂

    I’ve been having the same dilemma (like a lot of you ladies)…but mine is more because I’m worried that people will laugh at my double-barrelled surname. I’d be an Ashton-Martin (which sounds to be like Sean Connery as James Bond talking about his car!) which I think sounds pretty cool but then everyone giggles when I say it (perhaps I shouldn’t keep mentioning Sean)…

  53. Wow, Sarah what a post and what a fascinating discussion everyone has been having. I’m also on the fence, I have no huge opinions either way.

    I love it that some people choose to combine, keep, double barrel and do all of the above to their names, I really think it’s comes down to who you are as and individual and who you are as couple.

    My bridesmaid Laura was Laura May. Not middle name, May was her maiden name but fro teeny tiny she was always Laura May people assumed it was a db first name. When Laura got married last August she got a corker of a name and is now Laura De La Hunty. She did/is still maybe considering keeping the May as a middle name but she did say the paperwork was horrendous. Whatever happens people will still call her Laura May.

    I on the other hand cannot wait to become a Curtis. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of my current surname and have loved being a Brown, and every nickname that goes with it, although I am changing my name I’m still the same person with the same family. Paul does call me Brown as a nickname on occasions which makes me smile. Personally for me I love the tradition but totally understand it doesn’t work for all, I love the fact we will start our own family and I really do want us go have the same surname. Paul and I both have divorced parents and there are a few names floating about so to have family unit all with the same name feels me with joy.

    So my new name will be Jacqueline Claire Curtis. JCC is totally fine! Jackie Curtis I like the sound of and has a short sharp ring to it. Curtis-Brown sounds likes a solicitors, let’s not even go there with Brown-Curtis and it never even came up or was a consideration to DB. I cannot wait to become Mrs Curtis.

    So those beady eyed people would have noticed that yes, ha ha my name is Jackie Brown, yes I have seen the film, no I don’t think it’s a good one. RMW’s very own Adam has been known to call me Pam, after the actress who played Jackie Brown in the film. And yes even funnier my initials our JCB and my dad does call me digger as joke but that nickname will always be with me and make me laugh. One thing that will be odd is not hearing people call me JB, but JC isn’t to far off and will do for me 🙂

    Sorry about the huge post, this bride is off for some beauty sleep, 10 weekends left to go ahhhh!! Xx

  54. Having now been married for six months(!), I am loving having taken my husband’s name. We feel like a little family unit, and I love that every time I say my name it shows that I’m married to him. When we first got engaged I did think about other options, in part because he (and his name) is very obviously Indian. Now I look forward to confusing people!

    We did recently realise that we missed out on the golden opportunity to be ‘Mr & Mrs Thing’. Big mistake!

  55. My point of view on this is quite different to a lot of yours!

    – my name is part of who I am – I would never take a mans name and give up mine
    – if I did get married and we had separate names (though anyone who had an issue with changing their name wouldn’t be the man for me!), the kids would have my name. I’m their freaking mother!

    As it stands, we’ve agreed to both go double barrelled so that our one day family will
    all have the same name. I also think it’s really special that we’re both changing our names, it shows a huge commitment to starting a new family together.

    We’ll be the edwards-kelsalls. Not particularly easy to spell but tough! We’re already used to
    It.

  56. Ooh, a very interesting topic!
    I am one of those ‘feminist’ women who grew up with a single mum, had her surname (also my nan and grandads Etc), and doesn’t like the idea of losing my family name completely.

    I love my family name and I adore where it comes from for me (my old grandad). I was very close to him growing up as he was my only father figure so to lose that name would make me really sad.

    We already have a daughter together, and naturally, Dad (and the in laws) assumed she would have their surname…. I had other ideas! 😉
    My argument was, I didn’t want her going to school with a different surname to me and I didn’t want to put pressure on my other half to pop the question and marry me within 4 and a half years! My compromise was to double barell our surnames together (which don’t sound too bad). This choice didnt go down well with quite a few people actually who thought that our child should 100% take her fathers surname only as it was the ‘done’ thing! Yeah right, maybe a long time ago, but people never used to have children before getting married back then either!

    So, on our wedding day in October this year, I shall take his surname but it will be double barrelled, just like our Daughters. He’s pretty happy with that and the suggestion that we all double barell has come up into conversation too so he may end up with a new surname too.

    I think it is up to the individual on what they decide…. For me, my family name came from someone I was proud of, his family name I’m not so proud of (I am of him obviously) just not his immediate family but that’s a whole different story! 😉

    Kat x

    1. don’t forget, if he’s going to DB as well, its simpler for him to change it by deed poll first, otherwise you both have to do it 🙂

  57. Something I would like to hear other folks views on ( apologies if i have missed a comment on this already). I am not going to be a ‘Mrs’, I am going to stay as Miss. I always felt it was nobody’s damn business if I was married or not, so ‘miss’ i shall remain.

    I am also keeping my own surname because it is part of me, but all our children have his name because that just seemed natural to me. Logical? Not at all, but that’s love for you.

    1. Dommo, “miss” is generally a young unmarried girl. I agree with your marital status being no ones business… but you would want to use Ms. rather than Miss.

      1. Ahhhh, I just don’t like the sound (Mzzzz) 🙂
        I am lucky enough to be able to use ‘Dr’ if I fancy a change as well.

    2. Same here. I feel that my marital status should have no relevance or bearing on my title (like it doesn’t with Mr) and so I go by Ms unmarried and will continue with that after I get married.

      I will be keeping my name when I get married, partly because it’s who I am, can’t put it more eloquently than that. But also partly because my fiance has three surnames himself, so which one would I even take?

      1. Manda is spot on Dommo, you’ll want to me a Ms. Dommo not Miss 😉 But, I thing you should be Doctor Dommo, you would have worked hard that title! xx

  58. I can’t say how thankful I am that there is a good old discussion going on about this. This topic is causing me some stress also. We are getting married in June, yet I feel really passionate about keeping my maiden name so suggested double barreling both our names for me to take.

    I didn’t realise how strongly I felt about it all until it was just presumed that I would take my new husbands name. I am one of two girls, and I have no male cousins, so I am aware my family name won’t pass on, however I feel really attached to it. My fiance is a insulted I want to double barrel and not just lose my name, as he says he is proud of his family. Yet, I am just as proud as mine! I have the feeling that why should I have to lose my name and take his, when we would never consider changing his name.

    I feel genuinely sad at losing the name I have had for 24 years! I am being made to feel that I am being very unreasonable and un-fair, so it’s nice to see that there are other in the same situation. My fiance is having none of it though so am at a loss what to do!

    1. Harriet, I totally empathise with your comments. My boyfriend is a traditional type, and at first really struggled to understand why I wanted to double-barrel rather than take his name. We had a few discussions about it, and to be honest now I’ve told him that I’ve made my decision he’s come to be a lot more understanding about it. I’m sure your fiance will be too once he knows your mind’s made up. Perhaps suggest he give this article a read so he can understand your reasons a bit more, I’ve sent the link to my boyfriend!

      1. Carly and Harriet 🙁 It is a hard topic, probably a lot more so than many people realise. It still is, for many people ‘strange’ and ‘wrong’ for a women not to take her mans surname and if you are to be married to a very traditional man I can see why they would find this hard. I would not go as far to say you are being insulting Harriet, you are expressing your views which you are within your right to have. I am pretty sure you have, but if you are up against a brick wall still, maybe write down the ‘whys’ for hubby to be to see and that can be a starting point for a discussion? He needs to try and see your side a little – good luck! x

  59. Great post Sarah! Brian and I have always had a similar debate. He would never consider changing his name, the kids will have his name, and he would be rather upset if I didn’t change my name. I think I will wind up the same as what you said, “on the day I’ll probably just take his name and it probably won’t be a big deal anymore”… but it is still a rather uncomfortable thought in the meantime. I really love the South American way of doing things – they incorporate both of the parent’s names into the child’s name, and everyone always retains their birth name… but alas, I am not South American. Ha ha!
    (Also… don’t think I missed that quick reference… “fiance-fied”! 😉 Har!)

    1. I knew you would be in a similar to boat me with wanting to keep yours too 🙂 I actually think a combo of your surname sounds rather good actually. But yes, I think the middling is the way to go!! Keep warm up there xx

  60. I got married in September ’13 and although initially i felt a bit sad at letting my old name go, and did toy with the idea of keeping my own, i realised i’m actually a bit traditional and wanted to share my husbands name.

    Out of habit I still sometimes go to say my maiden name and then correct myself (which makes me beam every time – spot the newly married girl in the shop). I enjoy the little thrill i get whenever i see ‘our’ name on a letter or in a card.

    We have always felt like a team, now we sound like one too, which is lovely.

    The only thing i can’t quite wrap my head around is when i’m with his mum and we also share our name now…

    1. Yeah I can imagine thats bit weird… in a shop with the MIL and you are one of the same name… that makes me a little sad I won’t be the same as my mum anymore thinking of it 🙁 BUt, the rest of your comment is lovely, its a team thing and like you, I want that ‘team name’ xx

  61. Sarah, it’s a bit worrying that you say “I am not famous, published or a feminist” – feminism is simply the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. So social, financial, political equality – do you not believe in that?

    It is not a feminist issue to change your name, any more than it is a feminist issue if you choose to brush your teeth with colgate or tesco’s own toothpaste. You can be a feminist and a full time parent, a feminist and a teacher, a feminist and someone who wears nail varnish… it has nothing to do with man-hating, in fact it has very little to do with men, except that it means you believe you are equal to men.

    Re names – I am getting married and keeping my name. My sister changed hers when she got married. My mother had a different surname to me most of my life – it doesn’t really matter and it really isn’t a feminist issue. If your identity is bound up in your name and you don’t want to change it – then don’t. If you want to change it as an outward symbol to the world of your love – then change it! And don’t feel that the decision you make now can’t be changed.

    I know women who changed their name 5 or 10 years into their marriage. Women who keep 2 names forever… I think it’s best to not over think it.

    1. Hannah, I don’t think Sarah was suggesting for 1 minute that she doesn’t believe in social, financial, political equality. Of course, every single person here does. It surely goes without saying. She was simply pointing out that her decision wasn’t driven by what some may consider “traditional feminist” issues relating to male superiority or a man’s name being more important than hers. It is just a light-hearted article about some of the other factors that go into a decision to change or not change your name.

      I’m sure we would all agree with you, that it’s really not a feminist issue. x

      1. I totally get where you’re coming from but she does explicitly say ‘I’m not a feminist’ which is a worry, as if means she doesn’t believe women are men’s equals.

      2. Bang on correct Sophie. As I wrote above; Seeing there is a need for me to declare my stance on this, as I have been taken far too ‘literally’, what I should of said is ‘I am not a militant feminist’. Yes. If you go by the oxford dictionary then most women these days are a feminist. By the literal translation. Of course I believe in equal rights, without it there is no way on this planet I would of just finished 3years employment on a coal mine, managing a team which comprised 80% men. The point of the article is about the name change. No offense intended.

  62. I am called Kirsty Rose and I get married in 3 weeks – let’s not even dwell on how close that is right now! I have an 11 year old son who shares my surname and I am happy to describe myself as a feminist. My fiancé (a word I actually hate, but I love the sound of husband and can’t wait to call him that) is very much a ‘cave-man’ and was horrified when I said I didn’t want to take his name. I love my name, I get lots of compliments on it and I share it with my son. I fought hard and we have all compromised on becoming Rose Parkers – husband-to-be included, but I have to admit, I didn’t think it would be such a difficult decision. I would have been happy to retain my name, for husband-to-be to retain his and yet this was a deal breaker! Men can be strange! Good luck honey.

  63. Hot topic indeed! When I first got married years ago I was determined not to change my name and my then HTB was completely unable to see my POV until he was trying to contact a recently married female cousin of his who had changed her name and he had trouble tracking her down. When he put the phone down he said, ‘she’ll always be [maiden name] to me.’ I said, ‘and THAT’S my point.’ HTB meet light bulb.
    I am one of two daughters, children of an only child father. The name dies with me.
    I got divorced and then remarried in 2012. Again I didn’t change my name. Now husband was totally cool with it, he knew I hadn’t changed my name first time around. This time there was the additional issue of me thinking that ‘Mrs [husband’s name]’ was his ex-wife and I didn’t want to be the second Mrs-anything…
    Occasionally people call me “Mrs [husband’s name]” but since he also gets called “Mr [my name]” it feels pretty equal and neither of us correct people.
    I would have been on my third name by now if I had changed! H’s ex has remarried and she HAS changed her name, so not only is she on her third name, she has a different name to her children…
    It’s definitely complicated…!

  64. I have a related quandry – this is my second marriage and when I married ex-hubby 14 years ago, I changed my surname. Our only daughter shares it, and that’s the only reason I did not revert to my maiden name when we divorced amicably 9 years ago.

    Now I find myself marrying the most wonderful man, my soul mate, after swearing to never do it again, and am in a quandry whether to take his name or use the opportunity to revert to my maiden name! Any children we have would have my maiden name as their middle name, we’ve already agreed on that. I don’t dislike my fiance’s name at all, but I am one of two girls and the family name dies with us. The only thing I’m certain of is, my name is definitely changing, the question is to what!

    1. Hi Maria! I know someone who went through something quite similar. She ended up (after asking how her children who had the ex’s surname would feel) double barelling her maiden and her new husbands surname. So taking the old and the new! The children weren’t fussed and because the relationships with their father were great they we’re happy to keep their name even though it was different to mums. It sounds like you have half the decision 🙂 good luck!

  65. Hi all

    I realise I am more than a bit late to the table on this one and not sure anyone will be reply, but f I came across this when searching the wonderful web looking for advice and thought you lovely ladies may be able to help me…

    I am marrying my man in 2 months, and have been trying to decide what to do with my surname since he popped the question 6 months ago… My issue is not really about losing my, name as whilst I like it, it’s fairly unusual and I am the last in line (no blood males to take it on) I am happy to lose it as I feel really strongly about being a mr and mrs. This has nothing to do with feminist views, levels of commitment – just a personal choice, I want to be a mr and mrs, the ultimate ‘team x’, the old romantic in me sings louder than the feminist, and if we have children we would both like us all to have the same surname.

    So my issue is my hubster to be’s surname – Hussey. I know it’s just a name but it still has additional connotations and hubster to be willing admits he was bullied heavily at school because of it, so I would not want our children to be put through this and neither would he. Double barreling is an option but my name sits better before his and so would be the one that’s dropped and again we would be Hussey’s. He is not keen with taking my name due to some ongoing family issues with my father (one reason why I’m not fussed about losing my name), but completely understands my reservations with his name.

    My other suggestion was to blend our names and become Huskin, he’s never heard of this done before and whilst not ruling it out – not jumping at it! He is a doctor so would remain Dr Hussey professionally, I think his family may take huge issue with him taking a new name…. An additional complication is I have decide very soon, we are moving to Australia together on July and I need to renew my passport before we go as it’s date is running out and we need to book our flights – in whatever name my passport will say…. It also seems a good opportunity to start our new life with a new name….

    So if anyone is still following this thread and has any advice I would love to hear it!

    1. Hi Penny,

      Firstly, so glad you found an article on the world-wide-web that I hope has been somewhat helpful so far and secondly for opening up 🙂 This is such a personal choice, it is something that you can’t rush and something that will sit comfortably with you when you know you have made the right decision. Since I wrote this post a few months back, I have made my decision (which by the way I was SERIOUSLY unsure of what to do at the time) and it sits comfortably with me now. You will get there too, promises!

      Hussey is not the worst name I have ever heard and any name can be (and will be at some point no doubt) subject to scrutiny. By the sounds of it, you are more worried about your future children than yourself. Which is a totally valid consideration, something I had aswell, but if it isn’t a name, it could be something else a child gets picked on these days (here is hoping its nothing!!) because kids can be mean for no reason really can’t they. Your child could be called Williams or Jones or Ross or Smith and still get picked on 🙁 But trying to elimatnete possibilities from the outset is understandable. (I have a common surname and still got called Willi-head!)

      If your husband to be is proud of his name and you feel you can learn to love it too. I say do it. The other options of keeping yours and your children having your name is still on the table if any other options are not i.e. blend etc. But all this brings me back to my first comment, unfortunately, no-one can give you a golden answer (which is what I originally wanted he he), this one has to come from you.

      I hope that helps… somehow!

      Congratulations on your wedding and the move to Australia! xxxx

  66. I love how you have covered all the thoughts and feelings that come up when being faced with prospect of taking (or leaving) your other half’s name after getting married. Personally, I feel my surname is a BIG part of my identity (how many other Sacks do you know?!) and I would be more than a little gutted to lose it… But, I think when John and I do get hitched, I will add Sack to my middle names so that I haven’t completely lost it. 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.