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…
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?
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?
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!).
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…
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):
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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?