I never put much thought into changing my name after marriage.
In fact, it never really occurred to me that it would be an option. I always thought I’d keep my last name because, well, it was my name. I grew up with it. It would take a lot effort to get used to another name.
But my fiance recently asked me if I had planned to take his last name.
Hmm. Trick question?
While it’s no longer socially rebellious to keep your name, some brides do feel a bit of pressure to take the name of their soon-to-be husbands. It’s tradition, it’s easier, it won’t spark a conversation with your kids later when they ask why Mommy and Daddy have different last names.
To me, the name change is so complicated, especially at my age. You have to change your surname on everything from your social security card to insurance policies. Some require a copy of your marriage certificate; others just a phone call. Still, all of it takes some effort.
But beyond that, it’s about identity, too.
A lot of my friends who are professionals — dentists, journalists, doctors, lawyers, business owners — don’t want to change their names because they’ve built a public or professional identity. Changing that means changing who you are — and some women don’t think we need to conform to arbitrary social standards anymore.
Which brings me to, well, me.
What do I do?
I’m not interesting in hyphenating our names or, worse, combining our last names to create a brand-new one. But I’m also not sure if I want to give up my surname — my identity — just because I’m getting married. Shouldn’t the commitment — and it’s a legal one! — be enough?