Lately, the wedding related question of choice asked by family, friends, co-workers, and anyone who may be within earshot of a conversation had with said individuals, is “Are you changing your last name?”. Honestly, this question gives me slight heartburn because I haven’t decided what, if anything I’m going to do with my maiden name.
I don’t think I’ve ever been 100% sold on the idea of dropping my maiden name to add my husband’s name. Maybe because after reaching 30+ , I knew that when my time came for marriage I would have already been established professionally and rocked with my last name for 30+ years! Could be that I’m just that committed to my maiden name because it’s just that mine — last names carry so much significance, history, connection and meaning. Many of my close friends call me “KJ” or “Keisa J.”. If I change my last name do my nicknames just disappear? May sound silly, but I’ve definitely had these thoughts.
When it comes to having children, although the norm would be for the family to have the same last name, our situation is a bit outside of that norm. My daughter doesn’t have my last name, so if I were to drop my maiden name, she would be the odd name out and that bothers me. At least if I hyphenate, she won’t be the only family member with a completely different last name.
Professionally, my maiden name represents so many accomplishments through the years. From educational achievements to career advancements, my maiden name is part of that identity that I don’t want to lose.
It’s unfortunate that socially and culturally brides are pressured with having to make this decision — especially those brides who may be on the fence about adding on to or dropping their maiden name completely. I know that whether I choose to take my soon-to-be husband’s last name has any bearing on my level of commitment or respect for him and although he would prefer that I take his last name, he supports my decision not to do so.
I have struggled with this decision for a while now, but I’m starting to really consider either hyphenating my married name or using my maiden name as my middle name and my married name as my last name.
The argument I could make to retain my maiden name, based purely on being lazy is that the name changing process seems like it is hell! Dealing with the DMV, SSA, credit card companies and everyone else who I owe or pay taxes to seems like a daunting task. I’m sure it’s not as bad as I’ve conjured in my head, but I do think at least one PTO day would be required to accomplish this task.
To change or not change my last name? The jury is still out. This may be an issue that is tabled for several months and revisited well after a honeymoon (or mini-moon) and once my life, as it once was before wedding planning has resumed.
What are your thoughts on keeping your maiden name? Would hyphenating our using your maiden name as your middle name be an option for you?
Check out last week’s Road to Mrs. blog post here.