real life

The great name change debate. Would you? Did you?


I got engaged last November. Thanks. I know – should be exciting times right? People always say planning a wedding can be difficult. That it’s hard to put up with everyone’s opinions. I thought that meant opinions on whether there should be butter cream or fondant icing on the cake, not opinions on the very personal decisions my fiancé and I make.

Last weekend at a BBQ the inevitable conversation about our upcoming nuptials came up. When someone asked what my fiancé’s surname was and continued to match it to my name, I politely informed them I would not be changing it. I was not prepared for the reaction! One man said, and I quote ‘what the hell’s the point of getting married then?’ An older couple under their breath in a mix of disgust, confusion and a little terror asked ‘What will you name the children?’ I understood that people had these opinions, but choked a little on my sausage sandwich after they voiced them … to my face!

The truth is I’ve never given changing my name one thought. I will always remain the name I was born with; that’s who I am. My mum didn’t change her name and now I wish she kind of did so people can’t just pin my decision on following my mum’s behaviour. I have some pretty strong thoughts on the topic and am surprised by the number of strong, independent women who still do change their names. Don’t they understand what it’s all about? I don’t really fancy being ‘owned’ by my husband and to tell you the truth he probably wouldn’t want to own me anyway. My thoughts are my thoughts though and I wouldn’t voice them to any newly engaged couple criticising their personal decisions.

Is the point of getting married about having the same last name? Because I was under the impression it was about that thing called love and wanting to spend the rest of your life with someone. To answer your question, yes, if we decide to have kids they will take the surname of my husband, mainly because of the patriarchal society we live in and my fiancée’s very traditional Italian family (who I’m sure share the same opinions as the people at the BBQ, but are too polite to voice them). I really don’t understand what the big deal is about, my mum has a different last name to me but I’ve never once been confused about if she’s my mum or not!

Yes, we live in a democracy and you’re free to voice your opinions, but don’t do it in a hurtful way, especially if you have no concrete reason to back it up with. It just makes you look stupid and archaic. I’m getting married because I’m in love. That’s the only reason; I thought it was good enough. If I’m wrong though, someone please let me know so I can get my deposit back on the venue and stop worrying about butter cream or fondant icing for the cake.

Hardly anyone hyphenates anymore but for a while there, it was kind of popular. There are some names, however, that should NEVER be joined. Check out this gallery of wedding and engagement announcements that might not have worked out so well.

Gallery originally from The Huffington Post here.

What are your thoughts on a bride changing her name after marriage?

Rebecca is the Marketing Coordinator for Business Chicks, Australia’s largest networking community for women in business. Follow Rebecca on twitter here.

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