Let me start by making a disclaimer: I am aware that discussions about changing your name after marriage are not groundbreaking. I am certainly not the first person to have had detailed discussions before getting married, and I won’t be the last to change my mind during a marriage. Still, I think it’s a worthy conversation for women to continue to have.
When I got married over two years ago, I was in a rush to the altar. I was very keen to make my commitment to my amazing partner and best friend official, and after months of me trying (and failing) not to mention the pending proposal daily, he produced a ring and I said yes. A date, a venue, and a dress were promptly organised. Four months later, we were married.
Watch: Speaking of weddings, here are things people at weddings never say. Post continues after video.
I certainly consider myself a feminist, so I did have a fair few discussions about the concept of name-change after marriage. Is it outdated? Is it anti-feminist? Why am I expected to change my name but my partner isn’t expected to change his?
I had conversations with my husband-to-be who heard me out repeatedly, and rightfully challenged me with points such as: ‘where is your line with traditions?’ This hit a nerve: I had wanted and been granted my desire for a traditional proposal from my male counterpart, so what exactly was my point of contention with the surname component?
After several conversations with friends, family and acquaintances (sorry!) I decided I wanted the whole shebang: white dress and surname please. I had several reasons of varying weight, including that I really liked my fiance’s surname and that a change is as good as a holiday. My brother and I were raised by our strong independent mother with whom we have never shared a surname, so I didn’t feel that I was severing any particular sentimental ties there.
There were also a few practical considerations. For one, hyphenation gets lengthy, and not to mention complicated. What would hypothetical future children do when they got married? Will double-barrel surnames turn into quadruple-barrels and so on? The thought was too exhausting. Maybe if I changed it, people would finally stop mispronouncing my surname! Please note, this was an absolute fail: names with a higher consonant than vowel count often don’t roll off the tongue.