Getting married – what’s in a name?

Regular Under the Vintage Veil readers will know that this little vintage wedding blog doesn’t always uphold the traditional values of bygone eras as much as the fashion. I tend to veer towards feminist sensibilities, and I’m a big advocate of choice.

So now I’m faced with perhaps one of the most momentous choices of my life: do I keep or change my name?

I think this is a hugely personal choice and one that can’t be reasoned, made for you or anything like that. I guess the debate sparks from the fact that a lot of women (and I’d include myself in this bracket) are uncomfortable with the idea of  the origins of the tradition and that it implies some sort of transfer of property from father to husband. Moreover, times have most definitely changed. Women no longer identify themselves solely as part of a nuclear family unit. The large majority of women have careers, status and general commitments to society that can become confused with a name change. Then there’s the laudable advancement of LGBT rights and marriage equality. Marriage is, quite rightly, no longer solely synonymous with the union of a man and a woman.

So I’m not going to tell you what to do. Because it’s totally not my place, and hell, I don’t even know what I’m going to do yet! What I am going to do is present you with options, advice and opinions!

Things to consider before you change your name

How does his last name sound with yours? Seriously, remember the Wedding Singer when she’s practising her new last name and breaks down when she realises how stupid Julia Gulia sounds? Say it out loud a few times, you don’t want to end up sounding like a Bart Simpson crank call!

Don’t let anyone force you or emotionally blackmail you into anything. I have an astonishing amount of friends who didn’t want to change their last name but did so because of external pressures and later really regretted it. The decision has to come from you, not from a fear of upsetting others.

Remember that feminism is about CHOICE! Equally don’t get guilt-tripped into keeping your last name if it doesn’t feel right for you. It doesn’t make you any less a strong woman and nobody has the right to question or judge you for your decision.

What’s wrong with him changing his name? The most cogent reasoning for a woman changing her name is to feel more like a real family – this is equally valid if the man changes his name and not the woman. John actually offered to do so, but referring back to point one, he would have then become “John Doron” which we can all agree sounds a little bit silly!

Loads of couples are double-barrelling last names. Either both changing their name to the new, double-barrelled alternative or just the woman (naturally I prefer the former over the latter).

You could invent an entirely new last name! Personally I’m not up for this, but each to their own. If you really can’t agree on a compromise, or you both hated your last name anyway, it sounds like an interesting compromise!

Change your last name but keep your maiden name for work purposes. Many married women do this and it seems to work fine for them!

If you’re thinking about changing your last name in any of the above ways, there’s some great reading here on whether or not you need to change your name by deed poll, or what needs to be done in the various scenarios above! Are you changing your last name? Is it important to you to share a surname? Are you doing things a bit differently? I’d love to hear from you!

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