How Not to Take Your Spouse’s Name After Marriage

Written by    Last updated: July 1, 2015

There are a ton of traditions surrounding weddings and marriage and top of the list is for the bride to renounce her maiden name and take on her husband’s surname. But in 2015, brides are less likely to ditch their name in favour of their husband’s. While the practice is becoming more common, it is often regarded as shocking, unusual or strange–we don’t think it’s any of those things. Here is some practical advice for how not to take your spouse’s name after marriage … or how to do it in a contemporary way.

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1. Realise Changing Your Name is a Choice, Not a Requirement

You don’t have to change your name when you get married. Just because this was status quo once upon a time doesn’t mean it’s a requirement now. If you don’t want to change your name, have a frank discussion with your partner about this and make sure there are no ambiguities or uncertain expectations. You have a right to be called whatever you wish to be called and putting a ring on it doesn’t mean you have to lose your identity.

2. What Not Changing Your Name Means

It means you don’t have to pay the costs and fees associated with changing your name. It also means you don’t have to send off for new identification cards, your passport or driver’s licence. You won’t have to change your email address at work and you won’t have to change your magazine subscriptions, bank account info or medical info.

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3. What Not Changing Your Name Doesn’t Mean

It doesn’t mean you don’t want children or that you don’t respect your husband. We’ve heard people assign all sorts of bogus ideas to what it means when a woman refuses to change her name after marriage. About 98% of them are false. There’s nothing to read into it, no hidden agenda or message. There are dozens of perfectly legitimate reasons for a woman not to change her name after marriage including, but not limited to:

  • the fact that she may just like her name
  • the fact that she may not be too keen on her husband’s surname
  • the practicality of having a successful career associated with her maiden name
  • the fact that she simply may not want to change her name
  • feeling that changing her name may attribute to a loss of identity
  • not agreeing with the practice in general

4. Name Change Convention for Gay and Lesbian Couples

At the moment, it is customary for same-sex couples to keep his or her own name, but this isn’t the only option available! In fact, same-sex couples face the same options heterosexual couples have when it comes to changing their name: one can change, both can change or none can change. There is no right or wrong answer, just what works for you and your spouse.

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5. How to Adopt a Double Barrelled Name

The double-barrelled name is the best of both worlds: it says you and your identity is just as valuable as your spouses’s, while still telling the world that you and your spouse have merged into a family. When it comes to hyphenating, there’s no convention for whose name comes first; most couples decide based on what sounds best. For instance, Meadow Giles and Julian Edmonton may become Mr and Mrs Giles-Edmonton or Mr and Mrs Edmonton-Giles.

It’s also worth noting, that 10 percent of brides surveyed reported that they’re hyphenating their name to combine with their spouse. When this usually happens, the spouse’s name remains unchanged, leaving: Mr Julian Edmonton and Mrs Meadow Giles-Edmonton.

6. Choosing an Alternative Surname

If you can’t decide on which name should come first in your double-barrel, you could always ditch both names and choose a completely different surname. We love this options because it gives you room to be creative and to choose a name that is a reflection of both of you or an extension of your hobbies or passions. We’ve heard stories of brides and grooms who choose an obsolete or old family name to revive in this manner.

7. Creating Your Own Surname

Similar to choosing an alternative surname, brides and grooms can create their own surname! Whether you mash your names together –Julian and Meadow Gilemonton, for instance or if you choose something completely unique, this options gives you ultimate creative freedom and allows you both to feel a part of your new journey together.

How Not to Take Your Husband's Surname |

This article was written by

Anyonita Green

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