April 25, 2013

By Gabrielle. Courthouse wedding via Wedding Lovers Anonymous.

I was in the middle of an article about Lauren Bush Lauren —  the niece and granddaughter of two of our presidents, as well as the daughter-in-law of Ralph Lauren — when I stopped reading and wondered if she ever had second thoughts about taking her husband’s surname. Lauren Lauren? There must have been a conversation or two, don’t you think?

It reminded me of that scene in The Wedding Singer, where Adam Sandler’s character giggles about what Drew Barrymore’s new name would be after her wedding: Julia Gulia! I got lucky in the surname department with Ben Blair (all of the letters in Blair are found in Gabrielle, and I think they sound nice together), but I confess, I identified so strongly as a “Stanley” that I really went back and forth on whether or not I wanted to change my name at all.

How about you? Did you change your name? If yes, did you hesitate at all, whether it was an odd one or because you simply loved your own? Or had you been doodling your new moniker from the minute you met your mate? I know you have amazing stories — and the funniest new married name you’ve ever heard — to share!

P.S. — There is so much more to Lauren Bush Lauren than a superficial query about her surname. Her FEED Project provides over 60 million school meals to children who need them most, and her mission to fight hunger and eliminate malnutrition is a massive contribution to the world. And to think, it all started with one cute bag.

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{ 228 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amy April 25, 2013 at 8:37 am

I had a lot of trouble when it came to changing my name. I started as Amy Michelle Sternthal, and I always signed using my middle initial. my drivers license had all 3 names. But I didn’t love the way my married name sounded with my middle name– Amy Michelle Mendelblatt. And I was prepared to drop my middle name. But then the DMV said that since I had 3 names originally, I had to keep 3 names. Ugh! such stress….right there at the DMV, I had to decide what I was going to do!
So….I went with Amy Sternthal Mendelblatt. I liked that I kept my maiden name, AND took my husbands name, and got to keep the same initials, just in a different order. I was AMS, and now I’m ASM.
It was a very stressful decision. but I felt lucky that my husband didn’t care one bit about what I did. It was entirely up to me!


2 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 12:39 pm

I’ve got a similar situation. I’m officially Gabrielle Stanley Blair, and when I sign anything I always include my middle initial. During the first five or so years of my marriage, I typically wrote out my full middle name instead of using the initial.

But, I didn’t have to give up my middle name and replace it with my maiden name, because I never had a middle name. In my family, there are 4 sisters. Two of us had middle names, and two didn’t. Of the four brothers, all have middle names.

With my own children, everybody has a middle name except Betty. Oscar actually has two middle names.


3 Katie April 25, 2013 at 3:53 pm

In Canada, you can’t just slide your maiden name into the middle. You can keep your name, take his name, or hyphenate but adding a new middle name is a legal name change that costs a bundle and amends your birth certificate, which is not what I would want. I wasn’t born with my husband’s last name, and I don’t want that on my birth certificate! Being able to use the maiden name as a middle name makes a world of sense to me. I have enjoyed sticking my maiden name back into my Facebook identity though!


4 Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker April 26, 2013 at 10:29 am

I’m glad I’m not the only one who only gives some of her children middle names! Only two of my children have middle names. The other five don’t have middle names.

We had to work really hard to agree on names, and our children have fairly uncommon names.


5 Connie April 25, 2013 at 8:40 am

I suppose for me there was a glimmer of a question. I’m an artist, and although I got married fairly young (24), I still had a decade’s worth of art that I had made with my maiden name. So then, I thought-should I hyphenate? But I tried to say/write it, and I knew that wouldn’t work: my maiden last name is difficult to pronounce/say, and my husband’s last name is also difficult to pronounce/say. My full name would be such a tongue twister. So I switched it. No Hyphens.
What was funny, though, was when I went to the social security office to change it, the woman helping me looked at the paper and tried to pronounce my new last name, and stumbled, and she had me say it. She laughed, shook her head, and said, “Ooh, child-that MUST be love!” :)


6 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 9:06 am

Hah! That last line has me laughing.


7 Annabel Vita April 25, 2013 at 8:47 am

I’m getting married in just under two months (eeeee!) and I’ll be keeping my name. It just feels like a really huge part of my identity.

I’m not militant about it and I think everyone should make their own decision. I might change my mind later (perhaps once we have kids), but for now we’re both happy with my decision!


8 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 12:37 pm

I admire that you feel flexible about it and not angsty. I definitely felt angsty about it for a long time, which was a waste of my energy. I should have made a decision and moved on.


9 Linda Laine May 11, 2013 at 11:22 am

In Honduras, where I live, you can’t really change your maiden name, so for all legal purposes you use it, but you can use your married name for social reasons.


10 Ann Waterman April 25, 2013 at 8:57 am

My maiden name is also the name of a common fish — great when I was on swim team, but not so great outside of that, particularly in grade school when I got teased pretty regularly about it.

I loved how elegant my husband’s surname sounded with my first name so I had no qualms about taking it — an upgrade, in my opinion. Of course, it was also helpful that it was also in the aqueous realm since swimming was a big part of my life.


11 Mel April 25, 2013 at 9:06 am

I kept my maiden name and have a different last name as my husband. My name is part of my identity and I didn’t want to change it.

Last summer my sister got married and changed her name. A few weeks after she asked me if I was mad or dissapointed that she hadn’t kept our surname and I told her “Of course not!”. I think it’s fine to keep or change your name as you would like, but I do think women should think about it and do what they truly want, and not just change their name automatically and without question just because that is the way that it had always been done and is expected of them.


12 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 12:41 pm

“I do think women should think about it and do what they truly want, and not just change their name automatically and without question just because that is the way that it had always been done and is expected of them.”

I agree. I think it’s healthy to examine traditions and make sure they’re still working.


13 Mags April 25, 2013 at 9:07 am

With my maiden name I was always asked “is that ua or ew?” for the spelling so I thought I’d escape that when I got my married now I get “is that on or ern?” – c’est la vie.

I really identify myself with my married name more than my maiden name – I got married really young so I’ve had this name more now than my maiden name. My mum has the same first name as me so its always weird to hear her say her full name and think “that used to be me” The only downside to my married name is its not Scottish!!


14 Cammie April 25, 2013 at 9:07 am

I love my husband and his family and I don’t like their last name. Not a bit. That is to say, I don’t like my own last name now! I didn’t even consider keeping my last name, it’s like I didn’t realize it was an option. Since I did loose it, we gave my maiden name to my first baby. He loves his name. I don’t have any daughters, but if I do I won’t be giving them a middle name. I’d love for them to easily throw our last name into the middle, if they get married, and take their husband’s name, if they want.


15 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 12:42 pm

I commented above that that is what happened to me. I had no middle name, so it was “easy” to push my maiden name to the middle. But really, there was nothing easy about it, for me, the name change was a big deal.


16 Michele August 2, 2013 at 1:26 pm

There is probably no need to save the spot unless your country only allows it that way. I moved my maiden name to replace my middle name (married in Hawaii, lived in California). Easy peasy!

It was VERY important for my husband to have my name match his so he filled out all of the paperwork and made the appointment at the social security office. I used my new full name professionally and always sign with my middle initial. We’ve been married almost ten years and now my husband says that he doesn’t know why it was so important to him then; he wouldn’t care now if my last name were still my maiden one. But it’s nice to have the same last name as my son; I think it makes traveling solo with him so much easier.

My son has my maiden name as one of his middle names.


17 Robin @ our semi organic life April 25, 2013 at 9:11 am

I happily took my husbands name upon marriage. I sometimes miss my old name though. I made my maiden name my middle and dropped my birth given middle name. Perhaps I’ll give it to a daughter one day – although its trending top 10 right now and that is less appealing. We’ll see.


18 Chrystal @ Snowdrop Dreams of Books April 27, 2013 at 5:50 pm

I’m in the middle of changing my name now (though I’ve been married about 7 months). I am taking my husbands last name, though sometimes I think I’m going to miss my maiden name. And since I am in Canada, I can’t just slide my maiden name to the middle. I thought about hyphenating it, but it just sounded weird. Oh well, the biggest thing will be having the same last name as my future children. *sigh*


19 Alice April 25, 2013 at 9:12 am

I kept my original surname rather than taking my husband’s. I’m very proud of my family and identify very strongly with my own surname, so I never planned to change it. I also like the way it sounds with my first name–they share the same end syllables.

My husband never questioned my decision, although we frequently talk about him someday taking my surname. His own is a traditional Polish surname that almost no one can spell or pronounce, where as mine is much simpler, but he already has a strained relationship with his family and doesn’t want one more thing to fight about. However, whenever he makes reservations or introduces himself to other people he uses my surname.


20 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 12:44 pm

I love that he uses your surname for convenience, Alice. I can totally see how I would do the same thing.


21 Micah April 25, 2013 at 9:13 am

My husband is British, and so I moved to the UK one month after we were married. Yet due to the timing of all the passport/visa processing stuff + marriage/moving overseas, I was stuck with a passport/visa in my maiden name. I also turned 29 shortly after we married, and seeing how well I was accustomed to my name, I really didn’t want to change it anyway. Almost a year later, I finally got the passport/visa changed to my new name, and it began the process of many, many hassles. When I went to pick the passport up from the Royal Mail office, they wouldn’t hand it over as it was addressed to my new name, yet I didn’t have any identification with my married name, except for the passport which was in the package. I almost cried as I begged the postal worker to please open the package and see that it really was me. I carried two passports for the next year until I got everything (in both countries) changed to my new name. I still have one bank account in my maiden name, because they won’t let me change it until I present multiple items of proof of name change. I’m just tired of the hassle . . . and I wish I would have either kept both last names or just taken on my husband’s name immediately. He has a very nice name actually; I was just too independent to give up what had been my “identity” for so long.


22 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Oh. I can totally feel you on your Royal Mail office story. I would have been a ball of frustrated tears for sure.


23 Luz April 27, 2013 at 2:04 am

I had a similar situation. Got married in Australia and took my husband’s (tricky italian)last name. Got married in Argentina (my country) a year later and there, you keep your maiden name or add your husband’s last name joined by “de” meaning “of”( I know it sounds possessive but I think of it as romantic- I am his!). I added his to my tricky Spanish last name.
All was going well and I became Australian. They told me all passports had to match and as my Argentinian was with both names, I had to change everything the way it was in the Argentinian passport.
Moral of the story? My name is Luz Maria Algañaraz de Imbriano and I live in Australia. I spend half of my life spelling out my various names and last names. But they all tell my story!


24 Holly andler April 25, 2013 at 9:15 am

I knew I would change my name when I got married, but I did love my name so it was still difficult. I am a December baby so my name was Holly Noel Bradham. When I got married I changed it to Holly Bradham Andler. However, I do love Christmas so people tease me with Holly Noel Antler instead of Andler! I’ll take it!


25 Holly andler April 25, 2013 at 9:17 am

my first daughter was born in december as well, so she now holds the Noel middle name.


26 mandi@herbanhomestead April 25, 2013 at 3:35 pm

I’m a Christmas Eve baby, so my mom gave me her maiden name as my middle name- Carroll. I was almost a Noel!


27 Ceci Bean April 25, 2013 at 9:18 am

I’ve been married almost four years and I still haven’t decided. I changed it on my email and facebook and have joked that that’s probably sufficient.

I don’t think my husband minds either way. But I do tell him that if we have a child, I will probably make the change because I want to be on the same “team” as my family.


28 pj April 25, 2013 at 9:19 am

Of course Ralph Lauren changed his name to Ralph Lauren from Ralph Lifshitz, so I suspect that she is grateful to be Lauren Bush Lauren and not Lauren Bush Lifshitz! The Feed project is an inspiration to all.


29 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Hah! I totally know that little bit of trivia as well.


30 Andrea April 25, 2013 at 9:25 am

I have two legal last names. My husband’s and my own. They are not hyphenated. I can switch between them or use them together. Which is nice because I feel that is how I can define my relationships with people. Those that knew me when I was single, those that knew me now that I am married and those that have known me as both single and married. My maiden name is very common which gives me a sort of anonymity which I find useful sometimes too.


31 Helen April 25, 2013 at 9:28 am

I did not change my name. There was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to keep my original name. My husband’s family accepted my decision very well, but I have one aunt who always addresses any mail using what would have been my married name.

When I was pregnant, my husband and I debated what to call our kids… our names sound a bit silly hyphenated. We really thought about changing all of our last names to something new – a hybrid of the two. Ultimately we just used my husband’s last name for my girls. Several people have asked me if I mind having a different last name to my children – I really don’t!


32 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 12:48 pm

I love how confidently you speak of your decisions. It’s easy to tell you are at ease.


33 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 1:31 pm

I should also add, maybe 6 or 7 years into our marriage, I was still sometimes troubled that I’d changed my name. And I wrote an essay about how I felt that the only truly fair and equal way to handle the name change was to “name” a new family when two people married, in the same way you’d name a baby.

I liked the idea of coming up with a totally new name, unrelated to what either person had used before. No personal baggage attached to it. And maybe you could even give yourself an advantage — you could decide to name yourselves Rockefeller!


34 Lizzie April 25, 2013 at 7:29 pm

This is what my partner and I are (planning on) doing. We’re both women, so there is no tradition to guide us, which feels pretty nice!
We wanted our future kids to have the same last name as both of us, but my name, Hessmiller, sounds silly hyphenated with anything. So we’ve settled on a hybrid of the two – Hessek! Though the other possible hybrid is Popemiller, which is ridiculous yet amazing.

It is nice thinking that as we start our own family, we are creating a new unit that is different from by connected to our own families. The hybrid name feels that same – distinctly ours but rooted in our families.


35 Design Mom April 26, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Oh Lizzie. I think I’m jealous! If I got to vote in this matter, I would be all over Popemiller. Awesome!


36 Amber Marlow, theAmberShow April 29, 2013 at 9:50 am

In case you needed the totally unsolicited opinion of a stranger: Popemiller is AMAZING.

“That nice lesbian couple, the Popemillers.”


37 Lori April 26, 2013 at 12:32 am

That is exactly what my husband and I have done! We chose to take the last name of Rivers as a symbol of our joined journeys. I have always felt very strongly that I did not want to lose my last name to take my husbands. So instead, we both gained a new last name.

Unfortunately, it is a rather legally complicated thing to do in our state. We are still only using our new last names informally one and a half years into our marriage. I can only hope we figure it out before adding a baby to the mix!


38 Design Mom April 26, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Very cool, Lori! Sounds super progressive, plus old school hippie at the same time.


39 Jillian l April 26, 2013 at 10:52 am

I have a second cousin that took. New last name with his wife when they wed. He had his fathers last name, and since they were estranged, wanted to be distanced from it. They chose to adopt the maiden name of their great aunt (and my grandma)- Luc, which I adore because its a lovely name AND a new found use and respect for an old name in the family :)


40 Design Mom April 26, 2013 at 12:31 pm

I’m embarrassed to say, that until I read all the comments on this post, I hadn’t really thought about what it would be like for a son with a no-good dad to wear his father’s name for a lifetime. I’d really only considered the name-change discussion from the point of view of a female feeling social pressures to change or not change.

I’m suddenly so glad everyone has the option to change their name if they want or need to — whether it’s because of a marriage or for another reason entirely.


41 Michele August 2, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Yes! We know two brothers who changed their name from their estranged stepfather’s name as adults. It was a little confusing professionally because they never made an announcement about it, we just noticed their email addresses had changed.

My FIL was adopted as a child by his stepfather (no one asked him) and his name was changed. His stepfather was a terrible, horrible man and the name has brought my FIL so much agony over the years. He’s legally changed his name to start with his original surname.

42 Stella April 25, 2013 at 9:29 am

I changed my last name and didn’t have any second thoughts about it. Probably because I always identified most strongly with my first name . It’s so unique for someone my age that I was never known as Stella __(my maiden name)____. I was always just “Stella” and everyone knew who they were talking about. Plus, my husband’s last name means “good” in Russian, and I think that’s sweet.


43 KelliO April 25, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Good Star. I like it!


44 the emily April 25, 2013 at 9:29 am

I had a hard time changing my name. I liked my last name–it was my identity, plus “Emily Foley” sounds dumb with the double “eeee” sound at the end. But I did it, and since I didn’t have a middle name I took my maiden name as my middle. And now I like Foley. But I had a friend when I lived in Utah whose name was Holly Hollie! I couldn’t believe she changed her name when she got married.


45 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 12:49 pm

We have a dear friend named Daniel Daniel. Not through marriage — his parents named him Daniel and their last name was already Daniel. And he’s awesome. So maybe we should all go with double names. : )


46 Katy @ All Sorts of Pretty April 25, 2013 at 9:30 am

Oh dear – My maiden name is Dennison, which I love and is so easy to pronounce and a married a DeBardelaben, which is so intimidating, both to read and to say. So when I started my blog I decided to keep Dennison, just to make it easier on readers, but legally my name is Katy DeBardelaben.


47 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Love it, Kate! Five syllables? Impressive.


48 Allie Hoopes April 25, 2013 at 9:34 am

Born Allison but always called Allie.
Married Mr. Hoopes.
Became allie-oops.

It’s a little silly but I am happy with it. When meeting someone new I can point it out and they are not likely to forget my name.


49 Kimberly April 25, 2013 at 11:51 am

I think that is AWESOME. :)


50 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 12:50 pm

What Kimberly said!


51 calinai April 25, 2013 at 9:34 am

Yep, my first name rhymes with my married last name. I just pause in between saying the two together. my name is first name pause last name. many people have commented that they love the combination…I then have to do an internal eye roll.


52 Regina April 26, 2013 at 10:13 am

Mine rhymes too! But my married name is shorter than my maiden name so I was glad to change it. I did keep it as a middle name, but generally only use the initial.


53 Angela April 29, 2013 at 8:58 am

In high school I had a Spanish teacher with a first name and last name that looked like they should rhyme but don’t. Marcia (pronounced Marsha) Garcia. You can tell who knows her from her single days because they call her “Marsha Garsha,” but later friends call her “Marceeyah Garceeyah.”

She would jokingly warn her students to think carefully about possible future names before even going on a first date with someone!


54 sarah April 25, 2013 at 9:34 am

growing up i’d never assumed i’d ever take my husband’s name. i’m one of 2 girls, and my dad only has a sister, so my sister and i are the last who carry this name in our immediate family–it had become a part of every nickname i ever had, and a part of my identity. early in my relationship with my now-husband i mentioned that i wouldn’t take his name if we got married, and he seemed offended (he was of a more traditional ilk). as our relationship progressed, so did we as people. by the time we were engaged neither of us was so sure of our stance. then when it came time to make the decision, i’d toyed with hyphenating, keeping both last names without a hyphen, and taking his. he had come full circle and said he’d be happy with whatever i wanted to do, but simply requested no hyphen. i ended up losing my original middle name, moving my maiden name to my new middle name, and taking his last name. so, my maiden name is still there, and my nicknames are still relevant :) also, my husband still playfully calls me by my (maiden) last name often at home. i do miss my original name, but have enjoyed having the same last name as my children, and haven’t regretted the change.


55 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 12:52 pm

I like reading about how you both had changing views, Sarah. I like when people can see that they’ve changed.


56 Summer April 26, 2013 at 7:12 am

First off, I love this whole conversation, Gabby.

I’ve always felt like I would keep my surname, because of the same reasons (Dad only had daughters….and let’s be honest, it sounds good together and it’s been my identity for 30 years).

That being said, MOST men I’ve met (including several friends’ husbands), have said they’d be offended/call the whole thing off if the woman didn’t take his last name. Listen. I get that it’s the norm. And, I’m sure when men finally find the time to settle down, it’s flattering for the chosen bride to take his name. But…. like…. really?! It’s blowing my mind that so many men feel so strongly about it. It’s my name!


57 Design Mom April 26, 2013 at 12:36 pm

“It’s blowing my mind that so many men feel so strongly about it.”

As I read the comments, I’ve thought the same thing. Interesting to see how strongly the name change tradition is entrenched in the U.S. — and also interesting to see that each country and culture handles it in a different way.


58 Wendy April 25, 2013 at 9:39 am

I got married when I was 23 and took my husband’s surname for several reasons, first because my maiden name was difficult to spell, second because I knew we wanted a family and it would be easier to have the same last name, third it was important to my husband. A lot of my friends were surprised that I would agree to change my name because of the third reason, but in the end it was either my husband’s name or my father’s and I wasn’t going to let any name define me. Fast forward 14 years and two children later, I was facing a heartbreaking divorce. I did not take back my maiden name for several reasons again, first because I had made a name for myself professionally, second I thought it would be easier to keep the same name as my children, and third I never thought I would get married again. Well fate had other plans. I met and fell in love with the most wonderful man who wanted to get married. Now what to do? Change my name again? I had just gone through that. But keep the name of my ex-husband while sharing my life my new husband? Awkward. But, I struggled with not having the same name as my kids and losing some professional identity recognition. However, in the end my husband pointed out that he intended for me to have his last name longer than I had my maiden name or my ex-husband’s name. Since I’m a lawyer, he knew how to appeal to my love of logical rationalization, so I changed my name. Because in the end, a rose by any other name, smells the same.


59 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 12:54 pm

“Since I’m a lawyer, he knew how to appeal to my love of logical rationalization, so I changed my name.”

Made me smile.


60 Carter Higgins April 25, 2013 at 9:55 am

I love reading these stories! And I adore that picture. I love names so much, and it’s my favorite part of writing!

I used to say that I would love to marry someone whose last name is Carter…Carter Carter would be SO much fun! I do love that my first name is a surname in my family, so that feels special. The only time I hated my name was in second grade, cause it turns out that Carter has a very funny rhyming word to go along with it.


61 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Oh dear! I’d never made the connection. Too funny!


62 Leasa April 25, 2013 at 10:00 am

I kept my name when I married. I identified closely with having very common names (first and middle), but both were spelled differently and were always misspelled by others unless I corrected them (which I do when it’s important, but don’t bother to correct when it doesn’t matter).

My husband had no problem with me keeping my name, but my in-laws did, although our relationship is a good one so after a few years it became a non-issue. One of my grandmothers had a problem with it as well. Oh well, she got over it. She strongly identified with being Mrs. Husband’s Full Name, so she couldn’t relate at all.

We have three daughters and they all have my husband’s last name. I didn’t want to get into any hyphenating and I didn’t want to freak out any more family members any more. I think my daughters believe it’s a little weird that I didn’t change my name, and I would bet that they all change their names when they get married, and I’ll be happy with whatever they choose as it’s their choice!

Just an aside, my husband and daughters all have first names that start with the same letter, so they all have the same first and last initials. Of course, both of my initials are different.


63 Patty April 25, 2013 at 10:04 am

I was in my last year of college and in the middle of recruiting “season” with big firms when I got married. I didn’t change my name right away because I didn’t want any of the firms I was looking at to get confused about who I was.

My husband was so set on us having the same last name that he told me he would change his to mine if I didn’t want to take his name. This was such a meaningful getsture for me, even though I was always planning to take his name.

My maiden name is Hylton; my married name is Martyn. I always say that I got to keep my “y”.


64 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 12:55 pm

“I always say that I got to keep my “y”.”



65 Kristen April 25, 2013 at 10:09 am

I kept my name because I like it, because it is my name, and because I am an established professional and a feminist. I made this decision when I was a teenager. Also, my husband’s last name is Chinese and… well, I am not. I did feel a little bit bad when I thought about what my father-in-law might think about it, but not bad enough to reconsider my decision. When my husband told his father that I was keeping my name, he exclaimed with delight, “Oh, that is very Chinese!”


66 Franca Bollo April 25, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Love this and I agree with you entirely.


67 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 1:02 pm

I love your father-in-law’s response!

P.S. — I’m a feminist too. I think you can change your name and still be a feminist. I remember realizing that whether I changed my name or kept my maiden name, I was stuck with a man’s name, (and even if I took my mother’s maiden name instead, it was really her father’s name, and on, and on…).


68 This girl loves to talk April 25, 2013 at 3:17 pm

exactly! that’s one argument I think when people say they kept their name.. but it was their dads name etc. I don’t think there is any perfect answer which is why its up to you to choose I suppose. or having maiden name as middle is a good compromise.
As parents of all girls we wonder what will happen or if husbands name is gone …


69 Elliesee April 26, 2013 at 11:50 am

I know a caucasian Mrs Wong and you wonder all kind of things when you meet her.


70 Sunshine April 25, 2013 at 10:26 am

I was given an unusual first name, so even as a young child I was very used to comments and questions about where it came from and why my parents picked it. Even having people ask me “have you ever heard the song…” and bursting into ‘You Are My Sunshine’, but it had never crossed my mind that I could make my name even more interesting…. until I met Peter Burns.

I remember realizing the name situation just several hours before our first date – OH GOODNESS! SUNSHINE BURNS! …. life is funny, and I have a funny name!


71 KelliO April 25, 2013 at 11:57 am

I remember smiling at that when your house tour showed up!


72 Pamela Balabuszko-Reay April 25, 2013 at 12:58 pm



73 tere April 26, 2013 at 7:07 am

Sunshine, this is the best comment an philosophy of life ever!!! :^)


74 Pamela Balabuszko-Reay April 25, 2013 at 10:27 am

My Grandfather escaped from Poland during WWII. He went to Scotland, fought with the British Army and married my Grandma. They had three kids. They came to the States in 1959 and were the ONLY Balabuszkos in all of the US. I decided that I would like to keep the name going. My husband agreed and decided to hyphenate along with me. He went from a four letter name to a fourteen letter name with a hyphen. What a gent! All four of us have the name now. We use the short part for dinner reservations and the like. My husband goes by B-Reay professionally. No one forgets his name. My kids can do whatever they want with the name when they grow up. It is pronounced Bal-ah-bush-ko-ray. I still like it.


75 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 1:03 pm

I like it, too.


76 KatieB April 25, 2013 at 10:46 am

I was Katie Olson. I am now Katie Buttram. I teach high school. Butt-Ram. I have them call me Ms. B.

I never even questioned changing my name until we were at the court house ready to sign the marriage license. I hesitated for a second. My husband’s face just sunk. I smiled and signed. Then, gave him a big kiss.

I always figured if I didn’t want to be conventional, I wouldn’t have gotten married in the first place.


77 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 1:04 pm

“I always figured if I didn’t want to be conventional, I wouldn’t have gotten married in the first place.”

I don’t think I’ve ever heard that line of thinking before. It really struck me.


78 Laura April 25, 2013 at 10:51 am

I was fine with changing my last name name when I married. Personally, I wanted everyone in the family — parents and children — to have the same last name. Also, I grew up with a last name that was ALWAYS mispronounced and then took on a new last name that is ALWAYS mispronounced. It was a lose-lose situation in that regard!


79 Renee April 25, 2013 at 10:56 am

I kept my birth name mostly because I just love it and could not part with it! For much of my life people have complimented me on it and I would miss that for sure. (Truth be told, my husband does not have an attractive last name. I love him dearly but …) Also, by the time we got married I was an established journalist. In journalism, that byline is everything! We have 3 kiddos now and have been married 10 years, and my decision has worked out just fine for us. Our kids all have my last name as a middle name. I love that their initials are almost exactly the same, and I love telling all three of them that they have mom’s name and dad’s name. We live in a university town and both work at a large university, where it’s somewhat common to have different last names, hypenated last names, etc. Our church community is quite conservative and there, I’m one of only a handful of women who have kept their last names. I have to say I love being the rabble-rouser there. ;-)


80 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Hah! I love being the rabble-rouser too.


81 Emily April 25, 2013 at 11:00 am

I was not excited to change my name when I got married. I did it because it was important to my husband. Then a year into being married, my Dad divorced my Mom and it made me so angry, I was even more grateful I changed my name! LOL I did not want to have my Father’s last name anymore. Aside from that, I love my name, especially my married name, it fits me so much better than my old last name. It is funny how we adapt to things and can surprise ourselves with what we love when initially we were not sure about it! I think one of the reasons giving my old name up was difficult, had more to do with my degrees being in my old name. When I learned I could get my degrees with my married name on them from my Universities, it made me feel happier.


82 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 1:07 pm

“It is funny how we adapt to things and can surprise ourselves with what we love when initially we were not sure about it!”

So true.


83 Lianne April 25, 2013 at 11:02 am

I live in Quebec, Canada and it’s actually not legal to change your name when you get married here. Many women will go by their married name in everyday life (mostly older women), but we are not permitted to change it on our official documents from the province (health cards, driver’s license, passport etc). I guess that the government just found it easier to keep track of everything this way. And I am so used to it that the thought of taking my husband’s name seems odd. A lot of people hyphenate their kids names, but since that would give our son 18 letters of surname, we decided not to!


84 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 1:07 pm

I had no idea and now I’m totally fascinated!


85 Andrea April 29, 2013 at 11:49 am

I love this! I can’t tell you the effort it takes to change a name: mortgage, license, social security, registration, insurance policies, on and on and on. Why bother?


86 Cathy April 25, 2013 at 11:03 am

Here in Quebec, after years of having wives obligated to take their husband’s last name, we can’t do that anymore. Girls keep their name when they get married (so do the guys!) The parents can give either of their names or both names (with a hyphen or not) to their children. I really wanted my kids to keep my name going so they have both names with a hyphen. If I could have taken my husband’s name, I don’t think I would have.


87 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Two in a row from Quebec!


88 Amy3 April 25, 2013 at 11:05 am

My husband’s surname is the first syllable of my two-syllable maiden name. However, his has the virtue of beginning with the intuitive C rather than the confusing K my maiden name began with. After six years of dating I was already sick of hearing how similar our names were and how funny that was. Plus, I really liked the idea of everyone in our newly-created family having the same name.

Even with all that, though, I still agonized over the decision, and it took me quite a while to adjust to my new name. (Part of the problem may have been that it sounded like everyone, including myself, was only saying half my last name until I got used to the new one.)

Now I adore my married name. I love it’s spare simplicity with my first name, the fact that it guarantees me almost complete anonymity online, and how awesome it sounds with our daughter’s name.


89 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 1:09 pm

A couple of people have mentioned being able to be anonymous online. So interesting to me. I feel like I want to read more about that.


90 Susan April 25, 2013 at 11:09 am

This subject provokes strong opinions, doesn’t it? I kept my maiden name, for no other reason than it felt right for me. My mom falls squarely into the “Mrs. husband’s first name-last name” category, even signs her checks that way, and I found this incredibly weird and off-putting, even as a child. I recall saying, incredulously, “You call yourself Mrs. Jon X? Your first name is HIS first name?” Before I even knew what feminism was, I was appalled at the idea of her being subsumed into him and his identity. As a grown, dating woman, I wasn’t strident about it, but my husband knew I felt uncomfortable about dropping my name and assuming his. In fact, he said since the idea of changing his own name was not something he would ever want to do, why would he ask me to do the same?

I do realize that even today, I’m in the minority here in the U.S.. It is assumed that the woman will change her name. We’ve been married almost 20 years and we still have some family and friends address us as Mr. and Mrs. husband’s last name. So be it. Also, I’ve received innumerable comments about it over the years, ranging from admirable to rude, from kids to senior citizens (seems everyone has an opinion). The worst is when someone hears my husband’s long, German last name and says something along the lines of, “Oh boy, no wonder you kept your name.” What kind of small-minded, rude person would I have to be to decline to take his name solely because it was unusual? I usually give people a blank look and leave them to laugh uncomfortably alone.

There’s nothing wrong with tradition; this is just one I chose not to follow. It feels like strong continuity to have had the same name my whole life, something all men are afforded, by the way, and it neither weakens nor strengthens my marital or family bonds. My daughter and son both know it is a woman’s choice to make and are quick to tell people my last name (and have to spell it – it isn’t straightforward either). We call ourselves The (husband’s last name) family and that doesn’t bother me at all. Of course I’m part of that family, and an integral part at that! I just happen to have a different last name.


91 Lisette Wolter-McKinley April 25, 2013 at 11:16 am

I felt strongly about keeping my name, but realized this new union deserved a change. In the end I hyphenated. To me this is the truest example of marriage- a union between two families or in my case two names.


92 marian April 25, 2013 at 11:19 am

I had a friend named Skye who dated a young man whose lost name was Walker – unfortunately they did not get married – Skye Walker would have been choice.

I took my husband’s last name and the first time it was used I had a little moment, but I feel like we have made the name and our family our own and I am glad we share.


93 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 1:10 pm
    Skye Walker! The stuff of legends. If only it had worked out!


94 Melinda April 25, 2013 at 7:44 pm

My daughter’s name is Skye. My son and husband have always hoped that she will marry a man with the last name Walker one day. Silly boys.


95 Erin April 25, 2013 at 11:05 pm

Haha. I knew a Joe Ryder who was dating a Joy. Joy Ryder was riotous to us back in high school. Come to think of it, I don’t know what happened to them.


96 kimberly April 25, 2013 at 11:28 am

my finace and I just broke up. me not wanting to change my name was ALWAYS an issue with him. no wonder I would not change to PAYNE. I will NEVER switch my name to something that isn’t me, and told him if it meant so much he should change his name to mine (wouldn’t do it)


97 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Sounds like he was not the right match.


98 corrie anne April 25, 2013 at 11:45 am

I loved my maiden name — McMillin — because it sounds so Irish, and the second capital letter is just cute. I wanted to take my husband’s last name, and I’m happy I did, but I feel like “Kreisel” aged me about 10 years. I’m a teacher so that’s usually what I go by!! I still misspell it occasionally. The e beore i is a little weird. Haha.


99 Sabela April 25, 2013 at 11:46 am

I find this truly fascinating… Honestly!

In Spain we do not change our surnames at all!
We get our name and then our dad’s (1st) surname and then our mum’s (in the English speaking countries our first surname is often confused with a middle name, so we need to hyphenate both surnames!).

Women’s surnames are also lost in the generations, as it is the first surname the one that survives, but recently a new law lets us choose the order of the surnames. That is quite nice, especially to avoid funny rhymes or losing a nice surname to a López-kind-of-thing :)

Anyway, no López, but I have a reaaaaaally common first surname (González). There are plenty of common Spanish surnames that end in -ez (historically, it was like the Spanish equivalent of -son, -sen, van der… etc.)… My sister married a Gutiérrez, my husband-to-be is a Sáez… That’s quite a lot of z’s!
My second surname (Panizo) is not that common, especially in the region where I live, and I really like it. I used to sign my writings with Sabela G. Panizo but my dad gave me such a sad face one day… I never did it again!

Also, if I understood correctly from the comments… in the US you are only allowed to have 1 name + 1 middle name + 1 surname?? That’s quite odd!

Just for the fun of it:
- In Portugal, they can have up to 4 surnames (maybe more, that’s what I’ve seen!), but the father’s surname is placed last. When asked for their names, they will often give you just the first name and the last surname, but there may be more!
- In Bulgaria (and maybe other countries), children have a first surname which is their father’s first name in genitive (like Alexeyev for Alexey or Spasov for Spas) and then their father’s surname… which would be their grandfather’s name, if I am not much mistaken!
- In Iceland, your surname depends on being a girl or a boy and it isn’t your family’s name, but your mother’s or father’s!: the last part of it changes, -sson if you’re a boy, -sdóttir if you’re a girl.

(sorry for the enormous comment!) :*


100 Franca Bollo April 25, 2013 at 12:17 pm

I love Iceland’s naming tradition.


101 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 1:14 pm

I like the sound of Iceland’s tradition, too.

One thing to clear up: in the U.S., you are definitely allowed to have more than one middle name. In fact, our son Oscar has two middle names. And I’ve always heard you can have as many as you like. But for sure, the majority of Americans go with First, Middle, Last.


102 Una April 25, 2013 at 2:38 pm

I am Icelandic, and I live in the UK with my Icelandic husband and daughters, and we of course use our patronymic names . In our family my husband has one surname (Gunnarsson, his father´s first name being Gunnar), I have another (Viðarsdóttir, my father´s first name being Viðar) and our daughters a third (Helgadóttir, the daughter of Helgi, my husband´s first name). This has never posed any problems. We don´t change our surname on marriage, and our registers, phone books etc are ordered by our first names. You don´t become someone else´s son or daughter simply because you marry!


103 Sabela April 26, 2013 at 1:23 am

Oh, ok! Reading the comments it looked like some people tried to keep both their middle names and two surnames but couldn’t… Thanks a lot!


104 Design Mom April 26, 2013 at 12:39 pm

It does surprise me that more people don’t choose all 4 names instead of giving up one. Traditions are funny!


105 PinonCoffee May 3, 2013 at 2:28 pm


As far as I can tell, in the US it depends which DMV you go to when you get your name changed! They let me keep my first + middle [mom's maiden] + my maiden + husband’s name with no problem, but a number of my friends had to pick one to drop. I have no idea why that is. I like my full name, though it’s a lot to sign. It’s kind of like the Spanish way, now that I think of it — a whole story of where I came from.


106 Megan M. April 25, 2013 at 11:48 am

I was happy to change my name when I got married, not because I hated my maiden name (I love it actually) but because I have zero connection to my father or my father’s family. I went from being Megan Tenney to Megan McMeans. I love the alliteration of my married name, and I love that it’s a “Mc” name because I love all things Scottish and Irish!

I used to watch Paige Davis on Trading Spaces (now she’s on Home Made Simple, I think) but she had a TV special about her wedding years ago, and her new married name was… Paige Page. She still goes by Paige Davis, professionally of course.


107 Maria B April 25, 2013 at 11:49 am

I got married VERY young, at the age of 19. I took his last name because it never even occurred to me not to at the time. So I became Maria Allen and it just never felt right. But it was what is was you know? Years later (nearly 7 to be exact) that marriage ended and I took my maiden name back. I remember calling my Mom after leaving the courthouse, newly divorced. I said, “Well Mom, I’m Maria Baker again,” and she said, “Welcome back.” It was such a simple thing, but it just made me feel like me again. And I realized how much I’d missed that girl. I’m common law married to my best friend in the whole world now so I’m still Maria Baker. But he and our girls all have the last name Lohnes (pronounced low-ness.) Pretty much the only way I’d change my last name now is if it became an issue for my girls. Otherwise, I am who I am. :)


108 LindTS April 25, 2013 at 11:50 am

For me it was easy. My husband changed to my name. No big deal! He had a very common name and I don’t think we even had a very long discussion about it, we just agreed it was the best choice for us.
(We are swedish and it is not unusual to take the girls last name but most people change to the mans last name or keep their own)


109 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 1:15 pm

I love reading how other countries handle the name changes!


110 KelliO April 25, 2013 at 12:05 pm

I grew up in a large family in a small town with a unique name. It became very recognizable and common, and annoyed me much until high school. Then I decided to love it, and the alliteration really helped people remember. All through college I loved how my name sounded so fresh and fun, sparked conversations, and no one ever forgot it.

When I got married just after graduation, I always knew I’d change my name, but it made me a little sad. I’m very glad my parents didn’t give me a middle name so I could easily use my maiden name as my new middle. It’s hard for me that people don’t remember my name as well anymore. I’m sure in a few more years I’ll love it. I love the way it works with my husbands name as he can be MarkO. Many people comment on how Irish my full name is. I grin because I’m Irish, but my husband isn’t at all!


111 Val April 25, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Kelli, what a fun story to read… I’ve known your forever, and hadn’t realized you ever hated your name :) I too love how irish your new name sounds. It really suits you!


112 KelliO April 25, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Hi Val! You can imagine how it’s hard for teachers to remember our names as we all look alike. It’s just nice when someone knows you are unique. My poor little sister.

I should also note that the Irish last name was apparently made up/ adopted when a great-grandfather ran away from the merchant marines!

Are you saying I have some Irish fire in me? Grandma is probably very proud!


113 Franca Bollo April 25, 2013 at 12:14 pm

@LindTS: I love this! The Swedes are so much more progressive than the rest of the world. To have that level of equality here would be fantastic.


114 vermontmommy April 25, 2013 at 12:22 pm

I was 22 when I got married. I had yet to finish college and really wanted my maiden name on that diploma. I was the first in my family to graduate from college and by golly I wanted our family represented. I also had moved 2000 miles to be with my fiance. It felt like I was in another world. I love him with my whole heart forever and ever but I just could not drop my last name. I felt I had given up so much of my life I could not give up my identity too.

I ended up hyphenating. I never minded if I was called by my maiden, married name, or hyphenated name…I just wanted to know it still existed….that I was still there.

We’ve been married 15 years, I’m still far far from home but now sign my name with just my married name. I’m now sure of who I am, I also hated explaining that there was a hyphen and I know as much as my husband said anything I wanted was fine I know he loves when I sign with his last name.


115 Fiona April 25, 2013 at 12:25 pm

I still miss my maiden name. I wanted to go by (first, maiden, married) but my husband didn’t like that, I now realise it is a very common thing in the US, so I wonder if he would have felt better about it if we had been living here then. I don’t really mind, my married name is a goodie, but I miss that connection to my parents and the honour I feel to be part of their family.

Anyway, I also wanted to say – I have commented before that my maiden name is Wallace (and pondered any unlikely distant connection to Ben Wallace Blair – but would you believe I also descend from Stanleys? My maternal great grandmother was a Stanley!)


116 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Fun shared names! From what I understand of my family history, our Stanley surname was actually a stand-in for something else that was too hard to spell (or something like that). When I was missing my maiden name, I would remind myself of that. : )


117 Megan Flowers April 25, 2013 at 12:26 pm

My parents are divorced and my mom remarried and had 2 more kids. So everyone had the same last name except for me. I looked forward to starting my own family and sharing a family name. The fact that my husbands last name is Flowers made it that much sweeter.


118 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 1:17 pm

The variety of stories and experiences is so amazing to me. I’m sure I would have felt the same as you and looked forward to sharing a name, instead of being sad at losing one.


119 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 12:31 pm

I ADORE these comments. I want to respond to every single one. Interesting experiences and lots of different perspectives. But most of all, I love that they are civil and that no one is attacking anyone else’s choices.

High-fives to Design Mom Readers everywhere!


120 Pamela Balabuszko-Reay April 25, 2013 at 1:01 pm



121 Holly April 25, 2013 at 3:42 pm

We’ve come a long way baby! It’s amazing just how controversial this conversation would have been not so very long ago.


122 Melissa April 25, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Although I wasn’t old (26) when I got married I still had a lot of professional connections that knew me by my maiden name. As a solution I just made my maiden name my middle name and took my husbands as my last. I also waited 2 years after we had been married to determine that it was what I wanted….


123 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 1:18 pm

I think it’s cool that you waited for 2 years before making the decision. Very level-headed!


124 Winter April 25, 2013 at 12:36 pm

I got married when I was 30 and had a few scientific articles in my name, so I considered keeping my maiden name for about a half a second. But when your first name is Winter and you’re marrying into a name like Redd, well, I just couldn’t pass it up. I tease my husband that one of the reasons I married him was so my name would be even awesome!

My husband’s name is Lee and he joked that he would gladly take my maiden name (Chan) when we got married. I told him he couldn’t because it would make him more “Asian” than I was!


125 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Oh my goodness. So funny!


126 Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker April 26, 2013 at 10:54 am

I have a daughter named Winter! We have actually discussed what her last name and our other daughter’s last names might be one day. We talked about if she married someone with the last name of Snow, Green, or Brown. Redd wasn’t one that we thought about, though!

Our ther girls could be in for some interesting names as well!


127 Adrienne April 25, 2013 at 12:39 pm

I love reading about people’s names and how they figured out the name situation when they married. As for me, I always thought I would change my maiden name. Growing up as “A. Hooker” was character building to say the least. But when I fell in love, I chose a man named “D. Wang”. Immediately, I decided a prostitute is better than a penis. ;-)

The best part was when we tried to find a combination to our surnames, since neither were ideal. We ended up with Wan-ker! We use it in our company name since it’s so memorable and a great ice-breaker. I say embrace the quirkiness.


128 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 1:20 pm

The stories on this thread are fantastic! Yay for Mr. & Mrs. Wanker!!


129 Kimberly April 25, 2013 at 1:12 pm

My parents divorced when I was a baby, and my mom remarried twice while I was growing up. We always had different names in our house, so I was torn when it came time for me to decide. On one hand, I remembered how much I wanted to be the “same” when I was growing up and how I’d love to be with my Fisher family because we were all Fishers. On the other hand, not having the same name never changed the amount of love I received from my parents. As an interviewee on A Practical Wedding put it: “Having the same name does not make you a family. Being a family makes you a family.”
I have a son from a previous relationship, so my family would never have the same name. I didn’t want to hyphenate because it was a terrible combination. In the end, I changed my name. After having lost my job, it was like being able to hit “restart” on my life.


130 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 1:22 pm

I think you’re right about a name change being a way to hit “restart”. I know it doesn’t feel like that for everyone, but I can see how it could feel that way for a lot of people that are seeking a new life.


131 Alethea Allarey April 25, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Love this! I kept my surname because I felt bad for my dad–I’m not sure if my younger brother will ever get married and have kids, so at first the idea of carrying on his family name through my kids appealed to me. Though now it kind of looks like my husband and I will not be having any kids, it doesn’t really matter now, anyway. My surname is really uncommon and chances are pretty good I’m related to every Allarey I meet, so I’m sticking with it!

My husband’s a Donaghe, which is also a pretty uncommon name (and not the same as Donaghy or Donahue!) I think it’s pretty funny that we can Google his name and find people who look just like him even if we can’t trace his family back to them at all. They must have really dominant genes! :)


132 Design Mom April 25, 2013 at 1:23 pm

You can google his name and find people that look like him? Fantastic!


133 KelliO April 25, 2013 at 3:07 pm

That is awesome!


134 k April 25, 2013 at 1:34 pm

From Cornelius to Prescott. Not horrible, but it was a sad day.


135 Design Mom April 26, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Both evoke similar images for me. Sort of British? or Ivy League? I like them both a lot.


136 Catherine April 25, 2013 at 1:45 pm

My birth name is my professional name, so I had to maintain it at least professionally, but I did debate whether to change it in “everyday life”. I ended up keeping my birth name mostly because my mother-in-law and I have the same first name, so we would inevitably have ended up with each others’ mail…


137 Mariah Wickham April 25, 2013 at 1:49 pm

I am fascinated by these comments and experiences! I love hearing different perspectives on what I formerly viewed as a seemingly simple ritual of life. I, for one, was thrilled to take on a new name. I daydreamed all my life of a more romantic/unique/exotic name than Johnson (yawn!). I think the surname (and the man it came with) fit the bill perfectly. I love, love, love being a Wickham! You wouldn’t believe the number of times people ask, “like Pride & Prejudice?” “Yes, just like it!” And although I found more of a Mr. Darcy, it doesn’t stop me from from being secretly glad our surname is associated with the rebel. ;)

P.S. I had not even read Pride & Prejudice before getting married. I heard it referenced so much when people heard my last name that I figured I better read it. It quickly became a favorite.


138 Design Mom April 26, 2013 at 12:42 pm

You married Mister Wickhame! So delightful!!


139 becki April 25, 2013 at 1:57 pm

I was sentimental about my name and identity, so I kept my maiden name. 13 years, 3 kids, and 3 states later I changed my name. My identity had changed, the TSA hassled me that my name was different than the children I was traveling with, and the PTA was confused. haha!
PS Briem rhymes with cream


140 KelliO April 25, 2013 at 3:02 pm

I would love to hear all the little tricks we use to explain our names to others. My maiden name invariable gets a funny questioning look, to which my mom would reply, “Just like the room!”


141 Design Mom April 26, 2013 at 12:45 pm

We have one! In France, Blair is not a typical surname, so we say “Blair, like Tony Blair” (the former Prime Minister of England), and then they know how to spell it without further instruction.

We actually started doing this when we lived in a very Italian neighborhood in New York — for someone reason, the name Blair seemed to confuse people, but if we said, “like Tony Blair”, they got it instantly.


142 Kelsey April 25, 2013 at 2:00 pm

I loved my maiden name but always knew I’d change my name one day. After our wedding I tried to replace my middle name with my maiden name but ohio is one of a few states who will not let that happen automatically! Honestly, after the wedding and moving festivities were over, I just wanted to get the paper work done. So while my maiden name has disappeared, and I do miss it sometimes, I love my new name and the new adventures it will bring. It seems very fitting.


143 candice April 25, 2013 at 2:02 pm

I could write a long post about this! I decided not to change my name. My maiden name is funny sounding to most people, but Borup is the city in Denmark where my Dad’s family lived before they immigrated to America, so I felt a strong attachment to it. Also, as a photographer it was on all my portfolios/books so it would have cost a fortune to change. I felt good about the choice but at the time it did bother my husband.
So later when my first article was picked up by a magazine I decided to give them the name Candice Stringham. I thought it would make my husband happy to see it printed at least once and I thought that it would be the only time that I wrote an article so it was no big deal. Little did I know that they would offer me editorial position and that my career would really blossom from that one article and I quickly became Candice Stringham to everyone in my field. Now its on everything and everyone knows me that way. But officially my name is still my maiden name.

Words of warning to everyone who decides not change their name. It comes with a lot of frustrations. 1. Even though I didn’t change my name the church I belong to changed it in their records anyway and no matter how many times I corrected people I was still referred to by my husbands name. 2. It is a pain once you start having children. I have to explain everytime that I go to the office that, yes, I am their Mother even though I have a different last name then them. You would think that wouldn’t be a big deal but it is. 3. Because I was known by a different name at work then by my official name they would always forget and buy my plane tickets for speaking events with the wrong name. Not so fun trying to explain that one to security.


144 Amy April 25, 2013 at 2:14 pm

I kept my surname for 10 years before changing it to my husbands. Having the same name does make life a little easier sometimes. I had similar experiences with travel.


145 Susan April 25, 2013 at 4:41 pm

As a precaution against anticipated problems, my husband and I each put a copy of our marriage license in our wallet in case we were questioned. I’m happy to report that not once in almost 20 years has either of us had to pull it out. It’s still in there, though! :)


146 Design Mom April 26, 2013 at 12:45 pm

So cute that it’s still in there, Susan!


147 Rochelle April 25, 2013 at 2:03 pm

I still haven’t officially changed my name after 17 years. I just can’t bear it. Even though, I have gone by my husband’s hard-to-spell-name all this time. It just makes for annoyance at the DMV and on taxes, but it’s a little rebellious streak in me that refuses to actually go to the social security office to officially change it. I don’t have a middle name and neither do my girls (old family tradition), so that does make it easier. My maiden name is on everything next to my married name. Which, in the end, officially isn’t mine anyway. LOL!


148 Amy April 25, 2013 at 2:06 pm

My husband and I were in college when we married so I decided to keep my last name for consistant school records. 10 years later I changed it to his since we were planning on having a child. I wanted us all to have the same last name — sometimes it makes life easier. :)

My neice is named Taylor and is dating a man named Taylor. Should they marry and she take his surname, they will have the same name! Funny!


149 Design Mom April 26, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Crossing my fingers for Taylor Taylor!


150 christina @ homemade ocean April 25, 2013 at 2:18 pm

I have a friend from high school whose name was Melissa Harlow….she recently got married and took the name Cissell

Melissa Cissell, it’s a great name :)


151 Anne April 25, 2013 at 2:20 pm

My husband kept his name and I kept mine. Neither of us wanted to give up on it, but he probably will when our first baby arrives . (I sense some negotiations coming.)
In Germany spouses are allowed to:
- keep their maiden names (and decide which one of them will be the family name that the kids will receive)
- take their spouse´s name (which is then automatically the family name and will be given to the kids)
- decide on a family name which the spouse who doesn´t already have that name is allowed to hyphenate with his or her maiden name
In short that means: no hyphenated names for kids, a hyphenated name for only one spouse, and no middle names without a hyphen.

Pretty interesting to hear all these stories!


152 Dee April 25, 2013 at 2:31 pm

I changed my last name b/c I liked hub’s better at the time (I married very young). Now I wish I had kept mine or at least used it as a middle. Funny thing about my husband’s surname is that his grandfather changed the family name (from Miller), we’re not completely sure why, and now it is something very unusual (but beautiful).


153 Design Mom April 26, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Oh. I bet there’s a good story there. I love me some family history. : )


154 Amy April 25, 2013 at 2:52 pm

I love names! Even better, I LOVE my name. Growing up I thought I would never be able to give up my maiden name because I have a strong and proud family identity. I always thought I would hyphenate.
HOWEVER, when I got married my husband’s name went so MAGICALLY with my given name that I smile almost every time I say it out loud. People always tell me they love my name, also. In fact, a lot of my friends call me by my given and surname when they call me.
So, I have never missed my maiden name.


155 Marianne April 25, 2013 at 3:16 pm

I never wanted to change my name, I really like it and it connects me to amazing people. I love when people hear the name Zenger and ask if I am related to so-and-so. I allows me to hear great stories of people I miss very much. When I was engaged, my future husband did not like that I was not taking his name and we still have an argument every now and then after 15 years and 2 kids. I have offered my name to him but that has not seemed to appeal to him which I quickly state, “they why should it appeal to me?”


156 Design Mom April 26, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Hah! Too funny. There’s really not much to say when presented with that argument. Would you want to give up your name? Then why should I?


157 Katie April 25, 2013 at 3:45 pm

I have thought a lot about my name lately and even today wrote on my to do list to go down to the local registry and talk about changing my name to a hyphenated one. It’s funny that this should be your blog topic. I took my husband’s name when we got married 7 years ago. Though we dated for over 3 years, our engagement was just 6 weeks and I didn’t have a lot of pondering time on the name change once it was officially happening. So I went with the flow and changed my name because we wanted our kids to share a family name with both parents and because I didn’t want to be seen as a militant. But I have missed my maiden name everyday since then. I still want to share a name with my kids and my husband, but I often toss around the idea of going back to hyphenate my name.


158 This girl loves to talk April 25, 2013 at 3:47 pm

My parents were engaged when pregnant with me but not married. They were involved I a serious car accident when four months pregnant and my father died. When I was born you were not legally allowed to put a dead mans name down as father (unless you were married) without their authority (which they could not give obviously) so I ended up with my mums maiden name.
Soon after she met my step father and married him and changed her name and I got an amendment put on my birth certificate under his name. I grew up with my step dads name and was so used to it. Now I wonder what it would be like to have either my mums maiden name or my biological dads name. So many what if’s that when I got married it also seemed easy to have his name. ( my bio dads last name would make a great first name for a boy I did consider using it but alas I have had all girls!)


159 Design Mom April 26, 2013 at 12:49 pm

What a story! The variety of experiences described in these comments has just stunned me.


160 sarah April 25, 2013 at 3:53 pm

I LOVE this post and all of the comments! How delicious! (I have always loved names – in fact, I chose names as my public speaking topic in grade 8!)

My story is kind of funny. I had always thought I would change my name, largely out of convention, but then when I met someone with a very plain surname (-son at the end, second most popular surname in the US) I vacillated. I loved my unique name and his was so boring and blechy. Plus, there was already a Mrs -son before me and that kind of made me feel awkward.

Furthermore, my maiden name is terrific: ending in ski, very recognisable, and sounded awesome with the “Mlle” I use as a French Immersion teacher. (Also, our background is Ukrainian, and the names usually terminate in “sky”, but the story goes that when a great-grandfather came to this country, they shortened it to make it easier and hence the “ski” was born. It’s a fun little conversation to have when people assume we’re Polish!) I really wanted to keep my name or hyphenate it, at the very least, but my husband had some very strong words to say about it.

It’s funny because I am stubborn, a feminist, and a tough cookie, but I guess you don’t know until you’re in that position – and I finally relented and changed it professionally. It was what seemed right for me, so suddenly I was known as Mme -son. (Don’t even get me started on the switch to Madame from my beloved Mademoiselle!)

Then, the kicker … our marriage did not last, unfortunately. So I got to go back to “my” lovely name! The one lucky thing was that I had never legally changed it anywhere yet, so I just slid back into it! Some people have said that aspect could have been an omen . . . but to me, it just shows that my gut was right all along!

Looking forward to reading more stories . . .

- sarah (who will not change her surname if she were ever to marry again!)


161 amber April 25, 2013 at 3:57 pm

I kept my last name :)


162 alison T April 25, 2013 at 4:57 pm

I thought I had convinced myself to change my name, but as I drove to the DMV to change my license, I turned the car around and came home. I asked my new husband if he would like change his name. He said “No.” So I didn’t either. We love each other lots 16 years later. :)


163 Design Mom April 26, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Oh. I cried at the DMV when I went for the name change. It was tough! I’m glad you knew yourself well enough to turn around.


164 heidikins April 25, 2013 at 5:21 pm

By the time I was 22 I had legally changed my name 3 times and vowed never ever again. At age 29 I met the love of my life and long before we got engaged I made very clear that I was never changing my name, regardless of whether or not we got married. He shrugged and said that he couldn’t imagine the hassle of legally changing his name after having worked in his professional field for a decade, he said he didn’t care. I fell more in love. See, not only did I get married and divorced in my early twenties (with a name change because I wasn’t brave enough to say my real feelings on the subject), but my maiden name was not the name on my birth certificate/my Dad’s last name. My maiden name was my Mom’s maiden name and I had legally changed it as a teenager after a decade of nasty divorce/court proceedings between my parents. Well, last year I married that wonderfully understanding man and wrote a whole post about the in’s and out’s and up’s and down’s of why I wasn’t changing my name, you can read it here.

I have had a very long, rocky, road to get to Heidi LastName and then get BACK to Heidi LastName and, in many ways, that road has MADE me Heidi LastName. I’m not ever changing that because that is me.

Great post, loving all the comments.



165 Bethany April 25, 2013 at 6:13 pm

My parents didn’t give middle names to the girls of our family for the specific purpose of keeping our maiden names. My mom was the same, and I plan on doing it the same for my girls. So, I only had a first name and a last name growing up.

I agree, I identify so much with being a Tate, it would have been hard to give up. I love that I am still a Tate and also a Barnette now… also, by happy coincidence, Tate isn’t so unreasonable as a normal middle name.


166 Bethany April 25, 2013 at 6:17 pm

PS: It was a big deal for me to be moving way up in the alphabet!


167 Design Mom April 26, 2013 at 1:03 pm

I know the feeling. From an S to a B.


168 Grace April 25, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Julia Gulia! Oh, you’re the greatest Mrs. Blair. I love that reference and I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately considering I’m getting married to my BFF in a few years. However, his last name is Guido. And my first name is Grace. Grace Guido?! I immediately thought of The Wedding Singer. My current last name I love. It’s also a G name, but goes much better with my first name. I even thought of just hyphenating the name. And, don’t get me wrong, I love alliteration as much as the next person…but three G’s in a name? Ay, hopefully I can make up my mind eventually.


169 Kirsten April 25, 2013 at 6:55 pm

This is my second marriage. Our family was mixed…there was Bill’s last name, my last name and my daughter from the first marriage had HER last name. When we had a baby and decided to get married I wanted to keep my maiden seemed fair. Otherwise the new baby would have the same last name and my first daughter would have a different name than the rest of us. Does that make sense? :) So we have three last names for four of us. :D I think we blend better and our oldest never felt different or left out….she had enough adjustments to make.


170 HeidiS April 25, 2013 at 7:13 pm

I kept my name. First because I was 30 when I married and am in theatre and my name was my professional name as well (weird actor thing), and I didn’t want to start over with a new name. Second, I have never even met his father ( my husband is estranged from his awful father) and my dad is a wonder: why should I take this terrible man’s name?


171 Design Mom April 26, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Good question, Heidi!


172 miriam April 25, 2013 at 7:55 pm

It’s funny to me that women give a lot of thought to whether they’ll be keeping their father’s name, or taking their husband’s, but it seems to go without saying that all the children will have the husband’s surname.

I changed my last name (ditched my original middle name and use my maiden name in the middle) because I didn’t want to be the only one in our family with a different name.

If I had felt strongly about keeping my original last name, I think I would have insisted that the children have my last name, not my husband’s. I mean, yes, he’s their father, I love him, and we’ve been married for almost 25 years, but those kids are MINE.


173 Mary Beth April 25, 2013 at 7:55 pm

I changed my name 6 years after we were married! I just couldn’t bring myself to do it although my married name sounds much more fluid than my maiden name. It was a major commitment on my part so I gave my husband my new social security card for Valentine’s Day this year! He was very surprised and happy!


174 Bayley April 25, 2013 at 7:56 pm

I took my husband’s name and dropped my last name. I couldn’t wait to take on someone else’s name – not that my maiden name is embarrassing, I just wasn’t that attached to it. I also loved how taking his name made me feel like I was a part of a whole new family. I’m from the South where it’s typical to keep your maiden name and drop your middle, but I liked my middle name better. Some people I knew thought it was strange, but I’ve never regretted my decision.


175 Bayley April 25, 2013 at 8:08 pm

p.s. neither my husband nor my dad cared either way so it was totally up to me


176 Hayley April 25, 2013 at 8:10 pm

We lived in the UK when we got married, so for 2 years, I kept my maiden name, Moore. All my legal documents, passport, etc, was in my maiden name, so I was not about to go through the hassle of changing it abroad. It was such an easy name. My initials were HAM, as well, which I loved. I was a skinny kid and I found it funny that my initials were a part of a pig! Family still calls me “Hambone” or “HAM”. I’m now a “Frink”. Like drink, but with an F. That’s how I explain it to everyone, especially my students, who I make swear to me on the first day of school that they will never call me Mrs. Freak.

When my husband proposed to me, he had “Moore” engraved in the inside of my ring, which I love! I am an only child, so I really considered not changing my name, and sometimes I still miss being a Moore, but it was easier to have the same name as my kids. I did the whole, move the maiden name to the middle name thing, that others have mentioned. I do HATE when we get mail addressed to Mr. & Mrs. *husband’s name* Frink. They can put Mrs. Hayley Frink, but I am not identified by my husband’s first name! When we were naming our son, I was considering using my maiden name for his middle name, but we decided on Benjamin, so I thought giving him the name Benjamin Moore Frink was a little weird. If I can talk hubby into baby #3, then that child might get my maiden name.

On another note, since we have moved back to my hometown (which I swore I was never, ever, ever do) my old friends’ parents still call me Hayley Moore. Maiden names never die in small hometowns!


177 Design Mom April 26, 2013 at 1:01 pm

So true! When I visit my home town of St. George, Utah, I’m instantly a Stanley again.


178 Kelsey T-Gregorio April 25, 2013 at 8:48 pm

I didn’t really realize I was attached to my last name until I got engaged. I always thought I would take my husbands last name… But I realized that all the boys in the family didn’t carry our last name and all the girls did and I simply couldn’t let our name not be carried on. So, I hyphenated. Legally and professionally my last name is Thomas-Gregorio but I respond to both mrs Thomas and mrs Gregorio


179 Katherine April 25, 2013 at 9:12 pm

I didn’t have reservations about taking my husband’s last name when we got married (except for moving down in the alphabet!), although I was quite sad about it. As glad as I was to inherit my new name, I also “mourned” the loss of my maiden name for quite some time, and sometimes felt like I had metaphorically “left” my 30-year identity behind. Even though my identity is (hopefully not!) all in my name, to me it represented a very strong tie to my parents, whom I adore.

My attitude turned around one day when I was reflecting on my middle name. When I took my husband’s surname, I opted NOT to make my maiden name my new middle name. I kept my original middle name – Lacey – and decided not to include my maiden name at all. I realized that Lacey was a name my parents specially chose for me when I was born. My last name was already in place obviously….but Lacey was a name they loved, talked about together, and decided to give to me. In the end, keeping that name makes me feel tied to my parents in deeper way than my maiden name does – and my current last name, of course, is tied to my husband! It works out, at least for me :)


180 Design Mom April 26, 2013 at 1:01 pm

What a sweet way to think of your name, Katherine!


181 Caroline April 25, 2013 at 10:12 pm

I kept my French surname, it’s part of my identity, especially after 36 years. The only time I wish I’d changed it is when referring to my family as a whole, I wish I could just say “the Murrays”. But in the end it is a good example to my daughter about being yourself, being an individual. So I’ll remain Lemieux aka the best ;)


182 Design Mom April 26, 2013 at 1:00 pm

It would be hard to give up Lemieux!


183 Lauren April 25, 2013 at 11:48 pm

Oh, I love reading everyone’s responses. I kept my own last name. I think I decided when I was 4 or 5 that I would keep my name if I ever got married and I was just stubborn enough to pull it off! I truly never had any desire to change my last name.

Our oldest son has my last name, and our youngest has my husband’s. I was the only child of my parents to have children, and my husband’s family already had lots of boy grandchildren, so our first-born shares my last name. To split the difference, our youngest shares my husband’s surname. It’s slightly complicated, but not a big deal.


184 Alicia April 26, 2013 at 12:42 am

This is something I’m struggling a little bit with at the moment. I kept my own last name when I got married and didn’t add my husband’s name to mine. Now we are expecting our first child and it’s been agreed that she will have my husband’s last name as I didn’t think it was really sustainable/fair for her to have a first and middle name plus two last names. But I’m sad that I won’t have the same last name as my child. I’m now considering adding my husband’s last name to mine on all official documents to lessen the stress in the future (and odd looks) when we go overseas for example.


185 Angela Noelle April 26, 2013 at 1:21 am

I always intended to take my husband’s last name because I like that it makes a family a set. But I too, loved my maiden name. And on top of that, my husband had the name of his father, who was only on the scene for a very short period of time. His mother (the only parent of his I really know, returned to her former family name, as did my husband’s sister. He was never motivated to change, and so we have this left-over last name that belongs to a family heritage I don’t feel very connected to. HOWEVER, I think it is fast becoming what we make it. I hope!


186 Design Mom April 26, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Yes! When I finally settled into the name Blair, it was because I could see that our little family was making an identify for ourselves, and that our definition of Blair was going to be different from any other families with the same name.

I’m not sure I’m explaining that very well… Hopefully it makes sense.


187 susana melo April 26, 2013 at 6:12 am

In Portugal, each member of the couple can adopt the other’s name.
Traditionally, women add the husband’s name(s) to theirs. My mom did it and so she got 6 names in total.
My maiden name has 5 names (2 christian names and 3 family names). I had a lot of work in university to write down all my names in each header page of the exams… :)
I did not take my husband name (he has 3 family names…) neither did he took any of my family names. But I have a couple friend that did: he took her last name and she took his last name. It’s more fair!
And in Portugal, the children receive family names from the mom and dad: my two girls have 3 names in total (few for portuguese traditions): the christian name and two family names – one from me and the other one from dad. And the order can be switched: last surname could be the mother’s name and not the father’s name.
I think it’s nice the family name of the mother not being lost.


188 S April 26, 2013 at 6:36 am

I hyphenated and then we have our kids only his last name.
My mom didn’t change her name when my parents got married and I’ve always had a tiny sadness about the fact we don’t share any part of a name (but I understand it, I didn’t want to change my name either and her last name is much longer than my husbands so a hyphenated name would have been a mouthful).
I’m happy with the decision, for me it’s the best of both worlds, getting to keep my name and still share one with my husband and kids.
I’m forgetful sometimes though even after almost 10 years I occasionally forget to put the second part on forms….


189 Design Mom April 26, 2013 at 12:56 pm

My mother remarried a couple of years after my father died, and she took her new husband’s name. So I no longer share any names with her either. I remember feeling a tiny bit orphaned when it happened.


190 Giselle April 26, 2013 at 8:44 am

I didn’t take my ex-husband’s name and now that I will be remarrying I don’t think I will be taking his either. My maiden name is very unusual with a very interesting history and I don’t want to give it up. I’m also in my late 30′s with a career and degrees all under my name.

However, I live with my fiance, my 11 year old daughter and all of us have a last name. For Holiday cards I use both our last names as our oficcial family name. Traditionally in Colombia, women don’t take their husbands names and kids have both last names, for example your kids last name would be Blair Stanley.


191 Karen April 26, 2013 at 9:17 am

I grew up being teased about my last name. However, in my family’s culture, it has a strong and proud history. So, while on one hand I was proud of it, on the other I hoped to get rid of it some day. I remember specifically saying, “I hope someday to get married to a ‘Jones’ or a ‘Smith’. Well, I got my wish. I married a Smith.

Now, I rather miss my unique name. I once stayed in a hotel and there were 3 other Karen Smiths. I also feel like my last name made me a little bit of a stronger person. I EARNED that last name.


192 Design Mom April 26, 2013 at 12:55 pm

” I also feel like my last name made me a little bit of a stronger person. I EARNED that last name.”

I was never teased about name, but I swear I know exactly what you mean when you say this. I somehow completely relate.


193 Tri April 26, 2013 at 9:27 am

For me it was a fairly easy decision because my mother kept her name when she and Dad married back in the 70s. They’ve been happily married for over thirty years and honestly growing up I thought most people kept their own names. Most of their friends and our extended family did. I knew people changed but I had no idea it was so common!


194 Design Mom April 26, 2013 at 12:54 pm

I love it! What a trip it must have been to realize your circle of friends and family were non-traditional.


195 Emily April 26, 2013 at 9:35 am

I changed my name b/c I liked my husband’s last name better and I was so tired of always spelling my name and people still not understanding it. My sister took her husband’s name, too. It so happens that her name is Claire. And she married someone with the last name Bair.


196 Design Mom April 26, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Claire Bair!


197 Anna April 26, 2013 at 9:38 am

Wow. These comments have been enlightening… It was important to my husband for me to take his name (I wonder why that is?), so since I loved my maiden name, I just hyphenated. Neither name is pronounce-able to the average English speaker. Add to that three German middle names, also apparently very difficult, and… Well, I did the same thing to my daughter, except the hyphenated name.


198 Kristen E April 26, 2013 at 9:44 am

I don’t have my husband’s name, but that was partly a decision and partly convenience. We were toying with lots of options, and ended up deciding that we’d BOTH hyphenate our names. However, we got married in Michigan and lived in California, and we couldn’t get the appropriate forms from where we were at! We had to actually go to the county courthouse in MI to do it all. Our families live in Michigan (and now we live in Indiana), so we’ve been back many times, but we never seem to get around to it. We’ve been married 5 years now, and for a while I went by my hyphenated name, but since it’s not my legal name, I’ve been switching stuff back to just my maiden name.


199 abbeyviolet April 26, 2013 at 9:46 am

I did strongly identify with my maiden name, but loved my middle name even more (it is the same as my maternal grandmother’s so some connection). Also, I happened to get married between undergrad and law school right before moving across the country so the transition was easy. I did want our whole family to have the same last name too. As a bonus, our last name is easy to spell and went well with my name.


200 Rachel Lyn April 26, 2013 at 10:18 am

I had no problem changing my last name to my husbands. I think it was because I was so ready to start a life and new family with him it just made perfect sense to take his name. I think it also helped that although I was giving up my last name, I kept my middle name which is a family name, so it has just as strong a connection to my family as my maiden name.


201 SamYeh April 26, 2013 at 10:31 am

I love my last name, I think my name has a nice ring to it. My husband’s last name sounds like “cow” so I wasn’t excited about taking that name. It wasn’t that important to my husband that I took his last name so I didn’t change it but if it was I would probably have changed it.


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