I Don’t Care If It’s Old Fashioned—I Still Want To Change My Name When I Get Married

It’s no secret that fewer women than ever before are considering getting married. What’s surprised me when chatting to friends, though, is how few of those that do still want to get married are considering changing their names. On the surface it might seem old-school, but here’s why I still want to take my husband’s last name when I get married:

  1. I’m getting married because I want to be even closer to my partner. Getting married is about joining together with another person. I don’t know about you, but I plan to live in the same house as my husband, eat dinner at the same time, and go on vacation together too. Having the same name is the symbolic representation of the fact that we’re now in this together, for better or worse.
  2. It’s not losing my identity, it’s gaining a new one. My old name was just perfect for me growing up but now that I’m getting married, it just doesn’t represent who I am anymore. I’m not saying that I’m going to undergo a whole personality transplant, but getting married does involve a shift in consciousness that you have to be aware of. I’m not changing my name, I’m taking on a new one that matches this new identity.
  3. When I have children, I want them to feel equally part of both of us. It would break my heart to have children that didn’t share the same name as me. Equally, why would I expect them to take my name and not their dad’s? When I start a family, I want my children to know that their parents are a unit and equally important in their lives. It’s easier for us to feel like a proper family if we all have the same name.
  4. How far can the double-barrelling really go? Okay, so there’s always the argument of double-barrelling family names. I could even keep my own as part of my married name but seriously, if everyone did that, how long before we all have ridiculously long names? I’m not going to cling stubbornly to my maiden name just to make a point and spend 10 minutes longer writing my signature out as a result.
  5. This is the first name I’ll choose for myself. Think about it—how much say have we had in our names up to this point? Absolutely zilch. The name I have now is one that I was given by my parents but my married name represents the choice that I’ve made for myself.
  6. It’s my choice, not my partner’s. Funnily enough, my partner isn’t too fussed about me taking his name and I think that’s important. This is a choice that I’m making because I want to share a name with my partner. It has absolutely nothing to do with submitting my will or independence to someone else.
  7. You can be a feminist and still want to change your name. Wanting to change your name doesn’t make you an old-fashioned feminism hater: you can be a feminist and still like the idea of sharing your partner’s name. For me, feminism is about being treated equally to my partner—and to everyone else in society, for that matter. My last name shouldn’t have any impact on how I’m perceived, and if it does, that’s somebody else’s problem.
  8. If you’re not changing your name, should you be getting married? If changing your name is a fundamental no-go for you, are you sure that marriage is the right choice? Modern women tend to fall into two camps: those that see the old-fashioned nature of marriage as a tradition that’s more symbolic than soul crushing, and those for whom the idea of submitting to their husband’s will is an enormous step backward (even though that’s not really what marriage is all about). If the institutional quirks of marriage just don’t appeal, maybe it isn’t for you.
  9. Keeping your name becomes an unnecessary awkwardness for everyone else. The agony of writing cards to my married female friends and not knowing whether to address it ‘Mr. and Mrs. Smith’ or ‘Mr. Smith and Ms. Jones’ is an inconvenience that I really don’t need in my daily life. Choosing to buck the trend might be more satisfying, but it’ll cause you no end of annoyance when people who aren’t bothered about your personal choices carry on calling you by your husband’s name anyway. By changing my name, I’m saving myself and the rest of the world that particular bother.
  10. I’m proud to be with my guy, so why wouldn’t I want to share his name? I’m getting married because I’ve found someone that I love as if he were family and I want to show the world how committed I am to him forever. Sharing his name is testimony to this and the commitment that we are both making, and I can’t wait.
Isobel is a freelance blogger and writer for hire specialising in content for millennials who haven't quite got it together yet (i.e. herself). When not glued to her laptop, she enjoys eating cheese, doing yoga and spending time with family and friends.