Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Uneasy About Taking His Name? No Sweat.

The wedding is near and you've got all your ducks in a row. All that's left to do is to finalize your headcount, look over your timelines and go to your last dress fitting. As you're giving your vendor contracts another look, you notice the marriage license application, and out of nowhere, you start feeling uneasy about changing your last name. You're feeling some guilt because love your fiancé and want to take his name, but there is a bit of anxiety about making the big switch.

If this isn't you and you've been waiting patiently to take his name, good for you! One less thing for you to think about during the last month of planning.

If this IS you, and you're feeling a sudden sense of overwhelming attachment to your maiden name, it's totally natural that you feel this way. After all, you've been YOU all your life so don't feel bad.

On average, women are getting married later in life due to putting more focus on their education and pursuing higher power careers. Many women now hold careers as teachers, doctors and lawyers, or are business owners with large brands, where their maiden name is a big part of their professional identity. Some women really like their last name and may decide that they want to keep it regardless of their profession. Whatever the reason for the anxiety, it's a personal choice and it's something you should speak with your future spouse about.

If you're working through this issue and not sure what to do, here are some good options to think about:

Take both
Many women, especially professional women, are deciding to drop their middle name and replace it with their maiden while officially taking his as their last. That way people can still identify them as they did professionally but with an addition.

For example, if the bride's name is Jane Margaret Smith (known professionally as Jane Smith), and her husband-to-be is Mark Johnson, her married name would become Jane Smith Johnson. It has the same ring as her professional name but also identifies her newly married name as well.

This really is the most seamless transition for professional women who legally want to change their name to reflect their husband.

You can Hyphenate
Married women have been doing this for years. You keep your last name and just add his after yours using a hyphen which becomes one long last name. In fact, some men adopt the newly hyphenated name, and when children come along, so do they. The hyphenated name is a completely new identity for the family that was created equally from both sides of the union.

For example, using Jane Margaret Smith and Mark Johnson, her new name would become  
Jane Margaret Smith-Johnson.  Same case for Mark if he decided to legally change his name.

Keep Your Name Professionally But Take His Legally
If you've seen Sex and The City II then you'll probably be familiar with the scene where Standford gives Carrie her Maid-of-Honor corsage with a "Mrs. Carrie Preston" tag on the box. She looks at him puzzled as to why he's labeled it using her married name instead of her professional name she's identified with, "Ms. Carrie Bradshaw". He responds to her that married names are identified in special circumstances, even if it's not the name she identifies herself with.

You can legally take your husband's name but still identify yourself by your maiden name. Many celebrities do this to preserve their public image, especially if they are a household name. The only time you would be known by your husband's name is if you are signing legal documents or anything that has to do with being announced as a legally married couple.

Whatever you decide, make sure it's right for you. Just make sure you talk to your future spouse about it as both of you are entering into this legal union.

For information on how to legally change your name, go here.
For information on applying for your marriage application, go here.

Happy Planning!

1 comment:

  1. Always keep your famous part of name with you whenever going for name change. Learn how to change your name.