did you change your name?

Just been thinking a bit lately about the old get-married-change-your-last-name trick that us girls have to navigate.  If you’re a girl, and you’re married, did you change your name?  And if you’re a dude and you’re married, did your lady change hers?  And if not, what happened?  I’d love to know.

I didn’t take Mr. Lovely’s last name.  I did sign the papers that make it a possibility one day, rather than closing the matter off completely.  But I don’t know — something about changing my last name didn’t quite feel right.  It didn’t have anything whatsoever to do with my most adorable husband.  It wasn’t even some lofty feminist statement.  When you boil it down, for me, it’s this:  I’ve been Chelsea Costa for 30 years, and I like it.  I like my name, and I like that my initials are C.C.  I like how it feels to write and how it looks (not to mention that professionally, my name is already my brand).  I never correct anyone if I’m called by my husband’s last name; it doesn’t bother me at all.  It’s just that nowadays, I’m not sure that there’s a real reason for me to change it.

So I’m kind of curious what everyone else thinks!  It’s an interesting concept, no?  Does anyone have a husband who changed his name to yours?  How about hyphenates?  Let’s talk about it.

And by the way, remember that pretty photo from the top of the post?  Here’s what happened right before it.  Bahaha.  xoxo

26 thoughts on “did you change your name?”

  1. for me, it is more about becoming a family unit. merging & joining forces. And down in those trenches of life, I’m proud to have the same last name as my husband. To be united in name, just felt right. felt strong. A new chapter a new start.

    My maiden name? It was my dad’s family name. Never really felt connection to it as part of who I was/my identity. I had no special attachment or fondness to it. No doubt that played into my having no interest in keeping it as well.

  2. When we marry, my fiancé is going to take my name as his, and I’m going to keep mine. He likes my last name and dislikes his own (too short, too common), so that’s his motivation for that… I don’t object, since I like my name as well and am also the last of my generation to carry it, so it’s a matter of continuing the family line as well 🙂

  3. Of course it varies from country to country. In Sweden it is not anything unusual to not take each others name. It probably happens more often then not but nobody frowns on it either way. A couple of friends took a completely new last name when they got married. Or rather they brought one back to life that had existed in their family some generations ago. I liked it. I guess I would like to see my name carry on when I find a wife, but it wouldn’t really bother me that much if it didn’t. I might even rekindle an old name as a new start too. Have a couple of interesting ones I can use.

  4. I’m getting married in October, and I am changing my name, although I’ll admit I am a little hesitant about it! My name is Mary..and my husband-to-be’s last name is Hayes. It not the most exciting name! But I’m still excited about it nevertheless.

  5. I’m not married, but I’ve always thought that I will definitely keep my last name. Emily Elliott is just so…me. I can’t imagine being anything else! Especially since, like you, I like the double letter initials:)

  6. Speaking from experience, I can say that once kids get into the picture it gets confusing I feel like I have to explain the situation everytime we see a new doctor or go to an new activity. Maybe naming a baby Costa Foy would solve the issue. 🙂 You are such a C.C. I can’t picture you as anything but…. Xoxo

  7. I did the exact same thing as you…signed the papers to make it possible if one day i want to, but i have not changed my name not for any other reason than because i just like my name and don’t want to change it….and i don’t correct anyone if they use my husband’s name either!!!

  8. Before getting engaged, my husband (half jokingly) would say he wouldn’t marry me unless I took his last name. I always knew I would, but hearing him say that really confirmed for me, that marrying him meant more than being his wife, it meant becoming a part of him. I LOVE signing my new last name, and hearing someone call me Mrs. Cowley…it makes my heart skip a beat. When we have children, we will all have the same last name…and that is really important to the both of us. To each his own–as long as you love one another, your last name can’t change that 🙂

  9. when i get married my name will change from kelly musgraves to kelly sutton. i feel like ‘sutton’ fits me so much better! plus, kelly sutton rhymes with kelly button (the name of my blog) haha. another good thing about the change is that when i was 17 and i started my first business, i knew i was going to be married one day and could possibly change my name. so i went with my first & middle name to be safe! i’m glad i did because after i get married really all i’ll need is a new email address. 😛 i like this topic! xo!

  10. I wanted to take my husband’s name, but I didn’t want to give mine up, either, so I chose to hyphenate. (I had hoped my husband would be willing to hyphenate, too, but he has a philosophical argument against passing on a hyphenated name.) It’s worth it to me, but it is a hassle when people need my name over the phone. People have problems spelling both of our names, even more so his than mine. I’ve learned to warn people before I give my last name, “It’s hyphenated,” so they can prepare to process two names. And I’ve changed my signature from Jennifer lastname to J. lastname-lastname.

  11. Though I really just wanted my name to remain the same, my husband was hurt by this. So I just tagged his on to the end of mine. I’m the first female in my family to accomplish a lot of things, I felt happy and proud to keep my last name. Now I get to. It made for a good compromise. Unfortunately though it also makes for a very long signature :(.

  12. I haven’t legally changed my name, yet, either. I did the same as you, and signed paperwork that will allow me to change my name whenever I decide to go through with it. Only, my name will be hyphenated. Like Celia, my husband really wanted me to have his name. (I was awfully surprised, because he doesn’t seem traditional at all.) His last name sounds odd, to me, with my first name, though, and I didn’t want to give up my maiden name. If we ever have kids, I’ll definitely change it so we all have the same name. Until then, I’m happy to keep my name as is.

  13. My family threatens that I will be dead to them if I don’t keep my last name.

    Kidding. They don’t do that. But I’ve long-pondered this idea and have often felt, for some reason, that changing my name would be sort of the final cutting-myself-off from my family. I know that’s not true at all and that my family will of course always remain a HUGE part of my life, but I have felt that way. We also have no boys, so there’s also the sentimental thought of “who will carry on this name?”

    I dunno. I guess when the time comes I’ll see.

  14. SUCH an interesting topic – and there is no wrong or right answer. For me, I took my husbands name. I understand where you are coming from. I looooved my maiden name. I loved that that was who I was. I was (and still have) proud of it. When I got married, there was a new “me” beginning. The new me that is now also a wife. I loved taking my husbands name because it really solidifies a commitment. It was exciting and I am so proud to carry my husbands name because we are each other’s #1 family now.

  15. For me it was easy: I got both options!

    Back in Mexico, where I am from and where we got married, I kept my name. In Mex we use 2 last names -paternal and maternal-, which I always liked, especially since so much of who I am is thanks to my parents. So from the beginning I planned on keeping it and my husband was down with that. For him it was not a big deal, he actually likes that I kept my name.

    Now, he is from the US, so when we did our paperwork I did change it for no other reason than to make the immigration process easier, what with spelling and all.

    We both really like our family names and didn’t feel a need to change them, so if anything, we’ll merge it down the road to reflect the cultural diversity we have going on. And if kids come, then we will for sure merge and give them both last names -though not hyphenated- 🙂

    Fun fact, in Mexico the tradition is that the girl drops her maternal name and adds “de” + her husband’s.
    Ex. Jane Doe Smith -> Jane Doe (dad’s last name) Smith (mom’s last name)
    marries Joe Black and becomes Jane Doe de Black.

    “de” is “of”, for belonging, which may sound a bit wrong -women are no possession- but I actually find it kind of romantic 🙂

  16. I L♥VE all of these responses. 🙂 I added my last name to my middle name (an un-hyphenated hyphenated middle name, legally!) and I love it. I have been Kristina Wing for thirty+ years, and I will still be Kristina Wing in 30+ more years… I just added a little bit of Plattner, since I added a husband!

  17. You guys are so cute! I’m undecided about the last name thing, but I’m leaning toward keeping mine – which is a surprise considering I spent all of junior high and high school LOATHING it! 🙂

  18. Dear Chelsea,

    What an interesting question! I totally understand your point, as I live with my name already 35 yrs and got married in November and my husband wanted to take my name. I was so happy! We wanted to have one name to feel as a unit and not to have all these problems when e.g. getting a child and the woman being in hospital and you have to show the prove of marriage… his parents were a little bit surprised, but accepted his choice. Whatsoever, we are both really happy about our “new together” name.

  19. i am in the process of the name change, but i’m being pretty lazy about it. so far i changed my name at the bank and on our life insurance (only bc the insurance company offered)…the social security office and DMV seem daunting. plus i have to take time off to do it! i thought about keeping my name, but it’s important to me that when we have kids we all have the same last name. but maybe if i had a brand or business i would reconsider!

  20. I took my husband’s name, because I felt like if I was going to give my whole self to someone, stopping at a ring just wasn’t enough. I love my maiden name and will always love it, but I have two brothers to carry it on for the family. The funny part about changing my name was how adamant I became about keeping my middle name, people kept asking me why didn’t want to drop my middle name and keep my maiden that way. I felt like that was the most absurd question of all. My middle name is a family name that is now only carried on by one female in each generation and it has been that way for three generations. I think getting married is such an eye opening time in someone’s life, you’re forced to learn so much about yourself.

  21. I did change my name to my husband’s, but I didn’t like my maiden name. We’ve been married now for 16 years and have two kids. It seems to make things so much easier and apparent that we are a family (not that different last names makes you less of a family, but you definitely have to answer many more questions with kids).
    With all the divorce and blended families, it seems like having the same last names makes it obvious.
    ~Michelle

  22. I just wanted to write about my cousin, her husband & their unusual take on this topic. When they married, both took on each others name & hyphenated both surnames. So both he & her, along with the children have the hyphenated names. Now I’m not really sure how I feel about this, but her reasoning was to keep her maiden name in existence.
    My grandfather changed his rather ethnic surname to a more user friendly version about the time of WWII. He only had one son who then had two daughters(my cousins), so really when you think about it the surname she is keeping isn’t really the family name at all.
    I think its just a personal thing, everyone has differing views & each person should be respected for the choice they eventually make. I myself was married(changed my name), separated (changed it back), am now in the process of a divorce & am happily engaged to marry my sweetheart in September.
    P.S. I do plan to change my name again. 😀

  23. Taking his name ment having the same surname as my children. And it ment my dialect-pronounciation of the ‘G'(the first letter of my maidenname) wasn’t prone anymore, his (= now our) name startes with a ‘H’ ;). Not the main reason, but nice in the process!

  24. I’m not getting married any time soon, but I love my last name and would never change it. My parents named each of there kids with a different last name ever though we all have the same mother and father. they just did it for the fun of it and they thought that theirs were too boring. It has never been a problem and has always made me feel so unique.

  25. I just got married last October…I’m a doctor and I still took my husband’s last name. I like the idea of being a family with the same name, especially when we have children, and silly me I actually like when people at the hospital realize we’re married. It somehow brings me closer to him and I really enjoy that. I do miss my maiden name but I don’t feel like my identity has been lost…even within the medical and research world, I’m still the same person and proud of this new little change.

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