DID YOU / WILL YOU CHANGE YOUR LAST NAME?

I know it’s not technically Wedding Wednesday but I thought this question would make for a fascinating conversation: did you/will you change your name upon getting married? It’s a question I thought a lot about leading up to our wedding last month and I’d love to hear where all of you shake out. Here’s where my head is, if you’re curious…

design darling wedding photos

Sneak peek of our wedding photos by Cameron & Kelly Studio! And a sneak peek of my wedding shoes 😉

I’ve decided to keep my maiden name professionally but take Will’s last name legally. Will’s last name is such a mouthful (Beuttenmuller — thirteen letters!) and since both my blog URL and my Instagram handle feature my (easy, five-letter) maiden name, it will definitely be easier to continue going by Mackenzie Horan for all things blog-related.

My mom kept her maiden name (Stanley-Brown — lengthy and hyphenated!) for most of my childhood and my siblings and I were completely accustomed to opening mail addressed to Mr. Brown or fielding calls on the land line (#tbt) asking for Stanley. She’d chosen to keep her maiden name because so many of her colleagues at Ralph Lauren referred to her by her initials, BSB. But when she switched careers and went back to school to become a registered nurse halfway during my high school years, she decided to finally take my dad’s last name… and immediately wondered what had taken her so long! She found it much easier not to have to spell her last name all the time (“Stanley-hyphen-brown-like-the-color”) and to have the same last name as my dad and her kids.

While I’m trading a relatively easy last name for one that’s, well, not so easy, I do like the symbolism of having the same last name as Will and the ease of having the same last name as our future children. I’ll also be using my maiden name as my middle name to cut down on any confusion.

Did you (or will you) take your partner’s last name? What are your thoughts on the subject? I’d say most of my married girlfriends have taken their husbands’ last names, but most of my guy friends (and my husband and brothers) say they wouldn’t mind if their wife decided to keep her maiden name. I’d love to hear what you think! (And if you have any tips to make the legal name change process less daunting, know that I am all ears!)

P.S. For those of you asking, I will be sharing all our wedding photos (rehearsal dinner, welcome party, ceremony, reception, and wedding video!) in a full “wedding week” beginning Monday, November 13. And then I will do a “honeymoon week” the following week with all the details on where we stayed, what we packed, etc. for our trip through South Africa, Tanzania, and Kenya. I could not be more excited to share everything with you guys!!!

238 thoughts on “DID YOU / WILL YOU CHANGE YOUR LAST NAME?

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  1. I always find this topic interesting! It took me almost two years after I got married to change my name and it was because I just wasn’t ready to deal with the work and it wasn’t that important to me. I can’t tell you the amount of people who had mean things to say about me not changing my name right away from “What kind of man allows that?” to “Why did you even bother to get married then?”, “You two should have just kept dating if you weren’t going to change your name” and my favorite “You’re not really a family then and your marriage isn’t solidified until you have his name.”. I laugh now thinking about those comments now but they used to really drive me crazy that people could be so closed minded! When I did finally get around to changing my name I kept my last name as my middle name, so now I’ve got First name, two middle names, last name which can be a pain at times but I liked the idea of still having my last name also. It never bothered my husband either way and he still sometimes refers to me by my maiden name and so do many of my friends.

  2. This is such a hot-button topic for some people, and like so many other things, there’s no right answer – it’s completely a personal decision that I think you have to make based on how you feel! (I think even letting your spouse influence you with this isn’t helpful.) I got engaged when I was 23 and married at 25. I always planned on taking my husband’s last name, but I think I needed to know that he wasn’t the type of person who would INSIST on me taking his name – I wanted to arrive at that decision on my own. You’re the person that has to live with it hopefully for the rest of your life, so you should make sure you’re completely happy with it! At one point I asked my now-husband if he would be offended if I didn’t take his name, and he said that if I was older and more established in my career that he wouldn’t push me to change my name, but because we were young and had nothing I might as well take it now haha. I knew he was sort of kidding but it made sense to me. I have friends that have gotten their higher degrees in the medical field and they said they really couldn’t change their names because they needed to match what was on their diplomas. So for that kind of thing, it makes sense.

    Also, my maiden name and my last name both start with S and have seven letters, so the change seemed minimal to me (and frankly, a lot of other people barely noticed). I didn’t want to hyphenate because it would be a lot of S’s and sound very lispy haha. I also didn’t want to take my last name as my middle name for the same reason – plus I really like my current middle name! The thing I had a harder time adjusting to rather than the name change was being called Mrs. ______. Being 25 and called Mrs. anything just sounded so old to me – I always felt like someone was addressing my mother-in-law!

  3. Late to commenting and reading this, but this is something that I have thought about SO MUCH. My last name is kind of unique (Spoo) and I have many friends who exclusively use it as their name for me. My sister and I are actually so attached to it that we actually both got matching tattoos of it on our ankles! With that said though, I personally have much more traditional thoughts about taking my future husband’s name. (Not to say I don’t completely respect other views and am even fascinated by other people’s reasons why they choose what they chose). But because of my attachment and the fact that by the time I am married some day my career will be that much further along I think I will add my maiden name as a second name legally, and professionally go by the three names of first-maiden-married.

  4. I took my husband’s last name. It was not something I was necessarily passionate about, but happened to be the only thing my husband did have a strong preference on during our wedding planning/marriage planning period. I actually prefer his last name just because it is simpler to say and flows nicer with my first name.

    BUT I will day that I made him go with me to social security office and DMV to sit in the lines to get the legal documentation. 🙂

    1. I want to add that I do HATE when I get mail labeled Mrs. “My Husband’s First and Last” which is very traditional, but to me lends on air of the man owning the woman.

  5. I’ve enjoyed browsing the comments section! I never thought about some of the reasons people gave to keep your name, e.g. already having a career under your maiden name. I also learned that you can combine names (without hyphenating) in America, which seems pretty fun to me! I live in Germany and three of my friends are getting married next year. Two of the couples have decided on having the woman’s last name. They took into consideration what name each of them liked better and thought would go better with their respective first names. My boyfriend wants to take my last name (Engel) because it translates to ‘angel’ and because it is easier to spell than his. Although it is pretty accepted in my generation for the man to change bis name, his parents didn’t approve of the idea, which i think is a shame!

  6. I kept my name. I knew early on that if I were going to marry, I’d be keeping my own name. For me, much of it is tied up with having a more equal partnership (just my own opinion). Professionally, I’m Dr. XX–not Mrs. or Ms. and earned my degree before getting married. It didn’t seem fair that his name would get my title. Finally, I have a cool last name–way cooler than my husband’s.

  7. So I just read the entire comment section and it was not what I expected at all. I’m having a hard time accepting that apparently taking the husbands name is still the norm and everything else requires justification. I think the husband taking his wife’s name is equally worth the consideration. Also, babies aren’t born with their fathers name attached to them, so the “I want to have the same name as my kids” argument doesn’t count for me. Please do not take this the wrong way, this certainly has a lot to do with growing up in a different culture (Germany). I’m also surprised by the amount of people who avoid having more than four names. Here it’s not unusual to be given three or more (first) names at birth plus hyphenated last names are very common.

    1. Hi Amelie! I’m sorry that was your takeaway — I actually think there were a wide variety of viewpoints expressed and tons of justifications offered for every possible decision (i.e. “I’m a traditionalist” for those who took their husbands’ names). I’ll admit I wasn’t as familiar with the concept of men taking their wives’ last names, but I think that’s the whole point of this post: to ask a question and to learn from everyone who was willing to answer it. I appreciate you sharing your cultural experience and hope you can find value in opposing viewpoints. What feels right, natural, or commonplace to you might be totally foreign to someone else, and I hope others find the conversation as eye-opening as I have!

    2. Hi Amelie,
      I totally with everything you’ve said here. Especially in regards to the children’s last names. Why is it automatically assumed they will have their fathers name? There are so many options in terms of naming. I remember reading an article where a newly married couple decided to merge both of their last names and create something entirely new for them and their future children, I thought that was awesome!

  8. I’m nowhere near close to married, but I know that if/when the time comes, I wouldn’t change my last name. I totally believe that it’s up to every woman/couple/family to choose, it’s her right, and I think it’s great we’re at a point in history where it’s a discussion, not a presumption! But personally, I can’t get past the somewhat sexist history of the tradition. It makes me sad that it’s always presumed that if someone will change, it’ll be the woman, never the man. What if she’s the last whatever-last-name in her family? And the man has a ton of siblings to carry on the name? Or simply, what if the woman just has a nicer last name? I’ve heard a lot of people mention the kids thing in the past, but why can’t a child have their mother’s last name, not their fathers? Like I said, I completely believe it’s up to the person/couple etc, and having the freedom to make the choice is what really matters at the end of the day, and I totally get the desire to feel share a name with your husband slash why the tradition has stuck around, but I wish the discussion was a little more open in our society.

    However, my mom did what you are doing (except she used her married name in professional settings, too!) and she’s been happy with it. She said it’s nice to have something in your name that links you to both your parents and your husband/children. (But of course, whatever someone is comfortable with is the right choice for them!)

    1. Hi Allison! Thanks for your comment. I totally hear where you’re coming from and hope that the title of my post makes it clear that I was asking people what they decided for themselves as opposed to presuming that they were all handling this the same way as one another (or as I am!). I think you’ll find that there are a ton of women in the comments who agree with you, whether because a person is the last woman in their family or because she and her partner prefer her last name to his. And others even said that while they reject the patriarchal implications of taking their husband’s last name, they preferred making that choice to keeping the patriarchal name they inherited from their fathers, whom they did not choose. That point was really eye-opening for me! I’m glad you found the comments thought-provoking. Thanks for sharing your two cents!

  9. While I respect every woman’s personal choices I never wanted to ever change my name. I am an only child and I’ve also loved my short (4letter) last name. It “goes with” my first name and Growing up I loved women who had a different last name then their husband. I thought it was cool and independent and modern. My husband also has a great last name and we now have 2 kids with his last name but I LOVE the fact that I have a different last name than all of them. It makes me feel like a bad ass cool chick. I also had a professional career with my name and it felt weird to change my name. Congrats on your wedding and can’t wait to see the beautiful photos. The best to you both on a lifetime of happiness!!

  10. I loved reading everyone’s comments! I have a very long, difficult-to-pronounce last name, and my boyfriend (who I’d hope to marry!) has a very short, 4 letter last name. It would make it easier on me to not always be spelling/correcting my name, and I do think it will make it easier once we have kids to all have one last name.

    While my last name is so difficult, I would love it keep it as I am pretty attached to it. I’m not, however, attached to my middle name at all (it’s not a family name or anything super important) so I will probably make my maiden name my middle name and drop my middle altogether.

    Loved everyone’s different (and well thought out/educated) responses!

  11. I struggled with changing my name. I was a little older when my husband and I married and was established in my career with my maiden name. Ultimately, I decided to add my maiden name as a second middle name and take my husband’s last name. Professionally, I go by my first name, maiden name and married last name. This has been a smooth transition for my professional contacts, since my maiden name and the corresponding familiarity remains, along with the acknowledgement of my marriage.

  12. I added his last name to mine so I now have 4 names: Anna Jean Wagner Schliep. Sometimes that’s confusing to people, but it’s really not that complicated and I can just use Wagner when it’s easier (i.e. when giving my name to a receptionist for an appointment or something). Professionally and personally I generally use both last names but my work email defaults to just Schliep for some reason. Not having the exact same last name does make our address stamp a bit longer, but that’s fine.

    Sometimes I wish I hadn’t changed it because I don’t care for the idea of only the women changing her name and on principle I didn’t really want to change it, plus Wagner is somehow so much easier than Schliep. I would’ve preferred for us to have both double barreled or hyphenated our last names, as one couple I know did, but my husband is more traditional than I had thought on that. Ultimately though, having both names works for me. We’re not sure what we’ll do with kids yet – I’ve mentioned I’d like them to have both.

    The double barreling has made the name change process a bit easier because while I still had to change it everywhere legally (a huge PITA), I have had no issues not changing it on my credit card, library card, etc. since it still includes part of my name.

    1. That’s a great point that keeping your maiden name in there somewhere makes the name change process a little easier. At least I hope it will for me! I’d love to hear what you decide once kids are on the horizon. It’s been so fascinating to read everyone’s different takes!

  13. I love that you posted about this! It has always been in my head that I will change my name to his when the time came (make it simple for family/future kids/mail/HR). My last name is slightly boring to me and his isn’t, that I will change my name when we get married next year. My dilemma, small potatoes I know, I have fallen in love my monogram. It simple and symmetrical with my last name as the middle initial of the monogram LMJ, just think LL Bean boat & tote with their Flared style. My Fiancé’s last name it begins with an L and I will have to continue as I am pre-last name change or come up with a new way of working my monogram LJL /LLJ. With much larger issues regarding name changes (we are going out of the country for our honeymoon – lovely doc changes) I find it silly that I am worrying about a monogram!

    I was wondering though, did you change yours before your trip abroad?

    1. Haha I said to Will last night that I love that the topic of monograms has been introduced in the comments section — the perfect combination of style and substance if you ask me! And no, I didn’t change a thing before our honeymoon as we left less than two weeks after our wedding. Now it’s a not-so-fun project for me to tackle now that we’re back 🙁

  14. Hi Mackenzie! I have literally just gone through the same thing in the last few weeks with taking my husband’s last name. We got married a few weeks ago. For most people in my circle of concern, this was a very ‘no-brainer” decision. I did, however, have one woman say to me that they were surprised I was choosing a practice they themselves believe is outdated. My reflection and response on it to them was this; I did not get to choose my maiden name. It was bestowed on me as a baby with my fathers last name. As a grown woman, making her own decisions, this is the name I actually am able to choose for myself, which feels kind of empowering. She hadn’t thought about it from that angle before, and I don’t think a lot of people have! I feel lucky that I have the choice, and I’m very happy with my decison to take my husbands name.

    1. Congratulations to you fellow newlyweds! And good for you for pushing back on someone’s unsolicited advice. I think it’s amazing that all of us get to make this choice for ourselves, exactly how we see fit. I’m glad you’re happy with your decision!

  15. Just absolutely love this post and conversation. I have a lot of friends who’ve chosen to hyphenate or keep their maiden names. While I understand and even applaud their independent spirits, I love the cohesion and identity I grew up with in my family. We were “The Olivers.” While that means I still feel attached to my great family name, I want my children to grow up with the same identity and sense of oneness in our new family. I’m getting married in two weeks and so look forward to being one of “The Bowmans” for the rest of my life (God-willing, much longer than I was ever an Oliver!) 🙂

  16. I’m so glad we are all having this conversation–it means we have a choice! I did not change my last name, but I really didn’t have a logical reason, except that when it came down to it I just kind of felt… yucky about it? You have to go with your gut!

    I’m surprised that there are so many women doing one thing professionally and another thing socially or personally. For me, I think it would be weird to have one name in the office and then come home and have a whole different name. But, I’m a lawyer, so I wonder if this is different in different fields, maybe ones with better work-life balance?! A friend of mine who’s an optometrist does this, so she’s Dr. K at the office and Mrs. G-K at home. Presumably she doesn’t take a lot of work home with her! I want to follow up with you in like 30 years to see if one name has won out over time, or if you still like having the separation between personal and professional. Expect an email in 2047 ;).

    1. I totally get what you’re saying — particularly as the line between personal and professional is increasingly blurred for me as a blogger. But that’s also what my mom did for most of my childhood and I never thought twice about it! Just goes to show that no one solution works for everyone. I’ll keep an eye out for your email 🙂

  17. I kept my last name. I’ve been married for nearly 13 years and I can’t imagine not being a Tibbetts. My reasons for keeping my name now are slightly different from the reasons I kept my name when we got married, but I’ve never thought twice about it. I can see the attraction to have matching names and my perspective might be different if we had kids, but it was just never in the cards for me. I’m my own person and I don’t feel like my husband and I need to have matching last names to be a family unit. We often combine our last names as a way to prevent people from having to use both of our whole names, but that is obviously very casual and a little bit silly.
    Not having the same last name does make monogramming much less fun. 😉

    1. Thanks for sharing your perspective! It’s interesting to hear from someone who doesn’t plan to have children — I wonder if I would change my name if I didn’t hope to start a family of my own. I’m happy you’re happy with your choice!

  18. I got married last year and definitely changed my name! Mostly for future children so that I have the same name as them. I also simply enjoy the huge symbolic change that it is to be Mrs _____ and it reminds me everyday of the wonderful commitment I made.

  19. I love this topic! I always knew I would take my husbands name as I’m a traditionalist and like the idea of our family having a ‘team name’ so to speak. In Australia it’s really uncommon to change your maiden name to your middle name and drop your original middle name, when I explain this is what I’m thinking of doing people are so confused! I’m excited to go from KED (I’m Elizabeth too!) to KDS and to introduce people to my new name when they read my honeymoon out of office reply!

    1. I’m glad you’re making the choice that feels best to you, even if it’s not as common in Australia! It sounds like there are a lot of people (myself included) making the same choice, so you’re definitely not alone. 🙂

  20. I took my husband’s name and have hyphenated professionally. I’m an academic so often publish articles in journals etc and needed a way to maintain a continuity of work – especially as I went from having a unique surname (just me!!) to, well, a less unique one. I can’t imagine not having the same name as him or our future children but I do occasionally miss my old name – I still have to spell my new one out so nothing changed on that front! The important thing is that you do what is right for YOU, and it sounds like you are. A lifetime of happiness to you and your new husband! Natalie xx

    1. If I’ve learned one thing in the 36 hours since publishing this post, it’s that the right solution is truly different for every woman and couple. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Natalie! 🙂

  21. My fiance will take my last name as it is easier to spell and we just both like it better. Didn’t your husband consider taking your name? From your post it sounds as if that was never a question! Why?

    1. Hi Malina! I talked about this with another commenter named Nell so I welcome you to read that conversation. It truly never crossed our minds and this conversation has been highly educational for both of us! I don’t judge you or your husband for taking your last name and I ask that you do the same for other commenters who have made different choices. Thank you for tuning in!

  22. I love that each commenter (including myself) has unique reasoning for how their names changed, or didn’t, after marriage. My favorite part is that not one person said, “ I changed my last name to my husbands because it’s what you do.” Names are so personal, and everyone has personal reasons for their decision. You’ve cultivated such a thoughtful group of readers, cheers to you!

    1. I totally agree with you! I had no idea people would have such strong opinions on the subject but I’ve been so pleasantly surprised at how respectfully everyone has expressed their diverse opinions. Thank you for being part of this articulate, intelligent group! 🙂

  23. I changed my last name legally after around a year or so of being married. It took me FOREVER because there are so many steps to take. I actually ended up using HitchSwitch and it helped me so much. If I would have known about it sooner I would have had my name changed within 2 months, I highly recommend it!!!

  24. After thinking I would not change my name when I was younger, I decided to when I got married. I, too, use my maiden name as my middle name. I prefer to use all three names, but not everyone follows that. Some credit cards have all three names and some say it won’t fit. My given middle name is the same letterr has my married last name so my monogram went from JEA to JAE. I like still using my maiden name as a middle name, so it does not feel like it’s gone and I like sharing the same last name as my husband and seven year old.

  25. My husband said he wouldn’t marry me unless I agreed to change my last name. Now I know this makes him sound awful but this is literally the only thing he had insisted on in our ten year relationship so I knew it had to really matter to him. I changed it and now seven years with a baby on the way I couldnt be more happy I did. It makes us a family and really allowed for us to to become a family.

    Also my maiden name was St. Pierre and let me tell you a period space is a computers nightmare so I am sure a hyphen would also be awful which did help me feel comfortable with my decision. I know people don’t think about this part but you have no idea how often your last name is used to look your infor up with

  26. I decided to change my name right after we got married. My maiden name is very long and poiish and while my husbands name is also ten letters and very greek/hard to pronounce, there was something special about taking his! I want to have the same name as our children and while that’s a ways off, I thought it’d be easier to make the change sooner than later. I would suggest using the company hitchswitch.com. They make it all very easy! I don’t have a middle name thus have never had a three letter monogram, so I’m using my maiden initial for that!

  27. I hated my maiden name which was SWARTZ. I couldn’t wait to change my name to something I didn’t have to spell! Cameron Clark it’s snappy! These days I respect women and whatever they want to do. My husband is a teacher and I will say that it makes life a little bit easier when the parents’ name is the same. That said,I think we are all very adept at various last name situations—
    Whatever goes. At the time I got married my website URL was CameronSwartz.com and my professional cutline from photo journalism was also “photo by Cameron Swartz” but I still decided to change it! I’m glad I did because I really love having the same last name as my kids.

  28. I’m a sucker for traditions so I couldn’t wait to change my name! 😂 Becoming our own little family with my husband, and two becoming one was so special to me! I don’t at all feel like my identity has been taken away, I’m a confident, independent woman but for me it’s almost fun to belong to a team that includes my husband and our kiddos under the same last name umbrella .. But I totally agree with you about keeping the maiden name for the business part. You already have something established and are known by that name, changing things around might just confuse the followers or someone that wants to find you a year or two later (for business purposes) ..

    1. I appreciate your support even though we made different choices in the end! That’s what I value most about this conversation: different women making different decisions coming together to voice support and understanding for one another’s choices. Thanks for chiming in!

  29. I’m doing exactly the same thing. I’m a writer and all of my bylines are under my maiden name! I don’t want to lose all of that connection. But legally, I took my husbands name and actually now have two middle names, legally- my original middle name and my maiden name!

    I think whatever a woman wants to do with her name is totally her right! 🙂

  30. My maiden name was very hard to pronounce so I always figured that I would change it. That being said, everyone that knows me was very surprised that I changed my last name when I got married, including my mom who had changed hers! I’m very big on personal empowerment and I think people see it as a changing of identity to be more in line with your husband. My biggest reason was that I want the same last name as my (eventual) children. The secondary reason is that I’m a lawyer and I thought that my new last name would be much more approachable for clients–they can actually pronounce my last name now!

    1. Also I totally went through the process of looking at what my monogram would be before making the final decision. I went from SLW to SLO which is pretty much the same “word”! Haha

    2. I think it’s great that you’re setting the example among people who know you that you can change your last name and still be personally empowered and professionally successful. Thanks for sharing your story!

  31. I changed my name when I got married to my husbands and was happy but now that we have kids I’m even happier about it! Personally I can’t imagine not having the same last name as my kids 😊

      1. Oh and my married initials became ASS which make an interesting conversation piece since I have lots of monogrammed things haha

  32. I got married four years ago at the age of 34. I like my family history and I feel I’m well settled into my name. I didn’t change my name. And after four degrees, it felt silly to change my name after everything I’ve done as “me”. I thought about hyphenating but then it would be 14 letters long. I like my name, it’s who I am. I don’t even use his name socially. When mail is address to me with just Sarah and no suite number the mailman still knows it’s my mail. If someone uses Mrs. Sarah Husband Last Name with no suite number, it’s returned to sender. The only person who addresses me not by name is my mother in law. Where I’m from you can just assume your husband’s name without legally changing your name and it’s a fairly easy process. If you do it within 6 months of your wedding the process is free. And then if you want to assume a married name anytime after it’s just showing your marriage certificate for a the substitution.

  33. I haven’t officially decided, though I’m leaning towards taking his last name and making my maiden name my middle as I don’t have a legal middle name anyway (the struggle of not being able to have those cute 3-letter monograms is real). I’ve also considered making my mom’s last name my legal middle name instead. Amongst my friends it’s pretty uncommon for the woman to take her husband’s name.

    I’ve always looked forward to the opportunity to change my name (heh) though my fiancé’s name isn’t super exciting—Plummer. I suggested both of us changing our names to Plum and he wasn’t into it 😬 but many of his friends call him by his last name so it’s a bigger part of his identity. Also have joked about becoming “Plumher.”

    1. Oh, forgot to mention that I JUST renewed my passport, with double pages and everything, and it’s probably the most serious deterrent to actually changing it 😂

  34. I LOVE this topic! So much love for all these ladies who have commented. It was quite a stir in my (new!) husband’s family when I made the decision not to change my name. It was something I had never really thought about before we were engaged, but honestly I am really comfortable with my decision. I am a physician and always felt like I identified with “Dr. MyLastName” rather than “Dr. HisLastName” and couldn’t see myself walking into a patient’s room and introducing myself as the latter. It would have been a headache (with regards to medical licensing etc) to change my name legally but not professionally so I just decided not to change it at all. My husband was a little bummed at first, and argued that it would be difficult for our kids to not have the same last name as me, but I grew up with my mother who used her maiden name after my parents got divorced and then my step-father’s name and it was honestly never a problem. I have no issue with people calling us “The HisLastNames” or “Mrs. HisLastName” etc but am really proud to keep my last name and hope that it inspires my future children to keep theirs! As I said above, my husband’s family wasn’t thrilled but I think they have come to accept it.

    I love your decision to keep your name professionally but change legally! Your wedding looked SO beautiful and I absolutely adore your blog. Congratulations again and thanks for starting such a fantastic discussion!

    1. Pooja, thank you so much for sharing! I’m sorry you were met with some backlash from your husband’s family but I’m proud of you for standing your ground and becoming Dr. YourLastName — you go girl! 🙂

  35. All the girls in my family have a family surname as a middle name, so I was reluctant to give that up. Further, changing my last name from my maiden to my married brought a completely new assumed identity. I decided to go with four names (first, middle, maiden, married). It’s a mouthful to have four names but worth it. The only snafu for me was that NJ won’t allow four names on a driver’s license, so I had to hyphenate. Only there! Aggravating, but ok. Can be a problem when traveling since all my IDs aren’t the same.

    1. That’s crazy that your driver’s license won’t let you have all four! I wonder if they’ll cut off Mackenzie Horan Beuttenmuller for having too many characters haha. I also love that you and your sisters have the same middle name!

  36. It took a full business day of walking all over downtown Dallas for me to legally change my name. I chose to keep my middle name as a middle name because there’s a lot of double name use in Southeast Texas where I’m from, and I couldn’t imagine not being “Rachal Elizabeth” anymore. I was sad to see my maiden name go, but I still use it when having a personal item monogrammed. As a fellow nurse, I love that I now introduce myself to patients and students as “Nurse Nettune.” #illiterationforthewin

  37. I wouldn’t worry that your choice in any direction with effect your marriage or future family but I personally do like the unity it brings between my husband and me. I changed my last name to my husbands, kept my middle name as it’s my grandmas, and made my maiden name my second middle name – you don’t have to choose between middle names. My mom has always works in insurance and says for legal reasons it’s good if a woman keeps her maiden name in there somewhere. I also got married young before I had any professional credentials beyond a college degree so consistency wasn’t an issue for me. Tip: change your name with social security first as every other office (passport, drivers licence, voter registration) checks with social security to make sure the info lines up. It isn’t a hard process and as your mom has shown there’s no time limit!

    1. I’m glad to hear you love having all four names! I think Mackenzie Elizabeth Horan Beuttenmuller would have sent me over the edge personally, but it’s great advice for other newlyweds to consider. Thanks for chiming in!

  38. I really struggled with this, but at the end of the day didn’t feel like we were truly one without sharing the same last night.

    While I tried REALLY hard to get my husband to do some combo of our last names (mine = goodchild, his = inhof and I was pulling for Goodhof), ultimately, I decided to take his name and haven’t looked back! (although, I did just introduce myself using my maiden name the other day and it’s been 2+ years…whoops!)

    1. Haha I don’t think I’ve officially introduced myself to anyone as Mackenzie Beuttenmuller yet… that will take some getting used to for sure! I’m happy you have no regrets about the choice you made. Did you keep your maiden name as your middle name?

      1. I didn’t change my middle name. My husband’s sister’s name is also Erin and I’ve been contemplating changing my legal first name to include my middle name, so my first name would be “Erin Marie” and then not have a middle name.

        It felt weird to have “Goodchild” (my maiden name) be my middle name, but I have a few friends that went this route!

  39. I’ve decided the same thing! I’ll keep my maiden name for work/professional purposes, but assume my new husbands name for personal (licenses, banking, etc). I like the idea of us having the same name. I also have no attachment to my maiden last name because my dad changed his last name early on in adulthood for professional purposes & took The last name of a distant relative. No one else in our family has that name, so as much as I love my dad, the name has no real family significance to me. The name I’m really attached to is my moms maiden name which is permanently added to my name as a middle name anyways. I am also changing my last name from a 5 letter name to a 10 letter name lol so that will take some getting used to!

    1. So happy to hear from someone who made the same choice as I am! I agree it will be much easier for banking, insurance, and even travel for us to have the same last name legally. That’s fascinating about your dad taking on a distant relative’s last name! Just goes to show there are a thousand ways to solve the same dilemma. Thank you for sharing!

  40. My husband grew up with a hyphenated last and hated it. His parents had chosen to hyphenate and it was really frustrating for their kids as they got older and ultimately went into professional settings. My husband suggested taking my name but his colleagues pointed out being Alex Baldwin might be weird. So we agreed to both change our last names and ended up choosing his fathers last name. His siblings have now all followed suit on this. It’s a hard choice but I do love that we share the same last name and both deliberately chose it.

  41. I am far from getting married (I am still in high school), but both my mom and one of my aunts decided to keep their own last names. However, my cousins and I both have our father’s last names. It was important to both my dad and uncle that their kids have their last names. My middle name is actually my mother’s last name, so I have my first name, my mom’s maiden name, and then my dad’s last name. My cousins also have maternal family names for middle names. One of them has our grandfather’s first name as his middle name, and the other has an old family name that has been past down through generations (Rose) as her middle name. My aunt and mother alike were thinking that we can have a piece of both of our parents. Our own names, a maternal family members name and then our paternal family name- which I love! I think it so interesting learning about the origins of our names and how it differs from country to country (and even family to family)! It also so strange that we do not even really think about what we are called and what our names our- so so interesting! Such a cool blog post- LOVE LOVE LOVE!

  42. I got married almost a year ago, our anniversary is this coming Sunday. I ended up changing my name, I took my husband’s last name but kept my middle name. I have the same middle name as my mom and my granny and want to keep the tradition going! My brothers will carry our family name so, I wasn’t worried about keeping my maiden name for that reason.

  43. I am loving reading the comments on your post today! I’m currently struggling with this topic myself. I’ve been married for about 3 years and still haven’t changed my last name. My husband and I are expecting our first child next year and I would totally love to all have the same last name but I feel that my maiden name “Reilly” 🙂 is such a large part of my identity (it’s also a lot shorter and easier than my husband’s last name). Using Reilly as my middle name would sound lovely but then I’d be replacing my current middle name which is my Mom’s last name (she never changed hers) and since there are no boys in our family to carry it on I would feel awful! Thanks for starting this conversation…all of the comments have been so great!

    1. Congratulations!!! What an exciting time for you and your family. It sounds like you wouldn’t be the first commenter to use four names… just saying 🙂 Thank you so much for reading!

  44. Right now I am not sure if I am going to change my last name, but I am leaning towards keeping my current last name. My fiancé doesn’t care if I change it or not, and actually would prefer that I do not change my name. His mom never changed hers and he never felt like it affected their family. I thought that maybe we could both take my last name as our middle name, but with his career in academia he needs to keep his name to link his publications. Ultimately I am going to do what feels right for me at the time. I love hearing your mom’s story, makes me realize there is no timeline to make the decision. 🙂

  45. I wa so excited to take my husband’s last name! I felt that it was one fire thing we shared and made our marriage “official”. I also have a brother to carry on my maiden name so I didn’t feel like I was letting the family name die. I also kept my middle name because Michelle Kinsella Anderson would have just been a mouth full!
    I also suggest getting to the Social Security Office before it opens. I arrived at our local office 5min before it opened and only had to wait about 10min before I was seen. The process was super easy and I didn’t think twice about it!

  46. I got married last July and I always knew I would take my husbands last name as I am a traditionalist. However, I did have a hard time deciding between keeping my middle name or making my maiden name my middle name. In the end I decided to keep my middle name and drop my maiden name. My middle name is a family name, Eileen, and the song “Come On Eiileen” has kind of become my anthem over the years. Also, I have three brothers who will hopefully pass on the family name so I didn’t feel too bad to let it go. I’ll always be a “Martin”!

    1. I love that song and love that you came to the decision that’s best for you. I will miss having Elizabeth as my middle name but can see us using it as a middle name for a future little one — perhaps you could do the same with Martin if you’re so inclined! 🙂

  47. My maiden name was Hancock, and I married a Fremeau, but I was soooo excited to take his name. Even though it is sometimes hard for my students to spell, I love to be connected to him in that way. I was super proud to get all the new paperwork, license, email address, etc. The one hard thing to switch over (which is so silly!) was my Southwest Rapid Rewards stuff. What a pain! I love Southwest, but that was worse than changing my social! sheesh!
    xxoo
    Mary
    http://www.BelleOnTrend.com

    1. I love how excited you were to take your husband’s last name! I can’t believe an airline rewards program was the trickiest thing to change… I guess in a way it gives me hope that social security won’t be too painful! 🙂

  48. I took my husband’s name which is also unique 😉 ! I moved my maiden name to my middle name, which I am happy with! My name is now Melanie James Mauldin!

  49. My name is Brandi Nicole O’Dell. I’ve always liked my name. My father’s family is very established in the town I grew up in and I’m very proud of that. Even though I no longer live there I didn’t want to lose that connection. My husband and I had long discussions about our last name (even still do after 5 years of marriage). He didn’t want to change his name in any format being very traditional. I wanted to combine our last names O’Dell and Granning to O’Granning. Our friends call us that anyways so why not make it legal? We both agreed hyphenating was not an option with the fact I already had an apostrophe. One character is enough. I like my middle name so I would never consider changing it or adding a second middle name. In the end my name is still O’Dell and his is Granning. I use O’Dell professionally now, but sometimes I still consider changing my name to O’Granning even if he wouldn’t. I should preference that we don’t plan on having kids so we get to be more flexible with our decision. We haven’t had any issues with separate last names. Do what feels best for you even if it isn’t “normal”.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience! My grandmother’s maiden name was Olson and she married a Stanley-Brown and says people used to call the house asking for Jeanne O’Stanley-Brown (!) until she dropped her maiden name completely. I think the idea of combining last names is fascinating and so new and different — I’d love to hear what you decide!

  50. I really struggled with this because I really liked my name! I felt like my parents did a great job naming me something that flowed, however I also wanted to share my husbands last name for the same reasons you expressed! So I just added my husbands last name and kept my middle and maiden name on my social security card. It’s probably more trouble than it’s worth but I just like all the names 🤷🏼‍♀️ I get the struggle and I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer, only that you and your husband are happy!

    Ps your wedding dress was 💯🔥🙌🏻👏🏻

    1. The more names, the merrier! Haha I think it’s great that you kept everything you loved about your name and adding something new instead of replacing or subtracting — a nice way to go about it if you ask me! And thank you — I can’t wait to share more pics!

  51. This post could not have come at a better time, as my fiancé and I have just set a date for our wedding! I always assumed that I would make the same decision as my mother and make my maiden name my middle name and take my husband’s last name, but now I’m having second thoughts and think I want to keep my middle too. Is four names too many? 🙂 I am almost certainly planning on keeping my maiden name as my last name professionally, as I work at a school and have an established role. However, I adore my fiancé’ last name, Golden, and am happy to take it on as part of my identity as well. I am also so appreciative of the community of women that have chimed in to this topic with sensitivity and grace and have really made me think about the implications name changing has on our society.

    1. I think you should have precisely as many names as you want! 🙂 I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. If you have suggestions for any other topics you’d like to see discussed, I’m all ears!

  52. I did decide to take my husband’s name. There never really was a question whether I would do it but I was surprised how emotional it was to change it. I lost my father when I was ten years old and had always been proud to have his name. Part of me felt that as long as I still retained the last name of “Finley” in some small way I was keeping his memory alive. The second reason it was so emotional was I had been Anne Finley for 46 years and it was hard to imagine having a different name almost as if changing my name would completely change my identity. Once I reminded that I would always be a “Finley” by my family it made it easier. Also, my husband was so excited for me to take his name that it felt like a gift to him and made me proud to take his name. It has only been four months since our wedding so I am still getting used to it but I do love it now.

  53. Ready for this doozy! My legal name is Henriette Elizabeth von Trapp Derbyshire, named after both grandmothers, Henriette von Trapp and Elizabeth Derbyshire,. My mom loved the name Lily so that’s my nickname. Most of the time on legal documents I’m Henriette Derbyshire and socially I’m Lily von Trapp Derbyshire or simply Lily Derbyshire. When I had suggested to my husband that I would keep my name as is he simply said “but we’re a family…!” And to be honest I would rather say Clark no “e” instead of Derbyshire, Derby like Kentucky and Shire like the horse. After many conversations and lots of thinking I’m going to legal change my first name to Lily and become Lily von Trapp Derbyshire Clark and due to social media character limits I’ll be Lily Clark. Unfortunately I can’t do any of these changes until after our honeymoon in January since we’re forgoing out of the country. I have to file a petition to change my first name. It’s going to be a process. Good luck!

    1. Oh WOW that is a long name! But can I just say it is also the chicest name I’ve ever heard?! I hope the juice is worth the squeeze once you legally have the name that feels the most “you.” Enjoy your honeymoon! 🙂

  54. I took my husband’s last name and was happy to do it, especially because I look forward to having the same last name with our future kids. BUT, I dropped my maiden name, Reilly, entirely (and kept my original middle name), and I reallyyyy wish I had decided to change my middle name to Reilly. I was so excited to officially, legally change my name after we got married that I filled out all the paperwork right away and didn’t take the time to fully appreciate how big of a deal it would feel like to drop my maiden name. Now, the name change process would be way too complicated to go through again just to change my middle name.

    I’ve thought about using Reilly as a middle name for one of our future kids, but my cousin just had a baby and named her (first name) Reilly, which I love but I also don’t want to be a copycat! Thankfully my husband and I still have (hopefully) a few years before we cross that bridge 🙂

    1. Oh man, I feel for you! Especially because my sister’s first name is Reilly and I could 100% see us naming a future baby after her. 🙂 Personally I think you’re totally in the clear to use it as a middle name (or to change your own name again!). Thank you for weighing in!

  55. I changed my name and took my husbands- I never liked my maiden name, I didn’t feel like it matched my first name, so I happily gave it up. As an added plus, I now have a fun monogram: Rachel Leigh Young = RLY.

    1. Hahaha you’re a girl after my own heart — I will say that after 28 years of having the initials “meh” (which has been pointed out to me approximately 1384108 times on my Instagram over the years), it will be nice to start using “MHB”!

  56. This is something I could talk about for days! My maiden name was already hyphenated (and all my dad’s, it’s a long story) and it’s quite a mouthful. My mum had always been upset that she had dropped her maiden name, especially after her father died and when my dad was diagnosed with cancer (he’s fine now) I started to feel the same. Changing my name also made me feel like I was losing part of my identity… my family and I are super close and I felt like taking his name was me joining a new family instead of combining it.
    My family and I use only the first half of our hyphenated name a lot, especially on social media and when we introduce ourselves to people so when my husband and I got married last year I decided to drop the second half of my maiden name and re-hyphenate, if you will. It’s still a mouthful but I love it, it shows my original self and my new family. My husband is quite traditional but I was stubborn and he came around to it in the end… and I know it makes my parents happy as well.
    In an ideal world I’ve love for my husband to hyphenate as well… but it makes me happy to know our kids will have both of our names.

    1. You’re the first re-hyphen-ator of the day! 🙂 That’s wonderful that you found a solution that feels true to both your past and your future. It’s pretty cool that you stuck to your guns and that your husband saw the light. Will your kids take your re-hyphenated last name as opposed to your husband’s last name?

      1. It is so hard to explain to people what I’ve done! But it’s worth it in the end.

        Yes, they definitely will! I don’t have any brothers so I feel pretty strongly about them having my name.

  57. When I get married next summer, I’ll be changing my last name to my fiances. I have a sometimes hard to pronounce last name and his is easier. Also, I’ve always planned to change my last name since I was little. I love the symbolism of it. I’m also a teacher and I feel that it would make me feel strange to not be a “Mrs.” when I am.

    1. That makes total sense to me! My first grade teacher got engaged in front of our class (during story time — it gives me chills to think about now!) and I remember having to adjust to calling her by her new name. 🙂

  58. My husband and I are celebrating one year on October 29! Changing my name was so much harder (mentally) than I ever imagined! I’m a bit older, 35, maybe that’s it? Regardless, surely it’s an adjustment for everyone. I wasn’t super attached to my middle name, so my maiden name became my middle name. However, I now find myself signing/using my full name; I can’t seem to get away from not using my maiden name quite yet! (And I have several friends lately that have hyphenated their middle and maiden names to be their new middle name.) Congratulations on your wedding/marriage! It looked like a perfect weekend!

    1. Happy anniversary! Your comment totally resonated with me — I feel much more like “Mackenzie Horan Beuttenmuller” than I do “Mackenzie Beuttenmuller,” which almost makes it sound like my maiden and married names should be hyphenated. How interesting that you have friends hyphenating their middle and maiden names as opposed to their maiden and married names — I am learning so much today! 🙂

  59. Hi, Mackenzie! This topic is an interesting one for me too, as I am also newly married. I generally assumed growing up that I would take my future husband’s name, though while his is a very nice one, it is exactly that — his. In reading a discussion on this topic a while back, I read another woman’s take which I can relate to:

    “I’m getting married in two weeks and at this point – no plans to change my last name. I like my last name and it feels right with me. I like that our last names are where we come from. That being said – I don’t mind at all that people will assume we have the same last name and refer to us as the P——‘s. Totally fine with that. It’s sweet. I’ll see how I feel after being married and if I change my mind – I’ll change my mind because I AM A GROWN ASS LADY AND I DO WHAT I WANT.”

    I think each person should do what feels right to them!
    xx

    1. Haha I agree with this 100%! Every woman should do exactly as she pleases, whether that’s keeping her own last name, taking her partner’s, or combining the two either with a hyphen or a portmanteau (which I learned about earlier today!). Thanks for sharing!

  60. I live abroad and have been married for a little but more than 2 years. I chose to hyphen my name-husband’s last name. It was actually really hard to do so because in Switzerland, they are very very strict about family names. You can take your partner’s name (both genders!) or keep your own, or hyphen your husband’s name-female last name (funny enough). So my preference wasn’t “legal”. I was so thankful when the US Embassy helped me speed things along! I wanted to keep my last name to honor my family and culture, but sharing my husband’s family name felt very natural. Our kids will take his name, because they legally cannot use my hyphenated name. #lesigh

    1. Super interesting to hear about how this process works in Switzerland! I’m glad you were able to take the name that feels right to you, even if your kids won’t be able to use the same one (at this time anyway!). Thank you for sharing!

  61. I love your perspective on this, and that we now truly have a choice, not like in many generations past. I am getting married in 3 weeks (!) and am dropping my middle name, Ann, and taking my maiden name as my middle. My mom did the same thing (her middle name was Ann), and then she gave it to me, her oldest daughter. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we have a daughter some day so I can continue the tradition. It’s definitely a big change, but I’m glad I’m keeping my last name as part of my name, and have had fun ordering some new monogrammed items to celebrate my new name. I’m planning to go by my new name professionally, we’ll see how long it takes the attorneys I work with to catch on. Hopefully it won’t be too complicated!

    1. How cool to be able to pass on “Ann” to your future daughter! I totally agree that it’s great we all get to choose exactly what works for us — I’ve loved reading so many diverse perspectives today!

  62. I decided long before I met my now fiance that I was never changing my last name – and even now that I’m engaged, I’m still sticking with that decision. My last name is German, and it is hard to say AND to spell (it involves a double h!), but I’m just too emotionally attached to give it up! My family has a very strong sense of history, and my father and his sibilings run a business with our last name, and I love the legacy it represents. It’s also at the beginning of the alphabet! 🙂 My fiance also has a German last name, so if I did choose to hyphenate, it would be QUITE a mouthful. 😉

    However, our future children will have his last name, and I don’t mind going by his name socially, ie. being referred to as Megan HisLastName or the HisLastName household.

    1. I hear you on the hard-to-spell German names! I used to practice going, “Beu-tt-en-mu-ll-er” in my head so I’d remember how to spell it haha. I’m happy you made the choice that’s right for you!

  63. Wow! As a dutch person I am overwhelmed by the amount of women that are suggesting taking their (future) husband’s name!
    I personally am not married yet, but I am certain that -although my boyfriend has a very chic last name – I will always keep my maiden name. In my generation taking your husband’s name is pretty much frowned upon.
    Changing you last name sort of implies changing who you are to us, and even though I agree that getting married is a big step it is not quite a lobotomy yet.
    My mother also kept her maiden name when she married my father, but that was seen as a more feminist action at the time than it would be now. Ofcourse, there are still lots of women taking their husband’s names, but this mainly happens in the more rural or religious areas.
    I personally really like the tactic two dutch celebrities had: they both took their spouse’s last name and turned it into a combined hyphenation!
    Anyway, I am not judging anybody and I have to say I really like Beuttenmuller as a last name (maybe a European bias, who knows).

    1. So fascinating to hear a European perspective! It’s interesting that what was seen as a more radical choice in your mom’s time is so commonplace among your generation. To each her own! 🙂

  64. We got married last year and I changed my last name. My reason was definitely more on the practical side – I did it because it makes certain things (like travel, insurance, and benefits) much easier. It was also important to my husband that we share a name, although we never debated him changing his name or any other options. Some of the other ideas in the comments are ones I wish I had considered! I debated keeping my maiden name as my middle name, but I didn’t want to lose my middle name since it’s my late grandmother’s name. I’ve found that the best solution for me is legally going by my first name, middle name, and married last name but in professional and social circles, I go by my first name, maiden name, and last name. Sometimes when I’m feeling particularly fancy, I’ll use all four names (first, middle, maiden, and last). My maiden name (which is Flowers) is much easier to pronounce, spell, and remember than my husband’s last name! I also have many people who use my maiden name as a nickname, so I’ve been able to keep it informally that way as well.

    1. I love that your maiden name is Flowers and that you have friends who call you Flowers as a nickname — so darling! And I agree, some of the comments on today’s post have been eye-opening for me as well. Thank you so much for reading! 🙂

  65. When we were engaged and newlyweds, my then-fiancé and now husband talked thru every single iteration of last names, including the traditional me taking his last name to us choosing a completely different last name! I was really attached to my name and didn’t want to drop either my middle name or my last name since they were my mom’s maiden name and my dad’s last names, respectively. Plus, I also grew up with a mom who kept her maiden name so I always assumed I would do the same. But life and all of the paperwork got in the way and I didn’t end up changing my name for many years! Then once our first daughter was born, I actually changed it. I ended up keeping my original middle and last names as two middle names and then added my husband’s last name as my legal last name. It’s a mouthful to have two middle names but only my social security card and other legal documents or forms include all of them! And then my email and social media names include my two middle initials. When I first got married it felt like a really big loss to lose my last name but now 7 years and 2 kids later, I love having the same name as my husband and kids! Also, I used a service (missnowmrs.com) to do all the legal paperwork. My advice is to start with social security and then everything else will fall into place! Best of luck!

    1. I’m happy to hear you find it worthwhile to have the same last name as your kids as that’s a big part of why I’ll be changing my name legally. Thanks so much for your two cents, Misha!

  66. I love how everyone has their own take on this and that different options exist for legally changing your name, or not. For me, I was excited to take my husbands last name, it has always been something that I wanted to do. It was always my choice and when I asked his thoughts on whether he wanted me to take his name or not, he left the decision completely up to me (but ultimately he was happy with my choice). I have had thoughts of using my maiden name (Carman) as the middle name for a future child- so we’ll see if that happens 🙂

    And kind of an interesting take on name changes from a friend… My friend and her husband both changed their names when they got married. Her last name was Vanderbaugh and his was Shick. They combined them to create a new last name of VanderSchick. It’s uniquely them!

    1. Carman would be a perfect middle name! Love that idea. And I literally just responded to someone else who is creating her own new name with her husband — I’d never heard of it before but I think it’s fascinating!

  67. This was something I put quite a bit of thought into beforeI got married.

    My mother was the breadwinner and kept her maiden name (which she gave to both me and my sister as our middle names). Personally I never had any issues with the fact that my parents had different last names. They have been married for 35 years and have just an amazing relationship. BUT my husband really wanted us to have the same last name.

    My husband and I decided we will keep our original names until I get pregnant (or we adopt children) and then we will portmanteau our names (combine them). His last name is Trask and my last name is Portney and so we will combine to Prast. I love that my initials won’t change and that the new name is a combination of both of our families. I am an attorney and so I am a bit concerned about changing my professional name but hopefully it will not prove to be that difficult.

    1. Oh wow, what a cool choice! I’ve never heard of portmanteau-ing your two last names outside of celebrity combos (like Kimye or Brangelina haha). I think it’s amazing you agreed on a new name that suits both of you!

  68. I took my husband’s last name and had hoped to find a way to keep my maiden name. I thought the process would be relatively simple but what really complicated the situation is that I go by my middle name and you cannot legally drop your first name (without going through a complicated legal process)! So my best solution was to keep all 4 names! My name is lengthy but sometimes it makes me feel like royalty , haha :). It took me several months to change everything but as your Mom demonstrated, a deadline to make this decision does not exist!

  69. For me I like the symbolism, but I’m a bit worried about how my name will end up. I already have a unique name, and my longterm boyfriend’s last name is a mouthful. I don’t think Maitland DeGenova is pretty. I’ll probably drop my maiden name entirely because Maitland Frilot DeGenova is even worse (even though I hate my middle name, Louise). My sister had the normal first name and married the guy with the normal last name, naturally.

  70. So I have thought a lot about this. Although I am not engaged yet, my boyfriend’s last name is the same as my first name! It really bothers people to think of me as Morgan Morgan, but I don’t mind. Hyphenating is out of the question because Morgan Mullen-Morgan is way worse in my opinion. I haven’t figured out what I’ll do when the day comes, but at least my monogram won’t change!

  71. I also changed my middle name to my maiden name, and took my husband’s last name. I go by my maiden name professionally. My new last name is hard to pronounce or spell for most Americans, and gets shortened to a nickname most of the time.

    I changed my last name is make immigration easier. The country my husband is from has strict immigration standards, and it is easier for us to prove our marriage with the same last name on our passports. When entering the US, having the same last name allows me to more easily accompany him when he is “randomly selected” by customs officials (every time!). Of course I could prove it with the copy of the marriage license, but passports are much faster and don’t get questioned. The first time we traveled internationally together, we weren’t married, and I had to wait in baggage claim for him for three terrifying hours. I did not want to take a chance on that again.

    Changing my name was actually met with a lot of attitude from my friends, which was unexpected and hurtful. A lot of “I would NEVER change my name” or “My husband doesn’t own me, why should I take his name” type comments were made by certain friends. I really regretted inviting them to my wedding after seeing how judgemental and insensitive they were to the very personal decisions of other people. I wish more people had the Amy Poehler attitude of “good for you, not for me” when it came to stuff like this!

    I do really want at least one of our kids to have my maiden name as their middle name!

    1. Wow. Thank you for sharing this unique perspective — Will and I are both American so I hadn’t considered it in the context of going through customs together. And I’m so sorry to hear you faced judgment from your friends — I’m really happy with how respectful the comments on this thread have been, even while articulating really different takes on the same issue. I ADORE the Amy Poehler sentiment of “good for you, not for me” and agree it helps me immensely to see the world through that lens. And I love the idea of giving one of your children your maiden name as his/her middle name — such a nice way to keep your family history alive. xoxo

    2. My husband is Canadian and we’ve applied for his green card. I’ve heard that a name change strengthens your application too. That’s not why I changed my name, but it’s good to know it’s helpful somewhere!

      1. Good luck, Ellie! Green card can be an exhausting process. We are almost to the finish line with my husbands- citizenship expected in 2019! If you haven’t used visajourney.com yet, try it. It has been the most helpful immigration website for us! Wishing you fast processing times and no RFEs 🙂

        1. Thanks Kat! I haven’t heard of that website. For now we’re in the hands of a great immigration lawyer, but this may come in handy down the road. Good luck and thanks for the positive vibes!

  72. I love that there tends to be more conversation around this topic now, vs. everyone automatically assuming that the woman will take her husband’s name–not that there is anything wrong with either choice, but I believe it should be a choice. My mom kept her maiden name, and when I was growing up it was really uncommon! She also gave me her last name as my middle name. When I was younger, I experienced some confusion at school, etc. with my mother having a different last name from me. I also wished I had a normal girly middle name! But now that I’m older I totally understand and appreciating my mom wanting to keep her identity and pass it along to her daughters.

    And in my immediate family, there are only daughters, my dad only has sisters, and on my mom’s side we only have girl cousins, so actually both names could disappear after this generation which I think is so sad. Especially because one has an interesting history dating back to the Mayflower. So I’m torn because I want to keep both my middle and last name, but I also like the idea of having a shared name with my future family. So I think I would add my husband’s name to mine without dropping anything. I tell my boyfriend that our future children will have 5 names (first, middle, my mom’s last name, my last name, and his last name) and I’m only half joking…but we’ll see what happens down the road! Thanks for sharing your decision and the reasoning behind it!

    1. I agree with you — I’m so glad this is a choice women are making for themselves vs. being expected to do exactly what their mothers and grandmothers did (though it sounds like we both had relatively forward-thinking moms!). That’s super cool that your family has lineage tracing back to the Mayflower! 🙂

  73. I’m planning on doing the same thing as you when I get married next year! My last name is much more unique than my fiance’s so it seems like the right choice to keep using it professionally. However, I do understand the significance of uniting as a family, so I’ll change my last name legally and socially, and take my maiden name as my middle name. Plus, I’ve heard it’s just easier if you have kids to have the same last name as them!

  74. this is a really important topic and i’m so glad you raised it on your blog. i’m a long time reader but this is the first time i’ve felt compelled to comment! my question is:

    did you and Will ever seriously consider HIM changing HIS last name to yours, either legally or professionally or both?

    i ask because a lot of women (in my friend group, in the previous comments, and anecdotally) talk about wanting to change their names as a symbol of family unity. well…. that can happen in two ways. why is it — 99.9999% of the time — the woman, and not the man, in a heterosexual marriage who considers the issue of changing vs. keeping a birth name? in an effort to become a truly egalitarian society, our culture should shift the entire burden of changing vs. keeping names to men. if i ever plan to get married, i’ll make sure to tell my future husband that i’m “fine with it” if he chooses to keep his name. or, if we want to have a single family name, that it will be mine.

    we say to women and to newly married couples: “do whatever you want with your names.” why, then, when given the opportunity to choose, do the vast majority of couples choose something that’s so (sorry) patriarchal? as women, and as couples, we have to face the fact that patriarchal power structures are so deeply ingrained in us that we choose them freely, even when given the opportunity to do something truly egalitarian or even — gasp! — matriarchal, for once. in my opinion, it’s time for the emotional and administrative burden of name-changing vs. name-keeping to fall on men. either everyone should keep their given last names, or the couple should default to the woman’s last name. (and yes, that means when they have kids, the kids should get the woman’s last name, or something that incorporates both last names.)

    our feminist foremothers fought so hard, and not so long ago, to give us the chance to default to ourselves, and not to the men in our lives — however much we love and honor those men. let’s choose egalitarianism. or let’s choose a power structure that favors women, for once. and let’s give our love, time, and attention to men who will fight for true egalitarianism, too — men who would jump at the chance to change their names to ours. Mackenzie, i respect your work, i respect your relationship, and i respect your choices, but in general, it’s hard for me to watch young couples “choose” patriarchy when there are so many other options out there.

    1. Hi Nell! First of all, thank you for your long and thoughtful response. It’s fascinating to hear a point of view different from my own and to hear it so well-articulated. Truthfully we never considered Will taking my last name or combining our two last names (mostly because his is already so long). He works in a much more traditional industry than I do and I grew up in a household where my mom was the breadwinner and still ultimately chose to take my dad’s last name, so that’s an example I’m familiar with. I choose to believe women can achieve anything they’d like with any name they choose and 1000% respect any woman who chooses to keep her maiden name or to ask her husband to take her name or combine them both. I’m proud to have a husband for whom me taking his last name was of little consequence, and yet totally understand couples for whom this is a decision that looms larger in the process of starting their lives together. I totally support your desire for an egalitarian society and genuinely appreciate you taking time to point out subconscious patriarchal implications of the choice many of us still make. While I’ve made a different decision than the ones you suggest, I appreciate you making me stop and think and I’d take to the streets to fight for any woman to be able to make the choice that feels right for her. Thank you again!

      1. thank you Mackenzie for your gracious response, and for your shoutouts to the feminist cause! a marriage presents a whole range of opportunities to model equality for those who are watching. no doubt you and Will are doing so in many other important ways. i wish you both a lifetime of continued mutual respect, equality, and happiness. mazal tov!

        1. I adore this: “a marriage presents a whole range of opportunities to model equality for those who are watching.” Thank you for bringing such a respectful tone to this conversation! 🙂

          1. Growing up in California, about half of my friends’ moms kept their maiden names, as did my mom and her sisters. It was never something that seemed weird or even very confusing, really, since everyone went by their first names. You might call someone “Mrs. Jones” or “Mr. Kan” the first time you met them, but I only knew one adult (aside from teachers) growing up who wanted to be called by Mr./Mrs. That said, most of us – myself included – had our father’s last name. I had one classmate whose parents combined “Tuttle” and “Hall” into “Tuthall,” as one commenter mentioned above.

            I got married two years ago and never really considered changing my name. After having it for 26 years, and growing up in an environment where keeping it was as common as changing it, I felt like changing it would feel like changing my identity. While my husband’s mom and sisters-in-law changed their names, many of his other female relatives didn’t and he didn’t care whether or not I changed mine. That said, we jokingly wrote “Fiona Abelson” on an early draft of our guest list and both my mother and my father took me aside to tell me how much it would mean to them if I didn’t change my name. My dad wanted me to keep his name, and my mom feels strongly against changing one’s name in general.

            Interestingly, I’ve found that the trends vary greatly by where you live. About half of my friends in CA and NYC are keeping their last names (perhaps more than half?), and some are doing as Nell suggests above: one of my guy friends is taking his fiancée’s last name, while another kept his own last name but plans for them to use his wife’s last name for their kids. A few other people I know have changed their names as a couple to something entirely new when they’ve had their first kid, so that the family shares a new last name together. However, I was met with a lot more confusion when I moved to Dallas a few months after we got married. People typically assumed that I “hadn’t changed my name yet” and several of my friends expressed that they had wanted to keep their last names but that their husbands felt very strongly about the change.

            Mackenzie, I love that you called out Amy Pohler’s “good for her, not for me” – that’s my absolute favorite approach and something that we should all do more of! I think every woman should do whatever feels right for them, and just hope that the men they love support their choices either way!

          2. Thank you for this thoughtful response! Really cool to hear your perspective and your mom and dad’s insights. I hadn’t heard of couples combining their last names (besides hyphenating) or choosing a new name until today’s post, so I’ve been learning a lot! And it’s pretty cool that you have guy friends taking their wives’ last names or using them for their children. I think of CT as being more liberal than TX (having now lived in both) so it’s eye-opening to hear about totally different choices being made elsewhere in the country. And amen on the Amy Poehler quote — there are days I want to write it on my forehead haha. Thank you again for weighing in!

    2. Nell, I really enjoyed reading your comment (and your, post, Mackenzie!) and I wonder what you think of this predicament: My thing is, I’ve always associated my last name with my FATHER, not my mother. It was my father’s last name, and I associated it with his side of the family, which was very different than my mother’s.

      So, when I got married a year and a half ago and wodnered, “should I change my last name or not?” I really felt like I was choosing between husband vs. father…..aka, both males! I felt like, regardless, I couldn’t escape the patriarchy. And, to be blunt, I like my husband more than my father. 🙂 So I went the more “traditional” route, but not without a lot of thought/consideration.

      I’ve actually had several friends say me “I’m so surprised you changed your last name!” as if this change represents a last of feminism on my part. I feel my husband and I can model a more egalitarian relationship than my mother and father did, so consider it a move in the right direction. Just something to think about; every female who changes her last might not be necessarily succumbing to the patriarchy. For me, it was about modeling an equal partnership with a fresh start –one I didn’t see play out with my parents’ relationship/dad’s side of the family.

      What other ways do you recommend against choosing patriarchy in marriage? I’m all ears 🙂

      1. Joyce, thank you so much for sharing this! It’s clear you spent a lot of time making this decision (and articulating it here!). I’m so grateful to have such brilliant and thoughtful women reading this blog (and would also love anyone’s insight on striving for an egalitarian marriage in a not-yet-egalitarian society!). Thank you for sharing your story. xoxo

        1. Joyce,

          Your story resonated so strongly with me. My boyfriend and I are planning on getting married and have had this exact conversation a few times. I am estranged from my father and his family and don’t feel any strong connection to my last name. I also don’t feel the need to take my husband’s last name when we get married. However, the reason I probably will is because it gives me the opportunity to affiliate myself with a family that I feel supported by. I will keep my middle name (my mom’s maiden name) and just drop my last name from the equation. My boyfriend and I did discuss creating a new last name for ourselves (he was willing to change his if it was important to me) but we decided we wanted to stay connected to our families.

          Mackenzie, I am so glad this topic is being discussed in such a thoughtful and respectful way. I am also a longtime reader (from your early days in NYC!) and this is what finally got me to comment. Thank you for using your forum to shed further light on this issue.

          1. I’m so happy this discussion resonated with you! Joyce and I went to college together and I just think the world of her (and so many others who have commented today!). I love that you’re working with your boyfriend to find a solution that works for both of you. I wish you both the very best and thank you so much for following for so many years!!! 🙂

  75. I go by a nickname based on my middle name, so keeping my maiden name wasn’t really in the cards (even though my middle and maiden last names were the same letter). Also in the same case as your mom’s BSB, friends know me as a moniker, but that certainly hasn’t and will never change! I did give the thought some pause because I didn’t get married for the first time until 10+ years after college, so I had already established myself professionally; however I knew it was important to my husband to take his last name. I changed my name with Uncle Sam to First-Middle-Married. I’m currently using Nickname-Maiden-Married name in professional correspondence for the next 2-3 years and eventually plan to drop my maiden name once I’ve established familiarity among those colleagues I don’t interact with as frequently. At the end of the day, I figure if someone wants or needs to track me down, they will!

    1. Love that you’ve got a game plan for the next several years and you’re totally right, changing your name isn’t going to prevent anyone from being able to contact you. Thanks for the comment! 🙂

  76. I’ve decided to keep my maiden name. I just got married on Oct. 14, and I’m already fielding a ton of questions about what my “new name” is…which I was a tad surprised by. Even more surprised when people were clearly NOT in favor of my decision…especially since my husband doesn’t mind at all and actually was in favor of me not taking his name, since he didn’t like how traditional it was for me to change something so personal to me when he didn’t have to change anything. I didn’t think it was a huge deal at all, but apparently people are still fairly traditional! It’s such a personal decision, and I think we as women should respect each other in whatever we decide. Personally, I didn’t like the idea of changing my name, which to me seemed too much like I was changing my identity just because of a large life event that affected both of us, but I was the only one expected to make this huge change…and it is a big change, you have to apply for a new social security card, driver’s license, passport, etc. I try to explain that to people and they look at me like I have two heads…especially other women, which makes me sad. That being said, I totally respect your decision, and anyone else, that changed their last name. I think you should do whatever you want! Again, it’s so personal, and you have options, and I wish everyone would respect every option, you know?

    1. Oh I completely respect your decision — I hope that came across in my post! I’m very big on a “you do you” mentality and agree women should absolutely 110% decide for themselves what feels right for them. I’m sorry to hear you’ve gotten so much pushback — hopefully people will come around but the most important thing is that you and your husband are on the same page!

      1. Oh of course! It certainly did…that’s what drove me to comment, it’s so refreshing to see a conversation about this that’s respectful!! Especially for me, since I’ve had a tough go of it 🙂 It’s so nice too to see all the comments on this post…everyone is very kind and respectful! Congratulations by the way, can’t wait to see the wedding photos in a few weeks!

        1. Thank you so much — I could not be more excited to share them! I practically have a calendar out X-ing out the days haha. I’m so happy this post led to such a productive conversation. Congratulations to you as well! 🙂

  77. I got married last year and went through this too. It meant a lot to my husband to share the same last name, but I’m really attached to my name – its alliterative and most people know me/think of me by my first and last name, and my new last name is almost never pronounced correctly on the first try – so I made the same choice you’ve described, kept my maiden name at work, but legally changed my last name for my personal life. Luckily I was very happy to give up my middle name, so I too have kept my maiden name as my middle name. Just start at the social security office, then go to the DMV, and then you can piece by piece update your name with airlines rewards, credit cards, etc. etc.

  78. This is something I’m actually struggling with right now. Ultimately, I want the same last name as my husband and our future children but we’re in a weird predicament. I’m American and he’s German and we currently live in Germany. His last name is “von der Burchard” which is actually much harder to pronounce than it looks because of the German “ch.” So no one in the USA can say his last name properly. BUT his family is former nobility so his last name holds a lot of esteem and respect in Germany. My current name is Jordan Beck Wagner. I absolutely adorable my middle name “Beck” and just love how easily my name flows (plus, I love how gender neutral it is). If I ever wanted to move my maiden name to my middle name, I’d feel distraught about dropping my middle name. But I’m also so attached my last name. However, I could never hyphenate it because just imagine what a mouth full that would be! Ahhh, it’s been driving me crazy! Did you end up dropping your middle name or having a double middle name?

    1. You could have two middle names, so your new middle name would be “Beck Wagner”!

      The short version of my story is that I always planned to drop my maiden name in favor of my married name (even before I knew my husband). I liked the traditional aspect, I liked that we would have the same name as a family, and Lucash was unnecessarily difficult. Not to mention I have a brother and 4 make cousins, so I wasn’t worried about the name dying out. When the time came to actually fill out the form for Social Security, I chickened out and couldn’t wrap my head around seeing “New name: Ellie Bess Durbin” right above “Former name: Ellie Bess Lucash”. So I sat on it for weeks and eventually decided to make my legal name Ellie / Bess Lucash / Durbin. This way I can pick and choose if I ever want to use all my names, but I mostly use EBD, Ellie B Durbin, etc.

      I did learn that asking more people didn’t help at all. You mostly just get other people’s opinions on what they would do. I would suggest trying to fill out the Social Security forms and practice saying the name options out loud. It might steer you in one direction!!

      Mackenzie, the easiest way to go about the change, once you have your certified marriage license copies, is to do the Social Security card, then driver’s license, and then you can tackle passport, banks, credit cards, student loans, etc. Southern Weddings has a great checklist: https://southernweddings.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Name-Change-Checklist.pdf

      Lastly, I know you’re planning to get Pre-Check and Global Entry…wait until you have your new passport, etc. If you change your name after you’re in those programs, you have to re-interview, etc.

      1. I changed my last name to double barrel it after I got married and already had Global Entry. I’d still highly recommend waiting to apply when you get a new passport, but my name change didn’t require re-interviewing. I just had to go to the interview location at the airport, write my name down to sign in and then when they called me I did some paperwork and was done in about 20 minutes. The longest part was waiting. Still a hassle with having to get to the airport and since I was used to Precheck I hated those months were I hadn’t made the change to Global Entry yet and therefore wasn’t getting Precheck since my new name didn’t match.

        Oh, and for Social Security I actually didn’t have to go into the office. I did go to the office, but it did me no good as all they did was give me a pre-addressed envelope to send the paperwork and my marriage license in. I could’ve done that with a printer at home; definitely not worth the time to go to the office.

        1. Hmmm…I had a friend ask at her GE interview what would happen and maybe we misunderstood. Either way, I saved the extra trip since we were just a few months before the wedding when the GE conversation came up. Now that I have my new passport (weirdly it came in less than 2 weeks and I didn’t expedite it!), I’ll need to get cracking on this.

          That’s super interesting about the Social Security office. I’ve never heard of anyone being able to do it by mail. Lucky you!!

  79. I changed mine, but my husband was amazing and let me decide. My first and last name were uncommon (Ryann Warlick), and not easy to pronounce at a glance or spell without instruction. While I have heard repeatedly from people who have more common names that they wished to have a different name, but the grass is always greener and I always wished for a common name.
    My husband is Carter, and I am so excited to be at the front of the alphabet (or for our children to be) and to have a common and easy to spell name. I actually always hoped to marry someone with a more common last name. But we are also both traditionalists and I believe that a family needs some sort of concrete commonality and the last name is it.
    All of that being said, it is an individual decision. I was thrilled to gain a common last name and in consequence join my husband as his family, but it has also been difficult. It’s obviously difficult to remember all of the documents and everything, but it’s been hard to leave my Warlick roots. No one has my mothers maiden name any longer (she only had one sister and her mother remarried after she was widowed in the 90s). We’ll use my maiden first and middle name for our first daughter and call her by the middle name to continue that name, but I don’t identify by it. That side of the family is also not nearly as tight knit as my father’s side, and so for 30 plus years I’ve identified as a Warlick proudly. Of course my grandparents had four boys and I’m the only granddaughter so that name will live on, but it has been psychologically difficult to give up that name.
    But it does have to be a decision made by each individual couple.

  80. I took my husband’s last name. I didn’t even think twice about it to be honest. I love that us having the same last name makes us feel more like a family.

    I have friends who haven’t changed theirs, hyphenated or changed their middle name to their maiden name. It’s such a personal thing!

    Honestly, the name change process is just kind of daunting all together. I don’t know how it works where you are, but here you have to go to the social security office before you can go to Secretary of State/DMV. I blocked off a day to do that, and then in the coming weeks changed it on cards, at the bank, etc. The SS office and DMV are the big ones though!

  81. While I would go by my husband’s name socially (Christmas cards and with friends and family) I think I would stay with my maiden name legally and professionally. I feel like my name and I are a team and we’ve together battles are way through three very male dominated fields, been made fun of and excluded by wayyy too many men to count, and have jumped through over and under obstacles that made me who I am today. I feel like changing my name would kind of negate that because it would make me a different person. If all that makes sense.
    Also trying to change your name on research studies is a whole process, I don’t want to go through. Haha!

  82. I really like the idea of keeping your maiden name professionally, at least while in your current industry, but taking on your husband’s last name legally. One question though, when you make your maiden name your middle name, do you drop your current middle name or does your maiden name become your second middle name? I really like that as a way to keep your family name with your, but my current last name is 3 syllables and that just seems so long compared to my middle name of Leigh! (I’m not getting married anytime soon, but figured this was the perfect time to ask someone answer this, haha)

    1. I’m dropping my middle name and making my maiden name my middle name, but it would definitely be harder if we both had long last names! I’ve had friends drop their maiden names and keep their middle names so I think it’s totally up to you. My friend Ali’s middle name is Leigh too and she goes by Ali Leigh Schilling — I love that name! 🙂

  83. I really struggled with this decision! I changed my name both professionally and at home. I still sometimes question it but I’m sure I’d be having second thoughts no matter what I decided. I also incorporated my maiden name as my middle and I’m really happy with that.

  84. I got married in March this year, and am doing the same as you – although my new surname is much easier to spell! We recently relocated from the UK to Seattle, and having the same surname made a lot of things so much more simple…but it’s still weird being Mrs H after so long of being Miss C!

  85. I, too, made my maiden name my middle name and changed my last name to my husband’s. I have made my name professionally under my maiden name and didn’t want to confuse my colleagues. Plus, I was up for a big promotion in my organization after my wedding and I didn’t want my boss several layers removed who would be reviewing my portfolio to be confused about who I was! When I finally decided how I was going to proceed (and after I got the promotion!), it took me almost a full year to make it to the Social Security and DMV. So when I finally did change my name, I received a wave of additional “Congratulations!” way after my wedding day. That was kind of fun! I am still in the process of changing all my credit cards over a year later, though. This process has prompted me to reconsider the number of credit cards I have open!

  86. Loved your honesty in this post!I laughed reading your take because I am changing my last name for the opposite reason- mine is pretty long, and my fiance’s is short and easy! haha. Of course the symbolism is important too, but sometimes the pragmatism of the new name deserves some weight,, right? 🙂

  87. This is interesting to me and I really enjoyed your opinion/decision – I think that’s a perfectly acceptable way of navigating the whole last name game, which seems to have become quite a discussion topic lately! My sister got married a few years ago and as a grade school teacher, chose to keep her last name. Besides making my dad extremely happy (although a traditionalist, he only has daughters and is an only child – the name would have died with him), it was a practical choice with her students in mind. She is also fiercely independent and I’m sure never even considered taking her husband’s last name – which he is completely supportive of! Personally I’ve thought about this a lot. My career path in medicine means I will be referred to by my last name all the time. Starting your career as one name can make transitioning to another pretty challenging. I really don’t know what I’ll do, and since that’s not even close to something I plan on needing to do in the next several years, I know I have time to decide! I agree that it is quite personal, and it really depends on the circumstances – career, name confusion, etc. I think you made a great decision and really, if you and Will are both on the same page, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks! 🙂

    1. Devon, thank you so much for chiming in! Loved reading your response. I love that your sister chose to keep her last name since your dad has only daughters — that is adorable and I’m so happy her husband was totally game! And my mom is going to totally identify with your comment about working in medicine — she jokes that Beth Horan makes for a much shorter name tag in the hospital than Beth Stanley-Brown would have! 🙂

  88. Great topic, Mackenzie! I decided to keep my last name for a variety of reasons, but I often regret not going the route that you did (keep my last name professionally but change it legally). Thanks for sharing your insight!

  89. I recently came across your blog & Instagram (love them both). My cousin recently got married, and since her parents never gave her a middle name, she made her maiden name into her middle name, and took her husband’s last name. I personally would take my husband’s last name – I tend to be really traditional! I’m in a serious relationship, and if I take my boyfriends last name, I would be exchange my oh-so-easy last name for one that’s definitely more complicated – and difficult to pronounce! Haha

    https://theonewiththegirlwhoblogs.blogspot.com

    1. Thanks for chiming in! It’s funny — I find I’m traditional about some things (having a church wedding, preserving family traditions around holidays) and more modern about others (I didn’t want to wear a veil over my face, do a bouquet toss, or have Will do a garter toss). I always love hearing where people shake out on these kinds of things!

  90. I think about this A LOT. A good friend of mine recently got married and leading up to the wedding, this conversation caused some heated discussions between her and her fiancee – he felt strongly that he wanted her to have his name because it would be a part of making them an official family. She wanted to keep her name for professional reasons and felt the paperwork and stress was not really worth it. It made me think about the unifying quality of having the same last name as your partner and that the change is almost a symbol of the beginning of a new family unit. It’s an interesting thought because my mom is remarried, so my parents and I have different last names currently, but even still – my name still feels like such a part of my identity. My brother recently got married and they actually decided to hyphenate both of their names, so he changed his as she changed hers. This was really sweet, but not super practical for everyone. I’m still not quite sure what I will do, but I like the idea of keeping things the same professionally (it’s so complicated for so many reasons to change it at work), but personally, have that step be the first of many in starting your own little family.

    Congratulations, Mackenzie!

    1. I’m sorry it caused some strife between your friend and her now husband! I’m definitely lucky that Will doesn’t care one way or the other and would be happy either way. And it’s adorable that your brother changed his last name as well but I agree Mackenzie Elizabeth Horan-Beuttenmuller wouldn’t be the most practical 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing your two cents!

  91. My mom kept her last name but hyphenated it with her married last name…until she got divorced a few years ago she went back to just her maiden name…I also have an aunt who never changed her name.I feel strongly about not changing my last name when I get married and I’ve discussed it with my boyfriend and he’s fine with it. I think it’s mostly because I like my last name over his (if we are being honest)! Also since I grew up knowing people who didn’t, it seems kind of the norm for me. No judgement towards anyone who wants to change it but I think the reason about having the same last name as your children just isn’t something that bothers me. And the good thing is you can always change your mind just by signing a few documents!

    1. I think it’s great you’ve made the decision that feels right for you (and don’t judge those who choose otherwise!). Also love that you admit liking your last name over his — a girl after my own heart! 🙂

  92. I think people should do whatever they like with their names! I did change my name right after I married my husband, and the only thing that I tell people is how easy it was to do so legally, just to help people feel less overwhelmed by it if they are planning to change. The trick is simply to have all of the paperwork (eg, marriage license, all current forms of ID). I had prepared for a lengthy day at the Social Security office (the first step in the process), and I was in and out in less than 15 minutes. I next went right to the DMV, and I walked out with a new driver’s license in the same amount of time. The banks required a bit more of their own paperwork, but it was easy to complete. I made sure to do the passport in a window where I did not need it. Everything else, I simply did as it made sense, and I did not worry about magazines or the like (in time, they all changed organically). Once the new social security card is in hand, everything follows suit, and as long as you are prepared, that first step is not difficult at all. Good luck!

  93. I’m going through the same thing right now and I change my mind every day! We got married in the Spring and I never felt strongly one way or the other (and my husbands last name is easy and would even allow me to keep my same initials) so I always thought I would change it. But then post-wedding I wasn’t in a rush to do it and just kept not doing it, and the more I’ve thought about it the more it seems unnecessary and antiquated. I imagine I might feel differently once we have kids, but I can always change it down the road like your mom! So I think for now I’d prefer to keep my maiden name until I have a strong enough reason to change it. I have friends whose names are also closely tied to businesses they own in various industries and would have to file complicated paperwork if they changed it, so are choosing to keep their maiden names for that reason as well. To each their own!

    1. I love that you said “to each their own!” — I feel that sentiment about so many things these days. My mom is totally proof that you can change it down the line if you have a change of heart. Thanks for weighing in!

  94. I took my husband’s last name and really didn’t struggle with the decision. I think it was important for both of us in terms of having one name for our family/kids but it’s definitely something I think is a personal choice and I can see why women wouldn’t change it.

    I also thought it would be easier to have “Burke” as a last name but you would be surprised at how many people struggle with spelling it! I kind of think there’s no hope for anyone’s last name if Burke is an ordeal, haha.

    1. Thank you for weighing in! I totally agree it’s a personal decision — my thinking on all these things is “you do you” because we should all get to decide for ourselves exactly how we want to be referred to both at work and in our personal lives. And I can’t believe people have trouble spelling Burke… that means I’m totally screwed with Beuttenmuller 😉

  95. I love your thoughts on this, Mackenzie!

    I got married two years ago and decided to drop my maiden name, keep my middle name and take my husband’s last name. I did this because my middle name is a tradition in my family – for four generations, the oldest daughter’s middle name is Kay. If it wasn’t for this tradition I likely would have gone your route and changed my middle name to my maiden name. I considered doing the four name thing (first, middle, maiden, new last name), but that just seemed like a mouthful, as Mackenzie (also my first name!) is already a lot of syllables.

    1. Always happy to hear from a fellow Mackenzie 🙂 I miss my middle name (Elizabeth, which is my mom’s name as well) but felt keeping Horan (which is now both my parents’ last name) would still be a good nod to my pre-married life. I love your family’s tradition of giving the oldest daughters the same middle name — so sweet!

  96. I changed my name, but I’m in the minority with my friends. I’m a lawyer and almost all of my lawyer girlfriends kept their maiden name. I’m traditional and wanted to have the same name as my husband and kids. Now that we have children, I don’t regret the change one bit.

  97. I changed my name! We just got married, and I’m younger so it’s a little easier since I’m not as established professionally. However, I changed my middle name as well, so my new name is first, maiden name, married name!

    Thanks for talking about this, it was a hard decision for me!

    1. Sounds like we came to the same conclusion even though I’ll keep Horan for all things Design Darling 🙂 Would love any suggestions for other conversation topics you’d be interested in seeing!

  98. I’ve decided to keep my last name for a number of reasons. I have an already long last name (9 letters) that I would be making even longer if I took my husband’s (12 letters). I also do feel like my last name is part of my identity and who I’ve been for the past 25 years so I don’t want to change that just because I’m getting married. While I love my husband and am so happy to be married to him, the idea of having to give up what I feel is a major part of my identity just doesn’t feel right to me, at least in this pre-kid stage of life. We’ve already agreed all of our kids will have my last name as their middle name and he doesn’t care one way or the other if I change my name. Now if he had a last name that was 5 letters or less my answer to this might be different 🙂