I’m a traditional girl, so when JR and I got engaged, we didn’t really have to discuss changing my name. I was engaged to marry the love of my life and I was happy to take his last name.
Almost two years into our marriage and I’ve only recently changed my name. Like…really recent…like 2 weeks ago. Procrastinating played a big part in the delay because I hate dealing with paperwork (there are so many steps to take just to change your name), but so did the fear of change. I struggled with the idea of losing my identity. I was an Alvarez for 29 years, and now I’m just not? But after pondering this idea for far too long, I came to the conclusion that taking my husband’s last name isn’t losing my identity, it’s a symbol of unity and love. I will always be an Alvarez, that will never change, but becoming a Silverman has been the sweetest time in my life and I’m happy to celebrate that by sharing JR’s last name.
I asked some of my closest girlfriends to share their thoughts and experiences (ugh, the paperwork!) on changing their last name.
What are your thoughts on the subject? Let me know in the comments!
MARISSA on keeping her name // When we first got married, the game plan was to change my last name and keep my maiden name as my middle name. We’ve been happily married for almost four years now and I have still not changed my name. We recently purchased a car and checked off the married box on the loan application. But since we had different last names, he had to ask to confirm. It’s 2016, we should focus on more important questions like “why isn’t teleporting real yet?”
There is no one reason why I am not changing my name. Not changing my last name just feels right like being married to Ryan has always felt right. Today, we are choosing to leave my birth name as is and we are both happy with this decision.
JOANNE on the ideals // For me, my name is my identity, and I’ve had it for nearly three decades. It’s attached to my career, and with my achievements and my failures. That being said, I am not completely attached to keeping it when I do get married. My last name does not sound particularly great and it’s my dad’s name, who I don’t have a relationship with. At the end of the day, everyone has their own personal reasons to change their name or not. I simply don’t think women should ever be automatically expected to change their names.
KARA on the process // I was ecstatic at the thought of changing my name through HitchSwitch. But as the obsessive that I am, I read the reviews and saw similar takes from new brides saying it wasn’t really worth it. So I decided to just start the process myself.
I first proceeded to change my driver’s license, then submitted an application to Social Security for a name change. I had to wait a few weeks to get my new card in the mail- as this was also the only major requirement for my job. They had to have a copy of my updated SS card to change my information in their system (and in my paycheck). From there, I filled out an application for a new passport and had to pay a $110 for a new one. They would only waive the fee if your most recent passport was issued less than a year prior to a name change request. They are also the only establishment that required the original marriage certificate. All documents were returned.
CINDY on hyphenating // My dad passed 10 years ago and missing him during my wedding made carrying on my last name even more important. I have two older brothers who, at the time,weren’t in serious relationships. Thinking they would have children to carry on our name was not something I thought would happen. So, when I got married, I decided to hyphenate my last name. Three days later, my brother tells me his girlfriend is pregnant with a boy! I guess I didn’t have to hyphenate after all.
If I could take it back, I would, along with the 3 Oreos I had for lunch today. It’s terrible for people like me, who depend on MS Outlook at work–No One Can Find You! I don’t care to change it now, but I could, I’d definitely take the 3 Oreo do over.
JULIANA on meeting in the middle // If you want to change your last name because you’re proud to have your husband’s last name and it’s meaningful to you, then girl, you go for it! But if you have your own reasons for not changing your last name, maybe you like your maiden name, maybe your family name is something you want to carry on because there are no boys in the family, whatever the reason may be, don’t change your name, and be proud of that! Be proud that you can keep your own last name but still be an amazing wife while doing it.
At the end of the day, it’s your name and your choice. Do what feels right for you even if that means something in the middle! I’ve kept my maiden name in the U.S. where I grew up and lived the first 25 years of my life, and I’ve taken my married name in Canada, where I am happy to now call home. And I have to say, I’m pretty darn proud of both of my names. Whatever your choice, make the decision that best suits you!