Now That You’re Married, Will You Be Changing Your Surname?
by Sara Haugland November 1
Will you be taking your partner’s last name, sticking with your own, hyphenating? Out of all the options, which one is best for you and your spouse? Move over traditional last name transitions and hello to all the new possibilities that can come with last names once you’re married! With so many new options, it seems impossible to not come to a solution between you and your partner. Whether your last name has sentimental value or you’re wanting to feel more unified as a couple, we’ve broken down all of the different ways you and your partner can decide on surnames once you’re married. Cheers!
Photo // Amanda Watson Photography
Taking your partner’s last name
This is the most traditional option for couples once they get married, and it is usually expected of the couple to go this route once married. There are many reasons why you would choose to go this route, ranging from you like your partner’s surname, yours has always been difficult to pronounce or spell, or you just love the idea of being a cohesive family unit together. Maybe you have always wanted this for yourself once you got married and have been looking forward to following the tradition.
Beyond personal preference, there are other reasons why you may want to take your partner’s last name. Taking their last name makes it less complicated when it comes to having children, traveling together, and dealing with medical issues when they arise. You may also want to choose to move away from your family name if there are any difficult relationships with relatives, making you unhappy with having that family association.
While this is the most traditional option, there are some grooms who opt for taking their bride’s maiden names as their own. Just because it is the traditional route doesn’t mean it needs to be followed if it does not fit you as a couple!
Check out this blog for all the things you’ll need to do to change your name after marriage in Oklahoma!
Keeping your surname
While keeping your surname is not the most common thing to do after getting married, it is becoming more and more popular as the idea spreads among couples! It is also the least complicated choice when it comes to name changes after marriage. If you’re both keeping your last names, there’s no stress about updating all of the info in legal, personal or financial documents! Jumping through the hoops seems like too much of a hassle – you just want to be married, why stress about the documents if it’s not needed? However, there may be some instances where you will need to prove if your marriage is legitimate, and you may have to provide a marriage license.
Besides it being the least complicated choice, there are many personal reasons why you may choose to keep your last name. You may simply just like your last name, or your partner’s last name may be difficult to pronounce or spell (just like personal reasons for maybe wanting to change your last name). Your last name may also be a connection to your family background or cultural heritage that you may not want to part ways with. In the same sense, your partner might not have a strong connection to their family background and connection, so why would you want to take their name? Maybe your last name is also how you are referred to by, like a nickname, and you feel like you’ll lose that part of you if you switch your name.
This way also makes the options for same sex couples easier when deciding whose name to take once they are married. How do you decide which name to choose? Simply keeping your own name could make the most sense depending on your preferences as a couple.
Keep your surname professionally
If you have built a name for yourself professionally, such as building a business or brand around your name or going to medical school before getting married, it could be crucial to your career to keep your last name, at least professionally. Keeping your professional identity separate from your married identity may be the way to go. With this option, you change your name legally, but professionally, you continue to use your maiden name. If you would like to follow tradition, you are able to do so, while you’re also able to maintain your professional life.
This option does not affect your professional life in any way and can make it easier for everyone in the professional area. Your recent work will still show up in a simple Google search and still easily be found to the public. In this way, you will not lose any reputation and it will cause less confusion. However, having two last names could get confusing to some, and it may become a hassle to explain.
Make your surname your middle name, or vice versa
This option is as easy as it sounds – you simply make your maiden name your middle name and you take your partner’s last name as your own. It’s essentially like you get the best of both worlds, with a modern spin on the classic tradition! It’s an easy way to add your partner’s name to yours while still not giving up part of your identity. Be aware that some last names might not make the prettiest middle names!
Hyphenate both names
Hyphenating your names together is a great solution to being able to be connected to your spouse while also staying connected to your identity all in one. With this option, either one or both partners hyphenates their last name with their partner’s. This is an easy solution that pleases both parties and their families and can still help you maintain your professional reputation. One downside that could arise is that hyphenating your names could result in a long, awkward, complicated last name.
Combine your names
Combining your names is an interesting and creative approach that can add a whole new level of unity to your relationship. You can do any possible mash-up of names that makes sense and that you like! This option for last names is probably the most unique and will give you a one-of-a-kind last name to carry on for generations. By doing this, it also keeps one of you from feeling bitter about changing your name and also represents the merging of your families together. With this option, however, you will have to go through legally changing your last name, not just for one person, but for you both.
Create your own new last name
If no other options seems to fit you and your spouse, creating your own last name is a valid option! You can make this whatever you want it to be – it can be based in shared interests, a mix of letters or maybe pull from ancestral influences. This is another creative and individualist way to set your family apart on their own!
ICYMI: If you’re changing your name, get all the details over on our blog, here!