Some girls grow up scrawling their hopeful future last names in the margins of their notebooks. For others, the thought of giving up their name was never, ever an option. No matter your thoughts on the subject, there’s no denying that assuming the husband’s name is no longer a given. We asked five real ladies to share the reason they said yes to marriage—but heck no to giving up their names.
The One Who Comes from a Gaggle of Girls
“I’m all for changing your last name after marriage if that’s what you want to do, but I find the idea of the wife automatically-no-questions-asked changing hers to be pretty dated (the origins of marital surname change are, erm, not exactly pleasant). With only girls in my family carrying my last name, I knew that I wanted to keep it and pass it on to my future kids, and luckily my husband was totally on board. (It helps that he comes from a very large extended family with plenty of males.) In fact, my husband is even considering changing his last name to mine when we have kids, something that I didn’t really think was a big deal until I told my girlfriends and saw their overwhelmingly positive response, with more than one friend confiding that she wished her husband was so open-minded. Ultimately, I felt strongly about keeping my last name and my husband didn’t, so our decision was easy.”
- Alexia D.
The One Who’s Proud of Her Paper Trail
“It's never been a question. I've always wanted to keep my name, and that was a decision I made way before I met my fiancé. My name represents all of the accomplishments I've made and kick-ass stuff I've done over the last three decades, and giving it away would feel like losing my identity. I thought about just using my given name professionally (the phrase 'maiden name' feels so outdated to me), but taking a new name just doesn't feel like me, and doesn't make me feel any closer to my amazing soon-to-be husband than I already do. I haven't decided on the whole kids thing yet, but I can't wait for my fiancé and I to figure out what works best for our family together.”
- Lindsay C.
The One Looking Out for Her Family Tree
"Long before I was even dating my husband, I read something about how easy it is for women to get lost in the family tree when they take the name of their spouse. It's not necessarily impossible to track down their info, but it's much more difficult to locate their history if their maiden name isn't well-documented on their birth certificate. That prompted me to keep my last name. My husband was completely supportive. We've always looked at ourselves as individuals uniting in marriage, so what sense would it make to assume his name? The kid question has come up, but we're still open-minded. In fact, we might even give our kids my name. (It's a European tradition to use the mother's name as the last name, we've recently learned!)"
- Rachel B.
The One Who Didn’t Want to Change Her Insta Handle
“I never even thought about changing my name. My last name's such an important part of my identity—and my Instagram handle—that it was never up for consideration. My husband tried to lightly sell me on a name change, but I was a hard no, and it's kind of a non-issue now. As for our future possible spawn, they'll probably have his last name, even though it irks me to my core, and actually, now that you have me fired up about it, I probably won't go down without a fight. Down with the patriarchy. Sorry, babe.”
- Dara K.
The One Who Plain-Old Loves Her Name
“Aside from the fact that I was 30 years old when I got married and had already established my career, I absolutely love my maiden name—it’s 'Quint'—which I’ve always thought sounds literary and professional and bad-ass all at once. It just felt...weird to suddenly change something so fundamental to my identity. Our kids have my husband's last name, which was important to him, but my daughter's middle name is Quint, which felt like a nice way for me to pass it down.”
- Jillian Q.
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