There are many decisions to be made when getting married. From choosing caterers to seating arrangements, there are many. But one thing is not often discussed: Will you be changing your last name? It is a huge decision that will have long-lasting ramifications on your professional and personal lives.
This is a sensitive question that can be socially charged. However, it doesn’t mean you won’t get bombarded by questions from your gossipy Great Aunt Suzy, or your well-meaning mother in-law about your future title. They aren’t trying to be rude.
You should spend some time thinking about your feelings and your fiances before making a decision on whether to change name of your reborn baby names. This will ensure that you have a common answer in case one (or both) of them is not able to resolve the issue.
Unanimity on the issue will prevent “helpful suggestions” or mass speculation from the family. However, avoiding the subject completely could lead to a first argument between the newlyweds (and possibly a lot of mis-monogrammed wedding gifts).
After you say “I do”, will you choose to take your spouse’s or a combination of your names? You can make the decision, but MissNowMrs.com, which analyzes data from more than 300,000 brides, has identified five factors that strongly influence your choice.
1. Your Age
The bride’s age at marriage can play a significant role in her decision to change her name. A 2009 study found that older brides are 20% more likely to retain their maiden names after marriage than their younger counterparts.
2. Your siblings
Women with at least one brother are less likely to continue their family name. According to them, knowing that their male sibling will pass their last name to their children makes it more likely for them to change their names after marriage.
3. Your job
According to a 1985 study, women who have jobs that require name recognition or customer referrals often keep their maiden names. Doctors, lawyers, agents in real estate, and journalists are not likely to change their maiden names after marriage, regardless of whether they choose to keep their name the same, hyphenate, take 2nd or 3rd names, or convert their maiden name into their middle name.
4. Your Level Of Education
A woman is more likely to keep her maiden names if she has had a formal education before getting married. This makes sense if you consider it. The time and effort required to obtain an advanced degree is a strong motivator for keeping the name you earned your degrees. It is also important to consider the time and effort it would take for the degree(s), and professional license(s) to be changed.
5. Your Future Children
Name change decisions can be influenced by whether or not you have plans to add more children to your family. Katie Roiphe, author of “The Maiden Name Debate”, writes that women who intend to become mothers after marriage have more reasons for changing their names. Many people want to share their same name with their families in the future and avoid any problems that different last names may cause at school and daycare.
Your personal style and mentality will determine your decision to change your name. It’s possible to be a feminist who wants to change your name but don’t want to have to spell it. You could also want to keep your name for non-political reasons.
Today, women have more choices than ever before. Brides today can choose to keep their maiden names and hyphenate their spouses’ last names, change their last names or use their maiden names as a middle name.
The most important thing to think about is your name choice. You can create your identity and modify it as you wish. Remember that name changes can be legal and binding.