“Always remember, there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name.” – The Avett Brothers
I’ve personally always loved the idea of sharing a last name with my loved ones, so when I got married in 2015 I knew I wanted to take my husband’s name, but I always wanted to keep my maiden name in some way.
I chose to drop my middle name and replace it with my maiden name and take my husband’s last name as my own.
With all that being said, it was still a huge pain in the neck, which I wasn’t aware of. You literally have to change your name on anything that it appears, including, but not limited to:
Social Security Administration
However, there is no law that states you have to change your name after you get married so you can absolutely choose to keep your name after marriage. (and it’s a whole lot easier!)
Have you ever wondered how this practice started?
In the past, a person’s last name (or surname) was not seen as important. In medieval England most individuals were only known by their “Christian name” (or first name) because of baptism. As the population grew and many people possessed the same first name, the idea of surnames was introduced which were often based on lineage (Williamson or William’s son), occupation (Mason) or the town you lived in.
The concept of a wife taking a husband’s name surfaced in the 9th century when the Doctrine of Coverture emerged. This basically means that women were considered “one” with their husbands and were required to take their husband’s name after marriage. This also applied to children being born in a marriage, they must take the father’s surname.
This new law now prevented women from entering into contracts, litigation, businesses or any sort of ownership of property. Not surprisingly, this created an uprise in women in the United States and the Married Women’s Property Acts was passed in several states in the mid-1800s that allowed women to gain individual legal status for purposes of contracts, business and commerce and purchasing property. In addition, many women began to retain their original birth name instead of taking their husband’s.
There are also alternatives options to completely keeping your name vs completely changing it. There is the hyphenating option. This allows you to keep your first and middle name (if you have one) and just add your new last name with a hyphen to your maiden name. (ex. Kim Kardashian-West) Many newlyweds have adopted a more non-traditional route to combine parts of their surnames to create a completely new name. (ex. William and Stark = Willark)
Whatever you chose to do after you get married is up to you!
Featured Image by: Ivory Door Studio