A wedding is full of ritual and tradition, but so many of the things that come with marriage (specifically, the wedding) are pretty unnecessary and uncomfortable. Weddings are getting more and more complicated with the excessive bachelorette parties and 15 different showers, but none of these extra things are replacing the outdated parts of the wedding. It is all adding up.
Of course, there are many small traditions that I will be nixing, like the whole garter ordeal. (C’mon, do you really want everybody in the world watching your new husband biting a piece of lingerie from your thigh?) There is another tradition that I have an issue with: taking my future husband’s last name.
I have had a boyfriend for a year and a half now and people keep asking when he’s going to pop the question. Let me make something clear: I am 20 years old and far from the point of being ready to be engaged. All of that being said, the thought of marriage in general has crossed my mind. Weddings can be fun and exciting, and I think most girls (and maybe guys) have thought about their wedding at one point or another.
The reason I bring up the issue of the name change, is that recently I have been meeting more and more women who keep their maiden names, but will only occasionally go by their husbands’ last name. These women have typically been women who excelled in their careers and adult lives in their pre-marriage era.
Not that marriage puts a cap on your ability to accomplish great things, but there is so much I would hope to accomplish before I am married. As I have mentioned in a recent post, I am working on having some writing published, which would obviously be under my maiden name. I feel that I have accomplished some great things as Emily Krings, and it would be such a shame for her to perish.
I am Emily Krings. My name is a huge part of my identity. I understand that there are a lot of sacrifices when it comes to marriage, but I will never sacrifice who I am. I want to maintain my identity.
Taking your husband’s last name is rooted in the tradition of your father handing you over to your husband. It is as if you are just property being transferred. I know that this tradition is must less apparent in my society (in the US at least, but not necessarily true in other parts of the world) but it’s the idea of it that doesn’t sit well with me. The same goes for my father “giving me away” at my wedding; I will be walking myself down the aisle.
Another reason that I do not want to take my future husband’s last name is that it basically reassigns me to a new family. The new family may not really be one that I fit in to or one that even wants me to be part of it. I could also end up with some really great in-laws, but I think keeping my name allows me to keep a healthy amount of separation that really keeps me tied to my roots and where I am from. On another note I have heard women say, “I am not Mrs. ______, that’s my mother-in-law. Call me by my first name.” I could end up with a wonderful mother-in-law, but I still don’t want to steal her name!
There are a lot of little things that come with changing your name, too. You need to change your name on all documents, passports, license, and all that fun stuff. Your social media accounts all have to be changed, too, and who knows if you will be able to find a good Twitter handle or Instagram username with your new last name? (#firstworldproblems…am I right?)
I think a bigger little issue is that connections you have made as a single person can be lost, too. If you have done some networking at some point that was pretty casual but enough to get you a job or help you out in the future and you add that person on Facebook or LinkedIn, the person may not know that you got married and would not recognize your name. Of course, this may be a bit of a stretch, but it could happen.
At the end of the day, the choice is yours. Take his last name or don’t. I am interested in hearing some other opinions on this topic from both guys and girls. What do you guys think? Let me know!