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Katie
Savvy July 2020

Taking Man’s Last Name?

Katie, on January 4, 2020 at 2:17 PM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 43
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Hi all! I’m having mixed feelings about taking or not taking my fiancé’s last name. I’m someone who strongly believes traditions should be questioned, and I won’t do something just because it’s the way it is or the social norm. (Please send thought and prayers as I plan this wedding and navigate the intense pressure from my severely traditional mother!) If the tradition makes sense and works for the parties involved, great. Keep it. If not, I think it should be tossed. I just don’t have a definitive urge or strong feelings to keep or scrap my last name, but we have both discussed and agreed that we are not hyphenating. We both have three syllables in our last names, don’t like the sound, not sure if we are having kids, but I personally believe it can be an issue later on in a kid’s life. What if they want to hyphenate when they get married, and their fiancé has a hyphenated name? Where does it end? (NOT a criticism. It’s great for some people! Just a thought). He’s not pushing me and doesn’t have strong feelings either way, but he does not want to take mine or create a new one, which I respect. Truthfully, I really don’t feel super strongly about either choice. I want to consciously make the choice though rather than out of the path of least resistance or social pressure. I just haven’t been the type of bride getting excited to be called “Mrs. [his last name].”


Here are some of my pro/cons to taking a last name. I’m interested to hear what others are doing or have done and the reasoning behind that choice.
Pros: I like the way his name sounds with my first name, it feels like a nice way to be a united front starting a new chapter in our lives, it’s closer to the beginning of the alphabet Smiley smile, IF we have kids, it’s easier, kind of a fresh start, it shuts up most people’s unsolicited criticisms since most expect me to anyway.
Cons: the tradition started as a way for men to claim and show ownership over a woman. That’s not the way we (and most people) roll, so why do it? Why does a child HAVE to take the father’s last name? I’m in my mid-thirties, established in my careers (college professor as well as personal trainer and fitness instructor), and I’m known by MY name in my community. Most, yes most, of my friends are gay, and so I’ve witnessed all sorts of hyphenating, keeping their own, and choosing one last name, but it feels more equal when there’s not the whole patriarchal history and expectations behind it. And then there’s the paperwork: social security, IDs, credit cards, shopping accounts, three different professional emails with my current last name and one personal, employer forms, etc.
What did you do/are you doing, and why?

43 Comments

Latest activity by Elyssa, on March 3, 2020 at 7:41 PM
  • Kristen
    Master November 2020
    Kristen ·
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    I am taking his but making my last name one of my middle names if I can because it keeps a bit of my family legacy since both parents are deceased. I get it is a tradition and the meaning behind it but if you think of weddings were traditionally rarely any of that is followed. Veils were supposed to cover the bride fully yet how many of us wear a veil for that. I have always wanted to take my husband's last name even if hyphenating. Maybe that is old school but I want us to share a last name. I have always wanted that though and never questioned otherwise. Not due to tradition but just that I wanted to take his name even if hyphenating. He is like you two he hates hyphenating which not that I need to but I want to keep my family in there somehow. It all comes down to preference and what you ultimately want most.

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  • Jai Butcher
    Rockstar May 2020
    Jai Butcher ·
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    I'm taking my FH last name. I suggested hypenating it but he didnt like that. And it doesnt bother me. Its gonna be such a hassle changing it with the paperwork: license, email, etc; but it's worth it. I feel as though having his last name makes us feel more like a unit and together.
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  • Shamaree
    Dedicated February 2020
    Shamaree ·
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    I used to feel like I would hyphenate because I didn’t want to change my name. I feel it ties into my identity and my family. It’s my father’s name and he was present in my life (my parents are still married - I only say that because I suspect that I would give up the name easily if he was an absentee father). I also saw the hyphen as the merge of our lives and families. But I realize I am still going to be who I am, my family connection will go unchanged and it means a lot to my fiancé so I’m gonna change it. I’m trying to decide if I’m gonna move my maiden name to the middle to still have it officially. Many people have changed their names after establishing careers for all sorts of reasons and it takes a while but people adjust eventually and then it’ll just be the norm.
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  • Amber
    Devoted January 2022
    Amber ·
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    We are not having a traditional wedding, but I will be taking my FH’s last name. He wants me to take his name, but is not pressuring me to do so. I have wanted to change my last name since high school. I have my father’s last name and have no relationship with him. I have not had any contact with him in at least 12 years and before that it was not great. I almost changed my name to my mother’s maiden name, but didn’t know the proper methods at the time so I decided to wait until the time comes when I get married.
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  • Katie
    Savvy July 2020
    Katie ·
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    Oh, please don’t take anything I’ve said as criticism. I think people should do what they want to. I’m not wearing a veil, and I admit, it is because of that tradition, but I’m also digging a totally different hair style though. I certainly don’t think anything of anyone who does though. I’m sorry to hear about your parents. That must be hard.
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  • Kristen
    Master November 2020
    Kristen ·
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    LOL I was not offended by anything you said. I hope I did not come off rude. Not my intention. Really the whole traditions of weddings comes from patriarchal traditions such as marrying someone for alliances between countries or business transactions between families lol. I totally get breaking traditions but I think for me ultimately it is like one of the pp's said it is a way I feel more united to my fiance. He personally does not see the purposes of marriages as it is a piece of paper and he is committed to me legally or not but I have always wanted to be married and I want to be his wife and take his last name. Maybe I am old school in some aspects. I guess putting tradition aside how would you like to be referred to? Would it make you proud to have his last name?

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  • Mrs. S
    Master November 2019
    Mrs. S ·
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    I feel strongly about keeping the tradition because I want our family/kids to all have the same last name. It was super awkward for me growing up with a different name as my mom and I want us all to be a clear unit. I think the hyphenating makes things long and complicated and confusing. My maiden name will be my middle name so it’ll still be part of my identity.
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  • Katie
    Savvy July 2020
    Katie ·
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    You didn’t! Most people just do it without question, and I just see the points on each side, but I want to make sure I’m not coming off judgmental or like I think anyone is being anti-feminist if they do. I agree. Marriage and weddings in general are deeply rooted in the patriarchy, but ya know what? I can’t wait to marry him, and I also can’t wait for the wedding! However, I’m not wearing a veil, there are two men on my side of the bridal party, not getting married in a church (my family is VERY catholic and VERY upset over this), I don’t have a maid or matron of honor, I have two additional bridesmen/maids than my FH, my dress isn’t white or ivory (only because I accidentally fell in love with an ivory/champagne one, not to make a statement, but tradition played zero role in that decision), not doing garter/bouquet toss, but we ARE doing a lot of other traditions that make sense to us. All of these decisions were made based on what we want, not because of tradition or to be contrary, and I just don’t have a strong pull either way with the name, so I like hearing what helped others to decide. I have a good relationship with my father too, but if I didn’t, it’d make it easier. Thank you for your perspective!
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  • A
    Super February 2020
    Andrea ·
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    I am not changing my last name at all since my name is my identity. I’m also in my 30s with an established career, and he understands that my name is my brand. There are certain things I like to follow in regards to tradition, but in this case I will not. I agree with you and how a last name back in the day was to promote a woman being a mans property. I like that we are in a modern world and don’t need to follow those rules anymore if we don’t want to. Plus, why do I need to spend the money and time to change all of my personal stuff, that sounds like a headache and pain in my ass.


    That being said, we’ve discussed what would happen if we had kids. Per tradition, they would take his last name (to avoid headaches and confusion) and I’ll keep my last name. I don’t mind the questions cause it’s my decision that I’m willing to defend. Maybe down the road I’ll hyphenate or just add his last name as a second last name. My mom never legally changed her name when she got married and she said over the years it just sort of evolved to her maiden last name + my dads last name without a hyphen. Plus I’m part Hispanic, so I already have paperwork with 2 last names and can have 3 if I wanted to add his behind mine or scrap my moms last name to add his.
    Don’t change your identity if you don’t want to.
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  • Kristen
    Master November 2020
    Kristen ·
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    Oh please lol. It is hard to offend me on a forum but I get it, tones can be misconstrued. It is ok if you are feminist but taking his last name does not make you less of one. If you choose not to that is fine as well. I love your attitude that it is not about tradition that you want to marry him and that is most important. That is how I feel about my guy. I feel weddings and ceremonies are breaking a way from traditions. I just love veils which is why I want one and by bf will be my MOH because of all people I need her there by my side and helping me get ready and I am hoping to have my big brother will walk me down since he has been the man in my life before my fh (even if I hated him as a kid lol). In my opinion it is you guys' day and your marriage and you both need to do what works best for you two. Whether you take his name or not he is still your husband. You will make the best decision for you besides legally if you change your mind I would imagine you could.

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  • S
    Devoted October 2020
    Stephanie ·
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    I’m taking his last name because I can’t imagine being his wife and not having his last name. Maybe it’s because I’m used to things working that way? I just love him and we will be having children so I want a single family name.
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  • Katie
    Savvy July 2020
    Katie ·
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    Thank you for this perspective. I know a lot of women who have children and didn’t change their name, and they are no less of a family unit. I agree that there is some resentment on my end like, why does society expect ME to be the one to go through all of this hassle for the sake of having the same last name? That resentment doesn’t extend to my FH, just social norms and expectations. I like the idea of being a team and having the same last name, but I don’t like the expectation that I should be the one changing it. I respect that he doesn't want to change his, but he doesn’t have the same social pressure. All that said, I surprisingly don’t feel my feet planted in the ground to keep mine, but I’m also not posting everywhere hashtagging Mrs. with his last name either. I don’t share that anticipation in that area that so many seem to.
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  • Future Mrs. Cwik
    Devoted March 2021
    Future Mrs. Cwik ·
    • Flag
    I’m taking my FH’s last name but because mine is an adopted name from my mom’s second husband who I’m not close to, I’m not particularly attached to my last name. That said, I think going non traditional is cool, and you shouldn’t feel pressure to take his name just because of tradition. A friend of mine is not taking her husband’s name because she is the last person in her family with her last name and she wants to carry it on. Another friend isn’t taking her husband’s last name because she doesn’t want to deal with changing everything.


    Not entirely related, but we are having a fairly non traditional wedding as well. We’re having our ceremony and reception at a brewery, we’ll actually be getting married the day before at the courthouse. We aren’t doing the traditional dances with parents, nor are we doing a solo first dance - we’re inviting people to join us in our first dance. We aren’t doing a cake cutting and we don’t have a wedding party. That said, we have had people question these decisions because of tradition but we always respond the same way - “That’s just not our thing, we want our wedding to fit our personalities”.
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  • A
    Super February 2020
    Andrea ·
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    I understand completely! And not to bash on anyone who will take on their mans last names, but I don’t see why American society still encourages it. When I was younger I wanted to be a Mrs his last name, but I feel like I understand the value of my name now and don’t want to change it. I know you and I are definitely in the minority here...


    I’m still getting what I want, and that’s to marry my man in the wedding of our dreams!
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  • Kristen
    Master November 2020
    Kristen ·
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    LOL funny you say that about the brewery but I was thinking to have a post elopement dinner with a few friends at one as I want my FH and friends to be in a relaxed setting. I just wanna have fun and chill post ceremony and pics. I am doing cake cutting but most important is eating of the cake lol.

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  • Katie
    Savvy July 2020
    Katie ·
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    I completely respect that. I guess my whole thing is, especially given that the original reason behind taking the man’s last name is, for most, no longer a thing, WHY should it be the woman to take the man’s? Why is it rarely up for discussion about WHOSE last name to take? It’s just assumed, and I’m just the type who has never taken “because that’s just the way it is” as an answer. If we have kids and they have his name, my family name dies, and I just think it should be given equal consideration and questioned. Since it never is, the decision usually falls on the woman to take the man’s or keep her own, and the whole patriarchal heteronormative part just doesn’t sit well with me. That said, I give me own self a headache sometimes and wish I could roll with things easier! It may sound like I’m firmly against taking his, but I’m not. I respect anyone’s decision either way; I just wish society was different.
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  • Katie
    Savvy July 2020
    Katie ·
    • Flag
    Oh my god! I should also tell everyone we are having a VEGAN wedding, and oh, yes. I can feel the eye rolls lol. It’s a dirty and pretentious word to most people lol. There will be tantrums, and people will panick wondering, “but what will I eat?! How will I survive without bacon wrapped something?!” I’m sure, but both of us love food and have worked very hard to make sure there’s variety and a yummy, filling, and non-scary food on menu! Can’t count how many weddings I had to eat before because there was not one option, so they will live!
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  • Katie
    Savvy July 2020
    Katie ·
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    That sounds so fun! Can I come?! Lol. We are starting our dance traditionally and then breaking into a flash mob style dance with our bridal party and anyone who wants to join. Also, see my one comment on here about our VEGAN wedding haha. Eyes will roll, but people will be well fed and can deal for one night!
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  • Caytlyn
    Legend November 2019
    Caytlyn ·
    • Flag
    I’m a super feminist and typically very “I am woman, hear me roar,” so when we first got engaged, I didn’t even consider changing my name. We discussed it on multiple occasions and while my wife definitely leaned toward me taking her name, she was also open to taking mine or hyphenating. We decided to share one name for a few reasons...

    1.) We’re a same sex couple and we thought that it would help people to see us as a unit.
    2.) We want to have children and our hope is that sharing a name will help ward off some of those “so...whose kids are they really?” questions. 3.) It’s easier.
    I ultimately decided to take my wife’s name because...1.) My maiden name is Smith...so...that’s self explanatory. 2.) I don’t have a relationship with my father, therefore, no real connection to the name.3.) It made my wife happy. Of course it’s my name and my choice, but she actually had a preference while I was pretty indifferent. If I don’t really care, why not?
    I also had concerns about the tedious name change process, and while I’m not completely finished yet, it hasn’t been as awful as I had imagined. I went to the social security office on a Tuesday afternoon and it only took about an hour. I got my new license the next day (you have to wait 24 hours in KY.) I received my new social the following Monday, so pretty fast. I went to the bank and changed my name on all of my accounts the same day. These were the three things that took the most time, which was maybe a combined 1.5 hours. The rest has been quick phone calls. I will say that I still have somewhat mixed feelings about the whole thing. Being called Mrs. P does give me a giddy 13 year old first love kind of feeling, which I wasn’t expecting. But it also does feel like more of an identity change than I expected. Anyway...I guess this isn’t really super helpful, but it’s my experience! You could also consider changing your name legally and still using your maiden name professionally. Or even keeping your maiden name as a middle name. I hope that you receive some responses that make the decision a little easier!
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  • Future Mrs. Cwik
    Devoted March 2021
    Future Mrs. Cwik ·
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    Lol girl, don’t even worry about eye rolls. We are doing things our way and I have just said “if people don’t like the way we are doing our wedding, then they certainly don’t need to come enjoy our open bar and $30 a plate dinner” lol!


    I love the flash mob idea! That sounds super fun and a really cool way to kick off the festivities.
    Also, my name is Katie too!! 😀😀😀
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