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The Name Change Game

Author: Lauren Coleman

Whether it was a simple decision or marked by notions of traditionalism or feminism, social expectation or gender-equality, we all have our reasons for either keeping or changing our names after marriage. Despite sharing the same first name, Lolly and I came to very individual, differing decisions when it was our turn to make the choice about our last name after the big day.

Maiden All The Way {Lolly}

Where to begin… Well I suppose the start is as good a place as any. For the last 33 years I’ve been Lauren Gautier-Ollerenshaw. Granted it’s not the easiest surname to spell, it takes a while to write out on a form and it just about fits on my debit card. And don’t even get me started on the pronunciation issues that so many folk seem to have with it… but it’s uniquely mine and it belongs to me and most of all I actually really really like it.

I always knew that I would keep my name when I got married. Even as a young girl when everyone else was doodling their names combined with the surname of their latest crush on the front of their school exercise books, I just didn’t get it. Why did I need to change my name when I got married. Was it to prove that I loved someone? Did I need to relinquish a part of me to belong to someone else? In fact I felt a sense of grief at the idea that I might have to give it up, to become someone else, to take on a new identity. Realising eventually that I could actually tie the knot and still stay Lauren Gautier-Ollerenshaw was a lightbulb moment and a huge relief.

Ste knew from the early days of our relationship, even before we were engaged, that I didn’t (and wouldn’t) change my surname if we ever got married. He was fine with it, actually more than fine. I remember him saying to me that he wouldn’t ever take on my surname so why should he expect me to do the same. I knew at that point he was a diamond amongst men and a total keeper. All he asked was that if we had any children that they would have a mixture of both of our family names which was dandy with me.

I think the desire to keep my name also comes from the fact that I love being a part of the Gautier family; we are a family of strong women and see our name as a kind of badge of honour. My sister didn’t change her surname when she married last year and my younger sister has agreed with her current partner that if they ever tie the knot they will both take on each other’s family name. In the same vein I have female cousins who will and have resolutely stayed Gautiers too.

All things aside, I do understand the motivations behind those choosing to take on their husband’s surname at the altar. Having talked about the issue extensively with friends who did change names I can appreciate their desire to be a coherent cohesive unit – by sharing the same surname. It definitely makes things easier for hosts when sending out invitations that’s for sure! As it stands though, the name change is just not for me…

Name Changer {Lauren}

In all but one document I’ve changed my name to reflect that of my husband’s. My passport still shows me to be ‘Lauren Moore’ despite it being over six years since I became Mrs Coleman. Due to sheer stubbornness at having to pay an admin charge, I become single whenever I leave the country.

I am extremely proud of my roots but don’t feel I have to hold on to my name to reflect my heritage. I feel no disconnect from my identity in taking a different surname however I had a slight wobble when I returned from minimoon as to whether to change my name professionally. When I realised I hadn’t really established my career or achieved anything of real note I decided to embrace Outlook’s ability to adopt a new persona.

There is no other ‘Mrs Coleman’ in our family, my mother-in-law remarried when James was small so his sister has another name too. With his biological dad out of the picture, James was the sole Coleman until we married in 2010 and we both see a unique bond in that together we are the ‘only’ Colemans. Rather than feeling like I’ve lost my name and taken his, I feel I’ve joined a very exclusive and equal team of two. Roll on next year when that passport is finally up for renewal.

As always we’d love to hear your comments on the subject. Did you change your name when you got hitched? For the single ladies contemplating marriage, do you plan to keep your surname? Any double barrellers out there who want to share their views?


Image by James Corbett of Danielle and Ben’s Wedding.

Lauren likes Paris, Prosecco and Paint Charts
Follow Lauren on instagram @mrslaurencoleman
This post may include affiliate links.

77 thoughts on “The Name Change Game

  1. Changing your name after marriage is a very personal thing. What I do find interesting though is why most children of parents who have different surnames are on the whole given the father’s surname? Why not the mum’s?!

    1. I’ve struggled with this too Heidi and Hector is Gautier-Collins which takes both my own and Ste’s surname. I did think it might be a bit hard on the poor kid to make him have Gautier-Ollerenshaw-Collins though…Joking aside we both felt it was important for Hector to have a bit of both of us.

  2. Oh I do love it when you make me feel more normal! I’m a non-name-changer and I’ve been so very shocked by people’s response to this (personal) choice! In fact my nan said to me “well what’s the point of getting married if you don’t change your name?”….!!!…. Still 4 years on it pops up for a family chew over every now and then. They’ve obviously not got anything else more exciting to talk about eh!!

    To be honest, I often tell people that I didn’t change my name because no one can spell my husbands surname. I found the response of “I just didn’t want to” confused people too much.

    I do have to say that the only time I declared that I’m going to join the unspellable surname clan is at the post office! When trying to pick up a parcel that my mum has insisted on posting to me as Jo SillySurname. I of course have no id with that name which has meant that some parcels have been returned to sender. Such a palava!

    I don’t understand why some of my friends and family insist on using my married name, when I never took it! I pretend not to care – as it’s my choice and they don’t *need* to understand. But maybe I’ve just given up singing “that’s not my name” at them…. ?

    1. Jo it infuriates me when I have letters addressed to Lauren Collins – in the main it’s just bloody lazy of the sender to do so. As a family we do have invites addressed to the Gautier-Collins’ which actually makes me smile as it includes all of us. But I hear you on the whole ‘what’s the point of getting married’ conversations. I’ve had numerous instances of this although not on my side of the family I should add. Glad I’ve made you feel more ‘normal’ this morning 😉

  3. I have always had a double barreled name. Long (and interesting probably to only me) story. At school I hated it, and no one ever pronounced or spelt it correctly! So generally just used one part of my surname. At university that changed when I started understanding the story of my name, and I have loved it ever since. Then I got married to a Smith. Nothing wrong with that, but I really struggled with going from a name that had a story behind it, and a real conversation starter, to possibly the most common woman’s name in the UK! Luckily my husband is incredibly laid back, and didn’t mind what I did with my name as long as it didn’t involve admin for him! So I took part of my surname and part of his – destined to always be double-barrelled!! My name is part of who i am and I always knew i wouldnt change when i got married, and didnt want to start that by taking on my husbands identity, but did want to recognise we were married. I struggled having a different surname to my family and sister growing up, but i think that was more linked to re marriage etc than the actual name. Wow long post but subject I feel pretty attached to!! Xx

    1. Hurray for laid-back husbands Emma! And I know completely what you mean about the history and story behind a name – it’s one of the reasons I refused to give mine up. I think if I’d started out not being double barrelled then perhaps I might have considered joining Ste’s name onto mine…who knows. I also completely emphasise with that tussle between not taking on a name but recognising that we’re married. Still so many people address me as Ms rather than Mrs and it drives me up the wall; this certainly wouldn’t be the case if I had Ste’s surname.

  4. Interesting topic!

    I was in two minds about changing my name. I’m an only child and my uncle’s sons all have their mum’s surname so I was the last of my family name. However, I ultimately did decide to change my name but not after thinking about it and going back and forth for the entire length of our engagement (which was over 2 years!)

    I toyed with the idea of double-barrelling but that’s what my mum did and she said that looking back, she wished she hadn’t – mainly because half the time, stuff gets addressed to her married name anyway! Also, the combination of my maiden and husband’s name is a right old mouthful of G’s and L’s (and doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue!)

    I then went back to thinking I’d keep my name but then had a dilemma about which name any potential children would carry on. A friend of mine has a son with her partner and has a different surname to him – she almost couldn’t get back into country with him after a holiday because border control didn’t believe she was his mother because of the different surnames (she has to carry his birth certificate to prove it).

    I guess what I’m saying is that I changed it for ease, which I know might not necessarily be the best reason but I don’t feel any less of a feminist – I think being a feminist means you have a choice. And I don’t feel a loss of identity or anything like that. Maybe I just didn’t feel as passionate about the issue as others might! But, whilst circumstances may have dictated my decision, it was my decision and my now-husband respected that it was my choice either way. I think as long as you’re comfortable with it then I don’t see a problem with keeping or changing your name!

    That said, it was a nightmare changing it and like Lauren, my passport stayed in my maiden name for two years until it expired because I resented having to pay for the name change!

    1. This is part of the reason why we gave Lyra a double-barrelled surname Jo G – because I had heard it could cause problems whilst travelling. (Rich and I aren’t married…yet?!) Out of interest which country was your friend in? X

      1. I’m terrified of this happening – my boyfriend and I are expecting our first child in June and are not married. But our surnames don’t go well together – both start with a G and it just sounds… gluggy. My surname is also a woman’s name (when pronounced differently) so would be read wrongly if used as a middle name! I’m happy to give our baby my boyfriend’s surname, but I hate the idea that I could be questioned as their mother if travelling alone.

        1. Congratulations!
          My son has his dad’s surname with mine as a second second name. It’s not actually used day to day but is noted on his birth certificate and on his passport for peace of mind and also I wanted a look in!

      2. She was travelling from Germany to the UK and it was the UK border control who had the problem with it. Her son was only 6 or 7 at the time and they basically checked his passport first and then hers and started asking questions. To be fair that was quite a while back but ever since, she’s always taken the birth certificate just in case.

  5. I identify as a feminist but changed my name. My primary teacher used to clap the rhythms of our names so we could leave the carpet. “Claire Fowkes” has a distinct lack of rhythm; “Claire McLennan” voila some rhythm. Our girls have my maiden name as their middle name so it carries on in some form. My husbands middle name is his mums maiden name. During the Scottish indyref first time round the husband was threatening to change to Fowkes if it was yes. He soon changed his mind once he realised the sheer amount of admin!

    1. Ahhh Claire! Anything for a bit of rhythm – I would have loved to see what clapping she would have done with my name! I also love the fact that your girls have your maiden name as their middle name too. It’s a really lovely way of honouring it xxx

  6. We’ve both changed our names – ended up double-barrelling my mum’s maiden name and his grandmother’s. It’s a real mouthful but totally unique and I love it!

  7. I’ve kept my maiden name for work (I’m self employed as an Osteopath and was already registered before getting married) but taken my husbands name for all other things. I never wavered from this idea but I will admit the day after we got married when my dad turned to me and said I guess you are no longer a Blampied it did upset me!! My maiden name has a story behind it, my father’s family is from Jersey and it’s where I grew up, even on Jersey Blampied is a little unusual so if it wasn’t for being able to keep it for work maybe I would have thought again. However my married name being Cook is alot easier for making bookings etc as people can say it and spell it far easier than Blampied!!

  8. Kept my name. I like it, it’s mine, and I had the example of my mother before me, who kept hers in the face of in law disapproval that my grandma has never lost…

    Whatever your choice is that’s cool. What’s not is people addressing things wrong when they know better! It’s Mr P Surname and Dr L My Surname!

    Also a woman in my subdiscipline has publications under 3 different double barrelled names… not what I want…

    1. Same here Lucy! My mum kept her name too for her first marriage and actually reverted back to her maiden name about five years ago despite taking on my stepdad’s name initially when they got married over twenty years ago. What is it about grandma’s and disapproval??? Perhaps it’s envy that they wished they’d kept their names too…
      And yes totally not cool when people can’t be bothered to use the right surnames…just lazy!

  9. I changed my name. Did consider a double barrelled surname but Derrington-Bickerton would have been a heck of a mouthful, and something I could only have got away with had I also added Lady to my name lol.

    1. Siobhan I love the idea of you being Lady Derrington-Bickerton. It’s got a kind of Midsommer Murders vibe to it…

  10. Interesting topic! I married two years ago and I had real issues with changing my name. I always loved my surname and my husbands is well, lets just say, interesting! My husband didn’t want to take my name, but equally didn’t pressure me to take his. The thing that swung it for me was that when we had children I wanted us to be a unit with the same name (double barrelled is a great option but unfortunately our names together just dont “go”). I kept my maiden name for work and changed it for everything else and I am happy with that. Its so old fashioned and I hate that it is the norm for women to take the mans name. My friend is Korean and in her culture it is unheard of for the woman to take the man’s name xx

    1. I did the same and didn’t change my name until after our first daughter was born. We were traveling to the US for a month when she was three months old and I really wanted us to have the same name on our passports and a “clean” passport (after a nasty previous incident at customs a couple of years previous – another story!). Interestingly, looking back, I don’t think I thought twice about our children having my husband’s surname. For a long time I only had a passport in my married name and still used my maiden name at work and in other aspects of my life. But, eventually, it just seemed easier to switch over. So last year, after eight years of marriage and two children down, I changed everything over. I don’t think my husband could have cared less either way! The only thing that I absolutely hate is being addressed as Mrs [insert husband’s first name] Surname. What the?!

    2. Really Sarah? So what do they do in Korea then? Do newlyweds each keep their own surnames?

      1. My brother’s wife is korean and kept her surname, me and my husband kept our own names (we are both british) our families kind of get it but i still get letters to mrs (husbands surname) – even the humanist celebrant who married us looked really dis heartened when he found out he wouldnt ne able yo end the wedding ceremony by saying ‘here’s the new mr and mrs ……..’ to him that was the best part haha!

        1. That’s so interesting Rachel. And I think quite a few people were a bit perturbed when one of our ushers announced us as just the bride and groom rather than Mr & Mrs Collins!

  11. Someone recently was horrified that I’d taken my husband’s surname. The exact words “as a feminist, I would NEVER do that”.
    We were planning on having a family so for me, it wasn’t a question of my equality or subjugation. I simply chose my husband’s surname to become our family’s team name because that’s what felt right and worked for us.

    1. And this is precisely the argument that so many of my friends who have changed their names have put to me. They wanted the same name to reflect their family as a cohesive unit; I completely understand these motivations Sarah. You have to do what is right for you xxx

  12. I had a bit of a different situation with the choice to change my name – my future sister-in-law and I share our first name! So by taking my husband’s surname, we would have exactly the same name. This was something I couldn’t get over. We are very different people, and her name felt very much like her identity, something that I couldn’t share. Surprisingly for me, my mum who is quite traditional, encouraged me to keep my own name. My maiden name is a little unusual (Stoner) and not something that I imagined wanting to keep, but I’ve grown fond of it and didn’t want to lose it!

    My husband was very relaxed about me keeping my name (he also felt weird about me having the same name as his sister), and in the end I double barrelled it. My mother-in-law didn’t seem quite as relaxed, but it’s my decision and at least I’ve taken on his name in some part. When we have children they’ll just have his surname – I won’t subject a long double barrel on them!

    1. I’ve never commented on a post before but this is so weird – I have the same name as you! I’ll be keeping it for work purposes when I get married as I also don’t want to give it up completely. I’ve tried to convince the other half we should double-barrel but his name just doesn’t go with Stoner – it starts with an R and ends in an S so whichever order the names go in it doesn’t make it easy to pronounce.

      1. Wow, that’s crazy that we have the same name! Such an unusual name as well. My uncle moved to America and the jokes about it are even worse there!

  13. Ah Lauren, i love your new Coleman club of 2 – such a nice way to look at it!
    On the total opposite side; i am now one of 8 Mrs Davies’ across 3 generations due to two sets of Davies married more Davies (different bloodlines of course!)…and they are all the most wonderful women i have ever met…strong willed, kind, many of them military wives with personalities to boot – i always look forward to our time together and i am glad that i took the name Davies……however only officially and socially (passport/driving licence/wedding invites / tesco clubcard etc)…
    I decided to retain my maiden name Anthony for work. My reasons being that i am running our family business with my mum, dad and brother – who all have the surname Anthony. Why would i leave that club of 4? The reasons are slightly fickle; i want customers to know i am part of the business, that i’m not just an employee and that my say so is final. I often receive a little sexism in our line of work anyway (Garden Landscaping and Machinery) and i don’t want any more reasons for people not to respect me. I love this debate and look forward to reading the other comments…Love the blog as always 🙂 xx

    1. Perfectly good reason to keep your surname Laurie. I used to work in construction so I hear you on the sexism ?

  14. I didn’t want to change my name and agonised over it, but in the end I did. It was important to my husband to have a family name (we already had kids with his surname) and to be honest, it just seemed easier. He would have supported me either way, but I knew to him it symbolised our little family.
    I’ve always felt a strong sense of identity with my maiden name and always thought along the same lines as Lolly – it’s all so odd and backwards to take your husbands name!!! I still did it though and am perfectly happy in the end up 🙂

    1. My brother’s fiancée is going through similar Nikki! She loves her surname but apparently my brother really wants her to have our name when they are married. X

  15. Such an interesting post and comments.

    I’m not sure whether I will take Rich’s surname if we ever get married. However Lyra has a double-barrelled surname which is a combination of both of our surnames x

    1. Which is precisely what we did Lisa for Hector. We also did this to prevent any issues at customs as he has an element of both of our names. I remember reading an article in the Guardian before I gave birth where a woman needed to carry 13 different pieces of identification whenever her family travelled because her children had their father’s name but not hers. Can you even begin to imagine!

  16. I changed my name but for me it was an easy decision. My maiden name didn’t have the best memories for me so marrying into my husband’s lovely family felt like a fresh start. I now use my ‘new’ name for everything including my business and it feels more ‘me’ in 5 years than my old name ever did in 25. That said I completely appreciate why others would prefer to keep their own surnames too. It’s such a personal choice.

  17. Love this post – it’s such an interesting topic and incites SUCH reactions in people. I changed my name when I got married and always planned to do so. I kind of would have liked a double barrel but two unusual (one of them Italian) and difficult to spell surnames would have made it a nightmare! My husband has a wonderful surname and I love the connection it gives us as Mr & Mrs. I know that isn’t everyones feeling but I like it. The only time I wobbled was the few weeks running up to the wedding when suddenly, I was going to have a different name to the one I had had for 29 years and the one I shared with my beloved family. I still find it a bit odd that on paper I am now the odd one out from my parents and brother. Though hopefully I will be known by my married name for far longer than 29 years, so that’ll become the new norm 🙂
    One negative of changing your name – ALL THE LIFE ADMIN THIS CREATES. And the need for people to see your original marriage certificate rather than a copy. I ended up changing my passport straight away as my over excited husband booked flights in my married name and it worked out cheaper to get a new passport than change the name on the flight!! x

    1. Ha ha! Sophie – I just posted my comment and read yours and YES! I am known by a completely different name to my planed married name because of an eager flight booking (that i didn’t want to spend money on correcting!) I am still my maiden name in my bank as i can not for the life of me seem to get to the bank with the right documentation – sooo annoying!!!

  18. I remember having this discussion on Rock My Wedding while I (and my fellow real bride gang of 13/14) were bloggidy blogging our way through the whole wedding planning thing.

    At the time, I really wanted to stay a Davey. I am known as Davo personally and professionally (advertising isn’t that professional… especially when clients call you Davo!)

    I had very little resistance from family and friends about keeping my maiden name. Especially from my mother-in-law, who kept her own maiden name and is an incredibly smart, kind and perpetually generous lady (she knitted her and her husband’s matching tank tops when they got married back in the 70s!)

    I decided that I would keep Davey as a second middle name, so I wasn’t losing anything, just gaining a new family name. Awesome, all good! Happy little me!

    That was… until my Mum booked a flight for me and didn’t use Davey as one of my middle names… (i was nursing a very new baby so she was managing some admin for me!) and instead of paying a £50-or-so fine to amend the booking, I applied for my daughter’s passport (at 5 days old) and my new passport with my new married name, minus my maiden name anywhere! I was totally sad!!! And i did wonder whether or not i was being a right skint flint – not forking out a couple of quid to protect my name I spent so long pouring over…!

    But, i still feel a Davey, I still get called Davo, I have a business with my husband named after our surnames, we have a family name that gets shortened to The Daniels on cards and correspondence and I actually really feel connected with it

  19. I took my husband’s name largely because he has children and it made me feel more a part of my stepfamily, plus the kids wanted me to – I think they would have been quite put out if I hadn’t taken ‘their’ name! ? I didn’t want to lose my maiden name completely (I lost my dad at 13 so his name is important to me) so I just added it as a middle name as a way of remembering him. It was extra hassle – I had to do a deed poll! – but it makes me happy when I see my full name written down.


    1. How lovely that the kids wanted you to have their name. I also really like this idea of keeping your surname as a middle name, especially if it has a special meaning every time you see it. X

  20. I changed my name to my husband’s surname (completely my choice and he’d have been happy if I didn’t) but also didn’t want to give up my maiden name, so kept it as a second middle name (was a bit of a hassle doing that by deed poll). And when our daughter is born (due in a couple of weeks!), she’ll have my maiden name as a middle name too.

    1. Hi 5, fellow heavily pregnant lady!

      Lyra has a double-barrelled surname which is a combination of mine and Rich’s surnames, and her little brother will have the same. But I’m not sure what we would do with their names, if anything, if we ever got married.

      Good luck with the next couple of weeks x

    2. My friend did this Sharon. Such a lovely way to keep both old and new names.
      Big congrats on the impending arrival too x

  21. I was much more torn about this decision than I thought I would be and kept changing my mind. Then in the run up to my wedding I made national headlines in an embarrassing jaw dislocation eating a burger drama (cringe) and after attending an interview where the interviewer quizzed me about the incident after googling me the decision was made! A clean slate for my digital footprint! Haha!

    1. Nicola I think this is the best comment I’ve ever seen ? You have to tell us more! How on earth did you manage to dislocate your jaw whilst eating a burger?! And did you get the job?! X

  22. I didn’t change my name when I got married and as I do most of our holiday bookings, my husband always gets referred to as my surname which is quite funny!

    It annoys me when people (who know I haven’t changed my name) use my husband’s name though.

    We’re about to have our first child and had both agreed that new baby will take husbands surname – our names would sound terrible double barrelled as they’re both pretty common names but quite want mine included somehow. To be fair though, we’re struggling enough with first names so the surname debate is on hold!!

    1. What does your husband make of being referred to by your surname Emma? – I reckon Rich would be a bit miffed! Ha.

      We are really struggling to think of baby names too…I’m due in two weeks and I think the poor boy may be one of these kids that doesn’t have a name for several months ?

  23. I didn’t change my name. I also use ‘ms’. I don’t want to be identified based on whether or not I’ve managed to bag a man and there is no need for the distinction. I think the idea of feminism meaning you ‘have a choice’ is sad. We have choices in a patriarchal society. Our whole lives leading up to the point of making that choice are not unbiased. The fact that this issue is only ever discussed by women and described as OK because feminism means women have a choice makes me sad and angry. The choice of whether to take a wife’s name or keep your own is not one which is widely discussed between men. It’s not even mentioned as an option in most cases. People don’t raise an eyebrow at my husband for keeping his name. They didn’t even consider that he would do anything else. I have been asked about it so many times, it gets questioned, it gets raised eyebrows and catbum mouths. I never bring it up with other people and didn’t need to give it more than a seconds thought but other people are clearly bothered. It was once suggested that I wasn’t really committed to my husband. My brother in law described himself as ‘surprised, but accepting’. Thanks, but I don’t need anyone’s approval. Anyone would think I had done something shocking and terrible.

    Having said that, I don’t think every choice you ever make has to reflect your feminism. I choose to wear high heels and make up on nights out. I tried to present it to myself as a choice (and that feminism means choices yada yada) for ages but have now made peace with the fact that it is not a feminist choice, it is based on our society’s ideas of what is attractive in a woman and I accept that. I don’t need to be perfect. (I also think this issue is far too complex to be completely covered in a comment ?)

    My mom changed her surname when she married my dad. She had an extremely abusive childhood and didn’t want any ties to her dad. I think the idea of creating an entirely new surname for the family would be an interesting one. My children both have their dad’s surnames. I had my first at 19 (whilst suffering severe mental health problems) and was bullied into using his dad’s surname but managed to resist pressure to get married. Second time around we chose to use my husband’s name because my surname is unusual and so is the first name we chose. I felt a little cruel to use it. It also doesn’t double barrel well.

    I love my surname. It’s so cool. It’s a regional name and not heard in other areas. It’s unusual even here. It doesn’t even have a vowel in it – how cool is that?!

    1. Hi Jade – I felt compelled to comment on what you said about feminism being about choices as I made that statement in my own comment further up.

      I admit that it was a very reductive comment on such a complex issue. I completely agree with you that it’s a choice made in a patriarchal society and that isn’t right. However, I felt it was a choice I could make i.e no-one said I HAD to change my name. Framing it within feminism was perhaps not the right way to express this as I agree that not everything has to reflect this! It just happened to be something I recently discussed with a friend so it was at the forefront of my mind. I hope that goes some way to further explain my comment and that I did feel quite sad myself that I reduced the whole issue to a short and perhaps flippant comment.

      Away from that, the fact that your surname has no vowels is very cool!

      I it was very a reductive remark on an extremely complex issue.

    2. YES to so much of this. It makes me really sad that I’ve spent so much time in our loooong engagement (2.5 years down, 6 months to go…) grappling with which ‘choice’ to make, but that it’s something men would never have cross their minds. It makes me really sad that I have to think through the reasons and ways to explain the different factors contributing to my ‘decision’. It makes me sad that I have never once made a comment or queried why people have changed their name, but whenever I’ve said I haven’t made a decision yet I am always asked to explain my reasons. This isn’t always in a critical way, usually more curious, but still bothers me that I have to justify my uncertainty.


  24. I didn’t take my husband’s name. From the day in my childhood I learned what ‘to be given away’ at your wedding actually meant and where it came from, I always just knew it would be something I couldn’t do. The only way I can describe how offensive the whole idea of it seems to me is that when a dog gets a new owner you have to go and get a new collar tag labelled up for them. To each their own, and name change is just not ‘me’.

    We won’t be having children so that removed that whole discussion. I didn’t come across any resistance from friends and family, in fact no one commented positively or negatively, which was refreshing! My husband wasn’t in love with my position before our wedding until I sat with him and really told him how upsetting it would be to be to have to have a new name just to get married, and from then on he was happy about it. I did have one colleague, who always gave his opinion wanted or otherwise and was never much valued by me, said that I was ‘being well offensive to my fiancé’. To which I just explained that if he was the kind of man to be offended by that then it was unlikely I’d have ever started going out with him in the first place. Not much he could say about that, he just tutted and huffed for a bit longer then went quiet.

    The thing that really makes me laugh is when other people get it wrong. Like the weird occasions when he gets post for Mr my-surname, he fumes!! First time it happened I was like ‘NOW do get it??!!!’ and he totally did. But the funniest yet was a couple of years ago when we were seeing a mortgage advisor for the first time and she was writing down our basic details, she did a double take at our names and said ‘So, I just have to clarify, you guys are married? To each other?’ We fell about and have, on occaisions where people are being a bit slow about the whole different-name thing, said that we were indeed married but not to each other. It’s a funny way to point out to them that they’re being a bit old-fashioned and presumptuous without actually having to say that to them. It works.

    It’s a personal thing and everyone should just do whatever makes them feel happy ❤️

  25. I really struggled with having a different name. I’m a lawyer with my own firm that has my married name in the title so I had to keep my name for work purposes but I have changed my name for all other purposes mainly because I wanted the same name as the kids. Having said that like others who have commented I haven’t changed my passport 6 years on because of the fees!
    My profession is obviously very formal and I use my surname a lot. In court you are always addressed as Miss, Mrs or Mr whereas the rest of the time you don’t really “use” your surname much. It’s very common for female solicitors and barristers to have two surnames.I have to say I’m surprised (and a little concerned) at how few problems it causes for ID purposes!
    Because of using my unmarried name at work it’s taken me a while to not find my married name a bit wierd but almost six years in and after two children it feels more natural. My eldest son didn’t even know my “other” last name until the other day and when I told him he found it all very funny!
    I still book some thinks in my unmarried name simply because it’s an easier name to spell but then I find myself forgetting what name certain bookings are in.
    The only thing I really can’t abide though is being called by my husbands first name on letters as in Mrs Andrew S. That’s too far for me! I’m not called Andrew!

    1. I’m a lawyer too and have done exactly the same – retained my maiden name at work and married name at home. I find that strikes the right balance for me personally and professionally, and to be honest I wasn’t quite ready to completely “let go” of the old me by changing my name 100%. The only issue I find is that sometimes I can’t remember who I am – ie. answering the phone at work and giving the wrong name!

  26. I had always enjoyed being a McNeill, in fact was more sad about losing the Mc than the full surname. After mentioning this at a drunken party, pretty much everyone including both sets of parents now refer to us as the McSwain’s… On paper I’m now a Swain… but in my head and on facebook (which lets be honest is the only place you see your full name most of the time) I’m a McSwain! My partner even jokes about changing our name officially!

  27. I changed my name when I got married last year although not without some hesitancy. Not because I didn’t want to take my husband’s name, I always knew I’d do that when the time came, but because how got the surname he has now is a bit unusual. He was born McGinlay as his parents were married and that was their name. When he was a tiny baby his Dad left. Within a few years his mum remarried and his stepdad “adopted” him so they all became Barclays. His Mum split up from husband number 2 (and quite rightly so) and has reverted to her maiden name. By this point my husband was almost at high school and everyone knew him by Barclay so he didn’t want to change it.

    So I’m now a Barclay… and we are carrying on the name of his former stepdad. Initially I felt a bit funny about this as I don’t know many of the Barclays and don’t really identify with them. We’re still in touch with some of the Barclays but a bit like what you were saying Lauren, I feel that we’re the new Barclays.

    My parents divorced and my Mum has changed her name 3 times so I’m used to growing up in a house of people with different names. It never really bothered me but I like the fact that my husband, future children and I will all have the same name. It feels more like a family unit to me. A bit of consistency for us when we’ve both went through mixed family names over the years.

  28. My mother kept her maiden name when she married. She only changed it when a few years later she was in hospital for the birth of me and my paternal grandmother couldn’t find her. Two years later my father left, divorced followed, she kept her married name for another 23 years until my brother and I had finished school (so we all had the same surname). She had to endure being confused at every hair appointment with my partneral grandmother, my stepmother (who had been having an affair with my father when he left). Why did they all share the same hairdresser? She finally changed it back 5 years ago.

    I considered changing my name to my mother’s maiden name, but didn’t want to slight my brother or my father’s other children, but when i married last year i changed it to my husbands name, I rather liked it. I like being part of the bigger family.

  29. Such a personal choice and so hotly debated! I didn’t want to give up my maiden name and my husband didn’t ask me to – but he was pleased when I decided to double-barrel, even though it’s quite a mouth full now :). And he was the one who suggested we do the same for our baby and any future children. We haven’t had any pressure or comments from friends or family but I think we’re quite the exception there. And I do get annoyed when people just assume that I took on his surname.

    I love my name and it is definitely a part of me so I wouldn’t want to give that up but at the end of the day, everyone should just be able to do what makes them happy!

  30. I kept my maiden name when I got married as we had been together over eight years at the time and quite frankly I didn’t feel any different or see the need to change it. Rob wasn’t bothered either, he just said it was up to me. I have mellowed a little bit and think that if we have children I would like to have the same name as them. I quite like the idea of having a naming/christening day for any future offspring from which I would use my marital surname. I had thought about going double barrelled but our names just don’t sound right together.

    Funnily enough I had this conversation last week as hubster had a parcel sent to my office last week and I had to sign with his surname. It was really weird, I felt like some kind of imposter!

  31. I did not want to take my husbands surname as I was still me, with my family history, I am my own person and do not ‘belong’ to anyone. So I took a double-barrelled surname when I got married (the ‘wrong way’ round with his surname first as it sounds better!). I wanted to reflect both families that I am privileged to be a part of. I love my surname as it reflects my past and my future. My husband has not changed his name and we are both happy with our decision. However my MIL refuses to accept my decision and is always happy to voice this!
    Children are not in our plans but I would want them to have a double barrelled name to reflect both sides of where they came from.

  32. I find this an interesting topic, and have friends and family who have done both. I struggled on both sides, in that I am an only child and was the last person in my family to have my surname, plus it demonstrated my Scottish roots (or half Scottish roots anyway). But I felt it was important for me to change my name, I liked taking on a new identity and becoming part of my husband’s family. My MIL on the other hand doesn’t understand it at all, is fiercely loyal to her maiden name, and is now divorced (since our own marriage), so she finds me a very strange being!! In fact she still addresses all birthday cards etc to my maiden name much to my annoyance! I find it an interesting topic regarding children too, personally I wanted our family to have its own identity, and all having the same surname was something that I wanted for us. I’m not letting my daughter forget her Scottish roots though, she has her own tartan sash for special occasions in our family tartan 🙂 All such a personal choice, it is interesting to see how everyone arrived at their decision!

    1. PS changing your name on all your documents is a pain in the backside!!!! You would think by now it would be easier, and wouldn’t require endless postage of certified copies of the marriage certificate! Those of you who haven’t changed have seriously saved yourself probably about a year of tedious paperwork 🙂

  33. I changed my name….and then changed it back again! I’ve always been very indecisive…ha
    I found the whole name thing really hard during engagement. And I found it hard that I found it hard. I was quite shocked that a lot of my friends were surprised when I said I wasn’t going to change it, and I was also a little bit jealous of people that found it so easy to change their name. What did that mean? That I didn’t love my husband as much? (Sounds silly now, I know). I went back and forth for ages. I asked my husband to change his and he spent months deciding if he would or not (he lost his mum just before the wedding and that made his mind up a bit as he didn’t want to lose that name, but I appreciated him going through the thought process, which helped him understand how hard it was for me). When I arrived back from honeymoon I was riding on post newlywed high and so changed my name at work. A few weeks later I burst into tears on the sofa because I felt like I had lost my identity. My husband suggested changing it back and made me realise I shouldn’t care what other people thought when they received an email from a changed name again. It meant a lot that he supported my choices so much, so I changed my name back to my maiden name at work which in turn gave me the kick to change my name legally to my married name. Seeing it written down on my passport made me really smile, which I never expected. It helped seeing it in ‘legal’ print. I love having both names now, it was definitely the right choice for me. My husband (and friends too now) use a nickname of my maiden name to call me by every so often because they know I still like to hear it. It is such a tough decision to make, but I feel like I found my happy medium. X P.S personally can’t stand the whole Mrs thing though, much prefer Ms. Until men have to announce their marital status upon introduction, never will I!

  34. I’m forever being asked to make up my mind on changing my name.
    I come from a family of daughters and it makes me sad that my surname ends with my father if all of us get married and take our husbands names. So I am toying with the double barrelled thing or just not changing it at all.
    But it involves way too much admin than I can be bothered with (or have time for). And I’m just not that fussed. Neither is my husband which is great. He cannot change or double barrel his due to various reasons.
    Just wish there wasn’t so much pressure.
    My name is mine, why should I have to change it.

  35. Before I got married I insisted on keeping my surname I was a Lilley all my friends referred to me in my full name Emma Lilley, Emma Lilleybum etc but just as I was getting married I had a massive fall out with that side of the family and didn’t want it anymore but to be fair I have been married 2 years and I still sign my maiden name if asked (never practiced Emma mullender) and have not changed any important documentation. I have since made up with my family and want to keep it but I haven’t told my husband yet….

  36. I’m another double-barreler! ??

    There are only girls on my dads side so he would have been the last Blackwood which was the main reason for me creating a double barrelled name with my surname and my husbands surname. Our daughters surname is also double-barrelled so she has an element of both.

    When I last checked we were the only ones with the exact spelling of our surname in the UK so I like the fact that it’s unique!

  37. I am getting married in 12 days and am taking my fiancés name. It does feel strange but I’m not thinking too much into it and definately don’t feel I’ll loose any connection to my identity or family…it’s just a new chapter!

  38. Oh I am so pleased to read this post and all the sensible comments! I’m getting married in a couple of months and have no plans to change my name immediately. My husband is quite traditional and I know would like me to change my name, particularly as I don’t have a good relationship with my dad. I think my other half thinks its odd I’d want to share a name with someone I have a bad relationship with than with him!
    But I can’t imagine not being the name I’ve had for over 30 years, and built up a career with. And the thought of all the admin is horrific, hate to say it but I can’t imagine my husband would do all that if it was asked of him….!
    Have also already had post addressed to “Mrs [fiance’s surname] to be!” which has wound me up no end. I know it’s comes from a good place from the sender but I do find it odd that someone would automatically assume that I’d change my name! I may use my married name at some point in the future but it’s not high on my list of priorities post wedding.

  39. Sorry I’m so late responding. Thanks so much to everyone who has commented today; such considered opinions and so many choosing to keep your maiden name. Thanks again for all your responses x

  40. I love hearing both sides of the coin like this! It’s so good when ladies (and gents) know where they stand on the matter. I decided to take on John’s surname when we got married last year, 80% because I wanted to be Mrs Jeffery and 20% because losing the surname ‘Sack’ wasn’t ever going to be a hard thing for me (it’s not the prettiest, huh!)  

    I’m so glad that we live in a time now when we can make the choice for ourselves, be it staying as we were, becoming Mrs… or creating a new surname altogether.

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