Here Comes A Controversial Post

Or, “Why I Don’t Get The Name-Change Debate.”

I debated posting this all afternoon, but thought, what the hell.  I know that we are a bunch of intelligent, respectful women who can have an honest discussion without being rude or snarky.  🙂  All of the wedding bloggers and readers I have encountered have been just great, so I want to first give a shout-out to all of you for being smart, talented women.

I am taking Dr. Groomy’s last name, for a variety of reasons. Because I know some of you may be curious, I’ll share a few with you:   I am pretty  traditional.  This is how it is done in both of our families.  I am excited to share a last name with him—it helps make our “family” seem more real than if I kept my own name.

Remember that Sex and the City episode that spawned the book and then the movie He’s Just Not That Into You? You know, the one where Miranda asks Carrie’s current love interest to help her analyze the latest man behavior she’s encountered and Berger tells Miranda, “He’s just not that into you.”  This is how I feel about the Name-Change Debate. Basically, I’m just not that into it because I honestly feel that it’s NOT that big of a deal. Why?  Because I feel that no matter how much you think it matters,  no matter how much you think  your name is tied to your identity, in the real world, it’s not that big of a deal.  Other people around you do not think it’s that big of a deal.  Your last name does not make you the person you are. YOU make you who you are, and people are either going to love you or hate you based on a multitude of reasons.  Your last name is not one of them.

I am many things.  Among them, a woman of German/Irish heritage, an American, a business manager, a dance teacher, a sister, a daughter, a fiancée, a friend, an avid reader, a wedding blogger, a runner, a…you get the idea.    None of these things is tied to my last name. Not even my heritage:  My Irish and German heritage is very much a part of who I am—I have read about both histories, we go to IrishFest and GermanFest every year, etc.   My last name is very Irish.  But here’s the thing:  I know I am Irish and German.  Other people know I am Irish and German and they also know that I am proud of my heritage.  Regardless of my last name, I will continue to be of Irish and German descent. I don’t need to keep my last name to know or prove that.

Wait!  Before you amble off to the comments to yell at me about how unique, interesting, last-of-the-family-line, “insert your own adjective here” your name is, please hear me out.  This is the part where I tell you that although I feel this way, YOU don’t have to feel the same way as me. I personally don’t get what the big freakin’ deal is, but I do know that for some of you it IS a huge deal.  And I want to make it very clear that I respect that.  For some people, it is a big thing, and I will not judge you for it. I will NEVER tell you the choice you’re making is right or wrong, because it’s just that:  your choice.   For me, it was never a question, so I don’t know or understand what it’s like to honestly debate this internally and externally with yourself, your fiancé, and your family and friends.  The reason for this post is that I feel like we so rarely hear from wedding bloggers who are keeping their names anymore. All we ever hear in this Name-Change Debate is about what a heart-wrenching, life-changing decision this is.  I’m sorry, but I don’t think that’s so. Getting married?  Life-changing decision.  Buying a house?  Life-changing decision.  Having a baby?  Life-changing decision.  Switching careers?  Going back to school?  Moving to Europe?  All life-changing decisions.  In the grand scheme of things, changing or not changing your last name really isn’t going to change YOU, as a person, at all.

I hate to keep repeating myself, but I want to make this very clear:  I respect and understand that for some of you, it is a big deal. I liken the Name-Change Debate to the Twilight phenomenon.  Some people just don’t get it.  The Name-Change Debate is something that I just don’t get.  That doesn’t make me bad, or snarky, or anti-feminist.  Above all, I agree with Miss Cola of Weddingbee, who hit the nail on the head in one of her latest posts.  To paraphrase,  she says the following:  “You know, I don’t really like that just about every wedding blogger feels the need to touch on if they will or will not be changing their name when they get married. It’s not the topic that I’m not a fan of, it’s the need to justify their decision, and then even after justifying it, usually they get tons of comments saying their choice is wrong, even though it’s ultimately THEIR choice.”

I completely agree.  If you don’t want to take your husband’s name, then don’t!  And if you do, then you do.  It’s as simple—and as personal!—as that.

So there it is:  Little Miss Wedding Planner’s turn to weigh in on what I’m doing with my name and why I don’t get the Name-Change Debate.

What are your thoughts on the Name-Change Debate? (This goes without saying, but please be respectful in your comments!)

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “Here Comes A Controversial Post

  1. I changed my name. I kept my maiden name in my middle name (which really helps when some of your stuff still says your old last name…like mine does 5 years later). I had a ROCKIN’ maiden name and it tied into what I did for a living. I tried to keep it professionally for awhile but it really wasn’t worth it. I now have a ROCKIN’ married name. For real 🙂

  2. Em

    Amen, sister!! While I definitely have had a few moments of “I’m really going to miss my last name”, for the most part I’m totally fine with changing my name. For most of my life I’ve actually hated my last name, so changing it isn’t a huge deal. And you’re totally right, my last name doesn’t define me. If a guy asked me to change my first name, then yeah, I’d have a problem with it. But I want to share a name with my husband, I want our children to share a last name, and this is the way it traditionally goes. Plus (and this is the biggie), Josh is the last boy to carry on the family name sooo I kind of have to not only take his name but also produce a male. Lucky me! Anyway, I’m totally with you on this whole post 🙂

  3. Great post!
    Everyone is different- no matter if you keep your married name or not..
    I don’t know what I will do when the time comes (if ever- being realistic here.) In any case, I am me and so is my future mate. We are who we are when we are alone or with eachother. end of story.

  4. Love this post! I get tired of reading posts about the “great name changing debate” because you’re right, it’s a personal decision and it’s not all that serious. I’m changing my name. I couldn’t imagine not sharing a name with my future husband. And while I might miss my maiden name a little, I’m perfectly happy with my decision and am not dwelling on it. :o)

  5. I actually think changing your name is a big deal, and one that I really loved doing. I never even considered NOT changing it! I was brought up to be a proud “R—-i”, but now I am proud to take on my husband’s name. I agree with you in that it makes us feel more like a family. 😀

  6. Totally agreed! I am taking his last name, it was really a no-brainer for me!

  7. Having been married for eon-s now, the name change thing for us was NEVER a debate. Call it old fashioned, whatever, my husband felt very strongly about me taking his name. For him, it was a gift he was giving me. There was never any question that I would take it. You put it perfectly. In the grand scheme of things…this is small.

  8. Kristin

    i have a friend who was recently married, she took his name, and as far as i know they never had any in depth discussion about the whole name-change thing and it was just assumed she would take his name because “that’s just how it’s done”. now my friend is struggling because her new last name rhymes with her first name and is slightly grosser than julia guglia (a la wedding singer). she has been having a really hard time adjusting to this because she feels that people will not take her seriously and is essentially embarrassed by her new name. she has even considered legally changing her first name to eliminate the problem. though i agree that the name-change issue should not be a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, i also think that you should take pride in your name…maybe they should have discussed the issue a bit before taking the plunge.

  9. Kristin- How about suggesting that your friend add her middle name into her name? as in: Julia Ann Guglia or something like that to split up the rhyming?

  10. Kristin

    good suggestion! i mentioned that to her, and she said she’s thinking about going by her first two initials to avoid the rhyming (it’s short, sweet, and sounds good together) and along the same lines as including the middle name. hopefully this will ease her mind a bit…

  11. Bree

    if i ever get married…i don’t think i will change my last name. the reason being,i have a toddler who shares my last name and i think it would be a tad confusing for his future. i might hyphenate my name. but thats just my opinion. i agree that it is not a big deal w/the name changing thing,the being together for the rest of your lives is!!!

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