The Name Change Game ~ Have Your Say…

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 Morning ladies and gents ๐Ÿ™‚ I thought I'd welcome Tuesday with a little discussion post from my friend and Guest Blogger, Rebecca Norris, who's in the mood for talking names. Marital surnames that is.  By the way, you can read more from the lovely Rebecca Norris on Love My Dress here.  Over to the pretty lady herself, who you can follow on Twitter too…

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So, today I thought we could fire up a little discussion amongst the readers of Love my Dress. Itโ€™s a topic most Brides to be consider, and some like me, might even still be considering two years on, never mind those who were practicing their new signature years before the proposal even came ;). Iโ€™m talking about the change of name that comes with slipping that ring on your finger and becoming the new Mrs Jones.

Except that two years down the line, Iโ€™m actually still not Mrs Norris. Shock horror. And I thought Iโ€™d talk about my reasons today. I donโ€™t know why, but I never thought I would change my name. Partly due to my professional life and the reputation my name is associated with, but partly because I was kind of attached to it. But more profoundly, I didnโ€™t need a new name to know I was his. Hook, line and sinker. I was off the market, sold, a done deal, a long time before he proposed. It seemed neanderthal, outdated and like losing my identity.

Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Photography Copyright (c) 2011, RAW Wedding Photography

Rebecca and Pete on their wedding day...

But I hadnโ€™t anticipated Peteโ€™s reaction. Never the possessive type or jealous, a couple of months before the wedding he got quite persistent in his insistence that I change it. Fortunately, he knows Iโ€™m not the obedient type and the wedding passed without me having to do it and things settled down. Itโ€™s a periodic discussion though. Of course, you might all be wondering what Iโ€™m talking about, as to all of you I am Rebecca Norris, but when I started blogging, after a brief period of using a pseudonym, I chose to use my married name online and keep my professional identity separate. the blogosphere is the only place I am Mrs Norris. It almost doesnโ€™t count.

The biggest persuasive argument people use when proffering their opinion (why do people do that? I didnโ€™t ask?!) is children. But the children wont understand. They will wonder why mummy and daddy donโ€™t have the same name. Frankly, in this day and age of co-habiting, extended families, divorce and re-marriage, it seems parents with the same name is more the norm.

I wonโ€™t lie, I did feel guilty. It would be completely beyond the comprehension of my in-laws and even my Mum thinks Iโ€™m a bit odd. The majority of my friends (in the same profession) have even changed their name at work. Iโ€™m the odd one out. But it did (and does) annoy me when people feel it something I should have done, because it is whatโ€™s expected, and to spare Peteโ€™s feelings. Is that what getting married is? Iโ€™m all for compromise, but giving up strongly held beliefs doesnโ€™t make for a sound partnership in my mind.

Time has ticked on and the first two years of married life have brought us so much happiness. Time spent with family – Peteโ€™s parent always embrace me as Mrs Norris when we visit – has reinforced the desire to outwardly become his wife also in name. However, itโ€™s not just the good times that have changed my mind, and I have changed it, itโ€™s the bad.

Recent months have been stressful, emotionally draining and tinged with loss, but through it all, Pete has been by my side. Even when I havenโ€™t had blogging to do he has continued being the backbone of our household, taking care of me. Heโ€™s spent many a dinner (dates included) listening to the latest saga or hearing me vocalise my thought processes, trying to rationalise. And although we always were, itโ€™s made me want to be that little bit more Team Norris. The name has served me well online and now when Iโ€™m making dinner reservations or introducing myself, Norris just rolls of the tongue. It gives me that feeling you get when you say โ€˜husbandโ€™. like an invisible tie to the other person. Like they should feel it too, wherever they are.

So two years, three months and two days after saying I do, I am officially changing my name. Better late then never hey?

So now itโ€™s your turn, tell us if you couldnโ€™t or canโ€™t wait to change you name, if you opted to stick with your maiden name, or if you defied tradition another way – perhaps he took your name? Iโ€™d love to hear your stories ๐Ÿ™‚

Yours Truly,

Rebecca
xoxo

 

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You can follow Rebecca on Twitter and Pinterest….

 

Annabel

Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.

83 thoughts on “The Name Change Game ~ Have Your Say…

  1. I am changing my name. It never crossed my mind not to. My boss had a quiet word and said that she had kept hers. I can see the point in keeping a name for work, I’ve worked hard to get a following based on perserverence and blood sweat and tears, if I changed my name would it mean my ‘following’ or ‘client base’ would forget who I was?
    Doubt it.
    I’m starting a new job and THREE colleagues have suggested that I use my ‘married’ name already, now, before we get married, to start to build a new client base. Personally I think that is just WEIRD. It would be like making a name up. Like ‘hi call me Princess Consuala Bananahammoc’ rather than changing it for a reason.
    TBTMMO doesn’t care either way. Change it now. Change it then. Don’t change it. But I know that I want to wait and change it after our wedding day.
    Looking forward to seeing you both at AOW. I am wearing Reiss. It’s all very exciting as Reiss is a new shop for me. It scared me before. Now I embrace it. And bronze shoes. You??

  2. I couldn’t wait to change my name! Then again I have always hated my previous surname (it was an odd one). It also felt like somehow I was declaring my marriage to the world and becoming even closer to my hubby too – it was like becoming a family together. I can totally see why people keep their own name though, especially if you have built a reputation for yourself at work. It’s amazing how quickly people get used to your new name though.
    I had a friend who named her first child after her maiden name, to keep it in the family. That was quite a nice idea I thought. The Spanish don’t change their surname either.
    It’s not for everyone. Definitely was for me though!

  3. I changed my name by deed poll when I was 18. It was an opportunity to separate myself from my not very good dad. I took my middle name as my surname, and although the changing was a CHORE I’ve never looked back. I don’t even feel the same person. It’s such a dramatic unexpected shift.
    And now I’m proud of my independence. I don’t want to become someone else’s belongings. I don’t want to be consumed by someone else’s legacy. And fortunately, my lovely man understands. I don’t see why WOMEN have to change their name! It is all linked in to ownership which I think is now a redundant concept (or should be!) I feel VERY strongly that IF a name change takes place, and IF it is to symbolise our new union, then it should represent us both. That we BOTH change our names to a double barrelled variant – respecting both of our families.
    I secretly mourn the loss of each of my childhood friends as they marry and vanish into Mrs-dom.

  4. Thanks to South African Home Affairs I can’t change my name yet, so am suffering a mini-identity crisis! I can’t wait to become the new Mrs B (officially) even if noone can pronounce my new name ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. I think a name change is completely personal and couples shouldn’t be restrained in their choices – I for one wasn’t. Instead of taking my husband’s full surname I chose to take part of it, the nickname I have always used for him, Merri. So he is Mr Merriman and I am Mrs Merri. Plus I’m a little bit of a feminist and didn’t want another ‘man’ tagged onto my name, as my family name had been Perman!
    We do not have children yet and I’m sure that may prove an issue as to which surname is used but for now our Mr and Mrs surnames suit us – quirky, a little mad but rather romantic.

  6. It’s quite a nice feeling as we both have the same name…it’s like we share something only married people do. On the downside its a tricky surname that most people struggle with! I did find it hard to change my name and I completely understand why some women choose to stick to their maiden name. I miss my old name and it makes me smile when someone accidentally calls me by it!

  7. Very good friends of mine have put their marriage on hold, because they can’t get past the change/won’t change her surname hurdle. I think that is a real pity, but I can totally appreciate that she would feel so strongly about it.
    I never thought twice about changing my name when I got married, but when the marriage went most decidedly pear shaped I really missed my old surname. My identity had been swallowed up in the marriage and the name became important. After the (perfectly civilised and friendly) divorce I needed to shake off the bad years, so took back my old name. I signed the name change paperwork on Christmas day as a gift to myself and if felt really good. Now, I’m not saying that you should think about divorce when you’re just getting married or that names have anything to do with your marital status, but if your name is a strong part of your perceived identity, then you should be free to do as you wish.

  8. When I got married ten years ago, I changed my name in a heart beat, never considering the option not to. However now my maiden name has formed the name of my company and it’s a pretty cool name ‘Darling’ I do kind of miss it and wish I had considered keeping it.

  9. Morning ladies! Loving the converstaion here – I expected a landslide of name changers, (nothing wrong at all there and I home the post above illustrates that I can see both sides of the coin now,) but it’s fabulous to hear of all the alternative view points and in fact how they converted into action.
    Particularly loved your comment Adrienne! I too hestiate to change my married friends names in my phone book as they all become Mrs…!
    Keep them coming!
    xoxo
    PS, Becca, I’m not sure yet, 2 choices… more on that soon. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. I felt a little weird about my new name for a while. I felt like I was just being absorbed into his family and that my affiliation to my family was somehow weakened. I think it was just getting used to the change. Mr T would never have made me change it, but I was happy to. We’re starting a new life together, we’re a unit, we’re a team – and that makes really glad to share his name ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Some really great feedback already ladies, thanks for your contributions.
    I’m perhaps a little different. I changed my name but so did my Husband. We changed ours so that we could retain an old family name, Beeforth, before it died out. It was at the suggestion of my Mother in Law, who has undertaken extensive research into the name and it’s origin. The name has come to mean a lot to us because of this because it has a lot of history in and around the area we love, and the area we chose to marry in (Whitby).
    So in marrying my boy, I went from Bradshaw, to Beeforth, and I’m really pleased I did.
    I get mixed responses to the actual name by the way – some people think it sounds very ‘private school’ and ‘posh’. I think others think I’m trying to pull a ‘Mrs Bucket’ by exxagerating the word ‘Beforth’ and have a giggle. But I Love my new surname ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Jane Allan – that’s a really really interesting and honest perspective, thank you for sharing.
    It really is one of those subjects that could completely bypass some, but become a very big issue for others.
    Rebecca and I hope this post will help everyone to see a wider perspective but wherever you sit on the discuss, I hope you are very happy with your name, or soon to be married name. If not, perhaps this post can give you some food for thought.
    Much love all,
    Annabel xXx

  13. My name is important to me. I’m an only child so after me, there will be no more Carpenters (of our family anyway!) So, I’ve kept my name. My husband was happy about it and actually said that he preferred me keeping my own identity which made me feel better about my decision.
    His only stipulation was that our child would have his name and now we have a little girl she does have his surname.
    Also, I work for myself and I’ve worked hard to build a good reputation. That’s definitely a factor in my choice.
    I occasionally get a letter in the post addressed to my “married name” and I admit, I get a slight thrill from being Mrs K. I have friends who insist that I’ll change my mind down the line but for now, I’m happy as I am. And so is Mr K!

  14. I love my surname, it’s part of my personality. I always thought I would double barrel it when H2B and i married. It does have a lovely ring to it and sounds quite posh to boot. But after a LOT of tears I decided that I would take solely his. It was a hard decision as I felt like I was losing a part of myself but on the other hand I think having his name will make us feel like a team. Everybody calls me Mrs H anyway so it will just make it official. I can completely understand why women don’t change their name, I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer really. You just have to do what feels best for you. H2B understood how important my name was to me and would never have pushed me into it (tho secretly I know he’s pleased!)
    Now that I’ve gotten used the idea I’m actually really excited about taking his name. It means I can have a fresh new start.
    Xxxx

  15. I’ve no idea why I haven’t changed mine- I fully intended to, but for some reason have just found it really hard to let go of the surname that’s kept me company all these years (even if it is just Smith!). Consequently, due to a mix of guilt and defiance, I’ve changed certain things but not others, which has led to no amount of confusion when ringing up call centres-
    Phone lady:’Can I take your name please?’
    Me- ‘errrr…. damn, which one was I using for the gas bill again…’
    I know I’ll get round to it soon- I like the idea of being on Team Adlington, but after 11 years of being ‘the Smadlingtons’, I’ve become rather attached to that!

  16. great post.
    i didn’t change my name, and wonder actually if not changing it meant more than just the name change, as i was divorced within 14th months..xxx

  17. My name was so important to be when we got married three years ago, there was no way I was changing it. When we had babies last year we gave them both of our names because again, there was no way mine was being sidelined. But then I started to dislike that we all had different names, I had mine, he had his and they had theirs. So eventually, three years and two babies into marriage, we both changed our names. Now we are all double barrelled. I don’t really like double barrelled names but it’s better than the alternative.
    Interestingly, one of my favourite women who is in her 50s and has been divorced for a couple of years now is very keen to point out that keeping your name is no guarantee that you won’t lose your identity over the course of a marriage, in other words, there’s so much more at play there than what you’re called.

  18. Interesting discussion! It’s something that has occupied my mind a lot over the past few months. I have an unusual surname and at first was loathe to part with it…it felt like I would be losing part of my identity and I just didn’t feel as if I would be me without my name! However the boy was liked the idea of us becoming a team, two halves of a whole and all that and liked the idea of us sharing a surname (although he would have been happy for me to keep mine).
    Many discussions later and I eventually decided that I would change my name. My reasoning was that we were joining forces and that ultimately the name change would be an outward sign of our union. I’d be lying if I said that there wasn’t part of me that still feels a loss and so I also decided to change my name by deed poll to include my old surname as a middle name (if/when we have children I may well include it in their names too as an inclusion of part of my family history in their name). I’m also be keeping my old name for work (for the moment at least).
    It’s a really difficult one and stirred up a lot of feelings in me. I think that it is a very personal choice but I am looking forward to my new life on team B!

  19. My name is Raynham. As a child I hated it, but as an adult I love it because it’s so rare – especially our spelling of it. I will stand firm and be Ms Raynham til I die. It’s partly laziness because I can’t be bothered to deal with the paperwork but as a feminist I feel it’s important to stand up and be your own woman. I am no man’s posession – no one will give me away and I will not take my husband’s name. If kids are ever part of the equation, they can have hubby’s name. Fathers are extended so few rights in this country, that’s the very least I can do for him.

  20. I’m currently in a pickle over the name change – I’ve been married a month. I really like my maiden name, it’s quite unusual and my nickname is my initials. I thought I might change it to my new married name for everything but work, as then I could still keep a litlle bit of ‘me’ and also minimise confusion with contacts etc. I like the romance and the family element of being Mrs W, but I don’t see why it would matter if I just used my old name for work. However, work see differently (old fashioned) and have already changed my email address!!! It’s been there a week now -would it look really weird to change it back? I don’t want people to see me as someone who isn’t committed to my new marriage, but then again, I find it really irritating when people think that when you get married,your name automatically and legally changes! That is not the case and marriage is about more than the name, surely?! x

  21. Cara, I love this point “keeping your name is no guarantee that you won’t lose your identity over the course of a marriage, in other words, there’s so much more at play there than what you’re called”.
    So true and something for many Brides-to-be to maybe consider.
    Keep the comments coming ladies, it’s really interesting to read your differing viewpoints.
    Annabel xXx

  22. I really don’t know what to do! This has come at the best time for me as I am torn between a quite forceful Mother who wants me to retain the family name and a Husband who isn’t as bad but who I feel bad for not taking on his name. I feel the decision is being made for me almost. Tricky. Probably time to firm up to my Mum but not looking forward to it. She can’t stand the name I’d be taking on!
    Thanks for initiating this discussion at just the right time for me.
    Sx

  23. Ha! Know that feeling Gemma! People look at you like ‘how could you possibly not know your name?!’
    Lots of interesting points of view. Cara – you’re so right re identity being more than a name and how important is it to keep yours through marriage.
    xoxo

  24. I’d keep my maiden name for work anyway as I’m a scientist so need to keep same name for all my publications to be listed under one search. But I really like my maiden name and my new surname will be really long and difficult to spell. I can’t imagine not changing it though bust I am liking the idea to use it as a middle name so I’m going to think about that one.

  25. Great discussion girls and nice to see both sides of the story Rebecca and hear some very interesting points of view. I always thought I couldn’t wait to change my name but now I’m in the position to do so soon, I sort of feel a bit sad to! Myself and my sister are the last of the family to carry the surname as we are all girls so I feel it would be nice to continue with it. However my boyfriend’s surname is steeped in history and is quite rare so there’s no way he could change it [or double barrel it – it did cross my mind!]
    Pressure from both sides of the family mean that someone will inevitably be disappointed which is always hard, so I think I’ll be likely to stay with my name for day-to-day and professional use but take my new name which will be on my passport/bank etc.
    I hear marriage is all about compromise so it looks like that’s my first lesson ๐Ÿ˜‰ xo

  26. Me again ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Also someone mentioned about friend’s changing their names. Mine have been SO strict about ensuring I use their new surnames like it’s disrespecting their marriage and husband. However, I’m a creature of habit, and someone I’ve known for over 10 years as one name is quite hard to adapt to over night so I think people shouldn’t expect everyone to love their new name as much as they do!
    After all, to quote Shakespeare… “What’s in a name”

  27. I considered keeping my name as I’m an only child and therefore the very last one. I liked it as it was an unusual name as well (Abram) and I liked that. Then I thought about double barrelling but the two names just didn’t sound or look good together. In the end I decided to bite the bullet and change. It made it feel like we were more of a team somehow and I did get a happy feeling the fist few times someone called me Mrs D. Now it’s absolutely my name and I’m happy and proud of it. It doesn’t change who I am, I’ll always be an Abram girl at heart. I do look forward to having children and us all being one family unit with one name. I guess it helps that my husband has the best surname ever – I actually married Mr D’Arcy and am now a very happy and proud Mrs D’Arcy!

  28. Annabel – I love what you and your husband did with your surname. That’s such a great idea. And lovely to both have the same, new but old, name. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’ve kept my surname – my husband initially wasn’t too pleased about it, but now he’s a fierce supporter of my keeping my surname and is very proud of the fact that I’ve kept it. I do consider myself a feminist, and that had a lot to do with my choice – I couldn’t consider taking his unless he would consider taking mine, and he wouldn’t, so I didn’t. That sounds rather harsh, but it wasn’t ever something we argued about.
    I am, however, the only one of my married friends who has kept her own surname, and I often feel that I have to defend my choice – not with people I know well, but with people I don’t really know. Comments I’ve had range from “well, at least it’ll be easy if you get divorced” to “but how will your children know you’re their mum?”. Both of which are ridiculous – having my own surname doesn’t make me any more likely to get divorced, and I’m pretty sure that my future children will know I’m their mum and M’s their dad regardless of name! (If they don’t then I’m pretty sure we’ll be doing something wrong….!)
    I was concerned that we wouldn’t feel so much like a mini-family when we got married because of not sharing a name, but I underestimated the way that being married would make us feel, and the fact that M and I have felt like each other’s family for a long while now. We’ve been through a lot in the last two years since we got married, and I’ve never felt any less supported or part of a team because of our different surnames. Marriage is so much more than that, after all.
    Sorry, really long comment! I think essentially it’s about making the choice that makes you happy – if taking his surname makes you happy, then that’s fabulous. If it doesn’t, then keep yours – you’re no less married for it. We should be pleased that we have a choice; it’s just a shame that both name-changers and name-keepers often feel they have to justify that choice.
    xx

  29. Charley,
    I love your last point in your first comment, the bit about marriage being all about compromise – the whole name thing is a perfect opportunity to arrive to a compromise, I agree!
    And that’s potentially quite a loaded question methinks ‘What’s in a name?’…. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    xXx

  30. Becca – you are so funny ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I haven’t a CLUE what I’m wearing on 9th yet! As long as it’s not the garments I’m wearing now, baby puke stains and all, I think I’ll be happy.
    xXx

  31. Really liked this post. It seems it’s still quite a minefield even in the modern day. I don’t want my OH’s name when we marry, I don’t like the sound of my name with his surname and also, I don’t want to feel like I’m becoming someone else and part of someone else’s family. I have chosen to double barrel my name, as I feel it’s a reflection of what I see marriage as, two people joining together. I suggested that my OH do the same but he wasn’t keen on it and that’s fair enough, it’s his decision, he’s not pushed me to take his name and so I’m not pushing him to double barrel.

  32. Similar to one of the ladies above I changed my name by deed poll some years ago to an old family name on my Dad’s side and now use this name for my business – so when my gorgeous boyfriend (now husband) proposed last year it was him that said I don’t mind if you don’t take my name – I know that you’re my wife whether you have my name or not! So I kept the business name – but have double barreled my name. This has meant that the business keeps it’s identity and I get to have my hubby’s name too.
    (the only problem is it’s too long for lots of forms – LOL)

  33. Oh this is a very timely post! My fiance wants me to take his name, I don’t really want to (part of me feels ‘why should I?’ and then the another part feels like I’d be somehow less connected to my family).
    I explained this to him and suggested to him that maybe he should change to my surname if he really wanted us to have the same name. Ha, not a chance; “It’s just what the girl has to do”. Que some serious eye rolling from me!
    I’m currently considering tagging his name on to the back of mine – I’ve never been a fan of the old double-barrell (no offence meant) but if I have to have one then Spencer-Jones does sound okay. Our children would be the same.
    He’s still adament he’s staying Jones though!

  34. I was married and am living in Spain where the bride does not change her name and the children carry the name of their father and their mother (Father: Bob Jones, Mother: Jane Smith, results in child named Sara Jones Smith, for example). Even the most machismo of Spaniards seem to think the idea of a woman dropping her family name is odd. ‘Why would you want to lose your family name?’ they ask. It’s a kind of tough question to answer.

  35. I was never going to change my surname. This is both personal (I like my name and am who I am), professional (Bellamy has become Belle Amie Vintage) and political…
    It concerns me that so many men think women should change their surnames, but would never ever consider changing their own. I am and will stay Ms B not because I like having to defend my decision, but because while a defence is needed, so is a stand.
    There are countries where women still have to change their name by law when they get married. This is not acceptable, and choosing to exercise my right to not change my name demonstrates that women can and should have a choice. As should men.
    I do not feel lucky that my husband has never had a problem with me keeping my own surname. We would be completely incompatible if he wanted to uphold patriarchal traditions.
    Sharing a surname is lovely, and being a family unit is immeasurably valuable. Sadly there is just not a simple way for this to happen, not that my husband is adamantly opposed to changing his name to mine. I’m sure we’ll consider all the possibilities again when we have children. I don’t know what we’ll decide, but it will be joint mutual and equal as many people who have commented here have managed- Beeforth is a great example!

  36. PS Jacqui, so succinctly put!
    PPS My sister is marrying someone with the surname Johnson, and my husband’s surname is Johansson. The 4 of us think we may be able to merge the names and come up with something we can all share. Jobellas… Bellason… Jonamy… We joke, but seriously, could work…

  37. Hi again ladies,
    I’m really impressed with the intelligent responses over here! ๐Ÿ™‚
    I can’t emphasise enough how I anticipated an onslaught of happy brides looking forward to or gushing about changing their names. (Again, no less valid a choice.) I’m delighted however to see that feminism has not died and that so many of you have given so much thought to such an important decision, regardless of the end result.
    (Kind of validates my own obsessions too!) ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Rebecca
    xoxo

  38. Rebecca, we’ve had some really interesting feedback here haven’t we? Thanks so much for generating some discussion and getting my readers to think and contribute.
    I love the sense of community posts like this envoke, the feedback is such reward for us bloggers.
    xXx ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. Hannah – I love your feedback! So passionately written {adore how you have used your name to inspire your business name!}.
    Good point too about more repressive countries where women don’t actually have a choice about their marital name {or indeed if you want to venture into difficult women’s rights issues, the age at which they marry! The whole issue of the child bride is one I find really very disturbing, but I digress….}.
    I love you vintage Etsy shop by the way, as you well know, and prize my 1950’s silver clutch bag with all my heart ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Much love,
    Annabel xXx

  40. I was always going to change my name, until I wasn’t. 3 days before the wedding I freaked out and decided I couldn’t do it.
    The day after the wedding I changed it on Facebook to see how it would feel. It felt strange.
    So I’m still at a halfway point. Some things are in my married name, most aren’t. I reckon it’ll just take a while to break it in, like a pair of new shoes.
    Px

  41. I’d consider myself to be a feminist but changing my name upon marriage didn’t go against those principles – after all, my (single) surname was that bestowed upon me by my father…
    I am self employed, run two businesses, have various things published but figured in such a digital age, anyone who wanted to find me would be able to do so regardless of my given or chosen name. I say that not to brag but to highlight if you want to change it, work need not be a barrier for many.
    I’m all for those who want to keep their names keeping them but it’s refreshing to see those who do coming up with a reason that’s important to them rather than a much trotted out ‘I’m not a chattel’ line.
    I became ‘Team M’. In my heart and in my head I was ‘Team M’ from the word go and I really feel that it’s something we’re making our own, partly because it’s important to us and any future off spring and also because he has such a small family. I’ve had no problems in terms of changing my name at work, after all it’s just a name and a title and it’s for me to decide how they define me, rather than letting the change defining who I am.
    Oh, but don’t call me Ms. That drives me crazy ๐Ÿ˜‰
    (looking forward to the AOW shindig!)

  42. I was adamant that I wasn’t going to change my name, it was who I was, I don’t agree with it just being the woman who has to and men refusing to consider alternatives but the decision is very personal. The problem was that even though that was fine for both of us, I felt that I got quite passionate when finding that I was having to constantly defend that ‘decision’. As with others on here it was the ‘won’t that be confusing for your children?’ comment that got me. I think they’re underestimating our children’s intelligence and that of 1000s of children out there with different surnames to their parents. My now husband was happy either way, he knows I’m strong-minded and he said that he fell in love with me with my surname and it would feel weird to call me Mrs Joyce. But that’s why I love him. Family involvement did get more, with eye rolling, but we were fine with what we had decided. Our children were always going to be double barrelled with our surnames when we have them, that wasn’t even a discussion, we’re so similar on our beliefs (and the cat had had our double barrelled surname at the vet for the past year! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Then we discussed it nearer the wedding and I said I would like to feel like a family later on – so for children and ‘home stuff’ (still to be worked out!) then we’ll both be double-barrelled with the kids so we’ll be Mr and Mrs Coonan-Joyce, and for work and friends etc we’ll still be us. That works for us but I think everyone thinks I bullied him into it!!! Which is sad in itself…
    I love Cara’s comment about a name not stopping you losing your identity in marriage, that’s so true.

  43. Do you know what – I dont know! H2B really wants me too and he feels quite strongly about it. I dont mind changing it for everyday. But for work my name is my reputation and because i work in TV gets used in programme credits. To change it feels like starting again! Plus I am going from 4 letters to a double barrelled to 14!!
    Need to give it a bit more thought – Great post!
    Rachie xo

  44. I didn’t want to lose my surname because there are no boys in my generation to carry it on, and it has a special history. So I decided to double-barrel, and then my husband told me that he liked the idea of combining our names, because we were combining our lives – he really wanted to change his name too, it signified our new beginning as a unit. I know it’s not for everyone, but maybe it’s worth asking your H2B if he wants to change his name too… for all the reasons that we girls want to change ours when we marry. If I could just get the older generations of our families to stop writing to me as Mrs R Smith I’d be sorted!

  45. Ooh great post! This is something I’m quite passionate about. I don’t think I would have bothered having a wedding if it wasn’t for the fact that I want to be Mrs Moore. I’ll never understand why people make a commitment to each other if the woman wants to “stay independent”! And anyway, will I lose my independence when I become Mrs Moore, hell no! I will remain Caroline who has an opinion on everything (as you can see) but will gain a Mr to the other half of the Mrs who joins forces with me in everything we do.
    Now I have quite a quirky name as it stands “Starrs” – if I hear another person say “oh you have to be Mrs Moore-Starrs” I will go insane! Yes I have a nice name though the double R is a pain to say over the phone time and time again but seriously keeping my name because it is nice is so vain!
    On a lighter note, the future kids will have a cool password reminder ๐Ÿ˜‰

  46. My maiden surname, “Omotade”, is a part of my identity; its literal translation is “child is as good as a crown” and is so apt as my grand father was a high chief in his village. I’ve always felt that for the sake of the equality that the majority of us proclaim to advocate, why should it be only the woman that has to go through the rigmarole of informing all and sundry about name change after the wedding?
    Adrian & I discussed this and it turned out that he felt the same way. In fact, he was more interested in the affection and companionship that a marriage is about than the name change. Nevertheless, he did something amazing for me: he decided to change his surname by deed poll from “Tan” to “Omotade-Tan” before our wedding :)!
    Itโ€™s the gift that keeps on giving, especially as heโ€™s an only child. Itโ€™s so romantic and always makes me smile every time I write it down or I’m referred to as “Mrs Omotade-Tan”.
    After all, we’re a new family and now with a new surname.

  47. I am so confused about this. I love my name, Jenny Lane has an excellent ring to it…. But on the other hand I love the idea of bring this Mr and Mrs unit (althoughhe could take my name!!!! But he doesn’t like that idea, feminism still has far to go) The boy is very happy for me to keep my name and we would double barrel the children. This was the plan but I get amazingly funny looks from people who I explain this to so now I am a very confused Jenny Lane (sigh)

  48. Jenny – stuff other people, you don’t have to explain anything to them. You have a choice, you’ve made it!
    I love Jenny Lane too, what a delightful name! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    xXx

  49. Funmi – that is a beautiful romantic story, thank you so very much for sharing it with us ๐Ÿ™‚ I am so curious to learn more about your family history now! A Father who was High Chief in his village sounds fascinating!
    Gemma – I was kind of sad to lose my Maiden name too, but I know that other members of the extended family will take the name forward, so that’s good ๐Ÿ™‚
    I love being a Mrs Beeforth – it’s a rare name and most people who share it are actually related somehow! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Rachie, I’m pleased this post has given you food for thought ๐Ÿ™‚
    Tarah – good for you having the courage and confidence to stick to your guns. I have to say though, I think Coonan-Joyce sounds marvellous ๐Ÿ˜‰ Always fancied myself a bit of a double barrel surname but ‘Bradshaw-Beeforth’ seemed a bit of a mouthful! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Much love,
    Annabel xXx

  50. I’ve almost definitely decided I’m not changing my name. I’m a bolshy feminist but if it’s not the HTB’s name then it’s my dad’s, so I don’t set much store by that. Also my HTB isn’t especially attached to his name so isn’t really bothered either way. And, just sayin’ ladies, but if he did ‘insist’ I took his name then I think I’d have some, ahem, choice words for him!
    My reasons are more personal and bound up in my identity. I love my surname as it’s really unusual, and I have many happy memories attached to it. There was even a band named after my surname in school. This was nothing to do with me though – I fondly remember them as the ‘loser’ years – my brother was way more cool and popular than me! It was odd to stand in the assembly hall and hear your name chanted over and over though…
    Another reason is that my first name is very Scottish, and my married surname is also ultra-Scottish (even though my HTB is not!) and I don’t want to sound like some character from a cheesy Scottish biopic…
    Finally, like Rebecca, I think it’ll be easier for work reasons. I’m a teacher so I hear my name easily a thousand times a day. I am sometimes tempted to change it just to confuse them so they turn up expecting a different person…but to be honest you’re always ‘Miss’ whether you’re a Miss, Mrs or Ms, so a new name would probably tip them over the edge!

  51. Great post & discussion. For what its worth I wasn’t bothered about changing my name, but Mr P was very keen for me to change it. After much discussion I’ve kept my maiden name for work and am Mrs P at home. (In my career having separate personal and professional identity is quite useful for keeping clients away from my Facebook page if nothing else!) The clause I made was that all costs for changing my name he’d pay for – new passports aren’t cheap! There are times where I consider using my married name all the time but it is part of my “brand” ( another uncommon name) in the same way as being Mrs P is part of me at home. I think it’s great we all have options these days – choice is a wonderful thing.

  52. Really interesting comments and article. When I got married I change my name, it was a bit of a relief to be honest as I had a maiden name that required constant spelling. It is lovely now not to

  53. Caroline (T/P) – choice is indeed a wonderful thing. Just a bit of a bugger that some of us faced with that choice don’t know what the buggery to do! Hopefully the feedback on this feature will give people lots to think about ๐Ÿ™‚
    Much love all and thanks so much for contributing to another discussion post, I really value your feedback.
    xXx

  54. Oh the name change. I’m firmly on the fence on this one and
    very undecided.
    My name is Abigail Harwood. Or Abi Lady HarHar (don’t ask – someone said it one day, it caught on and then I put it on fb so only people who knew me could find me) His surname is Cowley and he will be keeping his. He really doesn’t mind whether I keep mine, have his or do something in between.
    So, the decision is mine then… Oh feck, I’m so indecisive! I don’t think I want to keep my name on it’s own, I guess after 9 years I’ve fo some extent considered that I would change my name. But ‘becoming’ Mrs Cowley seems a bit alien to me right now. I keep coming back to Mrs Harwood-Cowley… But my middle name is Alexandra so my full name would have a total of 11 syllables…. MENTAL! he he. I think it sounds a bit posh too which I’m
    not sure is a good thing. But it’s the only name that I feel comfortable with at the moment. But I keep changing my mind! I still very lucky, because I have that choice ๐Ÿ™‚ oh and the baby thing? Well if we have them, then we can make up our minds then.

  55. Welcome to Love My Dress Lady Har Har! ;))
    Abigail Alexandra Harwood Cowley sounds faaaaaaaaabulous!
    I think you should go for that without any hesitation ๐Ÿ˜‰
    ๐Ÿ˜‰ xXx

  56. Oooooh that was fascinating reading, thank you everyone! Some great stories in there! My maiden name was McTimoney, which was pain for people to pronounce and spell at times (!) BUT I loved having such a unique surname and many of my friends called me Miss McT. My married name is Fowler. We joked a lot about combining our names as we used to talk about the McFowler clan when both our families got together for days out etc. To be honest I didn’t really think about it until just before our wedding (I was too excited/distracted by the prospect of being married andwhat that means)and only then did I realise how attached I was to McTimoney. I decided I didn’t want a double barrelled name because McTimoney-Fowler is just ridiculously long! Instead I chose to keep McTimoney as a middle name and we’ve discussed our future children having McTimoney as a middle name too. I love sharing the same name, being Mr and Mrs Fowler, team Bear and Boy. My friends still call me Miss McT, which I love. Having McTimoney as a middle name almost feels more special – when I sign my name with the initial ‘M’ in there it brings a smile to my face. Best of both ๐Ÿ™‚

  57. LMD – I agree, choices are not always easy ๐Ÿ™‚ The perils of progress!
    Both my names mean a lot too me, hence using both of them in different aspects of my life – which is similar in some respects to the new Mrs Tindall’s situation (or Ms Zara Philips as she is known professionally).
    I guess at the end of it all there are no right or wrong answers, there is just what is right for you. There is an option for everyone.

  58. This is so relevant for me right now! I work as a doctor and a lot of people I know chose to keep their maiden name at work, all the exams you have done and papers published will be in that name. My dad was also a doctor and sadly he died last year, my mum wants me to keep my maiden name as a link to my dad and all the support he gave to me during my career.
    My husband feels that I should have the same name at work and at home, my feelings tend to go long these lines as well. Fundamentally I want to show every- one the commitment we have made to it each other but I don’t want to upset my mum further after what has been a tough time.
    We have been married one whole week now and for the moment I haven’t changed anything other than my facebook name, but I’m planning on making the change gradually over the next year.
    Sorry for such a long post, is a subject close to my heart right now!

  59. I have huge issues with this that I haven’t read on here yet. I already have a child and their dad and I never married so he has a different last name than I do as is. However, I will be getting married in the next year or so and that brings up an entirely different obstacle now. When we have kids, if I have my husbands last name, then my son now will have a different last name than his siblings. His teachers and such all know me by the name I have now and friends and family don’t seem to care. And I can’t really hyphenate/double-barrel it since I go by my middle name with family and some newer friends, and everyone I work with and in college, know me by my first name! Aghhh! And my name has historical significance and is rare which I love.

  60. Crikey, that’s a dilemma or two there to have to resolve Jacqui! I am sure you will work it out eventually but it would be good to know what you eventually decided to do.
    Good luck with everything.
    Much love,
    Annabel xXx

  61. Have been a longtime reader of Love My Dress, but this is the first article where I’ve been moved to comment. Can I stress again how wonderful and refreshing it is to read level-headed, accepting responses to this topic instead of the usual polarised ‘I think women who don’t take their huband’s name don’t REALLY love them’ to ‘I think any woman who takes her husband’s name is a DISGRACE to feminism’.
    I was always planning on keeping my surname, something that my boyfriend was pretty accepting of. I like my name and it is reflective of where I grew up (which means more now I no longer live there). When he proposed I really looked into the different options and it was extremely difficult to find sites which don’t have a huge ribbon of JUDGEMENT through each.
    In the end, I’ve decided to take my fiance’s name but change my name by deed poll to include my surname as a middle name. So although I’ll soon be ‘Mrs B’ my full name will still include my maiden name. I’ll also keep my maiden name at work (even though I don’t need to), but might change it if it feels a bit strange (although hopefully it won’t, as it’s still technically part of my name). I like the idea of two identities, Ms R at work and Mrs B at home! When I told my fiance my plans he was pretty shocked I was taking that step but also quite clearly delighted. I think the fact that I was under no pressure from him made the decision much easier for me – it felt like a gift I could give him rather than a tradition I was coerced into.
    Thanks so much for posting this. I think what you do with your surname is no-one else’s business and what other women do with theirs is none of yours either!

  62. Hi Kate,
    And welcome! Thanks so much for leaving a comment – comments do in actual fact make us bloggers so delighted – they are a measure that what we are doing is being read, influencing, make people think, inspire people, etc etc etc, so again, thank you.
    I agree with your final sentiments that in actual fact, it is no one’s business to comment on what you decide to do with your surname. I love that you are making a few changes to your name too to reflect what YOU really want when it comes to names and identities, good for you. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Thanks so much for visiting and contributing to this discussion post ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope we’ll see you back again soon ๐Ÿ™‚
    Annabel xXx

  63. A little late to this (I’m currently in new York for a job interview and v jet-lagged!!!) but it’s a great subject (fab post Rebecca :)and I’ve been really interested to read the comments.
    I feel very attached to my maiden name and have been a Brokenshire for 36 years, so in the run up to our wedding there was never any question I would keep my own name / not become a Mathews.
    It’s hard to explain it any more fully than Cathy Brokenshire is who I am. I would feel odd being a full fledged Mathews and I can’t get over the fact I would sound like his mother – or a new sister…just too weird! Gender equality issues also played a part in my choice, but I do respect other women’s decisions as it is such a personal thing and there are so many different factors to take in to account.
    For my husband, it wasn’t even an issue. He completely understood why I wanted to keep my name so I’m very fortunate that for me it was a very easy decision. That said, we want children and would like us all to have the same surname. So we were announced at the wedding as Mr & Mrs Mathews Brokenshire and had every intention of us both officially changing our name (although we endured a lot of stick for double barrelling). Although we haven’t officially changed yet, I know we both will when we have children and I’m very proud that my husband is happy to change his name too.
    What Rebecca said about being part of a team is so true though, and although we’re both keeping our own surnames for now, all our friends and family refer to us as the Mathews-Brokenshire’s or Team M-B and whilst deep deep down I’ll always be a Brokenshire, I can’t wait for the day and Team Mathews-Brokenshire expands its numbers and we all go by the same name ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

  64. Hi Annabel,
    Thanks! And thank YOU for such a fantastic blog – a rare corner of the web where like-minded brides can congregate and get inspiration. My wedding planning would be a much duller place without it ๐Ÿ™‚
    Kxx

  65. Arr Kate R – that’s music to my ears! ;)) Thank you ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Cathy Brokenshire – I love your name, I totally get why you wouldn’t want to change it too. It’s just such a personal thing isn’t it? I’m just pleased this post has made some people who perhaps felt awkward about their decision before now, feel more confident in whatever they choose to do.
    Thanks for your comment and GOOD LUCK IN NEW YORK!! I’m rooting for you! Please drop me a line to let me know how it goes ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Much love,
    Annabel xXx

  66. Thank you very much Annabel – I certainly will! LMD was the first webiste I looked at when I finally got my wifi working and gave up trying to sleep – makes me feel very grounded when everything else feels very surreal ๐Ÿ™‚ xxx

  67. My mother is a hopeless headover heels romantic, its just unfortunate when shes gone hook line and sinker its been for a stinker of a man, my father included.
    She’s been married twice and divorced twice, and each time she changed the name of not only herself but my brothers and sisters too, because a surname is a family name and the family should all be the same!
    So ive grown up with a variety of surnames. 4 in fact, both married names and her maiden name… twice! and it left me with a bit of an identity crisis. and lots of awkward moments when you bump into someone you havent seen for a while and they say “oh…. kelly so and so?” and ummm well actually… Plus adding someone on facebook is a huge minefield!
    Which is why i cant wait to have my forever name and when i get married become Mrs A, and our little baby who is due in march will be Baby A… because its a surname is a family name thats what family togetherness is all about.

  68. Hello ladies. What a treat it has been to read these comments since I last had chance to stop by… apologies in advance for the long response!
    I’m thrilled you were moved to comment Kate R – seriously – made my day given that I am somewhat bereft of my usual community (although it’s great to see so many of them over here!) I’m equally thrilled along with you to see such an accepting and supportive attitude amongst the commenters ๐Ÿ™‚
    Kellpops – that must have been a crazy existence (emotionally and mentally) for you to endure with all the name changes. I’m not surprised it has given you the perspective you describe and I’m excited for your future family unit!
    Cathy B – Argh! How did the interview go!!??
    Rachie, Katherine, and those others who mentioned changing your name at home but not work, or feeling that was a difficult decision, I agree entirely. I considered doing the same but felt it would feel odd to me having 2 identities – I am after all the same person, a wife at work and a career driven woman in the home. Also, after trialling it (under husbands duress when booking restaurants etc!) it resulted in many an embarrassing lack of ability to remember my own name too many times, so I decided wasn’t an option!
    In fact, to flesh out the story even further, I am doing just that, taking my married name at home and continuing to use my maiden name for work, as I am in a transitional period working in several places, where my reputation preceding me is a benefit. When I take a permanent job somewhere, then I will start there under my married name and complete the transition!
    Jackie – that’s a real dilemma – I hope you find inspiration amongst these comments. Is your son old enough to ask? it’s difficult as changing his name would deny him his lineage which may not be something you want to do.
    Ok, I think that’s enough from me.
    Again – thanks so much for the comments guys – you have no idea how excited we get by posts like this that go mental in the comments box ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Lots of love to you all,
    xoxo

  69. I decided to double barrel my surname “Chanelle Segerius-Bruce” reason being that Segerius is such a unique name. There are only around 120 of us in the entire world. The surname is Dutch. I am therefore the only person in the whole world with my name!

  70. I find it really interesting that both Rebecca and Cara have changed their name years after getting married. Honestly, I didn’t think about it that much at the time, and just went ahead and changed my name to Mrs H. At the moment I don’t have any regrets about changing my name, although it’s a pain to pronounce and to spell, and despite loving my distinctive maiden name – I like sharing a name with my husband and being Team H. Plus I like to think there is more to me and my identity than just my name.
    What I *am* struggling with recently is the Mrs bit. It just doesn’t feel like me. So I’m slowly experimenting with being Ms H in some contexts, and it feels SO much better. I feel like a bit of an idiot trying to change it so long after the wedding, and didn’t want people to think we’d got a divorce or something (!), but the idea that there’s not a cut-off date, and you can change your mind whenever and as many times as you like, is a comforting one.
    Great post, ladies. Oh and make sure you do let us know your Any Other Party outfit choices before next Friday – I need some inspiration!!

  71. I will be double-barrelling I think. I have a very long Dutch surname, which consists of three words, and confuses people over here in the UK massively. Even back in Holland people never know how to spell it. It’s a unique name though, anyone with my name is related to me.
    I always said I’d keep my own name, and if I had got married in the Netherlands I probably would. I’m getting married in the UK however, and things are a bit more traditional here. So, next year I will become Mrs His name – First two words of my maiden name or Mrs First two words of my maiden name – His name. Chances are we’ll double-barrel any future children’s names as well, to honour both our backgrounds (I’m marrying a Scot). Mrs His name is his mum. Mrs My name is my mum. So I think I’m striking a happy medium!

  72. Hello all,
    I’m coming very late to this party, sorry, but I just got engaged a week ago and I’m surprised at how many ‘wedding’ type conversations I’ve had this week which have shocked, confused or saddened me. One key one yesterday was the name changing thing.
    I have always wanted to keep my own name – to me it’s part of my identity and love it as unique. My fiances last name is quite common and he already has a cousin with the exact same name as my married name would be, so I already don’t feel unique within the same family (and have been referred to as ‘big’ or ‘old’ Megs to differentiate already!!). I thought he’d be supportive of my choice but he is INCREDIBLY unhappy about the thought of me not taking his name in the most conventional way, no compromises.
    Mainly because he is embarrassed at what other people will think.
    How can I stop feeling sad about this and help him see things from my point of view? He’d never considered anything other than ‘the norm’ and feels he’ll be less of a man if he has a wife who doesn’t share his name.

  73. I’ve decided to take my husband’s name when we’re married and I never thought otherwise. I am very independent financially and emotionally and as a solicitor, I have already built up a reputation associated with my maiden name. I don’t think I’m giving up my independence or anything like that. I love tradition and I am looking forward to keeping with tradition, sharing my name with my husband and I feel it’s a sign of commitment – by no means do I think *not* changing your name isn’t a sign of commitment, it’s just *my* sign of commitment! My professional contacts and clients know I’m getting married and so will have no issue with me changing my name and at the end of the day, my face is still the same and I’m still Clare at this particular law firm – it’s not as though they can’t find me!
    I will miss my maiden name but I won’t lose it in my heart, I’ll still be the person I have been for 30 years but in a year, I’ll be Mrs M and my change of name will signify our future as a ‘Mr and Mrs M’ family unit.
    What I do think is fantastic is that we now have the option to choose!
    Thanks for bringing this up. It’s great to read other people’s opinions. I do love this blog!

  74. I am getting married in less than a month and taking my future husband’s name has never been in question. I am from Italy where women do no take their husband’s name, and it would be considered outrageous if any woman did (like in Spain as mentioned by someone else above), plus the bureacratic aspect of it is an absolute nightmare. Add to that that I don’t really want to give up on 31 years of my life with my name, and the choice is an easy one really. My fiancรฉ is totally fine with it and respects my choice. I don’t know what we’ll do when we have kids, but a double-barrel name would sound a bit ridiculous in our case… oh well, there’s still a lot of time to think about it! xxx

  75. Changing my name will be a little emotional for me and probably not for any of the reasons normally associated with doing so.
    I’m a twin and we are completely nonidentical; you wouldn’t even think we were sisters. Our surname is the only thing about us that is identical and our initials are also the reverse of each other; she is CHF and I am HCF.
    I will be changing my name because I want to but the realisation hit me the other day that the one thing keeping me and her alike – our surname – will soon be no more and that makes my name change a little bittersweet!!

  76. I am super late to this party, but it’s a subject that interests me. I won’t be changing my name, I always knew I wouldn’t and told my boyfriend about six weeks after we met! He was puzzled for about ten minutes and then got over it, he really couldn’t care less now.
    It still surprises me a little that the UK is so behind other western countries on this issue. Where I’m from (Canada) it’s much more common for women to keep their names. I myself am the daughter of a mother who didn’t change hers, so keeping your name is just normal for me.
    When a woman chooses of her own free will to change her name, then good for her! But I am saddened that so many women seem to pressured into a change by their husbands or family or society in general, when really they might prefer to keep their own, or to hyphenate, or have a new family name, or whatever. Why are we still so obsessed with the male family name?

  77. Hilary – food for thought there with that simple but loaded question! ‘Why are we still so obsessed with the male family name’… thanks for your contribution to this discussion. It’s lovely that you’ve kept your family name – a nod of respect to your own family history.
    xXx

  78. Hi,
    Some of you saying you are late to the conversation! Well here I am two years late! I have been really struggling with the name change decision recently. I am getting married in April and still am unsure what to do. I will be going from a rare name surname to a very common one, in fact when I get married (if I change my name) I will have the same name as his sister as we are both Sophie, (we do have different middle names though). I am really proud of being part of my family and I don’t want it to feel like I am leaving them behind. I do love the idea of being a family team with my H2B and when we have children it would be lovely to have the same family name. I have considered double barrelling or using my maiden name as a middle name but I don’t want a name with four words. It just seems too long and silly. It also would feel like I am not fully committing. I don’t know anyone with the same forename and surname as me now, and when I get married I will be one of a long list of people with my name. This is such a big decision.
    Thank you ‘Love my dress’ for being here for me with your amazing wedding inspiration and useful discussions. When I was struggling I decided to search LMD for a name change discussion and I wasn’t disappointed. I have read every one of the comments and it has really helped me. I am leaning towards biting the bullet and changing my name, I need a little while longer to get used to the decision though before I commit to it.
    xx

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