We recently celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary and it’s only last month that I officially changed my name to that of my husband’s. I was always looking forward to the practice of name change after marriage. My own last name never used to make sense of me. So it would have been a happy change for me. Four years of confusion and procrastination later, I finally got a reality check that it had to be done sooner or later.
Do I Have To Change My Name After Marriage?
My maiden name is Riley Hofstadter and I’d never really liked my last name before marriage. It was long and no one ever spelled or pronounced it properly. I was actually quite looking forward to the fact that I could bid adieu to it after marriage. We got married and went on honeymoon, we got busy with our jobs soon after. Then we had a kid and life got 10x busier as it gets when you start parenting as a couple.
My husband never forced me or pushed me to change my name, so I too let it be for a bit. Like any other real-life couple we had a couple of major relationship arguments too, after which I’d think, “It’s probably a good thing that I haven’t changed my name yet!”
Things were just fine without it; I could see no urge of me changing last name. I used my maiden name for all official requirements. But then my son’s birth certificate cited his mother’s name as Riley Zubke. And my work ID also said Riley Zubke. Next thing I know, for an official trip, my flight tickets also said Riley Zubke, a name I personally, hardly used to go by!
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I started fretting because I had not officially done a name change after marriage
I was in a panic; I’m someone who always follows the rules, being punctual and so on. There were around 10 days left for the journey to Florida for our meeting and I started making frantic calls. First to the travel agent, if they could book a new ticket (No), then to the airlines (Again no help). Finally I realized it was time to actually do what I’d held back on from sheer laziness and lack of a strong reason: decide what I wanted my name to be.
Now Zubke is a great surname, simple and short and everyone knows the spelling. I would have happily got my name changed to Riley Zubke long ago, had I not been so lax about changing last name. And my husband just always called me sexy nicknames so most times I didn’t even remember my old name.
I could have happily continued with my maiden name and been all feminist about it too. My husband wouldn’t have protested if I didn’t want to officially do a name change after marriage.
But then that meant I would have to have my son’s birth certificate changed, and that got me thinking: Wouldn’t my son be confused that I had a different last name from him? I imagined what if my mom had kept her maiden last name; wouldn’t I feel weird every time I wrote my surname as Hofstadter and hers as Piel? Somehow it makes it feel like she is not a part of this family. I certainly didn’t want it to look like I wasn’t a part of my eccentric Zubke family.
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Changing Your Name After Marriage
And then I knew that I had to follow the latest trend. Keep both. So I decided to make my already long name even longer. Riley Hofstadter-Zubke. When I thought about it, I realized I was actually quite proud of my maiden last name — and people recognized me by it.
Why, all my achievements (big or small, ranging from school certificates to being part of my baking class) were all under my maiden name. People who change their name entirely after marriage to take up a new identity, I don’t know how they really do it. Sometimes when I log on to Facebook, I see a name and wonder who a certain person is till I have cyberstalked them for a good ten minutes to see some old photo in which I recognize them as an old school or college classmate.
Though I knew that making my name longer could be an inconvenience, it solved all my problems. I was linked to my past identity and also had my new identity. My son wouldn’t have to think about where I belong, and everything would be in place. The best part – I wouldn’t have to rebook my flight!
It is not. Changing your name after marriage is just a common practice, but still a personal choice.
Absolutely. Officially and impersonally – it is totally up to you whether you want to do a name change after marriage.
If you want it to, sure! It’s a common practice to change your last name to that of your husband’s, but many women are now refraining from doing that as well.