Post # 1
Hi Bees! My wedding is a year and 5 months away so goodness knows I have tonnes of time, but I have a question regarding the last name. First let me give you the history…
My dad comes from a largish family, but of the six total children only two were boys. All my aunts’s children have different last names, but the two boys, my dad and my uncle, only had girls. I am the youngest of my generation of cousins (before all the cousins from second marriages or cousins’ children came along) so I am the last one of us to bear the last name. It’s nothing super special in itself but I was sad that the name would end with me (my whole family is British-they all still live there-with decendants of Ireland and Scotland and last name or ”clan” names are pretty important). Then my female cousin from my uncle had a son but because the father is not in the picture her son has our last name, so the name will continue, but technically he should have his father’s last name so I still think of myself as the last “real” one.
Anyway, what it boils down to is that I want to hyphenate my last name. I am happy to take my FI’s BUT I’ve always thought of marriage as a partnership, not an ownership. At least that’s what I want mine to be (we will be pronounced “husband and wife” not “man and wife” and we will be introduced as “Mr ______ ______ and Mrs _______ ______-______”-provided I hyphenate). Plus his last name is very generic (no problem with it, I love it and it’s in lots of songs but it is REALLY common and I like to be a little different). My question is have any of you hyphenated and has it been easy to adjust to or more difficult? I don’t want people thinking I’m pretentious or that his name isn’t “good enough” so how did you deal with those challenges, if they indeed happened? I know his family might not be too keen on the idea, but I know he is supportive. He has said he wants me to take his name because it would mean so much to him. He’s such a sweet and caring guy, I melted when he said that, and it made me want to do that for him, because I know he would love it. But he also respects that I am not entirely comfortable with giving up my name for various reasons…apart from the being-the-last thing, it has been who I am my whole life…I know it’s just a name but as a bride you’re being asked to give away thst part of your identity. And he also respects that I am strong and value equality. The only place he differs is that I would want our HYPOTHETICAL AND NOT HAPPENING YET SO CALM DOWN MOM children to have the hyphen too, but he doesn’t. I understand why but at the same time the children would be as much a decendant of my family as his, and if I had boys they can pass on the line to their children and our name can live on. A romantic and silly ideal maybe, but something that makes me feel happy, knowing that the family I love so much will be carried on in name well after I’m gone.
So I’d love to hear your thoughts on the issue. Did you or anyone you know have issues with hyphenating? Do people think it’s snobby and how do you address that? What about children? I know a few hyphenated people and they’re happy with it but I’d love your take, bees!!!
p.s. our names are both one syllable and only nine letters long total, so it’s not like I’d saddle myself or my kids with a last name like “Huffingtom-McPhranagall” or something.
p.s.s. although Huffington-McPhranagall would be AMAZING OHMYGOD someone get me a top hat and a monacle…
Post # 3
Hyphenating is totally normal. I wouldn’t think twice about someone who chose to do that.
However, I’m against giving children two last names because it’s a total pain to deal with at school, work, etc. Plus, what are they supposed to do when they get married? A good compromise is to give your children one of the family names as a middle name.
Post # 4
@AlwaysSunny: That does make sense, but my name does NOT make a good middle name…it would just look really random…but thank you for the advice, I agree I don’t want to make any child’s life difficult but you’re right, I have to confidently make that choice for me before I can even think of our imaginary children yet. Thanks! <3
Post # 5
if he is so concerned about your future children only having one name then tell him you expect it to be yours. I bet he will change his tune pretty quickly when the tables are turned…
another option if you don’t want them to deal with two names is to make it one name formally and use the hyphen informally (ie SmithJones). That’s what FI and I are doing, for beaurcratic reasons.
Post # 6
- Wedding: October 2014 - UK
@sakurabean: I’m in a similar situation, and have been pondering hyphenating. Our surnames come to four syllables total, which I think isn’t too bad, and it does sound pretty good. And I think I’d like to keep that last little bit of myself, but I’m torn on whether any future kids should have it – four syllables is a lot when you’re first learning to write your name. But at the same time, what’s the point of my hyphenating if it’s not going to the kids anyway?
I think my solution is if I ever manage to get anything published then I might write under my maiden name, but then keep my married name for personal use.
Post # 7
Would you have any interest in making your maiden name your new, legal middle name and going by all three names? This is what I did, and I really love my new name. I was known professionally for 25 years by my maiden name, but I definitely wanted to take DH’s name. Making this type of change (like Laura Ingalls Wilder, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Anyone Kennedy Anyone, etc.) will allow your current surname to continue to have prominence without the complications involved in hyphenating, particularly as they relate to successive generations and their choices when THEY marry.
Also, I know you said that you wouldn’t want to use your family name as a middle name for your children. However, the Kennedy clan is famous for doing this, and it is actually not uncommon. Katie Couric, for example, gave her elder daughter her mother’s first and last names as her first and middle names (Elinor Tully Monahan) and her younger daughter has Katie’s last name as her middle name (Caroline Couric Monahan.)
Post # 8
I hyphenated and I have mixed feelings about it.
I almost never use my husband’s last name (I preserved my last name at work, I’m a teacher and the kids know me as “me”, and I am well known in a few professional/academic circles and I’d like to preserve my name for that reason, but people sometimes call me by my husband’s last name and it always surprises me).
I love our names together, they are both very ethnic, and from different ethnicities so I think they sound really nice together, but they are both easily mispronounced, which makes things doubly difficult (and it hurts my ears!!).
Though, it is sometimes confusing, as I’ll forget whether or not I used the hyphen with certain companies (ie. bills, credit cards, banks, etc.) so that’s difficult.
I also anticipated running into a problem when a ticket was booked using my hyphenated name and my drivers license and passport still have my maiden name only — but my middle name is the same intiial as my husband’s last name so it wasn’t an issue….
Also, I prefer to write my two last names without the hyphen, but I don’t know if that’s “against the rules”.
I could go on, really.
Sometimes I wish I took my last name as my middle instead, but, what’s done is done.
ETA: We will likely give our children my husband’s last name.
Post # 9
I kept my maiden name and our son has my last name and my husband’s last name as his 2nd middle name. We have not run into any issues yet besides me occasionally being called Mrs. Hislastname and him sometimes being called Mr. Mylastname lol. I think you should do want makes you happy for your name and work out a compromise for children. For what it’s worth, I was also the last with my family name and I am so happy that I was able to pass it down to my son. I am thankful my husband was on board for this!
Post # 10
We BOTH hyphenated and haven’t look back. We haven’t had any problems, and our names aren’t that long together. Changing out my middle name was never an option for me, so I never really considered it.
I also don’t really believe in the whole “woman changes her name” thing. If the point is to be joined together as a family, and to have a family name, well, we’ve done that (and it was DH’s idea to boot!)
When we have kids, they will have our wonderful, hyphenated last name.
Post # 11
@CountryRose: I didn’t know you could do that with last names, it’s an option for me to consider. Funilly enough you guessed one of our last names!!! Thanks!
@chronicwhimsy: That’s true, I know a girl who does publish under that name but just goes by her father’s last name when teaching (a double name is tricky for a bunch of five year olds!) I am also interested in publishing and art work so I can maybe do that too, but I might get confused and forget which name I used where. Thanks!
@Brielle: It is a nice idea, I didn’t know that about Katie Couric or the Kennedy’s. I think it works for Kennedy because that is a first name too, but I think Couric is awkward because that doesn’t really sound like a middle name anyone would have…and mine is weird as a middle name too. Thanks for responding, though, I love all these ideas and info!
@multinational: It’s good to hear your firsthand experience! If I do hyphenate I would have to all the time, or like you said I would never be able to keep it straight otherwise! Our names are really easy to say but his is supremely common and I don’t like the idea of blending into the realm of generic last names. I didn’t like my last name for a while growing up but now it’s a big part of my identity…as for children, I could maybe give them both and let them decide as they grow up? My cousins are hyphenated and they usually go by both but sometimes just by their dad…
@Schatzie821: Having a supportive SO can make all the difference! I’m glad that no matter what happens, Mr Sakura Bean will support me! I’m glad that you too got to pass down your name after being the last. I feel like Draco from Dragonheart, if you ever saw that (old) movie…”I AM THE LAST ONE!” lol ^_^
@melisandescott: That, I think, for me is the ideal. I am all about marriage being a partnership, not an ownership. I had a convo about this with my coworker, a lovely lovely girl but a bit more conservative and with a religious background, and she couldn’t really understand why I wouldn’t want to submit to my FI as the “head” of the family. I said it was a choice thing…if women choose to be traditional and raise babies and let the man steer the ship that’s fine but I refuse to be defined by what I can pump out of my genitals and can see no reason why we can’t run our family together as a team. Keeping my last name and sharing it with my potential children will hopefully teach my daughters to know that they don’t have to throw away who they are at the behest of a man, and teach my sons that they don’t get to “own” a woman by default of their being male. I’m happy to know it’s working great for you, although I know my FI wouldn’t hyphenate (and that is okay 🙂 )
Post # 12
I like the idea of using the maiden name as a middle name for yourself and your future children. My cousin’s parents aren’t married, so her name is Scarlett (dad’s surname) (mum’s surname). It’s a bit of a mouthful but it does sound nice.
I think hyphenating really depends on how the name sounds and whether or not it’s convenient. My mum initially kept her maiden name, then tried hyphenating for a little while, but the hyphenated name just sounded awkward (long maiden name with short married name) so she eventually changed to her married name.
As for me, it hasn’t been a consideration because I HATE my surname and love my FI’s surname.
Post # 13
Nothing wrong woth hypenating… it’s not snobby at all, and it can be as long as you want, it’s your name! Just as long as you love it. You have time to figure out about the kids, as long as at least one of you is somewhat flexible on the issue.
In our case, we won’t hypenate, because my FI has decided he’s happy for himself and our kids to take my last name. It’s perfect for us!
To answer your question about potential flack, the couple hypenating or the bride keeping her last name is really normal in my community, so there wouldn’t be any flack expected, but the husband taking his wife’s last name isn’t common, yet. I discussed with him about how we might face some comments, but he is a very, very confident guy and he is not worried at all about laughing off gentle confusion and/or putting any potential rude person in their place.