Should I keep my maiden name?
The Pros and Cons

There’s just over a month to go until Stephen and I tie the knot and almost everything for the big day is sorted. However, there is still one issue that I’m completely undecided on. Should I keep my maiden name once I’m married? I seem to keep going back and forth on whether or not I want to keep my current surname or take my husband’s.

So I thought I’d do some thinking out loud, here on my blog, in order to help make a decision. I’m going to list the pros and the cons for changing my name and see if I feel any clearer at the end of it.

And before anyone suggests it, a double-barrel name is out of the question – honestly, it would sound ridiculous.

Should I keep my maiden name – the pros and cons:

Con: It doesn’t sound right

It’s not that I don’t like Stephen’s surname, in fact it’s far more unusual than mine (my surname is Richards). Until I met Stephen, I’d never even heard of his surname before. I do like that it’s a bit different. BUT when I put it together with my name it just doesn’t sound right. Does that even matter? I mean, it didn’t stop Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, did it?!

Pro: We’d all have the same name

I think this will probably be one of the main factors in making my final decision. Jasmine has Stephen’s surname and I do think it would be quite nice for us to all share the same name as a family. From a practical point of view, I never want to be in a situation where I have to prove my daughter is mine because we don’t have the same surname, when travelling through an airport, for example. I know people who have experienced this kind of hassle first hand and recently one of my favourite bloggers, Charlotte, wrote a very moving post about such an experience. (You can read that post here.)

Con: I don’t like paperwork

I’ll be honest, I am extremely lazy when it comes to paperwork – I can’t stand filling out forms. The thought of having to change my bank details, passport and driving license, plus countless of online account details etc. fills me with dread.

Pro: I feel like a new name could give me a fresh start

Sometimes life presents you with opportunities to wipe the slate clean and start again. Opportunities such as starting a new job or moving to a new area. You can reinvent yourself a little. I feel the same way about a name change – perhaps Mrs Jenna L***** will be a bit more sassy (I just giggled at the idea of me being ‘sassy’) or a tad more confident. Or… maybe I’m just talking out of my arse. And I’ll be the same old me… with a different name.

Pro: The feminist in me wants me to keep my name

I can recall my much younger self (we’re talking 7 or 8 years old) saying that I would keep my surname when I got married (although I did think that I’d have to marry a man with the same surname to do that). Obviously, now I know that I can indeed keep my own name or change it to something completely different if that’s what I want. Part of me thinks “Why should I?”. Why should I be the one who has to change my name. I’ve been Jenna Richards for almost 28 years – do I really have to take a man’s name just because I’m marrying him? Is it really that important in this day and age? I don’t believe it is and I don’t believe I should (nor does Stephen by the way).

Pro: I don’t have to make a decision right now

I can, of course, change my name at any point in the future – it doesn’t need to be as soon as we’re married. I can think about it a little longer and decide how much it bothers me that I’m the odd one out or even if it bothers me at all.

From looking over the above points, it would seem I’m leaning towards keeping my name (at least, for the immediate future anyway) but I would love to hear your thoughts!

What do you think, should I keep my maiden name?

Did you/would you keep your name or change it? Why?

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Comments

  1. Avatar May 6, 2015 / 4:12 pm

    I did both! It can be a bit confusing at time but I've a relatively simple rule that works mostly… At work I use my maiden name and I use it for anything that's derived from work too, so like playing sport. For anything to do with our house or finances or travel I use my married name. Sometimes I get confused as I still think of me as my own name and not my husband's name and automatically give that, then look a bit of an idiot when I can't remember which name I'm using today! :D

    Good luck with your wedding and am interested to hear what you decide!

    • Avatar May 6, 2015 / 4:22 pm

      Haha! Oh gosh – I would definitely get confused using both names (but I am easily confused). Although, I think how you have divided how you use the names makes perfect sense. It must be quite funny when you seemingly 'forget' your name in front of people though. ;)

      Thank you so much. :) xx

  2. Avatar May 6, 2015 / 7:21 pm

    I actually couldn't wait to change my name. I prefer my new surname to my old one and I wanted the same name as my children. I also got called 'Mrs Bailey' at their nursery anyway so I was used to hearing it beforehand! Yes, it is a hassle to change everything, but not as much of a hassle as I thought it would be. I got all the 'big' stuff done first, like bank, credit cards, driving licence, insurance, passports etc. and now, 5 months later, just finalising the 'little' bits like my nectar card and boots advantage card! :)

    I've struggled with my signature though! I can't do my old one anymore but I still can't do my new one properly yet either!

    Like you say, there is no rush! You may get to 'the day' and suddenly decide to change your name!

    Michelle x

    • Avatar May 6, 2015 / 7:50 pm

      That's really interesting to hear! My mum couldn't wait to change her name either. She said it's the only reason she got married! ;) I think your name works really well, it flows nicely but I'm not sure my 'new' name works as well. Maybe it's because I'm not used to hearing it?

      I never even thought about a change of signature either – there's so much to consider!!

      Nope, there's no rush – I think I'll just see how I feel closer to the time and go with my gut instinct. :) xx

  3. Avatar May 6, 2015 / 7:56 pm

    I love you. This is the same problem I would have. Matt (now ex) wanted to get married and I told him I was in two minds about taking his name and then I questioned if I loved him. I don't think that has anything to do with it. My step sister is of the same mind too. I hate the fact it's such an ancient tradition still going on in this day and age. I say – do what you feel is in your heart. The girls have different surname to me. It doesn't bother me. They are my babies no matter what. Can't wait to find out what you decide. GREAT post. Love it. Xxxx

    • Avatar May 8, 2015 / 7:59 pm

      I love you too, Kat! :) You're right – love has nothing to do with it, I won't love my OH any less just because I don't take his name. That's not what marriage is about at all. Fortunately, he really doesn't mind either way. Although I think he thinks it will be nicer if we did all have the same name.

      Thank you for the wise words, lovely lady. xx

  4. Avatar May 6, 2015 / 8:32 pm

    Now I got married a long time agooo! But I tried desperately to keep my own name but it was a nightmare. When we sold our first house and went to the solicitors to exchange on the second, the solicitor wrongly told us that we would be tenants in common rather than joint tenants ( it matters if one of you dies). I ended up changing it because of the trouble it caused. However, now I would always have to use my husband's name professionally. Anyways, I tell you all this because I know how difficult it is to decide ha! I have no advice, can't wait to see what you do though xxx

    • Avatar May 8, 2015 / 8:16 pm

      Oh gosh, you know, that is something we have talked about before. We will probably moving house again in the next couple of years so I can just imagine what a pain in the arse the paperwork might be if we have different names. So annoying the solicitor told you the wrong information though! Grrr. Thanks for sharing your story – it all helps with the decision making progress. :) xx

  5. Avatar May 7, 2015 / 7:41 am

    I kept my maiden name. I like it, didn't want the hassle of changing my passport etcetera, and just didn't feel like it.

    There is the minor hassle at airports sometimes when entering uk (not when leaving though slightly surprisingly) so if I am travelling without hubby I just keep a copy of the little ones birth certificate, and that is always accepted as proof.

    • Avatar May 8, 2015 / 8:19 pm

      Wahoo – finally someone who feels the same way as I do! :)

      The birth certificate thing is a great tip, I will remember that for future reference. Thank you. :) xx

  6. Avatar May 7, 2015 / 8:54 am

    I kept my maiden name at work but changed to my married name for everything else. I got used to two different signatures quite quickly and being known under two different names. The only time it was an issue was when I had to fill in a CRB form for work and there was difficulties with getting it through – took a few phone calls to sort it out and it always amazed me that it was a problem given how many other health professionals I knew who had done the same. I liked keeping my own identity but also having the same surname as my children on a personal level.

    • Avatar May 8, 2015 / 8:23 pm

      That seems to be quite a popular choice to keep maiden name for the professional side of things and the married name for everything personal. It makes sense. :) Oh CRBs are a pain in the bum at the best of times, I've had problems with mine because I've changed address multiple times. xx

  7. Avatar May 7, 2015 / 2:00 pm

    Paperwork stopped me from changing my name for a long time. It would have meant replacing my passport and my UK visa, and I couldn't deal with that hassle – or being without my passport for so long. So, I just waited until all of that needed to be replaced and did the name change at the same time.
    I also kept my maiden name for work – which means its harder for colleagues or clients to find me on social media.
    It was weird making the switch, especially since it was nearly two years after our wedding when it happened. It was kind of like becoming somebody else – but I don't even notice it any more and I'm glad I did it.

    • Avatar May 9, 2015 / 8:00 pm

      I'm glad I'm not the only one who avoids paperwork! I think that makes a lot of sense to change it all when it needs replacing. I think my passport has a few years left on it so it wouldn't be that long before it would need updating anyway.

      A few people have said that they don't notice their name change anymore. I guess it's just something you get used to after a while. :) x

  8. Avatar May 7, 2015 / 7:29 pm

    Though my hubby's surname is kind of unusual (starting with a U), I was definitely up for changing my name as soon as I could (though passport is still my maiden name but it expires soon). I didn't really think about it to be honest, I guess I'm not that much of a feminist lol. Good luck with the run up to the wedding x

    • Avatar May 9, 2015 / 8:03 pm

      A surname starting with U is unusual (I'm intrigued now). I don't think it makes you less of a feminist – if you're happy to change your name then that's all that matters. I think I must be in the minority as it seems that most ladies will change their name to their hubby's without a second thought. I'm an over-thinker about everything though. ;) xx

  9. Avatar May 9, 2015 / 8:40 am

    Now I changed both work and home, the clincher for me was having the same name as my then future children!

    • Avatar May 9, 2015 / 8:05 pm

      Yep, I totally understand that. It's probably the only reason that draws me to the option of changing my name. Everything else I don't really care about. xx

  10. Avatar May 9, 2015 / 10:35 am

    Congrats, Jenna! I was adamant I would keep my maiden name because my Dad had passed and I wanted to honour it but when our little one came along we all wanted the same name. I have step-children, so we used my husband's name because I didn't want it to feel like two halves of the same family. The paperwork wasn't as much hassle as I thought and I love my name. I don't even consider it as new, really, just who I am now in a new arrangement. It is a really interesting topic and different for everyone.

    • Avatar May 9, 2015 / 8:08 pm

      Thank you, Natalie.

      I can understand why having the same name would help to unite you all as a family unit. You're right about the paperwork, it probably isn't as much hassle as I think it's going to be. Thanks for sharing your story. It all helps me with my decision making. :) x

  11. Avatar May 10, 2015 / 8:51 am

    We already have an uphill battle getting people to recognize our family and my wife as our baby's second mother so I changed my name. It was a hassle to change all my details but much less than a lifetime of explaining ourselves. At least with the same surname assumptions are often made. The feminist factor was also less of an issue with two women :-)

    #sundaystars

    • Avatar May 10, 2015 / 9:56 pm

      Oh I can totally see why the name change would make your lives easier – constantly having to explain yourselves to people would get pretty boring very quickly! Thanks for sharing your story. :) xx

  12. Avatar May 10, 2015 / 9:08 am

    I always said as a little girl i wanted to keep my maiden name and toyed with it when we got married but honestly I cant remember ever being ,my maiden name now, I am Sarah Christie it is our little families name and that is why I love it so x

    • Avatar May 10, 2015 / 9:57 pm

      Yeah, it's funny – a lot of people seem to be saying that they are so used to it now that they don't even really think about it. I suppose I would feel the same way eventually too. :) xx

  13. Avatar May 10, 2015 / 9:42 am

    I changed my name without really considering not changing it, I just saw it as part of the marriage, but lots of people seem to be keeping their maiden names now. I always wanted to have the same name as the children though. It does take abit of getting used to a new name and even 7 years later I still don't like my new signature, it just doesn't flow as easily as my old signature. The paperwork is abit of a hassle, but it doesn't take long in the grand scheme of things. Good luck with your decision, I can't believe its only a month until your big day, I was reading Red magazine the other day and there was a lady who got married in a woolen jumper because she didn't like the big dress, it made me think of you I remember you saying you was choosing something different. x

    • Avatar May 10, 2015 / 9:59 pm

      I've never really liked my current signature so maybe it would be fun to have a new one! Yep, I suppose a lot of people do just accept it as part of the marriage and think no more about it. As you have probably noticed though, I am an over-thinker… about everything! Haha, I won't quite be wearing a woolen jumper but I love that you thought of me when you read that. ;) xx

  14. Avatar May 10, 2015 / 12:14 pm

    I changed mine. It just felt right. I really wanted the whole family to have the same name. Good luck deciding and eeeeeeek to getting wed soon!! Yay xxxx

    • Avatar May 10, 2015 / 10:00 pm

      Yeah, I do like the idea of all of us having the same name. I think that would be my main reason for changing if I did decide to. Eeeeeeeek indeed! :) xx

  15. Avatar May 10, 2015 / 6:41 pm

    One of the reasons i got married was to change my surname. I wanted the same name as my children and husband, it was the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle. You have to do what is best for you. p.s. the paperwork doesn't take that long xx #sundaystars

    • Avatar May 10, 2015 / 10:04 pm

      Aw, I love that. :) I'm glad that piece of the jigsaw is in its place. :)

      Good to know about the paperwork! xx

  16. Avatar May 10, 2015 / 10:38 pm

    It's a hard decision isn't it?! Some people don't even have to think about it, they just know they will change their name. I found it hard to decide but my decision was made easier because I didn't have a middle name and my maiden name was Rose, so when I got married, I made Rose my middle name and took my husbands surname! Make sense?!

    • Avatar May 11, 2015 / 9:24 pm

      It is a much harder decision than I thought it would be. But maybe I'm over-thinking it?

      Yes that makes perfect sense, I wish my name could be that easy to change around, it would certainly make the decision easier. Rose is such a lovely middle name, too. :) xx

  17. Avatar May 11, 2015 / 3:20 pm

    You must do what's right for you! I was five years into a ten year passport when we got married so it seemed a waste of money to order another one. However, in that time I've had both girls, so they were both born with my name not our family name (only in the hospital). My passport has now run out so I'm in the process of changing my name. For me, it's more important to be a family and have one name. Good luck with the wedding and your big decision – there's no rush! Thank you so much for linking up to Sunday Stars xxx

    • Avatar May 11, 2015 / 9:31 pm

      I think at the very least, I will wait until my passport expires to change my name officially (if I decide to do that). At the moment I'm thinking I will keep my name for the time being and then maybe later on change it at a time that better suits me. Thanks for hosting, lovely. :) xx

  18. Avatar May 11, 2015 / 9:44 pm

    Jenna, I had the very same battle with myself almost a decade ago… I decided to go double barrelled. I'm not sure why I thought that was a good idea… I now just use my husbands surname.
    There is something nice (and practical as you said) about having the same surname as your children – but it isn't essential.
    And if you're happier using your existing surname it won't mean you love Stephen any less… and he might even think that you keeping your name and being feminist is 'sassy'?

    • Avatar May 12, 2015 / 12:52 pm

      Oh really, Katie? I'm not sure I could be doing with a double-barreled name. I'd probably just end up using one or the other, too! The thing is, I just don't know if I will be happier to keep my surname or take his so I think I might wait a while after the wedding to see how I feel about it then. xx

  19. Avatar May 12, 2015 / 6:06 pm

    It can be hard to decide and it is such a personal choice! I was happy to change mine but my mum and brother had reverted to her maiden name after my parents divorce and I didn't really want to keep my father's name so it was an easy decision for me. Also I changed to Smith which is really easy :) I was ready to get rid of my maiden name and after a tough few years it felt like a fresh start. I think you'll know deep down what is right for you, and your family. I must admit it is nice to have the same name as your children and husband (as un-feminist as that sounds!) xx

    • Avatar May 12, 2015 / 9:14 pm

      Absolutely, it really is a personal choice. I am really enjoying hearing everybody's opinions and stories about why they chose to (or not to) change their name but I guess it will just come down to how I feel once we're married. My mum has a different name (remarried) and I don't have much to do with my dad anymore so I'm not even sure why I am so keen on keeping his name. I guess because it's been MY name for so long. I do like the sound of a fresh start though. :) xx

  20. Avatar May 12, 2015 / 10:27 pm

    I took it and couldn't wait to either! I love being Mr&Mrs of the same name, loved giving my whole self and beginning a new chapter as a family unit with the same name. I guess I never considered not doing it, I like the tradition and the opportunity to be his bride and wife and share his name too. Almost 6yrs on I still feel giddy when he calls me Mrs Smith haha xx plus we have all the Mr & Mrs Smith jokes too!!

    What does Mr soon to be hubby think?

    • Avatar May 14, 2015 / 2:15 pm

      Aw, that is so lovely to read. I'm glad you enjoying being Mrs Smith! :) I wish I could make the decision as easily as you did but I'm still not sure either way at the moment.

      Hubby to be really doesn't mind what I do but likes the idea of us all having the same name. xx

  21. Avatar May 14, 2015 / 4:21 pm

    There was never any doubt in my mind that I would change my name. I love being Mrs F, I feel proud to be his wife and don't think it makes me any less of a feminist not to have my maiden name. The paperwork is like 2 clicks of a mouse so you cant use that excuse lol. Do what feels right for you though, nobody else's opinion matters xx

    • Avatar May 14, 2015 / 9:01 pm

      No, of course it doesn't make you any less of a feminist – if that's what you wanted then it's all good. :) We have the choice and that's the main thing. I thought the paperwork would be a pain in the arse – changing passport, bank details, driving license, online accounts etc. etc. xxx

  22. Avatar May 15, 2015 / 10:15 am

    It's such a conundrum isn't it? I changed my name across all aspects (work and personal life) – I think I always thought that I would but it helps that I'm estranged from my Dad so had no interest in retaining my maiden name whatsoever. I think I may have even changed my passport as early as I could do prior to the wedding (I think it's around 6 weeks or something) so that when we went on honeymoon I'd have my brand shiny new passport with me which felt lovely. It's been 8 years now so all feels a long time ago! But ultimately it's whatever you feel comfortable with, and like you say you can make the change at any time in the future too. Exciting! X #TheList

    • Jenna December 3, 2015 / 10:34 am

      I’m estranged from my father too, Lins. I decided to keep my name for the time being but when my passport etc. runs out I think I will probably change it. My maiden name means less and less to me all the time. xx

  23. Avatar May 18, 2015 / 10:45 pm

    Thanks for sharing this – I think it’s so fascinating to hear other people’s thought processes on this one. Let us know what you decide! #TheList xo

    • Jenna December 3, 2015 / 10:32 am

      Thanks Rose – I have kept my name for now. x

  24. Avatar June 17, 2015 / 10:38 pm

    I kept my maiden name for work and my married name for home. Good luck, whatever you decide. Have a lovely wedding day!

    • Jenna June 18, 2015 / 8:20 am

      I think I’m probably going to do the same. :)

      Thank you, it was a wonderful day. xx

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