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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“Let’s elope!”

Psssttt… can you keep a secret? Oh, good! 
Stephen and I are thinking of eloping. 
Stephen proposed to me on Valentine’s day this year, while we were on our ‘Babymoon’ in Dublin. Admittedly, the idea of having a wedding filled me with dread, but the thought of being his wife made me very happy indeed. So of course, I said “yes”. Now we have the difficult task of arranging how, where and when we say our “I do’s”. I know a lot of women have dreamt about their ideal wedding day since they were very young, a child even, but not me. Whilst I love attending big traditional weddings as a guest, I know deep down it’s not what I’d want for my own wedding day.
It’s not what either of us want.
Soon after the engagement we found ourselves obsessing over how we’d make everyone happy. How would we keep people entertained all day? What would we feed them? Will they all get on? We soon realised that it wasn’t about other people, it was about us and what we wanted. This is how we got on to the topic of a runaway wedding, joking at first, but now we’re seriously tempted to do just that!
Here are some of the reasons why we are considering eloping:
We don’t like the attention: Both Stephen and I are naturally quite shy and introverted people, the thought of being stared at and made a fuss of all day is one that terrifies us. I know the guests would be our nearest and dearest but that doesn’t seem to make it feel any less daunting.
Money: Hardly romantic, I know! It’s no secret that weddings are expensive so a wedding with lots of guests to consider will of course bump up the budget considerably. There’s catering, travel, clothes, gifts etc. to think about. Whilst we do want our wedding day to be a special one, there’s other things we’d rather spend the money on – our daughter, our home and an awesome honeymoon! We both agree that being married is about a lifetime of days together, not just one.
Guests: It’s not just as simple as inviting family and friends. My parents are divorced and their marriage did not end amicably. I feel like I’d have to choose between my folks as to who I’d want there (would be my mum, hands down) and I’d hate to feel like I was snubbing one of my parents for the sake of the other. Yes, they are adults and if I really wanted them both there, I’m sure they could settle their differences for one day to make me happy. But in reality they’d be uncomfortable and that would make me uncomfortable. Best way to deal with this problem? Don’t invite either of them! Both of my parents have remarried and I didn’t attend either wedding so I wouldn’t feel too bad about it.
Planning: I know a lot of newly engaged women will quite happily spend hours on Pinterest pinning inspiration for themes, dress codes, flowers, venues etc. I’m afraid for me, nothing interests me less than looking at a thousand varieties of white dresses. Also, when it comes to planning, the words “piss-up” and “brewery” spring to mind. The thought of organising a wedding sends me into cold sweats. If we elope there won’t be any invites, themes or dress codes to sort out. Stephen and I will just have to turn up at the right place, at the right time and I think we might just about be able to manage that (although I’m making no promises!)
Cake: We won’t have to share it with anybody else. Wahey!
The only downside to eloping is that I do feel guilty. I feel guilty when family and friends are asking me when the date might be so they can keep their calendars clear. I feel guilty when my mother-in-law to-be is telling me how much she’s looking forward to buying a new outfit for the occasion. We’re not planning to elope to spite anyone, it’s just more ‘our style’ – it will make us happy, on our day. I’m hoping people will understand and accept that.
We have a venue and date in mind but nothing booked just yet. Once it’s booked there will be no going back and it’s kind of scary but I know it’s what we want to do, we’ve just got to go for it.
I really hope I haven’t made myself out to be some sort of wedding Grinch! That’s not the case at all. Honest!
I’d love to hear from anyone who has eloped or is planning to.
Is it selfish of us to consider running away to get married?
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Four years

Four years ago today I met the love of my life. Never could I have imagined the journey we were just beginning that day. We’ve crammed quite a lot in over these last few years, in the last 12 months alone we have bought a house, become owners of a gorgeous puppy, got engaged and brought an amazing little girl into the world. I feel so incredibly privileged to be with Stephen and share this life together. I’m a very lucky lady indeed.

Here’s just a few reasons why my fella is definitely ‘a keeper’…

  • We have always been on the same wave length and even from the first day we met we could finish each other’s sentences. Sometimes we freak ourselves out with how similar our thoughts are. We even bought each other the same Christmas present once! 
  • He takes such good care of me – when I was in my first trimester with Jasmine and was pretty damn sick, Stephen went to the supermarket and bought 5 (FIVE!) different types of ginger biscuits. I think they were a panic buy really but it did make a very poorly pregnant lady smile. Even pre-pregnancy I was always offered foot rubs in the evening (my job involves A LOT of standing up) and back massages whenever I liked. He’s not half bad at them either. 
  • Stephen always says he loves nothing more than cooking me nice meals which is good because I love nothing more than eating them! He’s making one of my favourites tonight, carbonara! 
  • Watching him with Jasmine makes me melt – he adores his little girl. I loved listening to him read her bed time stories when she was still a bump. Every day since Jasmine arrived he’s told her that she’s beautiful “just like mummy”. ❤ 

I cannot wait to be Stephen’s wife and continue on this journey together. I wonder what else the future holds for us…
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