BreakingModern — So you’re getting married. Congratulations! Mazel tov! There are some very big decisions to be made, even after the engagement party. And I’m not talking about picking out a color scheme for your wedding — I’m talking about something very fundamental to you as a person. Your name.
Chances are, you’ve already thought about whether or not you want to take your partner’s name by the time you’re ready to tie the knot. But when the time finally arrives, and you understand more clearly what it means to “change your name,” you may take a moment to reconsider (no matter which way you’ve already decided to go).
Sure, 50 years ago, very few women ever thought twice about changing their name. It was just what everyone did. But according to data from Facebook in 2013, only 65 percent of women in their 20s and 30s decided to take their husband’s name after marriage.
And it’s easy to see why. In the digital age, a lot more of your life revolves around what you call yourself, from your Facebook profile to your LinkedIn page to your passport and multiple credit cards. But obviously the big change is not impossible to navigate — changing your name is still the most-popular option.
So, what are the pros and cons of changing your name in today’s world? Here’s a quick list.
Reasons to Keep Your Maiden Name:
Business Reasons: If you’re the owner of Walton, Inc., you may not want to legally change your name from Walton to Davis. All in all, it’s a lot easier for you to keep your maiden name if you’re already known by it professionally. Although there are ways to work around this, it can really help to keep your business profile consistent. After all, you don’t want people wondering whether you’re two different people.
Lots of Paperwork: Think of all the things you have in your name, like credit cards, bank accounts and your passport. You’re going to have to go through a lot of rigmarole to change all those things. Plus, you’ll have to wait a while to get everything reissued. If you’ve got a lot going on, it might just not be worth it.
Your Social Network: People from your past, and people who follow you, might not know you’ve been married. You might end up getting Facebook-dumped by an elementary school classmate just because they don’t recognize your name.
You Can Change it Later: Believe it or not, you don’t need to make the big decision right away. A married couple can change their names at any time, not just as newlyweds. This may give you a little more time to test out the new name and see if it’s actually something you want. And anyway, it’ll be a lot easier for you to say, “Honey, I think I’d like to take your name” than “Honey, I don’t want your name anymore. But don’t take it personally.”
Reasons to Change Your Name:
Facebook Expects It: Luckily, Facebook has a feature that will let you add a second name to your account. If you check a certain box, your maiden name will appear in parenthesis below your new name, a little bit lighter and smaller than your new legal name. Easy!
Affiliation With Your Partner: When people search for you via your partner, you’ll be a lot easier to find. When people meet you as a couple, they’ll only have to remember one name to find you both on social media later.
Keep Your Maiden Name Professionally: Just because you’re legally Mrs. So-and-so (or Mr. So-and-so — anyone can change their name, after all), it doesn’t mean you can’t keep your work email and business cards. Though it can be tricky, many opt to keep their recognizable work personae, and use their husband’s name for their private life.
Or you could hyphenate your names into a brand new last name for both of you. Of course, this works a little better with Jolie-Pitt than with Wazikowski-Hemendinger, but who cares what other people think. It’s YOUR last name.
For BMod, I’m Alison Maney.
First/Featured screenshot: Alison Maney
Second image: © Katrina Brown / Dollar Photo Club
Third image: © Monkey Business / Dollar Photo Club