For many engaged couples, the prospect of sharing the same last name is joyous. However, for many women, changing their name is accompanied by a feeling of loss, of who they once were, and of their family heritage. Some women may even feel undervalued by the unequal treatment of only her changing her name. While the majority of brides still take the more traditional route and acquire their groom’s last name, more modern women keep their family surname, or hyphenate with their new hubby, a movement started during Women’s Lib. Some progressive husbands even change their name to hyphenate alongside their wife. But did you know that you have more options than your parents did?
CA’s name change law Laws change per state, but in California we have what’s called The Name Equality Act of 2007 (AB 102, Chapter 567, Statutes of 2007), and it’s opened up a world of name possibilities to those filing for marriage and domestic partnerships. Before it was passed, multiple couples had spoken out against the state for having archaic laws that promoted gender discrimination when it came to name changes, even if the man’s intention was as noble as wanting his wife’s family name to continue, despite having no brothers. Now a couple can change one or both of their middle and/or surnames, using any of their last names that are current, or from birth.
How it works You have the option of both taking his name *or* her name, hyphenating in either order, swapping names, or, for those looking for a truly unique moniker, combining your names in a sort of word scramble with segments of two or more letters, and arranging them in any way you find pleasing for your new last name. Middle names can stay untouched, be replaced by the old last name, or be hyphenated with the old last name. My husband and I opted for the “word scramble”, and after much time, effort, creativity, and names like Hartstetter, Lear, Ellis, and Muarette, our final choice was Arelleis.
Need a hand? If all these options give you too much of a headache, you can always turn to a Name Consultant. While many couples are turning to the opinions of friends and family, even creating online survey sites for them to visit, some hire a professional to layout all their options for them. The 530 Bride offers Name Change Consulting, along with other Wedding Planning services, for which we create a customized list of all possible names and initials for a couple.
Whatever reasons you have for choosing any direction with names for your new life together, just remember to do it in the name of love.
Posted by Kendall Arelleis, Event Coordinator with The 530 Bride