What did you say your name was?
After the ceremony and after the reception, when all the guests have gone and the tables are cleared, there you are: Mr. and Mrs.
The next morning, the groom wakes up with his name intact. However, the bride wakes up with a different identity.
Every few days during the wedding planning process, I had a different obsession. A few days after the proposal, it was setting the right date. As plans moved along, the focus shifted to location, invitations, food, etc. And then, about a week before the wedding, it was the name change.
I had no problem with starting the day as a “Ms.” and ending it a “Mrs.”; I looked forward to it. But, while Woldoff is a very nice surname, I’d become a little apprehensive about changing my name.
Maybe it was all the work involved. I just wanted to enjoy married life after the wedding. But no, I had to plan on conquering yet another checklist: driver’s license, passport, Social Security card, credit cards, etc.
It wasn’t such an issue changing my name when I first married in my early 20s. I’d never had a business card with my maiden name, much less multiple e-mail addresses or a byline showing up on Google search results. I’ve had long-lost friends find me through the Internet because they knew that one characteristic — my name. It’s almost as if a part of me is being erased or like I’m going into some witness protection program.
But what are the options?
Some people choose to hyphenate, but I didn’t want to do that; since Namm wasn’t my maiden name, it would have been like carting along baggage from my previous marriage. Plus, there’s the issue of having a name that’s different from your children’s, which can get confusing (not to mention the possibility of giving your grandchildren a multihyphenated name).
Some couples share their last name — the wife adds on the husband’s name and the husband adds his wife’s so they have a dual last name that includes both. But again, that wouldn’t have worked in my case because I didn’t want to retain my previous husband’s name — I kept it after our divorce only because I didn’t want to go through the trouble of changing it again.
Sometimes people just combine their names to make up a new name, but being founders of a family name sounds like too much responsibility, and we’d lose a connection to the past.
That’ll also be very confusing for future genealogists trying to research family roots.