I think I have an awesome last name. Sure, I’ve heard plenty of jokes.
Hey! The full Monty!
What’s up Monty Python?
But when it comes down to it, I have an awesome last name. For a number of my friends, mostly of the male persuasion, Monti is the only name I go by. On the random chance they call me by my first name, I almost feel hurt.
I often tell Chuck that his last name is so boring, it’s often used as an example on official forms. When you need a generic last name, it’s right up there with Jones and Smith. But, regardless of how boring my new last name will be, not taking his name isn’t even an option. I can’t really give you an exact reason why, but becoming Mrs. Anderson and not Mrs. Monti is just something that feels right.
Nowadays there are plenty of options for brides…well I guess the option was always there, but it’s more accepted now.
You could take your husband’s name: Jane Smith becomes Jane Jones.
You could hyphenate: Jane Smith – Jones
You keep your name: Jane Smith stays Jane Smith
He could take yours: John Jones
Or, like my friend you and your husband could take each other’s names (Warning…this can be hard to follow). Jane Smith could legally be referred to as Jane Smith, Jane Jones or Jane Smith Jones (notice no hyphen). Jane’s husband could be John Jones, John Smith or John Smith Jones. Phew…
All options comes with their pros and cons. Changing your name comes with the hassle of changing your name, which many of my friends said they wish they hadn’t bothered just to avoid the irritation.
But, I could see an equal amount of irritation from not having changed your name, namely issues with finances, medical records and the like. Not to mention when you have kids. That’s 13 years of teachers you’ll have to explain, however briefly, your last name to.
Odds are, you’re going to be called Mrs. Something anyway and then you have to decide whether you are going to correct the person or just let it slide. For me, that’s a bigger annoyance than filling out paperwork. When people refer to me as Mrs. Anderson, it’s still fun to say, “Not until June!” with a big smile, but it would get old real quick after we’ve said our vows.
(By no means am I advocating taking your husband’s last name. It’s a personal choice and I don’t believe there’s a right way or wrong way, just your way.)
That being said, as a professional writer, I’ve started my career as Ariella Monti and I intend to continue using my maiden name as I write. I’m still early enough in my career (and let’s be honest, I’m not established enough that it really matters) that I could change it, but I think that’s a great way of keeping a bit of my awesome last name alive while still honoring Chuck’s wishes to take his last name.
Check out this great article from The Knot about changing your name.