Getting married and changing your surname have become synonymous. But did you know that getting married doesn’t automatically change your name. This is just something you can choose to do as an optional extra afterwards. And if you do change it, it can change to anything! I find LGTBQ couples give a lot more thought to surnames in a much more equal and considered manner where as the majority of hetero couples seem to default to the mans.
The history behind changing surnames
Let’s talk about the tradition itself. It dates back to a time when women were considered the property of their husbands. By taking their surname, they were essentially transferring ownership from their father to their husband. While this may seem archaic and outdated, the tradition still persists today.
Should you keep your original surname?
I still have my original surname, despite being with my partner for other 20 years and with 3 kids. But why? Firstly, your surname is a part of your identity. It’s the name you were given at birth and it’s something that you’ve carried with you your entire life. Changing your surname can feel like you’re giving up a part of yourself.
Secondly, changing your surname can cause confusion and inconvenience. You’ll need to update all your legal documents, bank accounts, and social media profiles, and this can take time and effort. And let’s not forget if you’re running a business in your name, or have a great reputation in your work. I can’t even imagine changing my name now!
Thirdly, keeping your own surname can be a feminist choice. By refusing to take your husband’s surname, you’re rejecting the idea that women are the property of their husbands. You’re asserting your independence and autonomy.
Choosing your husbands surname
Of course, I understand that some people might want to take their husband’s surname for various reasons. Perhaps it’s important to them to have a shared family name or they simply like the sound of their partner’s surname. And that’s absolutely fine! The important thing is that it’s a choice that you’re making for yourself, rather than feeling pressured to conform to tradition.
So whose name do we choose?
In conclusion, there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to whose surname you should choose when you get married. It’s a personal choice that you should make based on what feels right for you. As a feminist wedding photographer, I support and celebrate all choices that women make when it comes to their surnames, as long as it’s a choice that they’ve made for themselves.