Posted by jade on 07 Aug, 2008
Let’s assume for a moment we all consider the tradition of adopting your husband’s last name to be on par with the mass identity theft conspiracy discovered in this morning’s news. What’s a modern bride to do?
As a feminist and a poet, I’ve always thought of the hyphen as the ultimate thrilling symbol of an egalitarian marriage. When I first heard of this darling little Dickension dash being inserted in bride and groom’s surnames, I thought rather dreamily that it functioned as a neat bridge uniting two kindred identities. After so many years of patriarchal naming conventions, this punctuation seemed powerful, potent, and utterly adequate. Except.
Except when you think about it further and realizing you are consigning your kids to cumbersome last names, names that won’t necessarily be passed on to your grandkids or their kids, names that are a pain to write, speak, and resonate with.
I’m not ready to burn bridges with the hyphen just yet, but I did decide to look into a few other naming options for my fellow bridezillas that are potentially a better marriage of practicality and principle. Read on for new nuptial name-changing techniques that offer exciting new possibilities for brides.
Using your maiden name as your middle name. If you don’t want a tedious surname, take a cue from the likes of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Teresa Heinz Kerry. Taking your last name as your middle name is a nice solution that neatly mitigates the cumbersome last name issue. Best of all, it’s easy to pass on to your kids by giving them your maiden name as their middle name too. That way the whole family remains connected and there’s no hyphen headaches. The only cons are having to lose a current middle name or tack on a second one, but those seem pretty cursory compared to the alternatives.
Taking a new last name together. This is a more radical idea to some, but definitely stays closer to the idea of leaving the past behind and starting a fresh future together. While it may seem severe to completely sever family ties, keep in mind this is what the bride is already doing. Now at least, its a mutual statement. This idea also allows you the freedom to give your kids creative, attractive or favorite middle names and keeps your last name down to the minimum. It’s a pretty bold romantic statement to make sure a visible commitment to your new life together. The cons include double the name change paper work and risking hurting your family.
What name change tradition do you like best? Do you know any creative solutions we haven’t listed here? Bridezilla would love to hear them, so weigh in below!