Name Changer

While I love teaching Shakespeare, there are few times I find myself actually agreeing with Juliet; but when it comes to her famous soliloquy about names, she’s nailed it. At the end of the day, names don’t really matter—whether I go by my current last name or take Mr. Orchard’s, I’m still me. Since I don’t rely on my name professionally, it’s an even easier switch. I always assumed I would happily take my husband’s name when I was younger, but as the days until the wedding grow fewer, I find myself surprisingly conflicted.

Here’s the thing girls (and guys?)—my last name reflects my Mexican heritage and, quite honestly, it’s really the only tangible thing that does. Physically, I don’t look particularly Mexican. I speak Spanish terribly (I took French to spite my father in high school—I’m pretty good at it actually, but unfortunately the joke was on me in the end!). The only obvious indicator to my cultural background is my last name, and if I just give it up, I feel like (true or not) I’ll be letting go of that part of myself and I don’t know that I am ready or fully willing to do that. I am so proud of my heritage, and I often feel remorse that I didn’t spend more time embracing  it when I was younger. I used to get so annoyed when people would say, “Oh, that’s your last name? Are you Hispanic?” but now I kind of love it, especially being so far from home and family. I know that once I change my name that will never happen again. I wish I could better articulate why it bothers me so much. I keep running in circles about this trying to explain myself, but I just can’t. I’m hoping I’m not the only bride-to-be who has felt this way!

The obvious choice is to hyphenate, and I’ve been leaning toward that for a while now but something is still giving me pause. You see, I also love Mr. Orchard’s last name. I am excited to take it and, whatever choice I make, ultimately his name will be the one I go by socially so maybe that makes all of this a moot point but still”¦

There are other options which have been discussed here on the ‘Bee before. I could take my current last name and make it my middle name, but when I mentioned this to my mom she freaked out about me giving up my given middle name. I can have two, right? Or is that weird? I know it’ll be a little harder  (and cost a bit more—fees may range from $100–$400 for a legal name change) to change my full name than to just take a new last name, but if it’s what I decide on it will be worth it. I could not take Mr. Orchard’s name at all, but I don’t want to do that. So I am currently at an impasse.

Has anyone else had a hard time letting go of their last name because you feel a cultural connection to it? What did you decide to do?


Mrs. Orchard

Morgantown, WV
Wedding Date:
November 2013
Classifieds: October 22, 2013
Photography Must Haves ”“ What Are They?
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  1. Member
    eeper 129 posts, Blushing bee @ 9:25 am

    I am strongly attached to my Mexican last name too! My husband was pretty adamant that I at least add on his (also ethnic) name, but I decided I did not want to go the hyphenated route. So I added my maiden as a second middle name. The Social Security office didn’t care at all that I had 2 middle names, though when I went to the DMV they said I could only use one. I find that is the case most places. So I use my maiden name as my “main” middle name, and I do tend to write it out that way a lot.

  2. Member
    lolot 8914 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 1:25 pm

    I keep hearing about how it’s hard to do the two middle name things, and it makes me worried. I changed my name to Firstname Middlename Maidenname Newlastname (two middles) and it was super straightforward. Nobody at SS said anything. Hmm….

  3. Member
    pearl86 4 posts, Wannabee @ 3:30 pm

    These are such tough decisions! Have you considered how your fiance feels about taking your last name? If he is less attached to his name than you are to his, it could be an option worth considering, and one in which you two still share a name. This is currently something my fiance and I are considering, because my name reflects my heritage and his is quite generic and he is not too attached to it. It’s certainly a less common option, but sometimes I’m struck by how easy it is in these kinds of discussions to forget this possibility.

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    bbbria, Guest @ 2:44 pm

    When my mom married my stepdad, she decided to make her last name her 2nd middle name and take his last name, since both my brother and I share her maiden last name. So now she has 2 middle names, one of which is my last name, and I don’t think it’s weird at all! She has never regretted her decision. And in a way, it has made me even prouder of my last name and the bond it represents between my mother, brother, and myself, and I will be hyphenating to keep it when my boyfriend and I marry.

    I had honestly never heard of anyone adding their maiden name as a 2nd middle name before my mom did it 11 years ago, and I think it is such a unique and special thing to do, no matter your reasoning!

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