What’s in a Name?

Image from the movie Romeo and Juliet by Baz Luhrmann

“By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.”

Act 2, Scene 2 Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

So, what’s in a name? For Romeo and Juliet, it was the entire reason that their love was forbidden. For me, it’s who I am!Before meeting Mr. Cookie I had a very strong mantra – I would not take my future husband’s last name, period! I like my first, middle, and last name. It’s me, it’s who I am, it’s my personality”¦ A new name means a new identity, a death to my former self. I want to hold tight to the person I have become, and letting go of my name means ending the journey of my current self. So, when Mr. Cookie asked me to take his last name, needless to say I had my hesitations.

Randomly one night the last name discussion was broached; would I consider taking Mr. Cookie’s last name? Now, he has a lovely last name, very easy to pronounce — no qualms about the name itself. We both listened to each other’s opinions ”“ mine of my own identity and Mr. Cookie’s of wanting to become a new family. I was facing an internal conundrum. I love Mr. Cookie with all my heart and soul, and what a deeply profound way of symbolizing the start of our journey through life together by changing my last name.

However, I still wanted to retain my identity. I’m at a point in my career where changing my name is not a big deal. And besides, isn’t being married about compromises? I heard in his voice how much it would mean to him, so a compromise was reached. I would indeed take his last name, but my maiden name would become my middle name.

Now, I’ve written and said my “new” name out loud several times just to get used to it, but it will take a little while to adjust. With two out of three of my married bridesmaids keeping their maiden name as their middle name, I’ve realized this has become a very common practice among women today.

Did you or do you plan to change your maiden name to your middle name when you get married?


Mrs. Cookie

Wedding Date:
September 2008
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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    Sara, Guest @ 1:36 pm

    just sayin’:

    It might not be a big deal to you, but it is definitely a big deal to a lot of people. I’m a self-professed feminist, and while I don’t think I’ll “lose” myself if I change my name (or that I’m “fickle enough” to do so), I’m keeping my name for many reasons.

    It’s a personal choice, and giving it serious thought doesn’t sound “dramatic” to those of us for whom it matters.

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    Gerby, Guest @ 8:26 pm

    I almost would have considered changing my last name to a hyphen of the two, but FI refuses to do that… biggest double standard ever! Why should I consider changing my name, but not the other way around? Hmmm… Good thing FI is such a good buy in all other respects.
    My mother kept her maiden name, a very tricky one at that (my Dad’s family’s last name is so common and easy to spell). So I guess since I was little I just decided that I would too. My siblings and I all have our Dad’s name, Mom kept her maiden name and we all turned out just fine…. and so will my kids. 🙂

  3. Member
    NearlyMsSubrosa 288 posts, Helper bee @ 11:04 am

    I am changing my name, but I do wish he would realise what a big deal it is.

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    Amy H., Guest @ 3:27 am

    To the women who are changing their names to their spouse’s because it’s important to their FH, or it will make (or did make) their FH so happy:
    Are you also promising to obey him in your wedding vows? Do you think your husband should have the final say in any dispute in your marriage? Are you agreeing to have him manage all your finances because “it makes him happy”?

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    Kate523, Guest @ 3:38 pm

    I’ll start this by saying I will be taking my husband’s name… and that I’ve never questioned it or thought about doing it otherwise. It’s a tradition, and I don’t find anything wrong with it. I know there are varying reasons for not changing your name — especially in a professional setting. I have two cousins who didn’t 1. Got married later in life and was already well-established in her field and 2. Is in academics and has published papers, etc. That always made sense to me.

    I take issue with the argument that it changes your identity and self — I feel like that’s bull and a cop-out. How can your whole self and idea of you as a person be wrapped up in your name? I don’t judge anyone at all for their choice in this, by any means, so please calm your tempers. I think that whatever way you and your fiancee decide to do, is fantastic if you’re both happy. I think you women who are connected to your history and your family and want to keep your name are right… I think you women who feel like you need to challenge the patriarchal traditions of our culture and don’t want to to change are right… I think you women who simply like their name and don’t want to drop it are right…And you traditionalists like myself who change your names are right.

    Whatever your reasons are, whatever your wants are, follow them and work something out with your husband-to-be. Choose what you choose, stand up for that right and for what you want. But really, miss cookie? Who you’ve become and grown to be will vanish and die if you change a name? I don’t think so.

  6. Guest Icon Guest
    Watercooler » Weddingbee » The Wedding Blog, Guest @ 7:17 pm

    […] What’s in a Name? by Miss Cookie […]

  7. Member
    staceyb 262 posts, Helper bee @ 10:40 pm

    i’m changing my last name. i like my maiden name, but it is hard to spell/pronounce and i’m ready for an easy last name! i want to move my maiden to be my second middle name, but i’m not sure if the state of CA will allow that… i’ve read that other bees have had problems with that.

    either way, i don’t mind changing. i find more identity in my first name and my middle (same as my grandma/mom/great grandma) than my last name. and either way, i don’t change – i’m still the same person i always was, regardless of my name.

  8. Guest Icon Guest
    Miss Bliss, Guest @ 3:13 pm

    I think this is an interesting discussion. I’m a teacher of elementary students, and a traditionalist… marriage is about being a new family and the American tradition is to take the husband’s name… but you never truly lose your maiden name… Since this is Memorial Day weekend, I was at the cemetary planting flowers. Most of my grandmothers…great grands…great greats etc… their maiden name is indicated somehow on their tombstone. In fact in some cases their sons were given the name as a first or middle name so today’s hypenated name is somewhat of a new version of that … In fact some of my favorite family first names were once maiden names. Truly I can trace maiden names back for two centuries or more… I can’t figure out why it’s a big deal to take a new name… you will keep your identity but you will both make adaptations to your life as a married couple. I would be honored be asked to share a name… it is your husband to be’s legacy and heritage and you will not lose yours… you are just adding your legacy to his…

  9. Guest Icon Guest
    A Bee’s Life: The Cookie Edition » Weddingbee » The Wedding Blog, Guest @ 1:42 pm

    […] after I became a bee, I wrote a post called, “What’s in a Name” in which I described the internal struggle I was having over changing my name. The post […]

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