A few months ago, I wrote this post about changing my last name after the wedding. At the time, I was deciding between “The Ol’Switcheroo” and “The Fresh Start.” I’m back to report that I opted for “The Fresh Start”!
Changing one’s name is a really personal and sometimes emotional decision, and now that I’m standing on the other side of the fence, I can truly understand why there are so many options and why brides and grooms alike often struggle with the decision to keep their names, change them, or even create a new family name. To get to my ultimate decision, I looked at my MIDDLE NAME and my MAIDEN LAST NAME and made a mental pro/con list for keeping either—since I had already decided I wouldn’t be keeping both. At the end of the day, I always felt closer to my MIDDLE NAME rather than my MAIDEN LAST NAME and opted to become MRS. FIRSTNAME MIDDLENAME MARRIEDLASTNAME. It’s got a good flow, no?
Now that I’m officially a Mrs. in the eyes of Social Security and everything, I have no regrets about my decision at all. It feels really warm, comforting, safe, and just…good to share a last name with Mr. Jet. He’s my person.
Holy moly, time really does fly in the last few weeks. By this time next week, I’ll be a married bee and on our honeymoon. Even as I type that it doesn’t seem real. I apologize for being absent last week on the blog, but even with all my lists, prep, and intentions I was still (and am still!) up to my eyeballs in tasks that need to be completed! People warned me about the craziness of the last week and they were NOT kidding.
So here’s what I’ve been up to!
Mr. Orchard and I got our marriage license from a lovely lady at city hall who informed us that any marriage license she authorized lasted no less than 50 years so we had better be ready to be stuck together. So cute!
Ready to sign! / Personal photo
A few days before our Japanese wedding reception, Mr. G and I went to city hall to get legally married. According to the US embassy’s web page:
If you wish to marry in Japan, you will do so according to Japanese law. Marriage in Japan consists of a civil marriage registration by the couple at a Japanese municipal government office. Only this civil registration constitutes a legal marriage in Japan. Ceremonies performed by religious or fraternal bodies in Japan, while perhaps more meaningful for you, are not legal marriages.”
…which basically means you have to get legally married at city hall.
I’m going to tell you right now, getting married at the city hall in our town in Japan was absolutely the most unromantic thing ever. I think getting my passport renewed was more romantic.
Mr. G and I went to city hall quite a few days before our actual wedding reception because we live in a very small town and figured the staff would not be used to processing paperwork that involved a foreigner. (We were right—more about that later.) We also noticed a slight hiccup in our paperwork that might prolong the processing of the paperwork. The marriage affidavit (a piece of paperwork needed to get married in Japan) had my father’s full middle name written out (i.e., Dad Steve Gondola), while on my birth certificate, my father’s middle name is abbreviated with just a letter (i.e., Dad S. Gondola). Anyone who has ever dealt with Japanese banks, post offices, or government offices knows that something as small as this can stop any paperwork you want from being done in its tracks. Japanese rules and regulations can be extremely detailed and everything has to be just right or it just won’t happen. Exceptions are rarely made, and if an exception is granted it usually involves a lot of time and paperwork. I was genuinely worried that this tiny discrepancy would stop us from getting married.
When it comes to making the decision about what to do with your last name after you get married, most brides consider the standard options—taking their husband’s name, keeping their maiden name, and hyphenating their name. More and more, though, brides AND grooms are considering another, stranger option—combining their two names into one new one. I wanted to share my story of how my husband and I decided to do exactly that because our story isn’t a common one, and I might have appreciated hearing it during our own decision-making process. I’ve seen one or two brides in the boards considering this option, and thought it’d be helpful to hear what the process was like from beginning to end from someone who actually went through it.
I don’t want to say my actual last name here, but let’s just say that my last name was Liffe and his was Cashippi and we turned into Cashiffe.
Once again, NOT our real names (although I am really Mrs. Cash!) but basically what we did was:
Liffe + Cashippi = Cashiffe.
We had a few reasons for deciding to do this:
Sweet Tea Photography by Lisa Marie
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!
I like to think that as far as brides go, I’m pretty easy-going. However, there is one wedding-related thing that is causing me a lot of agita. To those of you who were able to make this decision without much stress, I envy you so much. It’s one of those questions that doesn’t have one particular right answer, just a lot of choices that may or may not be right for me.
Bees, what the heck do I do with my last name? Just thinking about it makes me freak out a little.
Screencap via SodaHead
I understand the tradition here in the US is to take your husband’s last name. Frankly, the history behind the tradition makes me a little uncomfortable—I’m an independent woman, not chattel, etc. At the same time, wouldn’t it be nice if Stallion and I, as our own family unit, shared a common name? I don’t know. Hence this post.
With less than 50…fifty…FIVE-OH(!!) days to go before the wedding—Mr. Jet and I crossed something very important off of our list today:
A few weeks ago, Sparky and I ducked out for a few hours on a Monday to head down to the county administration building so we could submit all of our paperwork (and $64) in order to get our marriage license.
It sort of reminds me of the DMV or DOL
We went in expecting to wait in a line and while away most of a sunny afternoon, but it went surprisingly quickly. We went up to that counter, answered some demographic questions, showed our IDs, and received some paperwork to fill out (one sheet).
We took the paperwork over to the provided table to fill it out and we were surprised/delighted to find something to entertain ourselves. It was as if they knew I was coming!
Hey there, hive! Remember me? It’s been a while. I wanted to pop by with an update on one very important thing: my name.
Last time we left off, I had decided I was going to change my name when Mr. T and I got married. I always knew I would change my name when I got married. I like the idea of having a family name, and it was important to Mr. T that I take his name. Plus, I was never very attached to my maiden name. But as the saying goes, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
I decided early on in our engagement that I would change my name to Molly Middle Married. Four months after the wedding, I officially changed my name. When I looked at the little pieces of plastic in my wallet, it felt odd to see a new name. Who was this new person? She looked like me, but I didn’t recognize her name.
I told myself that I would adjust, that I would grow accustomed to that new combination of letters, but I felt uneasy with my decision. After a few months, that uneasiness turned into regret. I wished I could take back my name. I wished I hadn’t callously thrown it away with little thought. Despite what I thought, I was attached to it. That name was me for two-and-a-half decades. That name was printed at the top of college newspaper articles and in high school yearbooks. It was on trophies, diplomas, and the dean’s list for several semesters. It was announced when I walked across the stage at my high school, college and law school graduations. That name is a major part of who I am, and I wanted it back.
It was Mr. Wellies’s idea to take my last name after we got married.
When he first suggested it, I was bemused. I didn’t understand why he would want to take my name. I had never thought of it before, mainly because I had never heard of it before. The only options I knew of were the woman taking the man’s name; the woman keeping her name; the couple hyphenating their names; or, more recently, the couple blending their names. But a man taking a woman’s name? Outrageous!
Then Mr. Wellies explained his reasoning. He knows how much my last name means to me. I had previously expressed my worry about carrying on the family name, since I only have one male cousin who might continue it. Mr. Wellies saw taking my last name as a way to honor my dad and my grandfather, two of the most important men in my life.
I once went shopping with my older cousin when I was about 16 years old. After we finished shopping we headed back to her house. I started to gather my shopping bags and head to the door, and I was surprised to see my cousin gather her shopping, but instead of heading to the door she walked to the back of the car and stuck the bags in the trunk. When I asked her why she did that, she told me that her husband would get upset if he found out she went shopping so she would hide the bags into her trunk and sneak them in when her husband wasn’t home. ”This is what married life is like,” I thought. In that instant, I decided that I would never let anyone tell me what I could do with my money.
After Mr. Gondola and I became engaged we settled down to talk about how we were going to do our finances as a married couple. Mr. G’s family is Japanese and his father, like many people his age, hands his paycheck over to his wife (who doesn’t work) and she controls all of the finances. I come from a family where the incomes are combined. I wanted something different from both of these styles, and I suggested that Mr. G and I keep our finances separate and split everything down the middle. Mr. G said he was fine with that and that had been our plan—until we went to premarital counseling.
Hello, hive. I’m Miss Campfire and I have no idea what I’m going to do about my name once I get married.
From Dreams Time
I’ve gone through several stages of consideration about this.
The name-change game has already been discussed by several bees, but I would like to throw in my two cents!
To be honest, I never thought about changing my name. I never wrote “Mrs. [insert name of crush]” all over my notebooks. My name is my own and I never entertained the idea of losing it for any reason. To me, it would be like losing a part of myself, like losing my family. I will admit that I’m not even particularly fond of my last name—it’s one of those stereotypical, super-long Spanish last names that ends in Z and is a pain in the ass to spell. On the other hand, Mr. B’s name is short and sweet and perfectly French. It would be soooo much easier having his name, but that’s never been an option. Why?
Well, in Québec, you’re actually not allowed! GASP. Whaaaaaat? Yup. Civil Code, article 393:
In marriage, both spouses retain their respective names, and exercise their respective civil rights under those names.
Major life events. That’s what insurance companies call the major milestones in our lives. That blanket terms covers so many exciting/devastating/scary/stressful/etc. events under one umbrella that wading through what each one means can be tricky. (Maybe it’s just me? Even my detail-oriented brain gets overwhelmed!)
Looking at insurance doesn’t encourage cuddling (for me). Instead, I’d rather hide in a blanket fort! / Image via Health Insurance Article
While 2013 contains several major life events for me (graduation! wedding! maybe new job!), it’s the approaching wedding that has really gotten me thinking about insurance. I mean, I’m going from a me to a we (in terms of legal/binding relationships).
I’ve begun slogging through insurance comparisons to see if it makes sense for Sparky and I to keep our own separate insurance plans, for me to join his, or for him to join mine. This discussion contains not just here-and-now thoughts, but entails future planning, too. You know the little poem: