Something To Weigh-In On

As I found out the hard way while throwing together an AWESOME MagFest Wedding in just under six months (or ANY wedding, for that matter) is pure insanity… I managed to pull it off, but only by the skin of my teeth at times. That was a time of GREAT stress for me. At times, it was pretty stressful for Emptyeye as well . . .

With any wedding, all brides have lots of questions to answer… Who to invite… Who to have as Best Man, Maid of Honor, etc… Flowers? How big of a wedding do we want? How much will all this cost us? What’s our budget? Where will the ceremony be? How much do I want to plan what goes on during the ceremony? Any fees to the Officiant? How much will renting a hall for a reception cost us? . . .

Then once all of the above has been planned out, the bride will start to wonder about AFTER her wedding day. Wondering what happens afterward. She starts worrying about where they will love together. What it will take to change over all of her documents to reflect her new martial status. Do we combine our accounts? Which company do we go with for our Health and Car insurances? Etc…

However, probably the most important of all these questions for a bride-to-be, is the question of weither or not to keep her last name. Do you change it to take his last name? Or do you hyphenate? Or do you not change your name at all? How would I go about this process, if I DID choose to change my last name?

My decision in this regards was pretty easy. I’ll tell you the story of how I came to that decision in just a moment. Before I do, I would like to relate how I got started thinking about this as a possible blog entry topic. I came across an article on somebody else’s blog back just shortly after Emptyeye and I got back from Virginia (Don’t ask me who’s blog, because I never wrote down the name of the person, nor the site where I got it).

In this article, the woman admitted that her husband-to-be had an issue with her hyphenating her name. That he felt like she was SUPPOSED to change her last name to reflect his last name. Here is the exact quote she had in her blog.

“Seems he takes offense to the idea of me tacking his last name on to the one I already have. The move – according to him – says I’m wishy-washy about my commitment and (gasp) that I’m not ready to leave my family and be a wife.”

Personally, I think she got offended because he decided to be a dick that particular day and speak without thinking things through. Society sometimes dictates things that are wrong… This particular situation that the author talks about must have stemmed up from what the guy’s perception of what society is all about. Sometimes, what you’re taught when you’re younger dictates EVERYTHING that you think when you grow up. Say, for example, you were taught not any manners, you would grow up to pick your nose at dinner, or you would eat with your fingers . . .

Changing your name USED to be mandatory in past generations. Society demanded that this was the only way of doing things. However, this was before women went out into the workforce in full force… Now, keeping the name you were born with (and subsequently, opened their practices and businesses with) is a cause for major concern. Nowadays, Women might build up a buisness with their maiden names attached. Their customers trust them under that name. But when the woman gets married and changes her last name to reflect that status, many feel that their customers will no longer trust them to do buisness just because of the name change.

She quotes the editor of The Knot
“‘As years go by and couples wait longer to get married, more women are choosing to hyphenate because of their careers, especially when people are looking for them on Google.'”

The author of the post says
“Indeed, those of us who have worked hellishly to build up some steam in our respective careers also have professional grounds to hold on to our original surnames.”

The writer of the post made her point perfectly so that many people would see why her husband-to-be’s comment bothered her the way it did. Her original blog post was VERY personal to her. What made me pause to think and be concerned, was the comments she got in response… A lot of people were complaining that she was snarky and mean while still being two-faced about her opinion. I don’t agree with that assessment one bit. People are entitled to their opinions. Nowhere in her article does she say that she doesn’t buy into the feminist concept of keeping her own maiden name even after getting married… Each comment, while saying they knew that everyone was entitled to their own thoughts, slowly got meaner and meaner. People taking sides, etc. It was a pretty bad strain of comments until I managed to print everything off and I haven’t been back to the page since (especially since I didn’t even write down the site). Up until that point, I hadn’t realized that many women have been fighting each other and their husbands-to-be about this very topic for many years . . .

Empty has always been pretty understanding about any decision I have ever made. According to him, it’s just what makes me . . . me. I often thought of keeping my maiden name, if only to not have to confuse my relatives and his. To keep the persona I’ve had since I was younger. My standing in my hometown was pretty much set because my mom’s some “big shot, fancy-smancy, big time politician.” People knew me as her daughter, my brother and sister’s older sister. It was pretty cool, because I’m a social person by nature, and I LOVE meeting new people. However, this has been both a blessing and a curse.

This is one of the reasons I decided that a change was in order. The other, revolves around the fact that there was somebody else with my name (right down to the middle initial) living in the same state. In fact, this woman had been involved in something that needed a lawyer for. The only reason I know this, is that the lawyer had contacted me for payment. I never found out the EXACT details, and this issue has always been at the back of my mind since then… I started to feel like if I took Empty’s last name, I would have less issue with somebody else having a duplicate name. As big as Empty’s family is, I KNOW there wasn’t already somebody with my new (and at that time, proposed) name in his family…

I thought (VERY briefly), of hyphenating my name to represent both families, but it would have been too long. If you know Empty and I personally, you know that he has a nice long Polish last name. Hyphenating it with ANYTHING would have been entirely too long… So hyphenating was out…

But really, the thing that was actually the deciding factor for me on this subject, was one of pure chance. When we moved in together about 3 years ago, one of our first pieces of mail into our mailbox, was the weekly free town newspaper. On this piece of mail, was my first name and his last name. I actually got giddy at the thought that this would eventually be my new married name. I remember telling Empty that I was immediately IN LOVE with that name! Mostly, I think he could feel the excitement rolling off me.

So, there’s the story of what finally set me to liking a change. My opinion on this subject has always been that a name doesn’t make the individual. Your name means jack shit! It’s who you are as an individual that counts the most. Your name (and more specifically, your last name) is just what shows the rest of the world that you belong (maybe not BELONG, so much as choose to tie yourself) to your loved ones. It just tells the world (and more importantly, the US) that this person (or group of people) will morn your death, and should be treated with respect when it comes to insurance/ medical issues.

When talking to your prospective husband, let him know that if you want to keep your maiden name, it should be your choice in the end, not his. If you choose to keep your maiden name, that’s fine. It’ll probably just save you some time in the end getting it legally changed. That’s the only thing I regret about having to change my last name. The damn PAPERWORK that was involved. Other than that, it was the right decision on my part…

As Anja Winikka (from theknot.com) delicately puts it “We definatly see the conversation because everyone has an opinion on it. No one is really right because it’s such a personal decision.

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