Old last name traditions, newer identifying options

Jolie Monroe

Preparing for the big day can be a nerve-racking ordeal. However, the big day comes and goes, and details are forgotten. Besides the choice of spouse, only one decision lasts a lifetime: The last name.

Currently, couples have more options than ever regarding the important decision of a last name change.

The commonly accepted, traditional choice is for a bride to take her husband’s last name. Rachel Millard, ISU alumna, made the decision to take her fiance’s last name. Millard will be marrying Anthony McNerney on Sept. 25.

“I feel that it is a sign of respect to the man I am marrying,” Millard said.

Sometimes people feel as though changing their name might cause future problems, but Millard said although it will be a challenge to contact various companies to notify them of the change, “in the end it will be worth it. It will make it easier on our future family to have the same last name.”

Another option is for brides to keep their maiden names.

Kimberly DiMaria, ISU alumna, has been married for 21 years. She decided to keep her maiden name. When it came time to decide whether to keep it, “it was more of a question of why change it?,” she said.

The only thing that has ever bothered her about her decision was the “social aspect.” She said some people did not understand her reasoning. However, she has no regrets.

If none of these options are what a bride is looking for, there is always the compromise of a hyphenated surname. Some brides even change their maiden name to their middle name. This way, not only does the bride keep her name, but also carries a bond to the man she is married to.

“I know some people who have hyphenated their name in order to keep their maiden name, because of jobs, or because they felt strongly about their maiden name,” Millard said.

She also said another influence might be dependent “on tradition in the family. If your mom or older sisters changed their name, you would be more likely to change your name.”

Whatever the reasoning may be, a soon-to-be bride has plenty of options for an important decision that can last a lifetime.