In the name of … marriage

A recent online survey shows 80% of US brides will take their husband’s name. This is a delicate issue for some couples. gives you some ideas that could help you decide what’s best for you.


The number of women keeping their maiden names has risen in the past 30 years but they are still a minority. However, taking the husband’s name is not a tradition everywhere like in Spanish-speaking countries, where wives taking their husband’s name are an exception to the rule.




Using a married name may make every day tasks, a bit easier once you have kids, like dealing with school and holidays. Some brides feel more like a family unit when taking their husband’s surname.


Like Mandy, who says she will definitely take her boyfriend’s name if they decide to marry. “Being married I would take his name, as a symbol of our union.”


-BUT DON’T DO IT IF†¦ you really feel strongly about your name or/and if it goes against your moral principles.


“My name was my identity,” explains Rose. “It was me and I liked it! I felt changing my name would be like changing my identity!”


Marta from Spain explains changing her name is not even an option: “Nobody in my family had to change names so I wouldn’t do it. If we have kids, those children will have the names of both parents because they are the fruit of that union and love. That is the real symbol of the family, not giving up my name.”


Also, if the marriage doesn’t work it will easier to start a new life. “I compromised,” says Joana, who is now going through a difficult divorce. “I kept my own for work as I liked it better than his and now I am glad that I didn’t change!”


Why not considering†¦


-Double names: You could both change your names and decide which one goes first.


-Middle names: Keeping your maiden name as a middle name.


-Professional life vs. Family life: Keep your maiden name for professional life and your married name for family life.


-Invert tradition: The groom could also take the bride’s last name.


-New beginning: You could combine your last names into a new one or even go for a brand new name.


Some history-


19th century suffragist Lucy Stone was the first American woman to keep her maiden name. She was the wife of abolitionist Henry Brown Blackwell.


The Lucy Stone League, initially founded in New York City in 1921, was reborn in 1997 to campaign for equal rights for women and men to retain or modify their own names and equality of the father or mother’s name for children.


The law-


Laws respecting married names vary in different countries. In areas whose legal systems derive from the English common law (most of the USA, Canada and the UK) a name change doesn’t require legal action and people can adopt new names without taking any legal action.


In places whose legal systems derive from the civil law (like France, Spain, Belgium, Quebec and the US state of Louisiana), the default position is for a woman to keep her legal name all their life and citizens who wish to change their names legally must apply to do so via a formal procedure.


In Spain, both bride and groom keep their two surnames and their kids will also get two surnames (getting the first one from each of the parents).


In Portugal, a woman may adopt her husband’s surnames, but nevertheless she always keeps her birth names.


In China and Korea, women don’t take their husband’s names.