Groom Duties

When She Wants To Take Your Name

Photo by Ben Pipe

Has your fiancé decided whether or not she is taking your name? Before the 1970s (about when the women’s right movement really picked up steam), this question wouldn’t even have been asked. Brides just naturally took their husbands’ last names—they were leaving their family to become part of his, the reasoning went, so it made sense.

These days, the name-change is not taken for granted. Plenty of brides still elect to do it, but now it’s more of a conscious, thought-out decision: a way to honor the seriousness of the marriage commitment, and insure that any future children will be clear about who their mother is.

Reasons Against Changing

Don’t panic if she declines to change her name. She still loves you, there may just be mitigating circumstances, reasons she might not want to abandon her maiden name for yours:

* A bad rhyme: her first name is Tracy and your last name is Casey, for instance;

* Your last name, plus “Mrs.” makes her sound like a grandmother, i.e., “Mrs. Finkelstein,” “Mrs. Derryberry,” “Mrs. Castellano.”

* The combination of your name and hers has makes her sound like a serial killer: Joan Rifkin, Jessie Dahmer, Carli Manson.

* Her maiden name is so awesome, it would be a crime to change it: if Kim Kardashian changed her name to Kim West, for instance, or (on the other end of the talent spectrum), Meryl Streep had changed her name to Meryl Gummer (yes, she married a guy named Gummer).

Help With Changing

There are a lot of options open to you if she doesn’t want to take your name. But if she does agree to the switch, she’ll have to go through numerous steps and a large amount of paperwork. Or, rather, you will.

Here’s the thing: if she’s taking your last name, the least you can do is take care of the paperwork for her (after all, she’s already done a ton of work on the wedding that you don’t even know about.) Think of it as an extra bridal gift, a gesture of appreciation. And, lucky for you, there are services like HitchSwitch.

HitchSwitch solves a very modern problem: they take something complicated and confusing, and they make it simple.

When you sign up with HitchSwitch, they gather all the necessary forms, enter the information you provide, and then mail them to you, along with directions for where they need to be sent. The only thing you have to do is fill in some blanks (like social security numbers and birth dates, which HitchSwitch never sees) and mail them to the appropriate address.

Depending on your circumstances, and the state in which you live, you may have to pay a visit to your DMV or the county clerk’s office. But HitchSwitch will walk you through that as well.

Why Change Is Good

Listen, your wife has agreed to take your name. That’s an honor. By taking care of this for her, you’re showing your appreciation, and giving her a gift that she can’t get anywhere else: the gift of time.  

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