I have been mulling over, and finally wrote about the name change issue brides face. It’s a “hot topic” because you can’t say anything without offending someone. But underneath the various reasons people do, or don’t, change their name, is the recognition that it isn’t easy. Whether you chose to keep your own name and your inlaws refuse to acknowledge it, writing to you as “Mrs. Aaron Smith” instead of Jennifer Petra, or your feminist girlfriends are horrified that you’ve been taken over by a man, if you chose to change your last name, rarely do we find someone who isn’t surprised at our decision.
What we at The First Dance care deeply about is the conversations that take place, first between bride and groom. Mutually listening to each persons vantagepoint, coming to a solid decision, both agreeing on that decision, and then holding firm, defending the choice against people who might have negative opinions. In the situation above, the groom, if he knows his parents are going to be wigged out by his bride not changing her name, must have a sit down conversation with his parents and get them to understand this is their decision as a couple and whether they like it or not, this is the way it is. It is not fair for a bride to have to navigate conflictual waters with her in-laws. Nor is it fair for her to be offended every time they address her with a wrong last name only to have her groom shrug and say, “why are you making such a big deal of it?” It is a big deal and he’s got to take action.
As you’ll read in the article, I felt strongly about changing my last name, but I also loved my maiden name. I know few friends who haven’t had the emotiona struggles, even if they were as confident as I was in what I was going to do.