Although marrying your true love is a romantic and happy occasion, you'll have a lot of paperwork to catch up on after the big event. And if you're thinking about changing your maiden name or surname to celebrate your new status, there are a lot of factors you need to think about before making the switch. For example, what are you going to change your name to? Here are some examples of the choices you can pick from.
Not changing your name. This is the easiest choice, because you don't have to file a name change. It can make a lot of practical sense to stick with your maiden name or surname — in some countries such as China, it has long been a common practice for women to keep their last names after marriage. You might want to stick to your birth surname for sentimental reasons, preference, because the new last name doesn't fit with your first name, or because it's just more convenient. A lot of women also keep their last names not to hurt career prospects because they either have built a brand around their last name or their name is already well known in their industry. In fact, our friends at LearnVest tallied the true cost of a name change, which is a whopping $500,000. The figure is based on a Netherlands study, which showed that women who keep maiden names earn $1,172 more per month.
Dropping your maiden name. Taking your partner's name is a common tradition and is often seen as a way to embrace the marriage. Another reason for taking your partner's name is to lessen the confusion, especially when it comes to your children. Maybe your first name just sounds better with his or her last name, and you've been wanting to drop the embarrassing birth name combination for years now. The process of changing your name after marriage can be tricky, so make sure if you go this route that you get started early.
Put a hyphen in it. Some believe that the hyphen combination is the best of both worlds — you get to keep your last name and stick to tradition by adding on your partner's name. There can be some issues with this, depending on the length of the last names. Your new name might end up being too long and confusing, but overall this option can make a lot of sense for couples and for their future children if they choose to have them.
Creating a new name entirely. Some couples opt for a whole new name. You can decide on a last name you both love and have both of your names legally changed together. You could also randomly mix up the letters or parts of your last names together and create a new last name, or simply pick a word that has great significance to you. This method of name changing can be both fun and very sentimental for you both!
A mashup. If none of the previous options sounds appealing, you can go the more unique route and mash up both of your names. To have a true mashup, you'll have to take part of his or her name and part of your last name and line them up next to each other. In other words, you can't just take random letters and insert them wherever you like. This might be a hit or miss; the end result may sound refreshingly unique or just bizarre.
— Additional reporting by Emily Co