There are many things that every single couple should talk about and have a clear understanding of before they get married…NO, I am not talking about the type of cable service you should have, or who will take out the trash, or even the never ending debate of whether or not ordering take-out counts as “prepping dinner.” Although all of the above are important, none is near as serious as a bride’s name change.
Yes, yes, this is quite the sensitive subject, yet the one at fault for many pre-wedding fights these days. Do note that when I say pre-wedding, I mean within the 30 days before an exchange of vows is to happen… In the midst of paying off vendors, finalizing menu items, and kindly attempting to let your bff know that she/he cannot bring their new fling to the wedding, couples will get in horrendous fights over the (seemingly) ever-so-antiquated tradition. I, unfortunately have bared witness to many of these fights… talk about awkward, escape is near impossible when caught in the middle, especially when the fight literally sparks out of nowhere. Ugh. Often things get so heated that all rationality is lost beyond even sonar detection… “I really think this is a private matter… I am going to let myself out or maybe we can re-schedule our final consultation…” No pretty folks, not pretty.
Perhaps in our modern times, a bride changing her name to her husband’s after marriage has become unexpected to some, yet it is something that happens without question for others. Neither of you will ever know until you discuss it together. While I do not intend to provide any sort of historical evidence, interpretation or professional pre-marital advice, I will simply share my opinion: TALK IT OUT!
It is imperative that you & your spouse-to-be talk about this subject (and ideally agree) early in your engagement. Don’t just touch on the subject either. Share with each other what your feelings and expectations are, why it means so much to you to change/not change names. You have to find a balance between practicality & emotions, family history, perceptions of independent, etc, etc. Whatever importance you have placed on your name (as the person holding it or the person who is changing it)… talk about it. Agree to find resolution BEFORE the wedding, and the moment you get stubborn and irrational and you feel anger taking over the discussion quickly turning into an argument… take a break, agree to talk about it again when you’ve both cooled of. Additionally, try not to have this conversation with everyone else first– everyone has an opinion (right, like me…) but with a sensitive topic such as this one, one less co-worker’s or friend’s outlook, may actually help you discuss this with your fiancée in clarity, rather than built-up angst.
Personally, I could NOT WAIT to get rid of my maiden name; Dantes, which is now my middle name solely for the purpose of having a middle initial and preventing my initials from being “BS”- ha ha, yes, go ahead and giggle.
As I was saying… For the most part, I had grown quite tired of telling people that I didn’t know the origin of “Dantes”, that I was not Italian, or that there was no apostrophe between the “e” and the “s” like Dante’s Inferno. I had also grown quite tired of correcting people who pronounced my name “Daintees” “Dohnte” “Danes” or any other ludicrous butchery of a simple name- not that Swann has fixed that actually… people still butcher my name unnecessarily; “Swain” “Sean” “Swanson” and “Shaw” are the top… and my personal favorite, the lady a Vons who said “Thank you Miss Sanchez” as she handed me my receipt just the other day… I tell ya there is no winning. BUT THE POINT is that without second though, I planned on changing my name after getting married, for I had no desire to hyphenate it. I never talked to Dayton about it and it really was a non-issue. BUT At no point did I feel like I was losing my identity or any part of my independence as a woman. I also do not feel like “property” or that I have disrespected my family or heritage in any way. I guess it just worked out for us, and I am glad it did, because, swans are a lot cuter than fiery pits of hell, and I would have been one of those people fighting with my fincée just a month before our wedding if things would have been different.