loading
drag

9 Fashion Journal readers share whether they took their partner’s surname and why

WORDS BY IZZY WIGHT

“I felt confident in the person I was at the time and didn’t want to change that.”

In the last few decades, weddings – and subsequently, marriages – have begun to slowly move away from their patriarchal origins. Stereotypical gender roles aren’t as often assumed, with marriages being seen more as equal partnerships than the transferring of romantic property.


For more content like this, tap through to our Life section.


Reflecting this shift in sentiment, a wave of couples are choosing to reject the tradition of the woman taking their male partner’s surname. But why? Curious about what exactly is in a name (Shakespeare just wasn’t clear enough for me), I asked nine anonymous Fashion Journal readers to share whether they chose to take their partner’s surname.

Rae*, she/her, 32

I had no interest in taking on my husband’s surname. It didn’t feel like part of my identity at all. I’m just not keen on the patriarchal aspect of it, plus the bureaucratic aspect of changing my surname seemed like a total nightmare. Honestly, I couldn’t be bothered.

I never thought I’d get married in the first place. Feminism has always been a really important philosophy and way of life to me, so when my husband and I decided to get married, the surname question was a no-brainer. Honestly, if my husband had insisted on me changing my name to his, I wouldn’t have married him.

Generally, people either don’t care or kept it to themselves. My husband didn’t care at all and had no issues with me keeping my surname (I made it very very clear to him when we got engaged that I wouldn’t be changing my name). He’s always been really supportive and if anyone addresses me by the wrong name, he’ll correct them. He also gets a bit pissed off on my behalf when (occasionally) people make a big deal about it.

Sometimes I’ll be addressed as ‘Mrs [husband’s surname]’ or we’ll receive an invitation with ‘Mr and Mrs [husband’s surname]’ and it drives me crazy. I’ve always made it very clear (to the point of probably being really annoying and preachy about it) that I chose to keep my name exactly the way it is. The way I see it, my husband’s surname is not my name and not my identity. It’s not a joke to me. I’m not that person. I’m the same person I’ve always been.

Farrah*, she/her, 36

I value tradition, so the surname question was a no-brainer. For me, sharing a family name is important. I appreciate being a part of a family where we all share the same surname and I wanted that for my kids.

Nadia*, she/her, 30

I’m getting married in two months and will be taking my male partner’s surname. For me, my marriage is not religious or patriarchal. Instead, I see it as an expression of my understanding that this person is my person, and I want to spend my life growing with them.

I originally thought marriage wasn’t for me as I didn’t believe in the institution behind it. However, after realising that marriage could simply be what I wanted it to be, my mind was changed. I’m taking my partner’s name because I find that tradition beautiful. For me to take my partner’s name is to show my unconditional love for him and his family.

It’s the ultimate way to say, ‘I find you special enough to leave behind something I’ve had for 30 years’. I’ve found myself able to easily brush away the other notions that used to come with taking a surname. My father hasn’t bartered me off to another family to reap the benefits of an arranged marriage. This is my choice, and it already feels like my name.

Astrid*, she/her, 32

We both kept our surnames and created a double-barrelled name (but not hyphenated). There was some initial surprise, but overall it was well received and the reception was fairly neutral.

Celeste*, she/her, 26

I both did and didn’t. I like the idea of being ‘Mrs [his surname]’ at a playground when we have kids, but honestly, my surname was much more memorable and easier to spell. By the time we got married, I’d also already started to develop my career.

Most of the time, I’m ‘Mrs [my maiden name]’. My bank account and most of my ID is still in my surname – although when I applied for an international passport, I asked for it to include an ‘also goes by ‘Mrs [his surname]’’ note. It just made it easier to prove we were married overseas.

We’re Christian and my parents think I go by his last name a lot more than I do. They address all our packages to ‘Mr and Mrs [his surname]’, but I find it kind of sweet. When we have kids the situation might change but for now, I like it this way. It helps me to keep boundaries between my work and personal life in some ways.

May*, she/her, 34

No, I didn’t change my last name. I felt like I had really carved my identity by the time I got married at 31. I felt confident in the person I was at the time and didn’t want to change that. I also felt like my surname was an important connection that linked me to my family. It also seemed like a shitload of paperwork – and it was lucky because now I’m getting divorced (lol!). I’m glad I at least don’t have to worry about going through the process of changing my name back.

When I chose not to take my partner’s surname, not an eyelid was batted within my friendship group or family. I do feel in some work circles I was met with an eyebrow raise, like I was being super edgy or something. My advice would be to act on what’s important to you. For a lot of people, I understand it might symbolise a new chapter or a fresh start in their life. I respect that a lot. It just wasn’t for me.

Sophie*, she/her, 32

This is probably going to sound ridiculous in 2022, but I had an ethnic surname. My entire life, I’ve had people stumble over its pronunciation, look flummoxed by it on the page and often resort to calling me ‘Sophie ‘G’’ to avoid it altogether. Changing my name had nothing to do with denying my heritage or anything like that – switching to my husband’s ‘vanilla’ surname was simply a matter of making life easier.

True story – before we got married, I had a complete stranger (a flight attendant, no less) notice my engagement ring and my surname on my boarding pass. She asked what my future husband’s last name was. When I responded, she laughed and said, “I bet you can’t wait to change it!”. I can’t be the only one. The desire to sanitise cultures to make them less awkward for everyone else is really unfortunate.

Jess, she/her, 39

I kept my name. He didn’t care either way, and I was simply not willing to do the admin. My grandmother addresses our mail to us with his surname, but aside from that, it’s gone broadly unnoticed (or at least not commented on). We have no kids and don’t plan to have any. I wonder if we would have made a different decision if we were planning that.

Lucia, she/her, 23

I chose to take my partner’s surname because it’s literally beautiful. I mean ‘Florence’ is truly an art form. My previous surname was ‘Emery’, which is still a delightful-sounding name, but there’s something about the regal, European glamour ‘Florence’ holds. It was entirely an aesthetic decision.

I did think I’d miss not having the same surname as my twin brother (we’ve always been close) but I realised our surname wasn’t what made us close. Everyone was happy for me to make the decision on my own, so there was no pressure from either party.

Honestly, the moment I decided was when an employee helping us put through a refund at Bunnings became totally mesmerised by my partner’s surname. It made me realise I wanted others to feel the same about my name.

*Names have been changed

For more on modern marriage, head here.

Lazy Loading