Friday, April 20, 2012

[Stephanie] The Last Name Project

In this new series co-hosted by from two to one and The Feminist Mystique, we will be profiling an array of individuals and couples about their last name decisions upon marriage or what they expect to choose if they marry. The goal is to explore how individuals make decisions about their last name, and to highlight the many possibilities. We will be posting profiles periodically and encourage you to stay connected via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  If you would like to participate in this series, email Danielle at danielle [at] fromtwotoone [dot] com or Shannon at hill [dot] shannonp [at] gmail [dot] com. 

The following post is from Stephanie, who is getting married April 27, 2013. 

As my partner and I started to talk more seriously about getting engaged and, more specifically, when to get engaged, I knew I had to make a decision about the whole last name thing.

I am definitely a feminist, and I knew deep down that I really didn’t want to change my last name. There’s lots of reasons - it’s mine, I have a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in that name, my career has started with that name, I view it as a connection to my paternal grandmother (I never knew my grandfather), etc. My partner was understanding and although perhaps a little disappointed, not really surprised either. But I had this nagging feeling that I should just change it and move on.


Like it or not, names denote families in the US. And knowing that we want to have kids and that those kids will need a last name is really where my hang-up was. Do we hyphenate? Do we give one his last name and one my last name? Do we give them both just one of our names? I don’t like any of those options. And while my partner and I discussed him taking my name or creating a new one, neither of those options - along with me changing my last name - felt right for us. So we have two last names, and have to figure out what to do about our kids.

I agonized about this. Hyphenating seems to make sense, but I kept thinking “what if they want to marry someone with a hyphenated last name when they get older?! Then they’d have four names to deal with!” This kind of thinking can go on and on and on. Finally, I realized something: too bad. I am not going to feel guilty about not changing my name, and I trust my kids will be smart enough to figure it out. And I know I made the right decision.   


  1. if your kids are as chill as you two then they'll be quite fine. you'll figure it out

  2. This is great, thanks Stephanie! We thought about hyphenating, too, but came to the same conclusion. But since we felt strongly about having a shared family name, our only choices were either to take one of each other's birth names or create a new name. In the end, the new name won!

  3. I kept my name and have a two-year-old son. We named him A lot of people think this is weird but it is actually quite traditional. In fact, after doing a little family research recently, I found that my husband's paternal grandfather AND grandmother were given their mother's maiden names as middle names.

  4. Sorry, my post got cut off. Second sentence should read: "We named him GivenName MyLastName HisLastName."

  5. Hi! Just wondering for anyone who has followed this model-if your kid is "GivenName MyLastName HisLastName", what is the last name they actually go by? On the roster, are they alphabetized by his last name? Or "yourlastname hislastname"?