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Changing Your Last Name: 5 Options for Modern Soonlyweds

Weddings are rooted in tradition, but for modern couples and LGBTQ soonlyweds, a new playbook is being written. Whether it’s defying the tradition of getting ready in separate suites by spending the morning dressing together or taking the walk down the aisle hand-in-hand rather than being escorted by a family member, soonlyweds are adopting rituals that are better suited for their modern lifestyles. So when it comes to the question of not only whether to change your last name but also what to change it to, it’s no surprise that opinions vary. 

According to YouGov, who recently conducted a survey about the differences of dating etiquette and marital traditions between straight and same-sex couples, many often share different feelings about whether a couple should share the same last name. Forty-three percent of respondents agreed that it was important for heterosexual couples to share a last name in comparison to 20 percent who think the same of same-sex couples. It’s a telling difference that proves why many LGBTQ couples don’t feel the need or desire to follow outdated traditions. And when there are other options available, especially when it comes to changing your last name, why not? So before you head to the DMV or choose a much easier route such as Maidenchange, here are five options for changing your last name after you get married. 

Hyphenate

The hyphenated last name is a win-win for both parties. Not only do you get to keep your own, but you also get to share the last name of your new spouse. The only tough decision you might have to make if you choose to go this route is whose name goes first. Whichever you decide, the hyphen is an option that works for all couples!

Take one or the other

Perhaps the most traditional choice, taking the name of your spouse is still a popular option among all couples. While some men in straight relationships have taken their wife’s last name, it’s most customary for a woman to take her husband’s name. But in same-sex relationships, it’s not uncommon for couples to pick one of their last names for them both to use. For those who hesitate to part with their name, another iteration we’re seeing more often is when a soonlywed changes their middle name to their last name before taking on their spouse’s last name. 

Keep both names the same

Just because you’re pledging to spend the rest of your life with someone doesn’t mean you have to give up the identity you’ve held up unto this point. Choosing to keep your family name after saying “I do” won’t belittle the commitment you’re making to each other or delegitimize your marriage. So if you both prefer to keep your own last name, particularly if you’ve built a career on your name or want to keep it for sentimental reasons, you reserve every right to do so!

Double Up

Many modern couples are taking on two last names and leaving the hyphen behind. While you might run into a few hiccups with this nontraditional method when it comes to things like filling out paperwork, two last names are becoming more commonplace, and we expect to see more couples doubling up in the future.

Create a new name

If none of the other options are right for you and choosing between one or both of your current names presents the ultimate dilemma, we love the idea of starting with a blank canvas. Some newlyweds have merged their names to create one last name – similar to that of a Hollywood couple name such as Bennifer or Kimye – while others have selected a new name entirely. 

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