Changing your last name

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For my whole life I assumed I would change my last name. The main argument was always to have the same last name as my kids.

A couple weeks before our wedding, our (amazing, flawless) officiant asked how he should address Tim and me at the conclusion of the ceremony. The thought of it gave me the stress sweats. It didn’t sound like me. I’ve been Amanda Delzell for a long time. But I also had it in my mind that I was going to change my name. So I insisted over and over that he simply announce us as “Amanda and Tim.”

I was never one of those daydreamers who doodled her name with the last name of whatever boy she had a crush on. Maybe that would have helped me for this moment. When Tim and I picked up our marriage certificate, I assumed that I couldn’t put my new last name on the certificate because I had flights booked for our honeymoon and I didn’t want a legal change in my name because I wouldn’t be able to get on the flight. But at the office (of…marriage licensing? what is the name?) the person who helped us get our certificate said that I could put my new last name and then legally change it later. So I decided to do it, and possibly never legally change my name.

Well, I still haven’t legally changed my name. But I have tried on my new last name by adding it to my social media and email accounts. But when making appointments, I still use my old name. I introduce myself that way. I don’t really know why. It feels inauthentic still to call myself anything but “Amanda Delzell.” And I think I’ll probably come around by the time ~fAmiLy PLaNniNg~ begins. But I am finally coming to terms with the fact that I’m just not comfortable with it yet, and that’s OK. My cute guy husband is super supportive and doesn’t mind what I do.

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I found out later that a couple friends couldn’t remember Tim’s last name at our wedding, and they said, “We’ll find out at the end of the ceremony!” Of course, they didn’t. But it doesn’t really matter what my (or his) name is. We still got married, we’re still planning to spend our lives together, and I don’t need to have the same last name right away.

I could talk about this endlessly. Please, please share your experience in changing your name!

4 thoughts on “Changing your last name

  1. I’m waiting for a proposal from the esteemed Mr. HugAndKiss… Then and only then would this decision be straightforward 😁

  2. I am struggling with this! Fondren feels like such a part of my identity. I feel as if I am such a FONDREN. It was always joked about growing up how I had traits of that side of the family. I hated the name growing up though and always imagined I’d change it as soon as I could, especially to a great name like Owens. But now as I look towards becoming an Owens and not a Fondren my heart is torn. I think legally I am going to stay Kelly Michelle Fondren Owens (what a mouthful) yet typically go by Kelly Owens. That way I can still hold on to that part of my identity and grow into my new one as part of our new little family. I know that even though my name may change I will always be a Fondren, but I want to keep it official I think.

    1. Yes! I wish I had thought about keeping both names before I filled out my marriage certificate. It’s still not legal but if I did “Amanda Marie Delzell Treese” legally, them I’d have to get a new marriage cert. It’s probably not smart to choose a whole identity over a small administrative inconvenience though haha.

  3. Thank you, Amanda, for sharing this. I love how well you express what so many other people are feeling and thinking (as I sit here and shake my head “yes” after reading every sentence).

    I always assumed that I would change my last name without hesitation because I wasn’t fond of it and everyone always seemed to default to “Goldberg” because it was the most common Jewish last name that sounded similar. When the time came to get our marriage license, I started thinking about how long I had been “Beth Goldfarb” and it felt weird just getting rid of it. My (now) husband didn’t care if I kept my name or took his, so the decision was solely mine.I finally made the decision to add my maiden name to my middle name and that way I could still go by Beth Goldfarb for business (that’s how all my clients know me), but I can also go by Beth Jackson (which is so much easier when making dinner reservation!). Having four names is really long, but I just abbreviate my first middle name so that it will fit on my Social Security card, airline tickets, etc.

    When we finally went to get our marriage license at the courthouse the week before our wedding, I totally screwed up and gave myself two last names (not hyphenated) instead of adding my maiden name to my middle name. Oops! So, the day before our wedding, we headed back to the courthouse and sorted it all out (after paying the fees AGAIN!). I never realized I would feel so sentimental and protective over my maiden name, but I’m so glad that I kept is as part of my full name. Now I can be the “me” that I’ve known for my entire life AND be a family with a shared name.

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