Debate: Should women change their surnames after the big day?

Debate: Should women change their surnames after the big day?

Updated on 10 August 2017

Debate: Should women change their surnames after the big day?

A sexist tradition or a romantic result of getting married? Two newlyweds debate the answer

Weddings debate


Penny Goldstone took her husband’s surname after tying the knot last year. 

Weddings debate

Did I think about keeping my maiden name when I got married? Of course I did. Changing my name wasn’t a decision I took lightly; after all, I’d been a Travers for 29 years. But in the end, it wasn’t about losing my identity – because my name isn’t as much my identity as my marriage is. I’m part of a team now (as cheesy as that sounds).

Now I know what you’re thinking, so let me make something clear: I am a feminist, and at no point did my husband put any pressure on me to take his name. But surely feminism is about having the freedom to choose, not rejecting a man’s name for the sake of protecting the sisterhood? Trust me, our marriage is far from patriarchal – in fact, cooking and cleaning is pretty much split 50/50.

Sure, you could say exchanging vows is commitment enough, but for me, becoming a Goldstone was the next logical step in solidifying our unity – and there’s nothing silly about that.

Plus, there’s the kids issue. I can’t pretend it wouldn’t bother me not having the same surname as our future offspring. I would almost feel like an outsider, as ridiculous as that may sound.

And, full disclosure here: the vain person in me also quite likes my new surname. Penelope Goldstone has a certain ring to it. I did toy with the idea of double-barrelling, but I’m more of an all-or-nothing kind of girl, so just dropping my maiden name made sense (and two long names is a bit of a mouthful).

I’m no different because my surname has changed; I’m still fundamentally the same person. At the end of the day, being Mrs Goldstone makes me happy – and isn’t that what it’s all about?


Hollie Bond kept her name after she was married in 2014. 

Weddings debate

There was only one thing I was dreading about my wedding – not my speech or doing a choreographed first dance in front of 120 guests. It was the fact that if I followed tradition, I would have to take my husband’s surname. Thankfully, traditions are there to be broken and two years down the line I’m still sporting my maiden name. 

I’m not a raging feminist, but I did take exception to the idea that by getting married I would be losing one of my most precious possessions. Admittedly, I’m lucky in the surname stakes. I share a name with one of the world’s coolest spies. Frankly, I couldn’t understand why my husband didn’t want to upgrade and join the cool surname club. But that was never up for debate: ‘I’m a man, why would I change my name?’ Clearly, we’ve all got some way to go on those gender equality issues. 

My name is my identity, and when I said my potential new surname out loud it sounded completely alien. I’m sure Hollie Whaley is lovely, but she’s not me! Responses to my decision have ranged from ‘You go girl’ to ‘But your kids won’t have the same surname as you!’ Says who? Even if we did decide to give our children my husband’s name I’ll have the small matter of a birth certificate and DNA to prove they’re mine anyway. 

The 59% of brides who can’t wait to change their name (according to a 2016 YouGov Survey) either have a terrible maiden name or are completely caught up in the novelty of it all, forgetting that a marriage is so much more than silly traditions. I’m representing all the rule breakers out there. After all, if we all stuck to traditions like sheep we’d still be chained to the sink and wouldn’t have the vote. 


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This article was first published in SquareMeal Weddings 2017