Monday, July 22, 2013

Essie Using My Maiden Name: As Timely As Today's Headlines

Quite a while ago, maybe in April, Rach texted me and asked if I wanted anything from the Essie bridal collection.  Since I'm pretty much perpetually behind on almost anything new, I did a quick Google image search while in German class.  When I saw a periwinkle color with pink microshimmer I texted her back something like I DO WANT THAT ONE YES PLEASE.  Then I saw what it was called and I completely fell for this polish.  






Using My Maiden Name is gorgeous.  If it weren't so purple-leaning I would definitely consider having it be my "something blue" at my wedding.  But as it is, it's definitely more of a purply-periwinkle.  I think it's the tiny pink microshimmer that really makes it look so purple from far away.  I wore this on my fingers and ChG Tart-y For the Party on my toes (which is a straight-up pastel purple), and my friend said to me this weekend, "Your fingers match your toes!"  That's how purple this polish looks.  I had to correct her and be all, ACTUALLY...etc.  The formula on Using My Maiden Name was really nice, if a little thick, and I only did two coats here.  

As for its name, I've been thinking a lot about keeping my own last name after I get married.  Ben doesn't like this idea at all, and my mom thinks I should change it, too.  I've told this story to various people a few times over the past couple months, but here it is again:  my mom, grandma and I were sitting around talking about wedding stuff a while back when I brought this up.  I told them that I was leaning toward keeping my own name, and my grandma very feistily replied, "Well, I think you SHOULD, if that's what you want!"  It was cute.  She was sort of progressive in a lot of ways.  Plus I feel like my last name is a big part of my identity and I don't know how I feel about giving it up.  So when I saw the name of this polish I was all, it must be mine (just in case).  So thanks, Rach!  

I only have a few days left in New York now, and I can honestly say that the past week or so has sort of seemed like I'm on vacation here.  I had a fun last couple days at work with some good lunches and good conversation.  On Friday I went with a friend to see the James Turrell show at The Guggenheim, and I have to share these photos.  



These were taken from directly below the spiral rotunda main galleries while I was on my back looking up.  It's even hard for me to believe that that's what this is looking at the pictures.  The lights on each level would change color periodically and the effect was totally mesmerizing.  We were lying there for probably a good thirty minutes just looking up.  But so was the rest of New York.


This was actually around 10:45, really early in the day, so the viewing space got a lot more crowded.  By the time we left there was hardly room to stand in there.



And of course, a couple of really necessary selfies.  The most important thing for you to notice, aside from  how cool these look, is that I finally got a LOBSTER DRESS.  Yes, friends.  After years of searching I finally found a Modcloth lobster dress on eBay for $25.  I have been obsessed with the idea of getting one ever since I saw Pollock and the actress who played Peggy Guggenheim wore a white dress with a huge lobster on it.  This made me ask the inevitable and extremely important art historical question:  did Peggy Guggenheim actually own a lobster dress?  Absolutely.  And it was this dress:

[source] 

I can tell you that I was SUPER EXCITED to wear my own lobster dress to this particular museum as an homage to Peggy.  Only in my head does this make sense, but that's okay.  This dress at this venue was a pairing YEARS IN THE MAKING, and this outing resulted in ULTIMATE WARDROBE CATHARSIS.  



For real, the amazing Turrell exhibition combined with this dress made me feel like this:


After that we had lunch at Alice's Tea Cup, which I really love.  So that was a great day.  On Saturday my friend Sam was in town so we got to have dinner.  I picked a tapas restaurant in Greenwich Village, and I'm pretty glad I did.  It was kind of amazing.

on our four minute-cab ride to the restaurant
afterward we got crepes.  because duh.

It was really good to see her.  Now that I'm moving away from the east coast for a while I won't get to see her as often as I have been (which is still not often at all).  I'm glad that we got to have a dinner date before I become a midwesterner again.

On Sunday morning I dragged myself back downtown for brunch with another friend.  Although I was reluctant to wake up and get on the subway before 10am on a Sunday, it ended up being completely worth it.  Eggs benedict and BOTTOMLESS BLOODY MARYS made me a really happy girl.  Also I hadn't seen my friend since February-ish, so we had a lot to talk about.  We sat outside in the shade and chatted and boozed for a few hours.  Then we tipsy-walked to Chinatown and shopped for really classy jewelry:


I'm headed back down Village-ward tonight to have dinner and drinks with someone else, so that'll be fun, too.  I've also been intermittently packing, which is less fun.  Hopefully I'll have time to post once more this week.

So to end this monster-of-a-post I guess I'll ask:  what's your opinion on the whole keeping one's maiden name post-marriage deal?  I'm genuinely interested to know.

54 comments:

  1. I kept my name. It wasn't even a question in my mind because (1) I was already professionally established with my maiden name, (2) I am the last with my last name (and my sister) - no brothers - so my last name is done if I don't keep it, and (3) Husband has an aunt whose name is the same as what my name would have been if I changed my name. It's confusing enough that we have the same first name so no need to make things worse by having the same exact name. Husband said he isn't care and it was my choice. Of course after I decided he said he kinda wished I was changing it. Too late now, I told him! Now our son has my last name as a middle name so it will sort of carry on. In the end you should do what you want - nobody else's opinion (even Ben's) matters!

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  2. I didn't change my name. I didn't want to and my husband really dislikes it. However, we've been married for 7 years now so I think he's OK. I did agree to hyphenate but...I just haven't gotten around to doing so. I'll be honest, I probably won't. Maybe it would really be an issue if we decided to have children but we chose not to.
    I think you should do what you want. Changing your name isn't necessarily a sign of commitment, building a life together and working to keep it healthy and strong is.

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  3. I'm not married, so I have no direct personal experience with this, but I am all for keeping one's maiden name. Lots of this is because 1, I graduated from a women's college, and 2, Many of my friends are academics and did not change their names, because of already publishing, etc. before they were married. However, I decided back at the tender age of fifteen that if and when I married, I would keep my name. My last name is five letters long, very straightforward. Where I grew up, many people have long Polish/Eastern European last names with complicated spellings. I reasoned that even if I liked a boy with a long last name, I did NOT want to spell out that name for the rest of my life. As I said, I was fifteen.

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  4. I also kept my name and as seems typical, the husband would have preferred the name change. So my compromise was to legally not change but socially change. So my Facebook page is [first name] [maiden name] [married name], our return address labels are as if I changed my name. So I get the fun social benefits of being the Mr & Mrs, but still have the independent feeling of being me.

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  5. Been married twice and kept my name both times. My name is way cooler than the Burkett and Taylor I was marrying into. Just think it's a little old fashioned. Why doesn't the guy take YOUR name? Seems like that could be the new trend

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  6. I didn't change my name the first time I got married because his surname was long and hard to spell. My last name is very "ethnic" and I look very much like that ethnicity so it is hard to let go of. Your name is part of the identity you have established for yourself and to ask you to get rid of it is selfish on his part...especially if he is trying to guilt you into it by saying you aren't committed to the relationship. You're becoming his wife, not his martyr. Yes, you need to pick your battles, but make sure you're not the only one making conciliations.

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  7. First: Do whatever you want. My strongest feeling about this issue is that the guy should have ZERO say in the matter. It's your name. Full stop. It is patently absurd for him to feel hurt or "rejected" when you're MARRYING HIM. Figure out what the kids names will be if you intend to have any, but your name is not up for discussion.

    I did change my name, because (1) it was early enough in my career that it wouldn't be an issue, and (2) it was important to me that if we had children we would all share a family name. (If I had already published something under my maiden name, it would have been a non-starter.) I can tell you that it IS weird, to suddenly have a different last name, and IMO especially weird for me since my husband's last name is Hispanic and I am not. (People find this endlessly amusing. I'm pretty over it.)

    I wouldn't change back now, but if I had to do it again, I probably wouldn't bother. The further along I get in my profession, the more I find I prefer to keep my personal life entirely separate, and even something like taking my husband's last name is a window into my personal life that I wish I didn't have to share.

    Just, whatever you do, for the love of all things alphabetically-ordered, don't hyphenate. It's like the worst of both worlds.

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  8. I should probably add, re: picking your battles...my current beau does not care that I make twice what he does, am a lousy cook and housekeeper, don't dye my grey hair, am slightly overweight or a myriad of other things previous guys found deal-breakers. He does say that should we marry, taking his name is non-negotiable. Guess who'll be changing her name eventually? :)

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    1. Any guy who finds one of those things a "dealbreaker" is an enormous douchebag.

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  9. It's entirely up to you. The kids question can be dealt with later. I don't consider myself as someone who has too many opinions on feminism one way or the other but the whole "you take his last name" isn't just a quaint tradition, it harkens (I so wanted to use that word in a sentence) back to when women legally became their husbands property. No thanks. Also my first name being Soledad my last name fits it perfectly. I would feel ridiculous being Soledad Jones. I kinda agree with the post above about Ben not getting a vote. It's your name and you're marrying him so that is itself the biggest sign of commitment.

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  10. In the words of the group, Digital Underground, do whatcha like!!!

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  11. It should be your choice. For me, personally -I hate my last name. It's a reminder of abuse, trauma, and a family that I have no part in - so I live for the day when I can change it. (Sorry we just took a trip to SadTown lol) But it's something you have to live with, so if you want to keep your last name, you should. Or consider hyphenating, maybe?

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  12. I kept my maiden name. I really wanted both of us to change to a hyphenated last name to show that we were a team, but he didn't want. He minded a little bit, but now doesn't care. I also didn't do the father walks down the aisle thing since it reminded me of the part in the old testament where women first obeyed their fathers, and then their husband. We did a parents candle lighting thing instead. Your opinion should be the only one that matters in this decision.

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  13. I can't believe those are real photos!!! wicked!

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  14. I've been giving this subject a lot more thought as of late. We'll be getting married early enough in my career that I won't be overly established, so it shouldn't be an issue. Although, even if I have to go by my maiden name professionally, whatever. It's no big deal.

    I LOVE my last name...but it's misspelled all. the. time. And I want to take B's last name...but I'm not ready to give mine up yet. I think I'm going to drop my middle name and take my maiden name as my middle.

    That was a lot of rambling to basically say that I'm kinda-sorta-not-really keeping mine. BUT. You're the one that will have to live with a new name (should you take it) for the rest of your married life. It's your dang decision and yours alone.

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  15. Keep the maiden name! I think it's selfish he is trying to guilt you into taking his name. I find nothing romantic in terrorizing your partner into giving up their identity.

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  16. I kept my maiden name after getting married. It was/is part of my identity and I didn't feel like changing it. Nor did I think it was fair that only one of us had to go through the legal bother of name changing. I proposed to my husband that he adopt a second middle name if I changed my last name. He declined. :)

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  17. It should be only your decision, you have to feel comfortable with your name!! Don't let anyone pressure you, it is very very important!! In my opinion it is better to keep your name. I took my husbands' last name, so now I have two, but the truth is I never got used to the second one, it just seems like a third leg ;) I am not going to change it because of my son, in order to have the same last name as he does, even though my husband said he wouldn't mind me changing it. I've spoken to my friends, some have changed their name and feel completely comfortable about it, so it is a very individual matter.... I am sorry I can't be more helpful, but it is just one of those things - you have to make up your mind. And nothing's final, if you won't feel comfortable with either choice, you can always change it later.... Good luck!

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  18. I wanted to keep my maiden name after marriage but my husband wanted me to take his name more. I took his name.

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  19. Keep it! I think you've already made up your mind there. For one thing, I can't imagine logging onto Facebook and seeing "Stephanie ---------" instead, LOL.

    I can't see myself taking someone else's last name unless it were ridiculously amazing and would bump me SERIOUSLY ahead in the alphabet. If I married B, I can tell you right now I wouldn't take his name. I also couldn't take it if I married a Jewish guy, because then people would start looking for a white chick (I mean, "Rachel" is PRETTY JEWISH) ... but I think people would start looking for a white chick in general. And as you know, I'm not.

    For as long as I can remember, my mom hyphenates her last name on personal and financial documents. But if someone just puts my dad's last name on something, she doesn't get too bent out of shape about it. I wonder if things would be different if she were actively practicing in her profession, though.

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    1. Oh, and this polish is great on you. It was no problem at all! :)

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  20. Have you asked him why he prefers you change your name? When I was engaged, I casually brought it up to my fiance that I did not plan to legally change my name. I was 32 years old, liked my name, and was WAY too lazy to go through the paperwork. My fiance, to my surprise, had assumed I would take his name. So we had a very cordial discussion. I asked him if he would consider changing his name, and he immediately said, "No." I let that sink in and just smiled at him. A light bulb went off, and he hasn't given me any grief about it (married 2.5 years now.) In full disclosure, I did agree with him that any children would have his last name. Frankly, make whatever decision you are comfortable with. I have married female friends all over the spectrum (including one who created a completely new last name that she and her husband share).

    A related cultural anecdote: I dated a Russian in high school, and his mother told me that women there keep their name when they marry, AND the children get an appropriately-gendered version of mom's last name. My bf's last name was Korolov; his mother's last name was Korolova. I don't even remember his father's name (and yes, his parents were married).

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  21. I love your lobster dress, and I loved that you said "only in my heart does this make sense."

    So, I went back to read that portion again, because I thought "I really like that phrase....I'm gonna use it!", only to find that you did not say HEART, but HEAD.

    Oh. Well. Anyway. I still like it.

    And yes, absolutely, if you are thinking you'd like to keep your name, then KEEP it. IMO, this is totally up to the woman/wife.

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  22. I've been married 6 months and haven't changed my name. I just don't want to. Like you, I feel like it's part of who I am. It doesn't help that I don't think my husband's last name goes well with my first name.

    Once I have kids, I may hyphenate, but who knows. I just know that for now, I'm keeping my maiden name.

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  23. I got married three months ago and I changed my name. I wanted to have the same last name as my partner. It meant so much to him because his parents are dead and now there is someone else that shares his last name. It is all about preference but I think in marriage all decisions have to be at least discussed with your partner even if you disagree on the outcomes. I love our last name and look forward to my future with it. Best wishes planning your wedding. We had so much fun planning ours. BTW it does not take that much time to change your name. It is free at the SS office and every company I have called to change it has been super accomdating. It has taken up about an hour of my life total so don't let people tell you it is a ton of work.

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  24. that is a really pretty color, i love the shimmering undertones - and your lobster dress is so cute!
    Chic on the Cheap

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  25. Nobody tells you before you get married (except some people in this comments section ahead of me!) what a pain it is to change. It took me years to get everything changed. If I had it to do over again, no way.

    That said, there's something to the "picking your battles" comments, too. How important is it to you? I guess that's the really crucial question.

    (I see the person above me disagrees with me about the work involved, though. Maybe in the age of the internet it's gotten easier, but I bet it's still a pain.)

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  26. I almost got that Essie for the name alone.

    I find it really suspect when a guy is insistent on changing your name. If it's so important to him that you ~share a name~, then he can change his.

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  27. Eh, do what ya want for the name. You can always change it later! And that lobster dress is suh-weet!

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  28. It's been AGES since I've visited your blog (too many lemmings created) but you look so amazingly happy it put a huge smile on my face! And your nails are gorge - as always.

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  29. I'm probably the only person telling you this Steff but you should change your last name to his. It sounds like it means a lot to him, and it's not unreasonable for him to ask you to do this. When he proposed, he asked YOU to become HIS, and if you want to keep the name you were born with, then he might not perceive you as "fully" his. I know it sounds crazy, but it's really important to show dedication like this. You're still always going to be Stephanie, and it is weird having your name be different at first, but you become your new name and you don't think twice about it. There is a lot of sacrifice when it comes to marriage, but I think it is important for the wife to sacrifice her name...anyways, call me when you're back in Cleveland!

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    1. 6,000 years of accumulated human knowledge says that the woman should change her name. Could it be tradition? What starts tradition- usually good reason. Women started changing their names for the men not to just do it. There was a good reason for it. Maybe we have lost sight of that reason. Has it hurt any women to change their name? If it makes Ben feel better, than why not?

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    2. Oh, I don't think we've forgotten why women started changing their names at all. It was because we were originally viewed as property. First the property of our fathers, which is why they traditionally "give us away" at our weddings, and then the property of our husbands. Our last names transitioned from that of our fathers to that of our husbands because we were, quite simply, things to be shared and traded.

      It's not my job to make him feel better. I agreed to marry him and spend my life with him. That's not good enough? I have to alter my identity, too? I call foul.

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  30. Well, Leanne B gave the best reason for NOT changing your that I've seen. You are not HIS, not now, and not after you marry. You are a person who belongs to yourself, not a thing. A marriage is the forming of a partnership, not the acquiring of a possession, as prized as you may be.

    That said, I changed my name when I married. I had no attachment to the name that belonged to a man who left shortly after I was born. Had I ever taken the name of the man who raised me and whom I loved dearly, it would have been a dilemma. As it was, no biggie. Of course, since I only changed 2 letters in my four letter last name (the middle two), a lot of people never even realized I'd gotten married, lol. Since it is important to Ben, I would either hyphenate (what a pain), or use your maiden name professionally and Ben's name everywhere else. Also, I didn't marry until I was 36 and found the paperwork to change my name to be no big deal. A few places wanted a copy of the marriage certificate. I paid for one from the state and just made copies.

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    1. Since I haven't done it personally I'm not entirely sure this is the case but I think when people refer to name changes as a pain they mean things like credit cards, life insurances, library cards, stupid things that you suddenly realize one day, "oh crap I need to change that too." And then obviously you have to provide documentation to those places (or else everyone would just go around running up credit card debt and then claiming to change their name and disappearing!)

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    2. Usually there is a place on the paper bill to enter a name change (it's been a while for me), I'm sure there's a similar procedure to follow online. I just didn't find it to be that big of a hassle, even though at 36, I definitely had long established myself under my maiden name. I think people tend to exaggerate the difficulty of anything that takes more than a mouse click to accomplish

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    3. Oops, meant to say, change your DL first and carry a copy of your state issued marriage certificate, and it's pretty easy.

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    4. Just posting to co-sign on the "marriage as ownership" issue. That particular perception is the perfect reason NOT to change your name. You are your own person, not "his"! When my partner proposed to me, he did not (directly or indirectly) ask me to be his. He asked me to make a commitment and plan a life together (as equals).

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    5. I bet every girl here talking about how changing the last name means they are property of the husband also GLADLY accepted an engagement ring, which Romans used as a symbol of claiming ownership of a woman.

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    6. I did accept a ring. But I find a piece of jewelry to be fundamentally different than something as personal and integral as a NAME.

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  31. Great photos!!! Love the nail color. You look happy and stay that way. Always be positive and enjoy life.

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  32. Love the polish, sort of reminds me of a darker Essie "baby cakes". My niece is visiting and went to the MoMa without me but oh we are so painting the town on Thursday..NY gets even more exciting when you are sharing it.
    I use my Hubs name on FB but IRL I kept mine, mainly because I'm not a US Citizen and the amount of paperwork I will need to change (including a trip to my country's Embassy) is too much to deal with. I will though..but my Hubs doesn't care either way.

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  33. uhm..I posted my first comment without reading the others...I have to say something that is going to throw me under the bus.
    Men like to be wanted and needed. The tradition of being his is not about position alone but also of wanting to know you are his, and he is there to love and protect you. I have to say most of my divorce male friends comment on how they never felt needed since we as women have claimed this independence and equality. And yet I find it oddly intriguing we want to be treated as ladies by our men...just saying...

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  34. EVERYONE wants to be wanted and needed...being an independent person and wanting/needing your partner are not mutually exclusive.

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  35. Michelle, an entire personJuly 30, 2013 at 10:54 PM

    Keep your name. And I'll go a step further: If the man doesn't like it, think about finding someone who does. It's YOU. Why does he get to stay him but you have to be a whole new person once you get married?

    Once you get of an age where all your friends have married, it's very easy to lose track of them all—or rather, all the FEMALE ones—because we're expected to give up our identities once we marry, and I can't search for you online if I don't know your married name. What kind of society says it's OK to disconnect a woman from her family, roots, and past this way? None of those things matter because now she has a man? Spare me.

    As for men who "never felt needed" because of women's equality... they sound like terribly insecure little frogs and I cannot IMAGINE why they are all divorced.

    I adore my husband of ten years but I don't need to take on his identity. I already have a perfectly good one of my own. His manhood isn't threatened by me being me: what a relief.

    "Tradition" is a crap excuse for a lot of horrible things that people do to one another. If you WANT to take his name, for any and all reasons of your own, I am all for that. But if you're doing it because he can't stand the idea of you remaining the same person you always were (who, remember, he supposedly loves enough to promise forever to!) then, really, please think through the greater implications of that.

    (Don't hyphenate. I did it. It confuses delivery men, who try to type it into their scanners as apostrophes; it gets rejected by poorly thought-out web forms by programmers who think non-alphabetic characters cannot possibly appear in a last name; every place you do business with will have their own ideas as to which half of your name to file you under; and people will try to pick one half or the other of your name because it LOOKS NICER, I swear to god that happened to me.)

    Best of luck to you.

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  36. Keep your name! I don't think it's fair to expect a woman to change her name once she is married- why give up your identity because of a change in marital status? In addition to not being fair (would he be willing to change his last name?), it also doesn't really make sense to me. I can't find any compelling reasons to change my name- I like my name, and it's who I am, and have been, for my whole life. I'm engaged, and won't be changing my last name- nor does my partner care if I do.

    As far as hyphenation goes, I find it unwieldy (especially as each of us has 8 letters in our respective last names). We did briefly entertained the idea of amalgamating our last names to make a new family name, but that was more of a fun conversation that serious consideration. Neither of us wants to go through the bother of actually changing our names.

    On a side note, it's been really interesting reading the comments from others on this matter- thank you for sharing this blog post! Good luck to you and your partner!

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  37. Whether or not to keep your name is a purely personal decision...do what YOU want! The hubby will have to deal! Also, LOVE the Modcloth lobster dress! The long lobster dress you pictured is actually a couture creation from the 30's by the phenomenal Surrealist designer Elsa Schiaparelli...check out her work, you'll LOVE it!! Good luck!!

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    1. Haha, thanks. I do actually know her work.

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  38. Was wondering whether you could keep both names, yours and your husband's but in the end you will find what is best after a good conversation with him. Your lobster dress looks great!

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  39. Love your photos, the one from Guggenheim look amazing!

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I love, love, love your comments, guys! Thanks so much for leaving them! I try to respond to questions either in the comments section or in forthcoming posts, so check back later!