Tradition states that when a man and a woman get married, the woman takes her new husband’s last name. John Smith marries Jennifer Jones and as a result, his wife is now called Jennifer Smith, or Jennifer Jones-Smith if she prefers it.
But tradition doesn’t always dictate our lives–that’s for sure.
News just broke that Guardians of The Galaxy star Zoe Saldana did not take her husband Marco Perego‘s last name after they tied the knot in 2013. In fact, it was Marco that got the name change. That’s right, he took HER last name and became Marco Saldana.
In the new issue of InStyle, Zoe explains her immediate discomfort with the decision. “I told him, ‘If you use my name, you’re going to be emasculated by your community of artists, by your Latin community of men, by the world,” she said. “But Marco looks up at me and says, ‘Ah, Zoe, I don’t give a s***.”
In Hollywood, at least, men taking their wives’ last names is slightly more common than you’d think. Did you know Jay-Z hyphenated his given name (Shawn Carter) with his wife Beyonce’s to become Shawn Knowles-Carter? And when legendary Beatle John Lennon passed away, his legal name was John Winston Ono Lennon (for wife Yoko Ono.)
Though these men’s choices are, on the onset, shocking, they’re actually very progressive.
There are all sorts of reasons for [wives] to not want to take their husband’s name. The most prominent is probably the fact that some women face the reality that their family name may end with them if they have no brothers/cousins to carry it on.
Personally, I love my last name and wouldn’t ever hope for it taper off my family tree. But if/when I get married and I decide to take my husbands name, it’s a very real possibility. (My father was an only child that was blessed with two daughters and no sons–so our eventual name changes would essentially end our surname for good.)
Not to mention, changing your name legally isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Though we wish it were as simple as changing your name on Facebook, there’s actually an entire process to get through (from obtaining certified copies of your marriage license…to contacting the Social Security Administration…to getting a whole new drivers license…and so on…) and it’s not so easy or convenient.
But if you’re not afraid of that process, there’s another option all together. Today, some couples are choosing to change BOTH of their names to reflect a happy mash-up. Though not often, I have heard of couples who change their last name completely–usually to a hybrid of their former last names. (For example, John Smith and Jennifer Jones would become John and Jennifer Smones.) Not a bad idea, if you can get over your friends and family’s immediate confusion and probability for misspelling it during the first few years.
And then there are the traditionalists who say, “Hey! I want to take my husbands last name and you cannot stop me,” and I applaud them as well. Some women look forward to proudly taking their husband’s last name their entire life long. And there’s absolutely no shame in that.
So what will/did you chose? Would your boyfriend or husband ever consider taking your name after marriage? Would you ever consider taking a ‘hybrid’ of both of your surnames after walking down the aisle? Leave your comments and thoughts below.
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