The Name Game

I’m going to be completely honest, and even though I’ve said it out loud several times, it doesn’t make me feel less guilty, nor is it any easier saying it again.

Hi, my name is Jessica and I’ve always had a problem feeling connected to my last name.

I know it’s my given name and I absolutely love the history and my family it’s connected to, but usually, whenever I say my first and last name together I feel like a fraud.

My cousins and I get along amazingly well now, but I’ve always been jealous with the way they say their last name; they speak it with such pride and such a Spanish tongue that I always admired. I may not connect with my last name, but for the past 25 years old, it’s helped define who I am. Since it is a very Hispanic last name, and unless I have a very dark tan, my last name is the only thing that establishes my heritage at first glance.

As I got older I grew to like my name very much, and appreciated the culture and history it came with the surname. Then, seeing my name appear in print seemed to solidify that that’s who I am. I am Jessica T——.

And then I fell in love. I know that traditionally, the woman takes the man’s last name and goes about her life with a new moniker, but how does someone just change their entire persona like that?

Making my decision about the name situation was surprisingly harder than I thought it’d be, but after a lot of thought I came to a conclusion that I think will make me happy in the long run.

I’m legally taking his last name and I’m not hyphenating it with my maiden name. Not only would that be a ridiculously long name, but I think it’s important for me to start a family with him. Honestly, I think it will be harder signing the papers to legally changing my name than it’s been to do anything else in my life this far. I know it’s not me giving up who I am, because in the grand scheme of things, I am who I am and a name doesn’t change that, but it’s still going to be…weird.

My professional name will also be changing, and I’ve already started weaning the process. Since I will no longer be Jessica T——, it would be silly to keep that as my byline, so I’m dropping my last name and pulling up my middle name. My professional name will be Jessica Lynn. I’ve always loved my first and middle name together and I use it often (like on this blog, for example).

So there it is. The honest to goodness truth about who I am and who I will be.

Did you take his last name? Was it hard for you to make the decision to keep your maiden name or change it?


  1. I think the decision to take his name is great! I'm old-fashioned and, like you, I feel like it symbolizes the uniting and beginning of your new little family! Best of luck to you! (By the way, I'll be taking my guy's last name too.) 🙂

  2. I'm going to take my husbands last name because my own last name is way too long, even if it is unique, and it is very easily misspelled all the time. Plus I'm just traditional like that and would rather take his name than hyphanating my name. 🙂

  3. You have the same name as my sister…first and middle, anywho!

    Actually, I'm most looking forward to changing my last name. My last name is long, Czech, basically unpronouncable by anyone who hasn't heard it, and impossible to spell. It does not help that it came from my father, and he and I do not have a favorable relationship. B's last name is simple, common, is never mispronounced and almost always spelled correctly. If I could change my name now…I would. Immediately. I, like you, have actually come to enjoy the Czech/Italian heritage associated with my last name, despite how I may feel about the people it's associated with, but it's not enough to keep me from wanting B's last name! 🙂

  4. I guess I'm old fashion. I never thought about it doing anything different. What was hard for me was the fact that as a teacher, I'm always called by my last name. It was hard for the kids and teachers and me to get used to a new name.

  5. Just a quick response to your comment! I was going to email you back, but you are a no-replier! I swear I had your email though, and now it's just gone. But this works! I can't put my BM (am I the only one that thinks 'bowel movement' here rather than 'bridesmaids'?) gifts on my blog because one of my BM's reads it. But I'm a big fan of the personalized gifts and this little thing went on sale today, so this is part of the gift:

    Also on cake! You HAVE to try chocolate cake+fudge+fresh strawberries. Don't care what anyone tells you. We tried all the others, thought we had made a decision, then tried that one and basically died of cakey goodness! 🙂

  6. This is something I've thought about even though I'm not even engaged yet! My last name is really unique and as much as I want to keep it, I agree with you. There is something about "honouring" the man you are going to spend the rest of your life and have children with.

  7. When I changed my name, I wavered between keeping my first and middle name and adding a new last name, or dropping my middle name and keeping my maiden name and adding my new last name.

    My husband ended up making the decision for me, as he filled out paperwork for my military ID card with "firstname middlename hislastname".

    Honestly, it was sad to lose that name — it had been mine for 27 years, and I really liked it.

    I found it really hard to deal with the new name after I had quit my job and moved to a new town — I felt like I had nothing left that was "mine".

    But now I'm happy to have his last name, and have grown to like it. Maybe in 27 more years I'll be attached to the new one as I was to my maiden name. 🙂

  8. I have the opposite affect when I change my name, my name flows well and of course I have a Spanish last name. It all goes well together and to change it is going to be strange. I am excited about it though, even if my middle name is a Spanish name and his last name is French. It will take a while to adjust but I am pretty excited about it. I too am a light colored Hispanic and people sometimes think I am lying about my last name, or I take it that way.

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