Changing your name could be one of the toughest decisions leading up to your wedding day. For some, it’s a no brainer – but for others, like myself, it’s something you spend some serious time thinking about. I think I shocked a lot of people by changing it – but, let me tell you, it was not an easy decision (at first).
I began by approaching the name change debate from purely a career standpoint.
For a person that has a job in the public eye, it can be a big deal to make the switch. Many reporters, journalists, on-air hosts and presenters choose to keep their maiden name. All of your fans, viewers, readers, etc., know you by a certain name. You’ve worked years to solidify your reputation and have built your brand and your audience on that name.
Will changing your name confuse them? Could you lose followers? Could it hurt your brand?
These were all things I contemplated over and over. I kept close watch on how other women in my business chose to handle this as they got married. Some changed it right away, others hyphened their name, a few changed their names on their social media profiles – but kept their @handles the same. Several didn’t change their name at all.
But those are all the visible changes that the public sees. Then there’s the logistics you have to think about. Switching over your passport and ID’s, your name on every account you’ve ever opened, your email address, contacts that you’ve built, possibly even the name of your business or website. Eventually all those things will have to change too.
For working women there are several obvious hurdles with changing your name and it can be a tough decision. I consulted a few people about it and went back and forth on the issue until one of my mentors simply asked,
“Well, what does your fiancé prefer?”
That was my a-ha moment. It seems like such an obvious thing – talk to your partner about it. The person who you are about to devote your whole life to and likely build a family with, might be a good one to consult on the topic too. Duh!
From there, the decision was a no-brainer for me.
When I spoke to my, now, husband about changing my name he was supportive about whatever I decided to do – but suggested that he might like for me to take his name. It was so sweet and so supportive, just talking to him about it made me realize it wasn’t such a tough decision after all.
I realized I wanted our family to have the same name. I didn’t want my name to be different than our future child(ren), I wanted us to be “The Gregson’s”.
It’s been drilled into us as women to “be independent” and “make our own way.” But the beauty of marriage is that you have found that life partner that you want to make your way with. Life from that point is no longer about “me,” but “we.” That’s what makes your journey together so much better than you can ever imagine.
One of my bridesmaid’s had an excellent point after I decided to change my name. She said, “For you to take your husband’s last name is a statement of the devotion/tradition of marriage, yet saying ‘I can be an independent woman.’”
She explained exactly what I was feeling. You can still honor tradition AND be a strong female. Taking your husbands name doesn’t take away any of your strength. If anything you are now stronger together.
And let’s face it, isn’t “Gregson” so much easier to spell and pronounce than “Schaefer.” (Haha just kidding, but seriously! An on-air personality does have to think about how their name sounds on TV.)
In the end, no matter what you decide to do — keep your maiden name, hyphen your name or take your husband’s name — I suggest making the decision together. You will feel so much better about it.
So thank you to all the strong women around me, my bridesmaids, who all have their own fabulous careers or families of their own – who, without knowing it, inspired me to make the switch. To my husband who was so supportive and our parents who have been a fabulous example of marriage to us.
And a big thank you to all my fans out there that have been super supportive as well. It might have been a little confusing at first, but many of you have been so sweet about it.
Getting married and debating changing your name? Comment below or reach out to me on Instagram! Feel free to share your own name change story too!