Discussion recently in a group I participate in got me wondering…do people know that we have quite a bit of choice about what we call ourselves, how we name our children, and what our surname will be once we are married? …
The discussion was sparked by double barrelled names and if a person married someone else with a double barrelled name, would that make them a quadruple name … if they they choose was the easy answer.
Traditions vary around the world but here in NZ, most commonly, the wife takes the surname of her partner and children take their father’s surname. The name we are given at birth is “our legal name” (this can be changed through a legal process – https://www.govt.nz/browse/passports-citizenship-and-identity/changing-your-name/changing-your-own-name/#overview ). In 2017 seven thousand people elected to change their legal names! https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12004376
There is no need to take any or all of your current legal names into a marriage. You can choose what you will be called ‘from this day forward’. Also, when naming your children, there are some names you aren’t allowed to give https://www.kiwifamilies.co.nz/articles/banned-illegal-baby-names/, but you can decide what their legal name will be & even the surname can be different to either parents … your choice.
So, when Dave & I got married, instead of being “Mr & Mrs Jones”, if choosing to have the same surname, we could have just as easily taken my maiden name and been “Mr & Mrs Duncanson”; made it a hyphenated name; made up a new name like “Mr & Mrs Jodun” (I quite like that!); or even Mr & Mrs Smith or any name we wanted … our choice. Of course, we may also have chosen to just keep on being our own names, which was my choice at first but the whole Miss/Ms/Mrs thing mucked that up for me! That is it’s own story and again, the choice in the end is your own preference.
Life events are worth celebrating!!