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To Change (Your Name) Or Not To Change

To Change (Your Name) Or Not To Change

In today’s modern world of careers, late marriages and even later babies, is there still a need for brides to take on the surnames of their husband?

Personally, I went from a boring but pretty normal “Turner” to an unusual and slightly rude sounding “Bentick” (I actually have one friend who continues to book restaurants under “Bent-dick”).

And here is the tricky bit. You might find a name kind of humorous, but your new family members will know the proud origins of the name and have grown up with it over generations – so don’t make jokes about it around the dinner table, I found that one out the hard way…

General consensus was hyphenating my name wasn’t an option. “Turn-a Bentick” or “Bentick Turner”, neither were good options.

So as a bride, what should you consider before changing your name?

1.       If you don’t like your last name, is this a great chance to get a new one?

2.      Can you finally get a Gmail address without a number in it?

3.      Your kids will have a different surname to you. (I must admit, there have been times of tantrum in the supermarket when I’ve wished this was the case!)

OK, I’m kidding. Not all of these are real factors in deciding whether to take on your husband’s name – I’ll let you decide which ones aren’t.

But after all the objective arguments have been put forward, it really boils down to a pretty emotional decision. How strongly do you and your husband feel about you taking on his name?

I remember discussing changing my name with my future husband Dean as we walked along Bondi Beach. I’d always been very strong willed and independent, and thought I would never change who I am, or what my name was, for a man. But then he explained why he wanted to marry me, so that we would be together as a family and that people would know that I was his wife.  Suddenly all my justifications of independence seemed at odds with our decision to get married.

We’d been living together for a number of years at that stage and had discussed what would actually change once we were married?  To both now have the same family name seemed like a significant change in the relationship and a noticeable difference that would continue once the flowers had faded.

Eleven years on from our wedding, I still have an undeniable urge to take a selfie with street signs or pubs that feature my maiden name Turner.  And when my son screws his nose up like my Dad, I still call him a Turner.  So the Turner family part of me will always be there. But now, I get the honour of being a Bentick as well, and creating our own little family.

Rachael Bentick is Director of one of Australia’s most successful studios, Inlighten Photography, a multi award-winning wedding photography agency with over 40 years experience combined. Considered an expert driving force in the Australian wedding industry, Rachael has been involved with over 1000 weddings in the past 10 years. 

Did you change your last name when you got married?

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