I now pronounce you Mr and Mrs


I now pronounce you Mr and Mrs

FLORIDA, March 2013


Long gone are the days where the ownership of a daughter was passed to her new husband, along with 30 head of cattle and 3 hectares of farmland. Name change was non-negotiable and the world would know she was under new management when her father’s name gave way to her husband’s. Fast forward 400 years and the reasons why women still take their husband’s name are increasingly complicated and constantly evolving.

In the 70’s and 80’s American women made a political statement by keeping their name, and brides who changed names were not supporting the cause. Since the late 90s what was once old is new again, and many are surprised to learn there has been a steady resurgence in traditional marriage name change over the past 2 decades. More women are ditching their life long brand, but their reasons are far from political.

Overall, fewer women are walking down the aisle, and later in life, so one might assume they would be more attached to their name? Not so, according to recent surveys from Easy Name Change, a global name change company. ‘New brides are motivated by sharing a connection with their new family’ says president, Genevieve Dennis. ‘Those who get married consider it a very serious commitment and want to reflect that commitment in all they do.’ In their recent survey, almost 90% of brides were motivated to change names so the whole family could share the same name. 85% also agreed that changing names was a sign of commitment to their new family. On the flip side, should a bride keep her name itâ’s not to make a political statement, but for valid personal reasons, usually to do with career or business.

Dennis has always been fascinated with people changing names and saw a unique business opportunity 5 years ago. In these days of increased identity security, the paperwork required to inform companies of a new name is plentiful. Her company automatically collates, personalizes and delivers the necessary name change documents required by US companies and government agencies. ‘We get some very interesting insights to cutting edge name change’ she states. Dennis confirms that brides are increasingly taking their husband’s name and stop using their maiden name altogether, but there are emerging trends and these days, anything goes. Men take their bride’s names, couples blend parts of both surnames together into a new hybrid name, or some couples just take a totally new name, particularly if there isn’t a strong association between the groom and his father.

Dennis believes America has the most interesting name changes and is developing name change trends that are mirrored around the world. The most recent trend is for married women to move their maiden name to middle name, and the Florida government has been quick to reflect this, along with many other states  allowing maiden to middle name change without a court petition.

The modern bride usually has some angst in changing names and may secretly wish it’s not her burden to do so. However there’s an 80% chance she’ll bend with tradition and ditch her maiden name. For her, the most intimate and personal of all relationships is not the springboard for gender statements. Taking her husband’s name is a show of family unity. As one bride said, ‘in this day and age, a successful marriage is an achievement. Changing names is how I present that to the world.’


Easy Name Change

Genevieve Dennis, President