What’s in a name (change)? with Belle Bride Hollie C

real bride hollieAs I sit here and write this blog we have less than 50 days until our big day in Chamonix and, as we’ve both had our Hen and Stag Do’s now, it really feels like we’ve passed a major milestone and this is the final countdown – eek!!

I thought I’d share with you one of my favourite pictures of me and my friends from the Hen Do (below) I would share one of Mat’s Stag Do too but unfortunately he had his phone confiscated for the weekend – boys are so mean!

real bride Hollie C

Passing this last major milestone has certainly got me thinking about how this year is a transitional one. The thought of getting married feels very serious and ‘grown-up’ and for me personally very definitely like a turning point in my life – a new chapter if you like.

I don’t know what our new chapter together will contain but I certainly feel as though it’s a genuine opportunity to reflect upon where I am in my life and evaluate what it is that Mat and I want to achieve together and what our aims are for the future as individuals and as a couple. Whether it be work, travel, where we live, children and so on and so forth.

One part of the process of change is my name and whether or not I should change my name after we’re married, after all what’s in a name? It’s something that I’ve been mulling over pretty much since we got engaged, so it would be great to hear from you if you’re having, or have had a similar dilemma when planning your wedding.

Mat and I have discussed it at length several times and being totally honest it’s the one wedding related matter that we don’t necessarily agree on.

Mat feels that I should take his name so that we’re a “proper” Mr and Mrs. He feels that by having the same name we will be more unified and more of a family.

Whereas I really want to keep my maiden name, not because I don’t like Mat’s name or don’t want us to be unified in that way, but quite simply because I like my name and feel that by giving it up, I’m giving up a part of me.

The topic cropped up on my Hen Do recently and opinions amongst my friends were very divided, one friend, although she understood and respected my point of view, was adamant that I should take Mat’s name for similar reasons as those Mat had raised. Whereas another friend who is currently planning her own wedding, seemed almost pleased that she wasn’t the only one contemplating not changing her name.

relaxed hen do

Of course there’s lots of options; we could double-barrel, but both our names are quite long so it would be a bit of a mouthful. Or I could keep my name for work and take Mat’s name for personal matters but again that feels quite complicated. However, it does lead onto the question of what we might do if we were to ever have children.

Although Mat and I have talked about children, it’s not an immediate priority for us but if it happens then yes, they would take Mat’s name.

If I was speaking from an equality perspective, I could argue that that isn’t right either, but that isn’t really the basis for me not wanting to change my name and ultimately, they have to have a name so I’m happy for it to be Mat’s.

I completely understand and respect Mat’s points about us being unified and coming together as a family, and I love the romance of sharing the same name as the person I intend to spend the rest of my life with, but at the moment at least I just don’t quite feel ready to give up my name.

Actually what chatting to my friends about it has made me realise, is that I don’t have to make a decision right now if I don’t want to. If we do decide to have children in the future (or even if we don’t) and I find then that it’s awkward or difficult or that it fundamentally just doesn’t feel right for us to have different names, then there’s nothing stopping me from changing it then if I feel it’s right.

I am certainly more open now to the thought of maybe changing my name one day and Mat is certainly more open to the fact that I might not, so for the moment at least I do plan to keep my maiden name but, as is a women’s prerogative, I do fully reserve the right to change my mind!

I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts. Is anyone else out there unsure about whether to change their name? And if you have decided one way or the other, how did you make that decision?

Hollie xx

Hollie’s Wedding Suppliers so far:

Planner: Haute Weddings
Venue:  Les Vieilles Luges
Photographer: Tarah Coonan
Videographer: Adam Johnston

If you are looking for ideas and inspiration on planning your wedding in France, don’t forget you can catch up with Hollie C and fellow Belle Bride Fiona and you can find all the Belle Brides past and present here.

Alternatively see more Chamonix weddings here.


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  • All I can say is that a rose by any other name is just as sweet. It is nice really that you are attached to your maiden name and given the choice of changing much thought.
    I changed my name and there were lots of logistical paperwork complications straight away, banks etc. In France my legal name is still my maiden name. That is the way it is in France: your birth name remains your legal identity.
    There are similar logistical complications further down the line if you don’t change, In my experience friends who haven’t changed their name immediately do so sooner or later mainly because of the legal complications, schools, hospitals, next of kin etc. Even after they have changed their names legally, some continue professionaly under their maiden name. The choice is yours.

  • Hey Hollie!
    I can appreciate how difficult this decision is — as I’m one of the newer Belle Brides it’s a topic I’m sure I’ll write about as well. My fiancé ultimately is deciding to take my last name, which is rare (about 4% of men are doing this these days) and we’ve been given some strange looks and negative comments. It certainly is non-traditional by most Western cultures. I personally find it frustrating and sad that I am always asked, directly or indirectly, to “explain” the decision, which wouldn’t be the case if I was to take his name. I could ramble on about the topic, but I thought I’d pass along articles on the topic that I found striking.


    And this one:


    I’m of the opinion each couple should do what is best for them, regardless of whether that be a shared name (his or hers), a hyphenated name, separate names, the creation of a new name altogether, etc. I understand we exist within the cultures in which we were raised and remain a part of in the present, but that does not negate a woman’s right to keep her name. Nor does it mean a man will cease to exist, as actress Zoe Saldana stated, if he takes hers.

    Good luck with the decision, and congratulations on your wedding.