Marrying a Mouthful: When His Last Name Doesn’t Sound Right

When Your Fiance's Last Name Doesn't Match

Photo: Jenna Wakani

Before you were born, your parents put a lot of effort into creating the mellifluous match of your first and last names. Alas, your guy has a last name that just isn’t harmonious with your first. Not only does it clash with yours, but maybe it even clangs. Hyphenating’s not an option, either: two ridiculously difficult-to-spell last names do not a hyphenated marriage make.

The lack of sibilance and euphoniousness of your fiancé’s last name with yours isn’t the only change you may be facing. In taking his last name, you could also be taking on an entirely new ethnic identity (“Hello, Mrs. O’Shaughnessy!” “Hello, Mrs. Choi!”) or feel like you’re losing your ethnic-familial ties completely (“Hello, Mrs. Smith!”). What can you do? Try these three things:

1. Acknowledge the clunker.

Own the fact that his last name just doesn’t jive with yours. Feel sad and mad about it. Whatever you feel about it is fine, but denial that you’re marrying a mouthful will just come out in passive-aggressive and bizarre ways, like poking fun at his last name. Not ideal.

2. Try variations on for size.

Play with your last names together. Hyphenate the unhyphenatable. Keep your last name without a hyphen. Take his completely. Use your engagement to test drive what each and every combination feels like.

See more: 5 Things Every Bride Should Do Before She Says “I Do”

3. Hold off on making the legal change.

An unconventional move, yes, but it’s OK to change your last name after the wedding.

At the very least, postponing all that name-changing paperwork will take one big thing off your to-do list as you figure out what feels right for you.

Allison Moir-Smith, MA, is a bridal counselor, creator of How Brides-To-Be REALLY Feel videos, and author of Emotionally Engaged: a Bride’s Guide to Surviving the “Happiest” Time of Her Life.


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