A Morris-Wood Wedding : On Taking My Husbands Surname

Thursday 28 January 2016

As a woman, who is marrying a man, it is generally expected then when we marry I will take his surname. Why? Because of tradition. Traditionally, a woman was considered a possession. She belonged to her father, and then her husband, and her surname reflected this. This isn't the same all over the world, but it certainly is in a large part of the Western world, including the UK. Married women couldn't hold property or vote, this was all the responsibility of their husband. However, it's the 20th century now and us gals can do as we please (at least when it comes to our surnames!) so here are some of the options I've considered from my hetero-normative stand point.

1) Don't do anything at all!

Who says you have to change your name? You might love your surname, or feel really attached to it as a part of your identity, so why should you change it? You might be the last person in your family with that surname, so not want to give it up. You don't have to do anything at all, and can both keep your original surnames, and still be a married couple, simple.

2) Change HIS surname.

That's right. Change his surname. If you have a totally badass surname, why not see if your husband wants to adopt it too? Maybe he has a really common surname, or it has bad memories for him, you could switch and use your surname as the married surname instead. Screw those gender norms!

3) Hyphenate.

Hyphenating has become a really popular option for couples as time has gone on. They can sound so pretty! My options would be Morris-Wood or Wood-Morris. I think Wood-Morris sounds a little clunky, but I really like how Morris-Wood sounds and am seriously considering it as an option. Our surnames are both on the shorter side, but longer names can sound really lovely combined together too.

4) Use one of the surnames as a middle name.

If you want to preserve your maiden name, you can opt to use it as a middle name, or use your partner's name as a middle name. This works particularly great if you don't have a middle name currently, or only have a smaller one. I however have 2 middle names so won't be opting for this one as my name would be so long.

5) Create a totally new surname.

I totally wish we could do this one. I even know what surname we'd use. We'd be Mr and Mrs Worley. Like Clarence and Alabama from True Romance! You could be superheroes or villains, smush your existing surnames to create a totally new one, whatever you like. In the UK at least, you can change your name to whatever might take your fancy so long as you aren't committing fraud. And I should know, I once met a man called Magnet Man. First name Magnet, second name Man. How fun is that?!

In the UK we are incredibly lucky to have so many options. Many countries, including European countries, have laws regulating what you can or cannot do with surnames when marrying. To be given so much freedom is fantastic and I am incredibly grateful for it. I am also happy that Stu doesn't really mind what I do!

For me and Stu, the things impacting upon our decision are that he has children who have his surname. He therefore wants to keep his surname that he shares with his children, which I totally understand! Therefore, it's all on me. I'm pretty sure I'm going to go with Kitty Morris-Wood. It flows so nicely, combines our names together, and doesn't feel like a decision that isn't a feminist decision for me personally. I dislike the traditional idea that surnames represent ownership and have thought about it a lot.

What do you think? What do you plan to do, or what did you do?

Much love,


  1. We hyphenated because we felt it was more equal than one or another losing their own name - especially when I feel my own identity is so tied with being a Stewart. I have to admit though, I frequently forget his bit of the name!

    C xx

    1. your name is such a part of you isn't it? I love how your name sounds hypenated! xx

  2. I love the ideas you put forward in your post, and I agree hyphenation seems like the way to go! It suits your first name perfectly too xx

    1. thanks lovely! I'm lucky it all fits together so well :)

  3. I love how you've laid out all the options. For me, it was important that we both ended up with the same surname, and I didn't mind changing to his as my maiden name was pretty common. I love the idea of both changing to something new though, although I understand why it won't work for you. Good luck with everything!

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