Married with my maiden name

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Brides keeping their maiden name is much more common these days, but I still get asked about my choice to do so once and awhile. So let me explain to anyone who is curious.

I'll start with the reasons why I didn't make this choice.

It's not to disrupt the status quo. It's not because I think there is anything wrong with taking your husband's last name. And it's not to avoid another trip to the DMV... although this is an honest consideration if you live in California. #worstwaitever

I think it's a personal choice that reflects our individuality.

Here is how I see it: a word is simply a word until we give it meaning. A name is no different. With a name, there is even more room for interpretation. For me, a name symbolizes history. So when I think of my last name (Wehrley) it reminds me of: perfecting my signature on Lisa Frank notebooks; the ridiculous story behind its difficult spelling; repeating that difficult spelling over and over for customer service reps; saying it aloud thousands of times on live television; and the unusual nicknames I've been given, like Whirly-bird.

But I also understand and respect, for many women a name symbolizes something completely different, most commonly unity, making them want to take their husband's last name. And I totally get this.

Personally, I find unity with my husband in shared experiences, supporting each other's hopes and dreams, making decisions together and loving each other. And it's not to say all those things cannot be true along with finding unity in a shared last name. But for me, it's just not the case.

Empowerment to me is having choices and then making the choice that reflects our individuality best.

So if the more traditional choice of taking your husband's last name best suits you, more power to ya! But for those like me who prefer to keep their maiden name, I'm thankful this has become an increasingly acceptable choice for us to embrace.

I'll also add, I'm now creating history with my husband's last name. I think it's cute when people casually and playfully call me Mrs. Berens or write it out on a wedding invitation. I love that I'm now included on the annual Berens Christmas card. And I can only imagine the love I'll feel when I see my first born's first name in front of Berens on their birth certificate (hopefully not any time soon).

Because of this, I'm also open to changing my mind. I may develop a deep personal history with the name Berens, making me want to add, hyphenate or even change my last name some day.

But in the meantime, unless you're addressing a wedding invite to me, Alex Wehrley/Swirley/Whirly-bird it is.

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