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Choosing New Last Names

We are all not surprised any more to hear that weddings are steeped in outdated (and outdone) traditions. While some traditions can be honored and incorporated beautifully, others might not feel right for your day. One tradition I am seeing evolve more often now are partners choosing NEW last names, which is a little bit different than those opting for hyphenated names.

We have become so accustomed to the notion that men keep their names while women don't. In this post by The Hill from 2022,

"The vast majority of women continue to take their husband’s surname when they get married: 79 percent, according to a recent Pew Research survey. And an even larger majority of men don’t change their names at all. The same survey found that just 5 percent of men take their wife’s last name and 1 percent hyphenate."

Why would couples want to choose a new last name, opposed to taking the other persons or hyphenate the two names? These are very valid questions for folks who may have never considered that people come from all types of family backgrounds, are raised with different traditions, or in some situations feel they need to separate from their family name entirely for personal reasons.

For queer couples especially it's not as cut and dry, we have to decide what would work best for us as a family because these traditions were created with our exclusion in mind. LGBTQ+ relationships operate outside of these traditional social structures and come from a place of equality more than hierarchy, so even if one person was to change their name versus both it is still a 50/50 split decision that is not based off gender, but personal to each relationship.

Choosing Names That Fit Your Values & Interests

The Woods and The Wilds both chose amazing new shared last names to celebrate their unions! The similar theme between these two couples was the beginning of something new, their relationship taking a new step forward separate from their past selves, and a reminder of their shared values - placed into an everlasting name.

Avery & Natalie -

"We want to share a last name, but picking one of our current last names felt like showing a preference. We also don't like how either hyphenated forms of our combined last names sounded. So, we decided to choose a new last name. It took us quite a while, but this new name is very "us" while still being short-and-sweet. It mirrors the fact that both of our last names, essentially being the names of animals, are rooted in nature. It also has a calmness to it which reflects our lifestyle, and it also references where we live."

Alyx & Kate -

"[We] have chosen a new last name for ourselves, Wild, which is how we vow to remain, ever wild, free to be who we are and who we will choose to become, ever safe within ourselves and one another."

Combining Last Names into Something New

On a similar vein as hyphenated last names, this ever so sweet throuple from California combined the three of their last names into one. Truly any couple or partnership can do this! It's a perfect way to give an appreciation to your surnames while still creating something new for your relationship.

Emily, Willie & Sara -

"Who are the McDeckmans?...Each pair of of us have our own relationship, and all together, we are the start of a family. We aren’t following any rulebook. We are figuring it out, just like any other family." Find their full story on Equally Wed

What I LOVE most about weddings is seeing how every relationship tackles these traditions in different ways! There is no wrong or right way to change your name. And there is no wrong or right way to keep your name or take your partner's name. These decisions take lots of time and hard conversations, so find what works best for your family and celebrate every step of the journey together.




Hello I'm Alesha! Your lgbtq+ wedding & elopement photographer based in Seattle, Washington. I'm here to bring a supportive, enthusiastic, and all around easy-going energy to your wedding day! Get to know me a little bit more to see if we're a good match.

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