Should You Change your Last Name After Marriage?

In about 8 weeks, I will walk down the aisle and get married to my favorite person in the world.  As the big day gets closer, I can’t help but feel a tiny bit unsettled that after 28 years of being “Nicole Crimaldi” I’m supposed to change my last name and my identity to something new.

Most of the married women I know didn’t think twice about changing their last name.  I get that side of the story: two become one, marriage makes you into a new unified family, it’s tradition, it’s disrespectful not to change your last name, etc.  I totally see that side of the story.  In fact, I agree with a lot of this perspective.

But I also know women who have said “I worked my whole life to ________ [i.e. become a doctor, get this advanced degree, build a brand/business or to carry on my family name in a positive light] there’s no way I am about to change my last name just because I got married.”

Then comes the whole debate about keeping something for yourself: a little tiny bit of independence and self-identity. Is that so wrong?

I feel a bit torn about this whole name change situation.

This is mostly because most of my family had a really rough start (both sets of grandparents and my father) and beat the odds.  They all had little opportunity and made quite a success for themselves through entrepreneurship. There aren’t a ton of Crimaldi’s to pass the name down as most of us are girls.  I want to keep some of that heritage with me.

So here’s my  two-part solution to the name change conundrum:

1) I will change my last name as the traditionalists would and take the last name of my future husband.

2) I will change my middle name to Crimaldi.

This allows me to honor my hubby but also keep my own sense of identity and family history.  I can still introduce myself as “Nicole Crimaldi” (I mean all the celebs in the 90’s had at least 2 names) and even keep my online identity as Nicole Crimaldi.   When we have kids, it will be a little less confusing to the outside world.

I’d love your advice!  What would YOU do?

  • Have you thought about what you will do with your last name after marriage?

  • Are you married?  How did you feel about changing your last name?  


Nicole Emerick

Nicole Emerick founded Ms. Career Girl in 2008 to help other ambitious young professional women thrive in a career they love. Ironically, growing MsCareerGirl helped Nicole transition her own career from commercial banker to digital marketer. Today Nicole leads the social media team at a large advertising agency in Chicago. Nicole also served as an adjunct professor at DePaul University where she helped develop the careers of PR, Advertising and Communications students. Tweet with Nicole @_NicoleEmerick.