You’re a newlywed, or on your way to becoming one, and you’ve come to the time where you want to talk about the tradition of changing your last name.

Let us warn you now, sometimes it can get a little heated. Everyone has different ideas, families will probably have an opinion and sometimes trying to make everyone happy can seem impossible.

So, to spark your ideas and help you along the journey we had a chat with four different couples who took four very different approaches.

Keep your birth name – Amy Right & Louise Marvell

“We are both working professionals. Amy is well known in the real estate sphere, and Louise has worked as a Lawyer for some years. It isn’t important to share a name, our marriage and love is what ties us together. It was a pretty easy conversation for us to have really, we both felt the same about our name being a part of our identity and decided to keep them just as they were.

It also made it super easy moving forward, no extra paperwork for us!”

Hyphenate both your names – Stephanie & Alex Shoal-Tevan

“We really had a hard time trying to work out what name to go with. Initially, Alex was heart set on sharing a name, hyphenating was not an option!

We’d go back and forth between sharing a last name, but we felt like we weren’t being fair to the one another and the families that we come from. So, we had to do what seemed right for us, and the only logical answer for that was to hyphenate.

One thing we do try and make an effort to do is not to drop the hyphen. It’s what Alex was afraid of in the beginning and something really important to us moving forward and starting a family.”

Choose your own last name – Kate & Katie Bright

“We both come from really religious families that unfortunately don’t support our relationship. It became clear to us at the very beginning that we would have to make a choice between following our hearts and continuing a relationship with our family.

So, in honour of our relationship, after our elopement, we decided to choose our own last name that had meaning for us. Although we toyed around with ‘Love’ as a last name, we decided that was a little too cliché to suit our personalities! We ended up choosing ‘Bright’.

We met working at the ski fields on Mt Hotham and spent a lot of time in the small town close by, Bright. It is a place that reminds us of the romance that ignited our relationship, where we built our first memories and a place we continue to visit.

Choose one last name to share – Johanna & Erica Burt

“We knew from the get-go that we wanted to share just one last name. Mainly because we knew that had we hyphenated, we were sure that when our children went to school, they’d want to drop one of the names. It might seem silly, but it was a real worry!

Johanna has a small family and two sisters who are older, so it was all up to her to carry on the family name! On the other side of the spectrum, Erica has a brother who will probably carry on the family name, so it was a choice that just made sense.

Sharing a last name, to us, means that we are one unit. It was an emotional day sending away those name changing forms!”

Every couple is different – be sure to really go over your options and do what is right for you both. Maybe you and your wife did something completely different, we would love to hear your thoughts below!