At Estate Weddings and Events, we know that there’s more to a wedding than just picking the location.
As important as that is, usually the etiquette problems are the ones that cause the most stress.
For example, most brides would rather lick invitation envelopes all day than try to figure out where feuding relatives are going to sit at dinner.
However, the most difficult wedding etiquette decisions come when you want to break from tradition and do things your way.
One common tradition-breaker nowadays is not taking the last name of your spouse-to-be.
When you choose not to take a new last name, you often have to deal with objections and questions raised by your friends and family.
Here are a few things you can do to properly explain your decision and deal with the subsequent concerns.
Tell Only Who Needs to Be Told
Your schedule is brimming with things to do before you get married, and telling your fiancé’s second-aunt-once-removed about your decision should not be one of them.
Only those closest to you should need to know about your decision not to change your last name.
This is because they will most likely be the ones supporting your marriage throughout your life, and you want your relationships with them to be as stress-free as possible.
Not telling your closest family and friends could cause issues on the wedding day itself when they hear your name announced.
How do you decide exactly who to tell?
A good rule of thumb is that if someone is not dear to you or your fiancé, and not telling them doesn’t hurt them, don’t worry about it.
The more people you tell about your decision not to change your last name, the more damage control you’ll have to deal with.
So don’t spread the word to people who don’t need to know.
Lay Out Your Reasons Clearly
When discussing your decision with friends and family, make sure you don’t go into a long spiel about why you’re right about not changing your last name; it will only make you look stubborn and even snotty.
Plus, the person/people listening to you will probably just be provoked to arguing.
Instead, explain your reason(s) in as succinct a manner as possible, with a few supporting points for each, and be done.
If you want to, you can even write down and rehearse your reason(s) beforehand.
This is especially a good idea for anyone nervous about telling friends and family about your decision.
Approaching a controversial topic like this is best done with a no-nonsense, no fluff discussion.
You’ll look like you’ve thought long and hard about your decision, and friends and family will be more inclined to support you.
Acknowledge Where Objections Are Coming From
Grandma is one of only a few relatives who are very upset about the fact that you aren’t taking a new last name and who have been subtly (or not so subtly) hinting that you’re doing things wrong from what they did “back in the day.”
In this case, the best thing to do is follow the first two steps of the L.A.T.T.E. method Starbucks uses for customer service interaction: listen and acknowledge.
Listening to and acknowledging the objections from those around you will only help to advance your goal of getting people to agree with you, or at the very least respect your decision.
There are, after all, legitimate reasons for taking a new last name (such as being tired of your current one).
You can’t properly explain your decision until you know what their objections are in the first place.
Ignoring to listen and acknowledge will merely cause more issues.
Therefore, you want to show friends and family that you respect their opinions in the hopes that they will in turn respect yours.
Come to an Agreement
If you’ve properly approached the discussion about not changing your last name, and your friends and family are understanding, your fears should be mostly alleviated.
However, sometimes you have those one or two people who will disagree with your decision no matter what.
In these instances, it’s best to agree to disagree, no matter how cliché it may sound.
But take this one step further for your own sanity.
Request that any disagreeing parties promise not to bring up the topic again until after the wedding (at the very least).
Make it clear that you will simply will not discuss your decision with them again if they breach the agreement, no matter how much they press.
This should keep you free to deal with wedding matters that truly need your attention.
Ultimately, you and your significant other are the ones who will have to live with your decision not to change your last name.
Your friends and relatives will not be as impacted by this fact as you will be.
This doesn’t mean, though, that they are not an important part of your lives.
A wedding, after all, is a public declaration and celebration of marriage.
Your loved ones are there to affirm this unity.
Following the process laid out above when you decide not to change your last name will ensure that you encounter as little resistance as possible.
Now you just have to pay attention to the other issues that will pop up during wedding planning!
Are you planning on keeping your current last name? How did you discuss this with friends and family?
Tell us in the comments below, or share this with someone you know who is currently going through this decision themselves!