When I got married, I didn't change my last name. I guess we both could have hyphenated our names, but that wasn't very appealing to either of us, and I certainly wasn't going to hyphenate if my husband wasn't going to. Instead, we did that to our daughter. It just seemed too strange to me to contemplate being in a family in which my daughter had my husband's last name and not mine (too), even stranger than our all having different last names.
Then we had to decide which name would go first. We decided to decide based on what sounded best, and we agreed that the order that sounded best was my name first.
Our first plan was that she would have two last names without a hyphen, but we were told at the hospital when her birth certificate was being filled out that it was illegal to have a 'space' in a last name. I said "What if our name were van Gogh or da Vinci?". They said no go(gh). Perhaps we got an uninformed person doing the birth certificate, but I was desperate to go home and they told us we couldn't leave the hospital until we gave our daughter a last name with no spaces. Bizarre.
So she has a hyphen, and a long last name that doesn't quite make it intact onto some forms.
At her preschool, which was associated with the university, she was not unusual for having a hyphenated last name. At her elementary school, there are a few others, but not many.
The only one who has ever been upset about our daughter's last name is my mother-in-law. She didn't like the hyphenation and she particularly didn't like the fact that my name was first. She told us that she hoped people would think that that name was a middle name and that the real last name was her son's (no matter that my mother-in-law has kept the name of a man she divorced and loathed for the rest of his life).
If at some point our daughter decides she'd rather just have one last name and lops off one (or both), or changes her name when she gets married -- that's up to her and I won't mind whatever she chooses. For now, though, her having a part of my name and a part of her dad's works really well for our family, and we're happy with the decision we made nearly 10 years ago.
10 years ago