While Katy Perry is still glowing from her nuptials (and let's be honest -- probably lots of kinky honeymoon sex) with comic and actor Russell Brand, she's already started the transition from her maiden name to her new husband's. "I'm in the process," she told Ellen recently
And, as anybody who's changed her name knows, it IS a process. Especially if you're a celebrity with a brand (sorry).
But what about the rest of us?
Lemondrop took this age-old question to the masses and asked women who are married, engaged, single or just in the BF-GF stage whether or not they're planning to take a guy's name, combine, hyphenate or keep their own.
Read on, and let us know what you're doing/did.
"It's my plan to hyphenate. I'm not particularly attached to my last name, but it is very much part of my work identity as a writer. Hyphenation is more about legally demonstrating ownership of any children that may come along. Nothing scares me more than having a kid with a different last name and then having difficulty proving you are indeed his or her mother." -- Brooke, engaged, Hartsdale, N.Y.
"I'd like to take my (future) husband's last name if it a) either sounds good with mine, or b) is really simple, like Smith, since I always have to spell mine out to everyone. But it's tricky, if you're in a career like me, where your name is currency. People google me to find my body of work and it would be as if none of that existed. So I would have to be careful. And at the end of the day, might just hold on to what I've got and everything that comes with it." -- Monica, single, Brooklyn
"Hell Jesus no
. Okay, I used to hate my long, hard, ethnic last name, and I've definitely dated some dudes with cool or refreshingly short last names. But I'm too much of a feminist to ever just take a guy's name. Also my mother has a different last name, so I don't buy the whole 'for the kids' thing (it never barred me from being identified as my mom's daughter, legally or otherwise -- nobody's ever been like, 'PAPERS, WHERE ARE THE PAPERS?'). Besides, I'd never ruin my Google like that." -- Julieanne, single, New York
"I have legally changed it but haven;t adopted it in my life yet. My email address and Facebook account still has my last name. And I use my maiden name at my work, but plan to migrate very soon." -- Jessica, married, Brooklyn
"I took my husband's name because I wanted to keep it simple and have us just be united with one name. We were barely off the plane from our honeymoon and I was running around town getting it all taken care of so there would be no middle period where one thing was under my maiden name, one thing under my married name. Kind of like ripping off a band-aid - no confusion, just one name! As far as taking his name, I didn't have a problem with that because to me there are far more important battles to fight for feminism. I didn't choose my last name to begin with, it wasn't selected specially for me like my first name, and I never felt like it was a major part of my identity. But I did choose my husband and I love knowing that we are now our own little family -- with one last name." -- Amber, married, Chicago
"I have a LOT of names - my full name is Katherine Lucile Zarosinski van Bronkhorst. (And that's without my confirmation name in there!) Zarosinski is my mom's maiden name, and I'm proud to have it in there. I think I'd end up taking his name, because I think it's a nice tradition of showing that you're now sharing a life - and a name! Plus, van Bronkhorst gets clunky and long. Hopefully I'll marry someone with a nicer name. An interesting thing I've seen is that my mom, after her divorce, chose to go back to her maiden name even though she had been van Bronkhorst for 25 years. Even though her kids have the name, and she's made 25 years worth of friends and acquaintances with that name, it irked her too much to keep it after my dad got re-married. At first, it bugged me - it felt weird to have a different name than my mom - but I understand that calling yourself by something that you're no longer a part of feels very strange." -- Katherine, single, San Francisco
"I will be changing my name once we have our ceremony in June 2011. I am considering keeping my last name as my middle name and taking [my fiancé] Umang's last name, who's from India. I would hyphenate but I'm Polish and my last name is difficult to pronounce. And I did not think putting two uncommon foreign last names together as a hyphenated last name made sense." -- Karolina, engaged, Ann Arbor, Mich.
"I'm going to hyphenate my last name - and keep my maiden name professionally because I have garnered a sizable number of work contacts from my various jobs and from graduate school and I would want them to still be able to reach me if necessary. I found it necessary to add on my fiancé's last name because it would lessen any future complications when we have children, who would take his last name. We toyed with the idea of him taking my name, but when it comes down to it - his last name sounds a lot cooler." -- Carmela, Engaged, New Jersey
"We are hyphenating our last names. I'm not losing my last name in this day and age!" -- Vivian, engaged, Philadelphia
"I was married in April and my maiden name is Danielle Allessa Krasowski and after I got married my legal name on my SS card and all that is Danielle Allessa Krasowski Hughes. It is not hyphenated. I now have 4 names. I had a semi-complicated last name and growing up, but I learned to love it and it's hard to part with it at first. I also like my middle name and I didn't really want to give that up either. So I decided to legally have 4 names but I have three variations of my name for work, plane tickets and one for when I can use two initials. I feel like taking your husband's name is important for a few reasons including being symbolic of being a family and one unit. But I also understand that it is hard to give up your name --your roots, your family, in a sense, a separation from your family and into another family." -- Danielle, married, San Francisco
"I plan to take his name. I had my mind made up for the longest time that whoever I married, I would hyphen my name. The reason for this? Probably the whole identity thing and partial independence, which is silly because I'd have his name attached to mine anyways. I thought maybe if I got married later in life, I would NEED to hyphen so people in my professional circle wouldn't get confused... Now that I'm actually engaged, there is no doubt in my mind that I'll take his last name. There's something about meeting "the one" and loving them so much that you want to be seen as one unit with them and be a part of their family, which means adopting their last name. I don't think I'm losing my identity anymore or independence, we're starting a new family and the idea of adding a new branch to his family tree is exciting. By taking his name, I feel like I'm shouting from the roof tops, that I'm in love with him and we belong together and I belong next to him! I'm not looking forward to all the paperwork that goes along with changing a last name and getting all new debit and charge cards, but I think the act is more important-it's just another way to show him and the rest of the world that I'm fully committed to him and have taken on an additional role as wife and best friend in a more permanent way than I am now." -- Emily, engaged, Sausalito, Calif.
"I decided to take my husband's last name (Hansen) but am still struggling with the impact that it's having on my professional life. I wanted to take his name because I felt I needed to honor the fact that marriage is about sacrifice, commitment, and becoming a true family-- and taking on his family name is symbolic of that. It has been more challenging professionally, though, I will say. With women getting married later in life, you have more time to nurture your career-- and networking and maintaining relationships is put on an even higher pedestal due to the impact of social media and sites like LinkedIn. You also feel like you're going against the grain of feminism, female empowerment, etc.... and you certainly hear of it from your female colleagues! On a conference call last week, several coworkers of mine noticed the name change in the directory and advised me to 're-think' my decision... because I'd in essence be giving part of my 'personal brand' away. One of my coworkers who changed her name mentioned (and it could just be because we're in NYC) that she had been shocked to see that she was the one of only a few mothers at her child's school that had didn't KEEP her maiden name). I agree it's quite difficult to let go of on a professional level, but I am getting used to it and am happy with the decision I made. I don't think there's a wrong or right answer to this one! Just go with what you feel is the right decision for you." -- Jillian, married, New York
"I would be cool with changing my last name. My mom never changed her last name and it gets confusing at social events when she has to explain that she goes by her maiden name but is very much married. I don't need that kind of stress - my life is stressful enough." -- Athena, single, Boston
"I decided to change my last name instead of hyphenate it, because my maiden name is 4 syllables long and is already a mouthful! If it was shorter, I would probably have just opted to hyphenate it. I don't plan to change my work email just yet though; I feel like I'll wait a bit more for professional reasons." -- Cheryl, married, Jersey City, N.J.
"I totally consider myself a modern feminist and all that good stuff, but I will most likely take my husband's last name. I like the idea of creating a feeling of solidarity with my family and I like how a shared last name establishes that. Though it does kind of make me sad because I only have a sister, so there are no boys to carry on the name." Erin, Single, New York
"I have been struggling big time with this issue because I just got engaged but I am about to graduate with my Medical Doctorate and I have 13 national publications in my name. So I think the plan is to take his name as my middle name so that I will still be Dr. My name but will legally have his name to so that I can use that as well. It's really hard I think because I want my kids to have our name to make it easier for them, but I don't have the typical female career and my name is what my colleagues will remember me by and refer patients to me by." -- Kara, engaged, Norfolk, Va.
"I will be getting married in January 2011 and I will not hyphenate or change my last name. I am Asian, my fiancé is Hispanic. Mainly for interview purposes-I would not want to throw off employers with a hispanic last name. I want them to expect an Asian woman. Also, I read a study that said people who took their husbands names earned less than people who kept their own names. I would not be opposed to being called Mrs. during a social situation however." -- Beatrice, engaged, Queens, N.Y.
"I would hyphenate my last name for professional purposes, but would not change my name. I am one of two daughters so I'm inclined to hold onto my last name out of respect and allegiance to my father, and also to cut down on the mountains of paperwork/documentation that would have to be adjusted were I to take my partners last name. My mother also never took my father's last name, so I've never assumed that marriage would imply that I would have to change my last name." -- Dzifa, single, New York
"I plan on taking my fiancé's last name once we're married because I don't really have a valid reason as to why I should keep mine. I think that some people choose to go the other route because they feel like taking their partner's last name somehow makes them lose their personal identity or independence. I, however, think that taking his last name is just another way of demonstrating my total commitment to him and our marriage & being combined into one." -- Hazel, engaged, Jersey City, N.J.