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Keep your maiden name or give it up? - 'I liked McIlvenna, but it was tidier to change'

Why did I change my name when I got married? Short answer; I can't remember. It was many years ago.

My maiden name - McIlvenna - is a fine name and I was and am proud of it. It's my son's middle name.

As a journalist I'd been writing under that name for a number of years. This might not sound like a big deal, but changing your byline as a reporter is probably a trickier issue than worrying about whether the sisterhood might think you've caved by taking your husband's surname.

So it was obviously something I gave some thought to. Maybe it was just easier, tidier all round. For the chequebooks and the mortgage back then, if nothing else.

However, friends of the same vintage didn't change their names on marriage. Some went for a sort of name-calling halfway house. They kept their maiden name for their professional career, but were Mrs Whatever for the bank and utility bills.

Is it really a big deal? Because I am not overly into symbolism, not for me. But for some I suspect it is. Keeping your maiden name could be seen as a way maybe of signalling your independence or your billing as equal partner.

Or you opt for the full Missus because you're a traditionalist or you want to point up the partnership or you just think it's easier all round, especially if the kids take his surname. But even the old "take his name or keep your own" question is in itself now dated given the number of couples who double-barrel their names these days. The only issue here - how do you decide which comes first?

And what happens when in future the double-barrelled offspring meet their double-barrelled partners?

McIlvenna McDowell would have been too much of a mouthful, I think. Although try telling that to the Cheryl Fernandez Versinis of this world.

So, good luck to the Lampards, whatever surname/s they decide to use.

I would caution though against meshing - that fashionable trend of running two names together to make one.

Bampard. Doesn't really have the right ring to it, does it?

Belfast Telegraph