Ah the name change game… To change your name or keep your maiden name, that is the question!
Back when I was younger and contemplating the idea of marriage (and well before Mr. Gazelle ever entered the picture) I always figured that I would change my name after getting married. In fact, when I first met Mr. Gazelle I used to think about how my first name fit with his last name. It is quite a pleasing combination, and in fact, I actually know someone who has the same name I would have (however she spells her first name differently).
But here is the thing, I have one unique name when you put it all together. I have never met anyone who spells their first name like mine is spelled. Chances are if you meet anyone with the same last name as me, we are related. My dad is originally from Finland. The story is that my great-grandfather (I believe) grew up in a part of Finland very close to the Russian border and his last name was very Russian sounding. With parts of Finland being ceded to Russia in the 1940s he decided to change his last name to make it sound more Finnish.
Now really, if you think of any Finnish hockey players chances are their names are not simple (Kiprusoff, Laukkanen, Niittymaki anyone?), but our last name is a simple four letters. I like it. My First Middle Last sound so good together (thanks Mom and Dad!). My grandmother, mom, dad, brother, sister-in-law, niece and I are the only ones that have that last name. Knowing that our last name is very nearly extinct makes me want to keep it.
There is no thought about hyphenating last names or using my maiden name as my middle name and taking his last name. Our two last names do not sound good together. And while Mr. Gazelle thought about perhaps taking my last name, his first name doesn't sound quite so nice with my last name. So he'll still be Mr. Gazelle and I'll get to be Ms. Gazelle. I don't think that having a different last name will make me feel any less married. And one of the neat things is how awesome my grandmother thinks it is that I'm keeping my maiden name.
Are you keeping your last name? What are your reasons for keeping it or deciding to change it?