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I'm Getting Married, Do I Need To Change My FIRST Name?

I've always looked forward to ditching my unwieldy last name for something short and sweet. I'm getting married next summer, and my fiancé has an awesome last name that I happen to love. Yay!

The problem is, it basically rhymes with my first name. I don't want the actual name printed, but think, "Ashley Blimey."

My middle name is Laura, which could sufficiently break up the rhyming. Should I change my first name to Ashley Laura, and introduce myself as such -- even though it's a mouthful and risks annoying people or coming across as pretentious -- or just include Laura whenever I say my full name, and risk people leaving it out and calling me "Ashley Blimey?" Are there other solutions I'm not thinking of?

- The Future Mrs. Blimey

When we name babies, we custom-select first names to pair attractively with our surnames. Marital names, though, are pot luck. The wheel of romantic fate spins, and the new name candidate may be lovely, ridiculous, or anywhere in-between.

If a couple draws an awkward pairing, something has to give. Many choose to stick with their birth names, or hyphenate or merge their way to a new surname. You're taking a different approach. You like your fiancé's surname so much that you've decided your first name should be the one to yield. That's perfectly fine — it's your name, and you should be the one to decide how you present yourself to the world.

The answer you've proposed, though, creates a bigger problem than it solves. In modern life, we use our first names constantly. In the space of a single meeting or conversation you might hear your first name a dozen times. I can't recommend choosing a first name that you yourself call "a mouthful" and potentially "pretentious" and "annoying."

A nickname could be an answer, or a wholesale name change. But assuming you're attached to your given name, as most of us are, I'm going to suggest a different tradeoff. Give priority to the first name you love and the surname you love, and accept a less-than-ideal pairing of the two.

We often write our full names, but we only speak them aloud in specific situations like making introductions or scheduling appointments.Your first-middle solution is perfect to use in writing, and in formal or official settings. But for daily use, reconsider just plain Ashley Blimey. It may not be poetry, but it's lovely in its components, as a representation of you.


Please do not add links to your comments. Thank you.

August 18, 2014 1:19 PM
By Helena (not verified)

I know "Ashley Blimey" isn't the actual name, but I don't see them as "rhyme-y" as much as the letter-writer does. I think, sometimes, with our own names, we tend to overthink/over-stress it. I wouldn't bat an eye at someone named "Ashley Blimey"... now, "Ashley Bashley"? Yes, I'd assume you married into that one or your parents were particularly cruel.

Even when I play around with trying to make the name more matchy ("Ashley Finley" where they both end in "ley") it's still not discordant.

I also completely agree with Name Lady that most people will think of you as "Ashley" not "Ashley Blimey"

August 18, 2014 4:53 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I agree, just keep your first name and go with it.

I'll also add that sometimes a first and married last name just sounds off because we aren't used to it. Perhaps the rhyming is over emphasized because you just aren't used to the name yet. The good thing is, you don't have to make any change official right away! Start using your first & married last name together now (as practice) and see what kind of reactions you get. You could also do this with "Ashley Laura" and see how you feel about it. This will give you some time to get used to it before you make any changes. If you still aren't sure, you can wait a bit after you get married before making any changes permanent.

August 18, 2014 5:26 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

No need to change your first name. Lots of people have last names that may not sound "ideal", especially if they changed them through marriage.

How often do we go around saying our full names, anyway?

August 19, 2014 12:07 AM
By Jen (not verified)

When your brothers get married and also, of course, ditch the unwieldy last name, I wonder if they'll end up having the same rhyming problem. Write back and let us know how it turns out!

August 19, 2014 6:50 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I have a friend whose married last name is Bennett, and whose first name ends in -ette. It definitely rhymes, but because the emphasis in her first name is on -ette, and the emphasis in her last name is on Ben-, it actually sounds okay. She has a lot of 'e', 'n', and 't's in her name, but it somehow works. Go for it! You'll be memorable, kind of like my friend Page (that spelling), whose married last name is Page.

August 19, 2014 9:07 AM
By MC (not verified)

When I married my husband, I took his last name as my maiden name was long and unwieldy. In doing so, my first and last names now involve a slant rhyme. My first name ends with an "in" sound, and my last name ends with an "en" sound. It really isn't all that bad. I think I notice it more than anyone. I vote to take the new last name and deal with a vaguely rhyming name. In my case, I've grown to like it over the past 10 years. :)

August 19, 2014 9:13 AM
By Allison (not verified)

I used to have a hairdresser who was Ashley Ashley... Married name. She just laughed it off. It's only a problem if you make it one!

August 19, 2014 10:18 AM
By Kari (not verified)

My (married) last name nearly rhymes with my first, it's also 4 letters ending in "i". No one has ever even mentioned it to me. It bothers me a little bit, but in the grand scheme of things doesn't matter at all. The only reason I could see it being a problem is if I were trying to become an actress or news anchor or something where my full name would be important.

August 19, 2014 11:33 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My dad used to tell me a story of a woman he worked with who had an awkward Polish last name she was eager to get rid of. Until she finally got married, and then she kept her maiden name, because she didn't want to be "Shirley Curley." I always got a giggle out of that, but really, who could blame her?? I do agree, however, that the name is what you make it. When I first got married, I felt so awkward using my husband's last name since I thought it didn't quite "go" with my first name - but it feels extremely natural now (after 14 years!)

August 19, 2014 1:01 PM
By Jenny P. (not verified)

I agree which the above commenters that if it "rhymes" in the way that Ashley Blimey does, people will probably not notice it. My boyfriend's name (just altered the first letter of his last name to make it un-googleable) is Thomas Davis. He thinks it sounds funny, but it doesn't stand out to me.
I do know a Mr. Jenny who married a Jennifer, though. That's a little too much!

August 19, 2014 1:42 PM
By Court (not verified)

I love repetitive sounds in names - they are fun and memorable. Like Phillip Phillips or Robin Roberts. You'll be fine.

August 19, 2014 2:19 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My preferred nickname rhymes with my married last name, and I considered switching back to my full name when I got married. (My married last name is Lee, so it rhymes with a lot of things!) But it just didn't happen - my nickname is ME in a way my given name isn't. It's not really a sing-songy rhyme, and not one person has ever commented on the fact that it rhymes.

Now that I think about it, a name like Ashley Lee sounds a whole lot more "off" than Ashley Blimey. Stick with Ashley - you'll be fine!

August 19, 2014 2:51 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Deal. My mom's first name is Betty. Her married last name (for the last 49 years!) is also 5 letters and starts with a B.

My name is 4 letters and starts with a "Ma" my married last name- yup- 4 letters and starts with a "Ma".

Sometimes I get a comment about it. But nobody ever forgets :)

August 19, 2014 6:39 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My sister's friend became Gay Day after she married.

If she can cope with being Gay Day, then you can cope with being Ashley Blimey.

August 19, 2014 9:13 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I know someone that married in to Kimberly Wimberly. I think it's fabulous :)

August 19, 2014 9:31 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I agree with most of the other comments - it makes you memorable! I wouldn't let it bother you...I know of a Peter Peterson, Wylie Lee, Betty Jean Jean, Jack Jackson... just a few...three of them are guys so it's their parents' fault!

August 19, 2014 9:58 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My mother in law was Rose Rose for a while. Luckily, the first marriage didn't work out and she married into a much more suitable name the second time ;-)

August 20, 2014 8:05 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I know a girl who married into Kelly O'Kelly as well as a person who was named Millie Mooney by her parents. Ashley Blimey is not that bad!

August 20, 2014 8:31 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

IMHO I think the issue with a name like Ashley Blimey is not so much the rhyme, but that of the rhythm. There is the same stress beat and unstressed beat in both names which makes it sound rhythmical. I personal like rhythm in my names. It adds a bit of poetry to everyday life. Anyway, just my take.

August 20, 2014 4:42 PM
By Portland Mom (not verified)

I don't think you should change your first name because of getting married. you are already changing your last name. Changing both names is really changing your whole identity, which seems like a bad idea. Ashley Blimey doesn't even register to me as weird, rhyme-y, rhythmic, etc. it sounds pretty normal to me.

August 20, 2014 5:29 PM
By Erica Eliza (not verified)

My name's Erica Elizabeth and I go by Erica Eliza online. I have no desire to change my first name because 1) paperwork 2) mouthful and 3) why bother? My middle name is there for me when I need it. It's not like you're tossing away Ashley entirely. You can introduce yourself as Ashley Laura without making the change official.

August 20, 2014 5:31 PM
By Erica Eliza (not verified)

Best awkward name ever.

August 20, 2014 5:32 PM
By Erica Eliza (not verified)

Oops, I was trying to reply to another comment.

August 20, 2014 7:28 PM
By Kimberly (not verified)

My first name is Kimberly. My husband's surname ends in the same "ly" sound and has three syllables with emphasis on the first syllable (same as Kimberly). The first syllable of his surname is also the same as my middle name, so adding my middle name to an introduction would just add a stutter to the mix.

I kept my name after we married.

August 21, 2014 5:04 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Am I the only one who can't see what the problem is meant to be with Ashley Blimey? It doesn't even rhyme!

At least, no more that Elizabeth Heppleworth or Mary Cassidy, and they seem completely normal to me.

August 23, 2014 2:58 PM
By Faith (not verified)

As others above have said, I don't particularly think the example you provided as a rhyme is personally bothersome (i.e. Ashley Bashley would be but not Ashley Blimey...) And I also agree with the commenter who noted "How often do people call us by both first and last names?"

However, what I would probably do, if the names were very rhyme-y, like Ashley Bashley, would be to come up with a nickname - both Ash & Lee work for Ashley, or you could use something totally different - rather than insisting on people using both my first & middle names just to eliminate those few instances where people will use my first and last name. Even if you were to legally change your first name to "Ashley Laura" unless they sound natural together (which those names don't particularly) some people would still probably leave off the "Laura."

August 24, 2014 4:13 AM
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August 25, 2014 9:09 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

You will be changing your first name! You'll become Mrs. John Smith.

August 28, 2014 8:45 AM
By karolyn (not verified)

Go on and do you! Changing last names emphasized a different phoneme / syllable of my name: when my name began and ended with K it was harsher, but now my first name and last name emphasize vowel sounds and I hear my first name differently now. And now my last name begins with a C, so people misspelling my name as Carolyn or Caroline has only increased (i just joke to people that it's my parents who spelled it wrong, not them). Not exactly the same thing as Rhymey Timey, but thought I'd share.

Also, I can't stop thinking about "Laura Ashley" chintz style bedding when I hear Ashley Laura. It sounds like Ashley is too important to you to be A. Laura and go by Laura, but I know a few people who have done this successfully. It usually takes a job (or maybe just email) change to stop being "Ashley but she goes by Laura" to being "Laura, did you know her first name is Ashley?" We're all going to live longer than we think!

August 29, 2014 2:06 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

That is stupid, sorry. Everyone is teasing Phillip Phillips name and saying "what were his parents thinking?". It sounds ridiculous.

September 9, 2014 6:43 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Ashley and Blimey do not rhyme.

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