Ask Amy: Getting Married – Should You Change Your Name?

Dear Amy,

I am getting married in September and wish to change my last name … for me, I’m torn about what this means for me as I begin to take over my family’s business. I feel a little bit guilty about changing my name because this means people lose that instant recognition of who I am in relation to the company if my last name no longer matches the name on the building. Any stories about how other “daughters in charge” have handled this?




Dear Meredith,

I certainly respect your question and appreciate the implications of whatever choice you make. Here are a few thoughts based on my work with daughters who’ve had similar concerns. After marrying, some women who want to take on their husband’s name refer to themselves with their first name, then their family name, and then their married name.  Many women who want to preserve their family name for other reasons do this as well. It’s a pretty simple way to make sure that customers, clients, vendors, and others know that you are clearly part of the family business.

Other daughters change their name, without the family name evident, but the story of the family (usual on the “about” or “our team” sections of the website) makes it obvious that they are family members.

You may be concerned that you will lose credibility if you change your name, and I can understand that. I know some daughters who take their husband’s name legally, but in business situations continue to use their family name.  It can be confusing at times, but for the most part, this approach works well.

Amy Katz

I do know of a few daughters who find that they learn more about how customers and

clients view the business when they don’t know that they are family members. These daughters find it a great learning experience and discover new insights about the family business that they might never have learned before.

My suggestion is to do what feels right to you.  I doubt that it will hurt the business if you decide to take on your husband’s name. Your name matters, but your comfort and confidence matter more.

Hope this helps!



2 thoughts on “Ask Amy: Getting Married – Should You Change Your Name?

  1. Meredith, I recently got engaged and I am having a tough time making this decision. For me, I am considering either going by both names (maiden name, and then my married name) or even possibly not changing my name at all. I am heavily involved in my family business and I don’t think I can afford to lose the connection that comes with a name. I’ve also have had several friends that did not change their name after they got married – it is becoming much more widely accepted than even a few years ago. But of course each of us have to choose what feels right for us.

    Good Luck! -Alexa

  2. Thanks for your comment, Alexa! There are several options open to women now that were not acceptable before, but of course, when you’re part of a family business the implications of your choice are unique. Congratulations on your engagement!


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