I’ve always liked my surname, despite the amount of people who pronounce it wrong. It’s fairly unusual and it’s a name I’ve had my whole life, obviously. When you think of marriage, you almost kinda forget about the part where society tells you that in a heterosexual relationship, you should take the man’s name. I certainly did. It’s not that I dislike tradition, or that I don’t think it’s nice to share a surname, but more that I’ve become quite attached to mine and the thought of it no longer being part of my identity saddens me. In that same respect, I also love my fiancé dearly and I really do want us to be Mr & Mrs whatever. I want a family name.
When I was younger, I dreamt of becoming a writer. I know, it sounds cliché, but whether I turned out to be a published novelist, a features writer, a screenwriter, or any title that require a ‘by…’ – I always saw my given name following. It’s a dream I still have and whether or not that happens, I will always see the words: ‘by Michelle Rooker’.
So, now we’re here and I’m getting married in a week, and for the last 2 years since we booked our venue and decided on a date, we have been mulling over what our surnames were going to be. We thought about picking a random surname, adopting the name of our favourite film and TV characters, and we even thought about merging our two names together – Roopage, anyone? Gavin has been so incredibly open to every single option. He’s understood my desire to keep my surname and given that he’s ‘not too fussed’ about his, we’ve come to the conclusion that double-barrelling is the way to go. We both get to keep our family names while still becoming our own new family unit. I highly doubt our new surname exists anywhere else in the world, which means we’ve created this whole new generation – we’ve started a new family tree.
At first, I thought double-barrelling could come off the wrong way, or that it was perhaps too much of a mouthful to say, but the more I’ve said it, the more it has grown on me, and I think that if we did it any other way, I’d feel like I’d lost a part of myself. I know not everyone will get this. It’s just a name, you might say, but to me, I feel like this decision represents who we are as a couple. Although I have no issue with anyone who decides to take their partner’s surname, I do feel like we’re starting off our marriage as equals, and if we were to have children, I would feel proud to tell them the reason behind their surname and how sometimes, you don’t have to follow tradition if it just doesn’t feel right.
Let’s get this all completely straight, I adore Gavin. If this tradition meant a lot to him then I would consider the alternative, but when I asked him to provide a comment on this post about how he feels about the whole surname situation, his response was: ‘I’m not fussed.’ – which sums him up completely, really! At least this way, we both get to keep a part of our old identities and enter a new one, together. After all, isn’t togetherness what marriage is about?
Photography by Ed Brown Photography.