With two weddings coming up this year it has made me look back to the wonderful time in my life when Bryce and I were busy planning our wedding and our upcoming lives together (I can’t believe it’s been 4 and a half years already). And while planning our lives I remembered getting asked the question “are you going to change your name?” To change your name or not to change your name, THAT is the question. I am proud to say that I am now Mrs. Sarah Hunter but before Sarah Hunter there was Sarah Cholmondeley (pronounced Chumly). That’s right CHOLMONDELEY… count ‘em. That’s 12 letters folks! As a little girl I always thought that I would take my husband’s name, I just assumed. I mean that’s what you do. You get out your notebook and write down your first name along with whatever the last name of your crush is at the time. And then you write it over and over and over again. Mrs. Sarah Hunter, Mrs. Hunter, Mrs. SARAH HUNTER. My mother took my dad’s last name. And in fact, you grow up not really even knowing that you have a choice. You go on in life assuming that when/if the day finally comes for you to get married you will proudly take your husband’s name and not even give it a second thought. However, when the day does come something weird happens. Or at least something weird happened to me. I liked being a Cholmondeley. I really liked it. Yes, it was a pain in the ass to spell. And yes, it caused many years of confusion between the mon in my name and the mno in the alphabet. There were plenty of mispronunciations… Chal-mon-deley, Chol-mon-delay, Call-mon-dely. And of course there was the fun of trying to spell it out over the phone for a person. “C-H-O-L-M as in Mary, O, N as in Nancy, D as in David, E as in… ummm…..elephant? L, E as in Elephant again, Y”. But it was a part of me. It was my identity and I was sad to think that I would no longer be Sarah Cholmondeley. I always knew when my name was being called because there would be a “Sarah” followed by a small pause before I inevitably jumped in and let them off the hook before attempting and finally butchering my last name. It was my nick name growing up, the name on my sports jersey (of course shortened to Chumly so it would fit) and was my first email address. It was on my passport, my driver’s license and my sin number. I was Sarah Cholmondeley for 25 years and now I was to be stripped of it?! So when the day came to make the decision to change my last name I actually thought about NOT changing it. Bryce of course was supportive in every way and made it very clear that it was MY choice to make and that he was fine with whatever the outcome… but I could tell that it would mean a lot to him if I were to change it. I was torn. I really loved being Sarah Cholmondeley but part of me really wanted to become Sarah Hunter. The rational independent part of me thought, I am Sarah Cholmondeley and that is who I am, while the romantic part of me loved the tradition of making it official with becoming Mr. and Mrs. Bryce Hunter. I thought about it for a long time. I struggled, I wrote a pros and cons list (I told you I like lists) and I had many conversations with Bryce about it. I don’t remember the exact day and I don’t remember what exactly helped me make my decision, but I do remember deciding to become a Hunter and I remember thinking that this was something I wanted to do for Bryce. Although he respected my decision, and although he would have been fine with me being Sarah Cholmondeley the rest of my life, I knew it meant a lot to him. And don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all for him. The nine year old girl in me wanted to spend the rest of my life writing Mrs. Sarah Hunter over and over again in my notebook, and so that was it. We were married and I was now Sarah Hunter. One day I was Sarah Cholmondeley and the next I was Sarah Hunter. Of course if I had known what a pain it was to go through and change your name on all of your legal identification I think I would have stayed Cholmondeley (kidding). But I’m glad.
After a while you get used to your new name and that also becomes your identity. You stop writing down your maiden name by mistake and you just get to the day when you don’t give it a second thought. However, it did take me a while to get used to not spelling out my last name for everyone. “Sarah Hunter. That’s H-U-N-T…” and then Bryce would remind me… “ummm Babe. They know how to spell Hunter…” haha riiiiiiiiight… And I consider myself pretty lucky to be a Hunter and all that comes along with it. My name always fits on the line when signing and it saves a lot of time. And I get to officially be one of the Hunter clan. The one downfall of Hunter? I am not the only Sarah Hunter in the world and finding a new email address to incorporate Hunter was basically impossible without 24601 after the name (you win an extra point from me if you just sang out Les Mis in your head).
The interesting thing about changing your name when you get married is that once you decide you do want to take your husband’s last name you have two choices. You can 1. Legally change your last name or you can 2. Assume your husband’s last name. By assuming your husband’s last name you are still taking on their name but you are not completely erasing your previous identity. I thought that this was a nice compromise. To the world I am now a Hunter but in my heart I will always, no matter what, be a little bit Cholmondeley.