I'll be the first to admit it: I am nowhere near marriage. While my friends are all turning their bridal Pinterest boards into reality, I'm completely content being a supportive guest, helping out with decisions on menu designs, floral arrangements, cake flavors and everything in between.
While these friends are celebrating their vows, I'm celebrating the fact my boyfriend and I have maintained a steady relationship for six months. I'm in love with him, but neither of us are ready for marriage in the slightest.
We're still getting to know each other's quirks, we're both in our mid-twenties, our finances are going nowhere fast in an expensive city and honestly, sometimes I'm not really sure he's “the one.”
Truthfully, I'm not even sure I believe in the concepts of soulmates – is there really just “one” out there for me?
While I'm still working through my views on the concept of soulmates, my proximity to my friends' marriages has made me really put some thought into my own dream wedding and marriage. Thanks a lot, friends.
While no, I don't know who will be my groom, where the wedding will be and when I'll even say “I do!,” I am sure of one thing: I will not change my last name. Not on my wedding day, not ever.
As a girl with an extremely common name (literally the most common name the year I was born), I grew tired of looking up every single time someone said the name “Emily” in a room.
I tried to create nicknames, but they came and went. I even tried to go by my middle name. The only one that stuck (kudos to track coaches!) was my last name. Beginning in high school and continuing until now, I started to instinctually only respond to my last name.
It's how I began to introduce myself to friends and to coworkers. I finally felt like I had a sense of individuality among a sea of Emilys. My last name became my permanent identifier. It's innately tied to my attention, my presence, my personality, my identity.
My name not only identifies me as an individual, it identifies my family and binds me to my sister and my parents, as well as a larger heritage. My family immigrated to the United States from Mexico, beginning their new lives with nothing.
From this blank slate, my grandparents worked to support a new family, served in the military and maintained Hispanic tradition.
From a young age, I was exposed to a rich Hispanic heritage and a strong family bond. My last name is a symbol of this bond, this heritage, this rich cultural expression. I want to share and celebrate this with my name, rather than adopt another name with a background that is not personally connected to me whatsoever.
Not to mention, changing your name is stressful. Why should I have to? I would rather not go to the DMV, the bank, the court, human resources. I would rather spend those hours with my new husband.
More than that, I have built a personal brand through websites and social media channels. I don't want to put a roadblock in any momentum I have created professionally.
I am in love, and I will love whoever I marry. But I also love my last name. I love the rich meaning it carries, the family memories it contains, the individuality and identity it has given me when I grew up hating my first name.
I do not want to give up these connections and connotations. I don't want to give up this identity for someone else - whether it be “the one” or not.