Photographed by Winnie Au.
If you are like us and subscribed to a number of unfortunate PR email lists, you may have noticed that yesterday was "National Proposal Day." One interesting thing that came out of this Hallmark-iest of events, however, is information from a poll conducted by David's Bridal inquiring about the habits of engaged ladies. According to the brand's stats, one in five women preempt the official taking of their partner's last name by changing usernames online. And, they're doing this before actually getting engaged.
While it's hard (read: awkward) to imagine just how these conversations would play out amongst the couples, this statistic does provoke a conversation about the general status quo of name-changing today. One might assume that the percentage of women taking their husbands' last names would go down as more and more women make it big in the workforce — the more established you are, the more inconvenient a name change can be. A study published a few years back found, after looking at 35 years of data, that the number of women keeping their maiden names was highest in the '90s at 23%, before eventually leveling out to 18% in the decade following. And, of course, the choice to keep a maiden name or not is greatly affected by a number of factors including religion, whether or not the woman's parents are divorced, and age (women who married in their late 30s were over six times more likely to keep their maiden names than those who married in their early 20s).
The study doesn't provide data for the last few years, but it seems like, at least for most of the 2000s, the practice of adopting a husband's name was back on the upswing. Those fluctuations are interesting in their own right, but the fact that — if this David's Bridal info is any indication of reality — women are changing their names preemptively seems like a reflection of the increasingly bonkers culture of weddings, proposals, and all the (expensive) trappings that come with it. The idea of slowly releasing your post-name-change presence online brings to mind women who, "just in case," book wedding spaces years in advance or buy the perfect dress when they see it, regardless of whether they've actually contemplated marriage with a specific partner. But, hey, in this day and age, you gotta lock down your domain name early, right?