Britt just shared this article on Facebook about Zoe Saldana‘s husband taking her last name, as opposed to the traditional, wife taking her husband’s last name. Boy, internet commentors are lovely people aren’t they!

I’ll share Zoe’s Facebook post below so that it’s easier for you to lose respect for the rest of the Internet-welding human race, but I thought it would be important to cover the facts when it comes to husbands taking last names, and anyone taking last names really.

The most important thing to note is this: when you get married, no-one’s name changes automatically. Your celebrant can call you Jack and Jill Smith for all he cares but it’s not legal.

So point number one: a marriage ceremony is not a name change ceremony in Australia.

However, when you get married, the Australian government provides an opportunity for married persons to change name.

Name change options when you get married

When a person gets married, they can

a) take their partner’s last name to replace their own last name

b) keep their last name

c) hyphenate their last name

If you want to know how to do that, go here.

You might notice I didn’t say bride or groom there, because both parties to a marriage have the same name change option. Although traditionally a woman would take her partner’s last name, she doesn’t have to, and he can take her name, or they can both hold onto their own names.

Even Britt has kept her name, and wants me to take her name, and as weird as it sounds to my old-man-head, I kind of like the idea of it.

What about a brand new name?

A celebrant friend of mine, Penny, recently married a couple who’s groom changed his last name to a brand new name, Van Halen, and after the wedding the bride took the steps to adopt his new last name.

What’s in a name?

Everyone has a different feeling about their last name. Even I would love it if Britt took my last name, but then it’s just a few letters from the alphabet, maybe we should start a new name?

Zoe Saldana’s Facebook post

Fathers, sons, brothers, men everywhere: Your legacy will not perish if you take your partner’s surname, or she keeps hers. I’ve been made aware that a comment I made regarding my marriage has garnered some attention. I felt proud that my husband decided to take my last name as his own… and I his. I shared my hesitation with him when he told me about his decision, not only did he say, “I don’t give a shhheeeetttt!!” (with a very strong Italian accent!!) he also asked me, “Why not? What are you so afraid of?” And it made me wonder… What am I so afraid of? Why is it so surprising, shocking- eventful that a man would take his wife’s surname? Women have never been asked if its ok for them to give up their names — why doesn’t that make the news? Men, you will not cease to exist by taking your partner’s surname. On the contrary — you’ll be remembered as a man who stood by change. I know our sons will respect and admire their father more because their father lead by example. Gentlemen, I implore you to think outside the box- remove the box altogether. Let’s redefine masculinity. A real “man” leads along side his partner. A real man accepts his mortality. A real man acknowledges that nothing can be done alone. I hope that the “buzz” behind this topic isn’t just for gossip — but an inspiration for us all to look within and see what is truly important. Let’s start by letting go of some of the limitations we have inherited from the past, and forge a new path moving forward. With Love, Zoe and Marco