Say goodbye to your old name and welcome the new with a “name burning”

Guest post by baconkins
Burn © by Briography, used under Creative Commons license.

I know I am not a new person because my last name is changing, but I will no longer be my current legal name ever again. Even though I don't have a strong family tie to it and want to take my partner's name, it does feel like I am breaking up with my old last name.

I decided I want to do a name burning. I don't mean name burning as if I am taking things with my last name and burning them like a book burning. I want to do a burning, because out of the flames rises the phoenix.

I'm going to invite the women of my family to sit with me and just talk (and maybe drink) around a camp fire — or in our case a lot of candles. This way I can leave the old me, have a moment to appreciate the change, and start with my partner's last name. Corny, I know, but this would mean more to me than having a bridal shower or hen party.

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Comments on Say goodbye to your old name and welcome the new with a “name burning”

  1. Hmmm interesting thought. Its nice to see a pro-name changing activity featured on OBB since things around here are usually geared toward keeping your name.

    • I respect women’s (or anyone’s) choice to take whatever name they wants, but personally I find the (usually) pro-keeping your name attitude here to be refreshing, since off of this website all I get is negativity about this choice.

  2. I LOVE this!! I love my last name, and needless to say it’s been a huge part of my identity for my whole life. But I do want to change my name, and something like this – I think will help!! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I really like this. I always knew I wanted to take my husband’s name (tho I couldn’t explain why), but when it came time to making the changes EVERYWHERE, I started to really want to hang on to my maiden name. I think this type of ceremony would really have been helpful.

  4. For me, a name burning would be more destructive than rebirth. But I like the idea of finding a way to appreciate the transition from one case to another.

    In my case, I am changing my name…but not yet. I’m marrying during the semester and I didn’t want to deal with grades and registration issues with two names in the middle of the semester. So I’m waiting till the end of the semester to change my name. I like that I have time to adjust to all the other changes of marriage while bidding a fond farewell to my maiden name at the time that’s right for me.

    • Oh, I hadn’t thought of that! I’m getting married during the school year as well. Something to take into consideration, thanks! 🙂

  5. This is a great way to transition! I’m going to recommend this to my daughter who is getting married soon.

  6. Maybe you could grab an extra copy of every form you have to fill out to change your name, and burn THOSE when you have finally finished transitioning 😉 More than a year since my wedding, and I still have to do my passport and my credit cards. Sheeesh.

  7. I LOOOVE this idea!!! I was married several years ago, and when the relationship became abusive I immediately packed a bag and moved two hours away. My divorce wasn’t finalized for another year, so my new friends and co-workers got to know me by my married name. By the time it was over with I didn’t seem much point in going back to my maiden name, so I didn’t.
    Now that I’m re-marrying, I look forward to taking a new last name and finally ridding myself of the last scrap of evidence of that marriage, and this is a PERFECT way to embrace that change:)

    • That is exactly how I feel.

      If I still had my maiden name, I wouldn’t be all about a name burning. But, God willing, if I do remarry, I will be getting rid of my ex-husband’s last name. Burning it seems fitting.

  8. We are doing variation on this that you might find interesting.

    First you need to know, I grew up with a strong German name that commands respect, but my fiancé’s current last name is awful… Absolutely awful… It is a synonym of trash and filth… Not something I want to take, but we are both traditional in not wanting him to take my name either. So we are both picking a new one.

    We both want everyone to be very very aware of the change and we both need a moment like you described to honor where we come from and where we are going so we are doing a unity candle/name burning during the ceremony.

    Right now, the plan is to have one sheet of paper with both our names written on it, then instead of lighting the ‘unity candle’ with our separate candles we will ignite our current names. When they burn away it will reveal the new, joint name behind them.

    If you have suggestions let me know.

  9. I love this idea. I dislike my last name (mainly because my father is a terrible excuse for a father), and I hate being associated with it! While it does flow with the rest of my name well, I want to change it. Everyone is telling me, “Just hyphenate it!” but I don’t want to. I’ll be burning my name and burning some of the history my last name has carried me through, and starting fresh from the ashes to help grow a new, beautiful life and legacy with my FH’s last name. <3

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