Do I change one name, or all of it?!

Hi all! I have been lurking here for a while, obsessing over baby names for a future time that I will need them, but now I have a more pressing issue to deal with and I have uncloaked to ask for advice from all you clever people.

I have an unusual first name that I have disliked to some degree since I was very small. I remember being around 5 and deciding that I was going to be called a different name. It is pretty enough, but requires a lot of spelling when I have to tell it to anyone, and then requires a spiel about how I ended up with the name, often ending with "Oh... were your parents hippies?". It also sounds too much like Brenda, or Linda, or any number of other such names. When people get it right first time it's an event worth noticing.

Last autumn I moved to a different part of the country and started a new job, and with this move I began using my middle name as my main name and it's just so much easier! People get it first time, and I haven't had to spell it once. I'm now becoming far more comfortable with this name, but of course all my family and friends - everyone I grew up with, studied with, worked with - know me as my first name and annoying as I have found my name, it's inextricable from my pre-now identity and it would feel weird if they were to call me something different.

I've been thinking about swapping my first and last names so I can have the simpler one as my official name and people can call me by my middle name if they like, but I've never been sure of the flow. It has recently become more urgent than idle musing as my partner and I are getting married in August. Neither of us has a particular attachment to our current surnames so we are both going to take my mum's maiden name, which is nice and has a great history.

So now my dilemma is this: I'm changing my surname, so do I also make any changes to my forenames at the same time so I don't have to go through changing everything twice? It's kinda now or never, but our engagement is a short one and people won't have much time to get used to the fact I'm changing my surname - and that's without me juggling around every single name. Will people still know who I am online? Should I give up on changing my first names around and carry on as I am now, or should I change everything when I have the chance and hope it works out?

My first name is Vrinda, my middle is Eva, and my soon-to-be last name begins with E.

I really like the flow of Vrinda Eva, I don't like Eva Vrinda. Is this just because I'm used to it the other way, or does it sound as clunky as I think it does?

I've been over this in my head so many times that it's all one big muddle! Any and all comments or advice will be taken most gratefully!


March 12, 2014 3:19 PM

Vrinda by itself doesn't have much flow -- for English tongues, vr is a difficult combination, especially at the beginning of a word/name -- so I'm not sure it's worth worrying about the flow of the name as a whole.

I generally advise against worrying about flow with a middle name anyway, because they're so seldom used. In your case, the middle name would be (is) used, but usually only by itself: nobody calls you by both names at once, right? So again, I wouldn't worry about the flow of first and middle. Spend some care on the combination of first and last, and in your case middle and last, but don't worry about the whole thing together -- even if it's imperfect, it'll be perfectly livable.

Marriage is a good opportunity to "fix" your name, and I do think that swapping first and middle would be the ideal fix. People who've always called you Vrinda can continue to do so, because it will still be your name, but everyone else can use Eva, and you'll avoid all sorts of hassle and headache. And just think: your initials would spell Eve! :-)

March 12, 2014 6:24 PM

Oh! I hadn't thought of the Vr being what makes it clash, that makes sense, it's no wonder it doesn't fit.

I'm still worried about the flow of the whole name when used in places such as Facebook or Linkedin, I use them for both work and personal life so if I don't have my whole name displayed I will jump from being Vrinda W. to Eva E. with no way for people to know that I am the same person. So it kind of has to be Eva Vrinda E.

And yes! I think my initials might be one of my favourite things about the change, hehe.

Thank you for the reassurance!

March 13, 2014 8:54 AM

One thing you need to be aware with changing your given names in conjunction with a marriage - many places won't let you change your first name with just a marriage license. In other words, assuming that's the rules where you are, you'd have to go through court just like someone making a change at any other time.

March 13, 2014 10:39 AM

I haven't looked into the way it works here yet, but I suspected it would likely have to be changed by deed poll rather than usual marriage license even without the first name because we will both be taking a completely new surname, not one of us taking the other's name. I don't mind the extra bother, I'd just like to avoid changing all my details and IDs more than once.