Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Guest Post: My Feminist Partner

By Allyn K. Milojevich

I absolutely love my name. It’s two names that look ridiculous on paper but are super easy to say when they are spelled out phonetically:

A-lin Mil-loy-ye-vich

See, easy peasy. Ever since I was little, I knew that I would never, ever give up my name. Maybe it was an easier conclusion for me since I grew up with a mom who kept her maiden name upon marriage to my father. And the decision was solidified when eleven days before my sixteenth birthday my father, of whom I have a spitting personality (thankfully I got my looks from my mom), had a surprise heart attack in the middle of the night and passed away moments later.

So perhaps it never was a “choice” for me. It was a fact; I would be a Milojevich forever.

I had just started the second year of my Ph.D. program when I met Chris, a high school teacher who was taking a few years off from teaching to get a Ph.D. in chemistry (the logic still baffles me). Little did I know that twenty-five months from when we met we would be writing our own vows to read to one another along the banks of the Tennessee River.

We moved in together after four months of dating and he finally said it: that we should get married and have the same last name. My defense mechanism kicked it and I avoided the marriage subject all together for a few months longer. However, he did finally pop the question (while I was teaching general chemistry lab) and we did have to address the issue.

See, his last name is Bennett. But after listening to my feminist diatribes for months, he pushed for a long time that we change our name to Bennojevich. To be pronounced:


I tossed this around for a little while, but eventually vetoed it because A) I thought it was stupid and B) that’s not *my* name.

So one day while I was cooking dinner, he walked in and announced that he was taking my last name and was in the process of submitting an academic article with Hisfirst Mylast. I tried to talk him out of it at first, realizing that when we moved on from our graduate school home, everyone would just assume I had taken his name. I tried to convince him that it was okay to be married and not have the same name, even if we did have kids. Having the same last name absolutely does not mean we are any less committed to one another. But he was having none of it.

He explained that even two years prior, he could never imagine marrying someone who wouldn’t take his last name. He explained how now that he knew me, he couldn’t imagine it any other way. I eventually caved and didn’t tell anyone unless the woman marrying us pronounced us Chris and Allyn Milojevich.

People were surprised at first, but not really in the end. Most of our friends and my family assumed we would keep our individual names but loved our decision in the end. A week and a half after our wedding his first academic article was published with his first name and my last name. I mean, *our* last name. Yikes.

We were married last October, but we couldn’t take a honeymoon until spring break (what with school and all) and decided to visit Russia. However, the visa process to get into Russia is long and somewhat complicated and started even before our wedding. So we had to keep our respective last names because our visas had to match our passports and so on. We just got back and are starting on the name change process. In eleven states, men are able to change their names as simply as women with a marriage license. But not in Tennessee! It’s a complicated, expensive process. I’ll be sure to write an update in a few months when all is said and done!


Allyn is a graduate student who spends most of her time reading and writing about interest groups and science funding. When not doing school work, she puts that master’s degree in chemistry to good use my working on her homemade cheese making skills. She lives with her partner and two cocker spaniels who keep her busy.


A huge thank you to Allyn for sharing her story with 2000 Dollar Wedding kindred spirits! If you have an idea for a guest post you would like to write, please
send me an e-mail!

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Whitney said...

My fiance also offered to change his last name. But I said no because (and this is not a criticism of your feminism, Allyn) because I think that if feminism means we're equal, neither person should get to "own" the other by naming them. I don't think the answer to a feminist agreement is to swing in the other direction but rather, to meet in the middle. The kids thing? If if it's a boy-his name. Girl-my name.

Steven Tyler's PJs said...

I like this one. I have a friend whose husband took her name too, and it is exactly perfect for them.

H. E said...

Name changing is a pretty exclusive process in TN. Not looking forward to it.

Anonymous said...

Recently I have been struggling with the term "Mrs." I am completing my doctorate 10 days before our wedding, so the plan was to be "Dr. Maidenname." However, I was recently filling out an application in which I had to check a box: "Mr., Ms., Mrs." Oh no! What box to check? Wikipedia convinced me to never check the "Mrs." box, as allegedly "Mrs." comes from "Mr's." Ew. Not going to happen. So I told me fiancee last week that I would either be "Dr." or "Ms.," but never "Mrs." Therefore, this week he booked our honeymoon with my names as "Mrs. Maidenname." Fabulous.

Roxanne said...

I love this story! What a good partnership you guys have. Thanks for sharing. :)

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