The Family Name

During engagement Kamel and I talked a lot about what we wanted to do with our names. Initially I thought I would turn Dupuis into my middle name and simply be Lauren Perez, but it just didn’t feel right. Actually, both Kamel and I would turn Dupuis into our middle names and Perez into our last, but it just didn’t work for me. So as engagement progressed and we were referring to the wedding as the Dupuis-Perez wedding it became more and more clear that that was how we viewed the creation of our new family. We decided to be Lauren and Kamel Dupuis-Perez.

But! With all of the details of the wedding being out of state (in Seattle vs where we lived at the time in California) and needing to use our passports directly after the wedding AND with Kamel becoming a citizen in November after our July wedding – name changes just didn’t happen.

Then when Kamel started working up here, he had access to legal services. Because we were waaaayyy past the point where I could change my name easily with my marriage certificate we really weren’t sure what we needed to do, so we enlisted a lawyer to advise us on the proper paperwork and process. That turned out to be a giant waste of time. She was super flaky and unhelpful and ended up canceling on us the day before we were going to go to court. By that time we were so frustrated and both working with little free time during the week we decided to wait until after we were done traveling so that we could handle our ID and Passport all in 1 fell swoop.

So on monday, 3 years and 1 kid later – we  dropped Gabe off at daycare, went to the county clerk’s office and set up a court date for later that afternoon. We paid a bunch of money, and together stood up in front of a judge, our right hand raised and legally changed both of our names to Dupuis-Perez.

Name Change

My dad came and tried to take sneaky photos of us, as cameras and cell phones weren’t allowed in the court room. That’s Kamel, and I’m behind the white-haired lady. You can see my head and my red sleeve poking out.

And then it was done and we were officially official. We now have the same name as our kid!

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After the hearing we ran over to the Social Security office to change our names there. That took about an hour. Then we walked over to the Department of Licensing to get our IDs updated. That was terrible and crowded and we stood in a line for another hour even before we got our number.

We still need to update all of our bills and banks and insurance and passport and employers – and a million other things, but we are well on our way!

The best part of the process  was that it felt like renewing our vows. It felt like this really great affirmation that we are family, that I continually choose Kamel and he continually chooses me and now we are even more intertwined. For better or worse. It was also really fun having my dad along with us, somebody else to witness it, somebody else to people watch with and keep us company while we waited and waited for our number to be called.

I’m just so happy to have this opportunity and to be able to experience something as banal as government errands with my buddy. It just takes a slight shift in outlook to turn anything from boring drudgery to romantic gesture. I am so lucky that even the business of life can be an adventure with Kamel.

That night we came home and celebrated with champagne. To names! To the power to change them! To Kamel taking part of me and me taking part of him! Yippee!

19 thoughts on “The Family Name”

  1. I really really love that you two decided to do this. You are the first couple I’ve ever known to BOTH take on a compound name. It really speaks to your spirit of being equals, being a team. I never really thought about it before, but names can be a loaded thing. It makes me think about how we will handle this part of marriage and if it will carry meaning for Daniel like it does for me. This will be a good topic for discussion!

    1. It is absolutely a personal personal personal change, regardless of what you decide to do – as long as you are excited for it then it is the right decision. For me, when I imagined getting mail as Lauren Perez it felt like that was a stranger. I was also really excited to have marriage be a transformative experience, not just for me but for Kamel as well. Marriage is no longer about property rights, it really is about creating your own family and merging two worlds. I didn’t want Kamel to be left out of that experience.

  2. It was so much fun to be there and watch the event. I agree that it was very special. I was going to ask the judge if we could take a picture of the three of you, but she was busy and there was that lady that use to work at my office, which I didn’t want to have ANYTHING to do with. Ha. Congratulations to the Dupuis-Perez Clan……. Love you tons DB

  3. This is so exciting! Congratulations, ya’ll! I’m all about the conscious, intentional, much-discussed, works-for-you name change! I just went through one myself and it was a very similar process to what you describe… so basically a kind of expensive, time-consuming ordeal. But I feel like it was so worth it – I love my new name and the way it makes me feel like part of a new family (while keeping my birth family)!!

    1. This is crazy! Thank you for sharing, I had no seen this before. And yes, Gabe was Dupuis-Perez at birth. But we were also in California which is pretty liberal with stuff like that. We had figured out that we wanted to be Dupuis-Perez before we got married but hadn’t gotten to it, so our kids were always going to be Dupuis-Perez. His middle name is Esmay for my mom’s mom’s maiden name. Our next kid will have Kamel’s mom’s mom’s maiden name as their middle name.

  4. I LOVE this so so much. My bf and I are in the oh-so-lovely “pre-engaged” state and name changing is something that we talk about on the regular. When I was younger I was 100% on board with changing my name to my someday husband’s last name but the older I got and the more serious I got with relationships the more I realized how much I didn’t want to change it. It is so good to see the many different ways that couples go about this change. It should be fun and exciting not scary! Congrats on the new name!!

    1. When I was younger I was the same way. I wanted OUT of this hard to pronounce Dupuis business. But then it had so much history! And it is part of my identity! Marriage is already kind of a mind-fuck, I couldn’t handle all the things all at once.

      That being said! One of my best friends changed her name right away to her husband’s name and loves it! Whatever makes you happy and whatever you’re comfortable with is the best choice. 🙂

  5. Friends of mine are from Brazil and others are from a variety of Scandinavian countries and it’s so interesting the way surnames get assigned legally and culturally. Altering the surname to acknowledge the sex of the child (-son – dottir), or taking on the husband’s name, and bumping along the maiden name, and then the child gets the double-barreled surname, and if it’s a girl, one of the names gets bumped when she gets married, etc… It makes my head spin.

    I love the idea of naming yourself. Choosing who you’ll be as a family. Love.

  6. I think I read that you guys were doing this a while ago and love it so so much!! I really struggled with the name thing, and when I approached him with both taking the hyphen’d name he said no. To his credit, he thought about it, and in doing so realized that it would be super hard for him to change his name and must be just as hard for me. So we kept them separated, if you will. Socially we still go by Smeeny, which is our names smooshed up, which we have done since long before we were married.

    I do wish it was less of a “crazy” and “unorthodox” thing to do for the male to change his name. Yay for you guys!!!

    1. Going through the full name change process, it really isn’t so bad. So if you ever feel like rocking the Smeeny for reals (which is SO COOL and I wish Kamel would have been on board with us doing Duprez), I highly recommend. It costs us a chunk of change, but that varies based on county and other than that it has been very straightforward. <3

  7. You’re the second pair I know who has done it now and I love it super lots! IT DOES feel like you’re both choosing each other. <3

    We neither of us wanted to change our names enough to make that happen, but we're thinking that since Little Bean would be starting fresh, a hyphenated name wouldn't be weird for LB.

  8. My husband and I both changed our last names about 18 months after our wedding, and it was such a pain! We combined both of our last names into one last name and I love it, but I’m glad the court stuff is over. I didn’t find very many helpful resources on how to actually CHANGE a last name… I would have thought there would have been some sort of checklist out there. Congrats on your new name!

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