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We used data obtained from wedding announcements in the New York Times newspaper from 1971 through 2005 (N=2,400) to test 9 hypotheses related to brides' decisions to change or retain their maiden names upon marriage. As predicted, a trend was found in brides keeping their surname, and correlates included the bride’s occupation, education, age, and the type of ceremony (religious versus nonsectarian). Partial support was found for the following correlates: officiants representing different religions, brides with one or both parents deceased, and brides whose parents had divorced or separated. There was mixed support for the hypothesis that a photograph of the bride alone would signal a lower incidence of name keeping. Results indicated that 14 out of the 30 hypothesized directional planned comparisons were statistically significant after Bonferroni adjustment.


Originally published:

Kopelman, Richard E., Rita J. Shea-Van Fossen, Eletherios Paraskevas, Leanna Lawter, and David J. Prottas. "The Bride Is Keeping Her Name: A 35-Year Retrospective Analysis Of Trends And Correlates." Social Behavior And Personality 37.5 (2009): 687-700.