One other thing about applying for your marriage license in California is that you can determine your new last name right when you apply. (be sure you're certain about the name you list down because I've heard it's a hefty fee to change it again!)
I debated for awhile what I wanted to do with my last name once I got married. I've had my maiden name all my life. I'm proud of it, and it will always be a part of me. I can't really bring myself to fully let it go. But at the same time, I want to recognize the new union I'm entering into. My husband and his family are now part of my family. And I want that union to be a part of my new identity. So, what to do?
Someone suggested having two last names. Like, I would go by my married name in public but my maiden name would exist just on paper...just another name like my middle name. That didn't seem right for me either.
Enter the hyphen. In fact, I've told people this is what I wanted to do for years. They're reaction? Oh but your names will sound wierd together! Your name is long, his is hard to pronounce, it's just going to confuse people!
I have to admit, a hyphenated last name comprising of our two names will be a challenge for most. All my life, people always had trouble prounouncing my Filipino (actually Italian sounding) last name...the same for my fiance's Samoan name (man, those apostrophes!). Put the two together...I can see the look of horror of folks trying to figure it out! Does it bother me? Honestly...to me, it won't be any different -- it will just another hard-to-prounounce-ethnic-name to other people (just as my maiden name was). To me? It's a name I'm truly proud of!