It’s a tradition that dates back to when women were seen as property passed down from father to husband, but in Australia 80 percent still take their husband’s name when they get married.
But newlyweds in love Jessy Marshall, 32, and Michael Puhle, 36, bucked that trend on Saturday when the groom honored his bride’s close-knit family by taking her name instead.
After a love for chocolate on Bumble in 2017, the publicist and her executive coach beau enjoyed a fairytale romance before Mike fell to one knee at their favorite park in Sydney’s Elizabeth Bay last August.
The couple married Saturday in a dreamlike ceremony next to a forest in Brunswick Heads, NSW, where a sign welcomed guests with the words: Introducing Jessica and Michael Marshall.
Happily Ever After: Jessy Marshall and Michael Puhle married Saturday in a dreamlike ceremony near Byron Bay, eschewing tradition for the wife to take the husband’s surname
A sign welcomed guests with the words: Introducing Jessica and Michael Marshall
Jessy, the director of PR firm Hive HQ, told the Daily Mail Australia that she feels blessed to have married a man who was willing to take the unconventional route.
“It felt special, I just felt really happy,” she said.
“Michael and I always have a very honest and open conversation, which I think is very special – most of them wouldn’t even have had such a conversational style.”
The naming decision was made on a tray of margaritas, with the couple finding that they were both indifferent to the age-old tradition.
In the end, it all came down to Jessy’s “huge” family, with whom she says she has an incredible bond.
“We figured out what a last name should really mean, and the obvious conclusion was Marshall,” Jessy recalled.
She added: “It was a very natural conversation and really it all came back to the legacy of the Marshall family name.”
Jessy’s father Carl (left) and his ‘huge’, close-knit family were the reason behind the couple’s (right) unconventional decision
The couple (pictured before their wedding day) made the unusual decision while drinking margaritas
Her close-knit clan gets together every two years for a raucous family gathering, while a WhatsApp group buzzes with chatter about weekly family dinners taking place for relatives living in Sydney.
“We’re crazy, wild and a lot of fun, but I also know that when you have a big family it can be overwhelming, so it meant so much when you wanted to have someone who really wanted to become special,” she said.
For Michael, the founder of Candor Coaching and Eight Week Life Hack, a professional development website, it was an easy decision to call.
“I’m comfortable enough in myself to do what I want,” he said.
“The actual history of taking a surname was about property and giving access to the woman – one of which no longer matters. It’s old thinking.’
While some keep their own names and other couples use the two hyphens, only three percent of men take their wife’s last name.
Mike (left) calls the tradition of women taking their husbands’ names ‘old thinking’
The couple married in a bohemian outdoor ceremony in Brunswick Heads, NSW, complete with a long sharing table (left) and vintage margarita canister (right)
Jessy says her family was thrilled to welcome another Marshall to the herd
Historically, taking a man’s name on marriage provided women with legal protection, especially with regard to legitimacy and inheritance.
But ever since women have been given freedom of choice through jobs and the right to control their own lives, many — like Mike — are beginning to wonder why a woman automatically gives up her name, and why it’s so rarely the other way around.
The Marshall family were delighted to welcome Mike into the fold, and Jessy said they couldn’t have been more supportive.
But while some see the move as a grand gesture of modern romance, for the most part, tradition reigns.
The number of Australian men who take their wives’ last names is not tracked, but a 2012 Swinburne University of Technology study of 908 parents found that 97 percent of married men kept their own names.