I have a long list of "marriage thoughts" I always mean to write and never get around to. George and I tied the knot in December 2009 so I've got solid 1.5 years of marriage experience, which is 1.5 years more than my about-to-be-married couples, making me incredibly wise, right? In any case, there are some things I've learned about being married and I'd like to share with the engaged crowd. So here's marriage tip #1: Keep your maiden name somewhere. I was very torn about the take-his-name or don't-take-his-name dilemma. On the one hand, I really liked my name before (Amber Lupin) - it's just so symmetrical and it also creates great anagrams (Brian Plume, for instance). On the other hand, George really wanted me to take his name. We once had this conversation, which convinced me to do it: George: "I want you to take my name." Me: "Yeah, but it's all 'I belong to you and macho and stuff.'" George: "No, it's like we're family." So, dammit, if that was the answer then... yes, I will take your name. At some point, it was suggested to me (probably on the internet) that you could ditch your middle name and stick the last name in there. Brilliant! I used to have a Nicole in the middle there, but it wasn't a name I ever identified with. So out it went and now I'm officially Amber Lupin Wilkie. And this constantly helps me get out of annoying situations where I might otherwise have to spend a lot of time explaining why I need to take Amber Lupin's stuff when my name is Amber Wilkie. Because it happens all the time. Imagine how many rewards programs, credit cards, deposits, automated bills, shipping invoices etc. etc. etc. you have already filled out with your maiden name. If you either keep it, or switch it to your middle name, you'll save yourself a ton of hassle. Even the sternest people (maybe not TSA but the post office recently) will accept your old last name if it's your middle name. I'm so glad I kept my name somewhere and highly recommend it to ladies that want to save themselves some grief. And because this is a damn photo blog, not a rambling nonsense blog (well, okay, I guess it's both), here's a photo of me and George taken recently by Tara Welch when I was second shooting for her. It's a miracle any of these came out because it was hot, muggy and I was in my "shooting a wedding" clothes.