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Woman’s Parents Refuse To Attend Wedding After She Secretly Changed Her Geographical Name

Upset older couple
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Many of us have gone through a phase in our lives when we didn’t care much for the name we were given at birth, but some of us eventually learned to appreciate it.

Perhaps we learned the story behind it or found out how much the name meant to the one or ones who named us.

This, of course, isn’t the case for everyone, and many have gone on to change their names to something that makes them happy (and rightfully so).

A woman on Reddit, whose parents proudly named her “Pennsylvania,” secretly changed her name five years ago and when she recently told them, they became irate and refused to attend her upcoming wedding, so she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit to seek feedback from fellow Redditors.

Redditor Educational_Team_377 asked:

“AITA for keeping my name change a secret for five years?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“So, my (26/F[emale]) parents decided to name my sister and I after American states.”

“I have permission to share her name (Arizona) and I was called Pennsylvania at birth.”

“Yea, my parents are weird. I guess they thought geographical names were cool but I think there’s a huge difference between calling your child Arizona or Dakota or Paris Vs Pennsylvania.”

“They’re massive republicans and America lovers so maybe they wanted to be patriotic.”

So, OP went by a nickname whenever she could.

“For as long as I can remember, everyone has called me Penn or Penny.”

“My parents insisted that everyone was to call me by my full name but most people could see how ridiculous my parents are.”

“My sister (28/F[emale]) didn’t struggle as much with her name since Arizona just sounds better than Pennsylvania, and the Grey’s Anatomy character Arizona Robbins made the name seem quite cool as we got older.”

But OP had a more difficult time with her name.

“I was mocked and teased as a child in elementary school because of my parent’s insistence on my full name.”

“They would literally berate my teachers for letting me write ‘Penny’ on my work/books.”

So, she did something about it but didn’t tell everyone at first.

“When I was 21, I got my name legally changed to Penelope.”

“Most people I had met in college had assumed that I went by Penny as a nickname for Penelope, even my boyfriend’s mother called me Penelope because I was too embarrassed to tell her that Penny was short for Pennsylvania.”

“I kept it a secret from my parents and close family because I knew my parents would go mental and accuse me of disrespecting their choice.”

But the time came when she needed to tell her folks.

“I’m getting married this summer to my lovely boyfriend Tom (31/M[ale]) and as you all know, you have to say your full name in your wedding ceremony when doing your vows.”

“I knew I had to fess up about the name change because the alternative would be hoping they kept quiet when they heard me say ‘I, Penelope’ instead of ‘I, Pennsylvania.'”

And the news didn’t go over so well.

“I invited them over to my home, and I tried to tell them in a really calm way that I had changed my name, but they freaked out.”

“They said that I was disrespectful, I was calling their choice dumb etc.”

“They are refusing to attend the wedding now.”

OP wonders if the issue is that she waited so long to tell them.

“I know I’m not the AH for changing my name, but my parents are particularly pissed about how I kept it hidden for five years before telling them.”

“Most people I know agree with them.”

“They think that I should’ve had the courage to be honest with them years ago so they would’ve had time to get used to it instead of me dropping the news on them two months before my wedding and causing all this drama.”

“A few other family members have dropped out and my poor sister (who is maid of honor) is having a nightmare with this.”

“My parents believe they had the right to know much earlier.”

“Tldr, parents think I am the AH for keeping this a secret. AITA?”

“Edit: I know I could ask the officiant/priest to say Penny instead of Penelope, but I don’t want to hide my real name on my wedding day.”

OP has offered the following explanation for why she thinks she might be the a**hole:

“I may be the a**hole because I hid my name change from my parents for five years.”

“This is because they believed they had the right to know.”

“It’s now causing drama surrounding my wedding.”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole.

“NTA – how come none of your relatives are appalled that your parents care more about a dumb name than their actual child?” – SkyComplex2625

“NTA. You can change your name if you want, and the name your parents lumbered you with at birth was an excellent reason to do so.”

“From what you’ve written, I suspect your parents would’ve blown up whatever, and the 5 years is just a pretense to hang their anger on.”

“2 months is enough to get used to the idea too.”

“As for boycotting the wedding because of it: they need to get over themselves.”

“That is a big overreaction to my mind.”

“It sounds like your parents need to grow up a bit tbh.” – Diligent-Comfort-191

“NTA – If your parents spent 13 years of your school life trying to force everyone to call you ‘Pennsylvania,’ I suspect they would have spent the past five making you miserable for changing your name.”

“Hence, your silence.” – snarksallday


“Dear Colorado and Mississippi, I mean mom/ dad. No matter when I told you of my name change, you would have blown up.”

“I tried to explain my feelings multiple times over the years and you never cared about MY feelings about MY name.”

“If you need someone to stick with a name no matter what, get a dog.”

“Until you can sincerely apologize to me for this and everything else you have blown out of proportion through the years, you are uninvited to my wedding, and I plan on having no contact with you.”

“Anyone you try to get on your side will also be NC.”

“Congratulations on losing a daughter and a son-in-law!” – Trick_Delivery4609

“NTA. Your parents are for naming you Pennsylvania in the first place.”

“They are even bigger AHs for refusing to attend your wedding as are anyone else who takes their side.” – Outrageous_Shoe_1450

“NTA, this just reminds me of the bit in Family Guy where Meg says that Meg isn’t short for Meghan and it cuts away to Peter writing Megatron on her birth certificate…” – TheCosmicUnderground


“I can understand them being upset, but they really should take you hiding the name change as a sign that maybe they need to do some introspection.”

“And you made a great choice with Penelope!” – VulgarTurkey

“NTA – as a trans person, I have so much experience with this.”

“Your name is not your parent’s property, and if you knew they were going to react so badly to it, I don’t see any reason why you should have told them sooner.” – Chance_Chef_6383

“After naming you a ridiculous name and doubling down on it every chance they got, no matter how it affected you, your parents honestly are giant AH’s.”

“Of course, you probably do want them at your wedding, though honestly, they don’t deserve to be there after disrespecting your choice as an adult to change your name.”

“NTA” – SnooDoughnuts4691

“NTA. Although it could be worse.”

“You could have been named Bognor Regis. It’s a town in England.” – AliveAd2219

“Good God… Didn’t your parents know that while your mother was pregnant, she was not supposed to smoke, drink, or have a big bowl of crazy for breakfast each morning?”

“NTA.” – CalendarDad

“NTA – Like someone who tells their parents their true sexuality years after everyone else, you struggled until you were forced to tell them.”

“If ostracizing you makes them feel better, you don’t need them.”

“And be careful Tom’s full name isn’t Tomato, and he’s been hiding it 😊” – PuzzleheadedRoyal559


“A. You are an adult. You can change your name to HamSprinkle D*ldo if you want to.”

“They should be appreciative that you kept any part or derivation of a name that you hated.”

“They had decades of forcing you to be called a sh*tty name; you don’t have to give them your wedding day, too.”

“B. You don’t have to tell them anything.”

“The way they are reacting right now is EXACTLY why you didn’t tell them earlier.”

“If they can’t hold their stupid thoughts inside at your wedding, are you expected to believe it would have been better at any other point in your life?”

“C. If they want to make the issue about respect, just admit to the fact that you don’t respect their decision to name you Pennsylvania and force you to live with it, in spite of repeatedly being told it made you uncomfortable.”

“More importantly: They have no respect for you as a person.”

“In their minds, your name, your wedding day, and your life aren’t about you; they’re about them.”

“That sucks.”

“D. If they don’t want to attend the wedding, f**k ’em.” – StatusQuoBot

According to her fellow Redditors, it seems OP shouldn’t feel bad about changing her name or hiding it from her parents.

We do hope they can work through the issue, though, because it sounds like she really wants them to be a part of her big day.

Best of luck!

Written by AB Keith

AB Keith is an educator turned roadtripper who is currently teaching virtually while touring the USA. Her dream is to visit all the national parks and create a series of nonfiction children's books about NP adventures through the eyes of her dog, Backpack Benny.