<p>8 couples who combined last names and the amazing reasons they did it.</p>

<p>8 couples who combined last names and the amazing reasons they did it.</p>
Brangelina. Kimye. "Combined names" are a key step in becoming a celebrity "it" couple. But regular people all over the U.S. are doing the same thing. And making it legal.I recently read about the phenomenon of married couples legally taking a smushed-together — or otherwise completely invented — version of their last names. Smith and Johnson become the Smithsons, for example. I started asking around: Had anyone else heard of this?Turns out, a ton of people had. Almost everyone I asked knew a couple who had done it officially, done it unofficially, or at least thought about it. It might sound kind of odd, but there are a lot of great reasons modern couples choose to do something like this — everything from gender equality (FTW!) to giving the kids a fresh family identity to make their own. Here are eight forward-thinking, creative, and diverse couples who chose to use a combined name, and why they did it.1. Carla Cole + Brian Martin = the Latimers Photo by Carla Latimer, used with permission. These two turned to an unlikely tool when they decided to combine names: an anagram generator."We wanted a family name to share with the kids," Carla says. She says they almost had guests at their wedding vote on their top five favorite names. Instead, they wound up choosing on their own."We dropped our middle birth names, moved our maiden names to our middle names, and added the new last name," she says. And lived happily ever after.2. Blair Eckenrode + Megan Christensen = the Eckensens Photo by Shawnee/A Lovely Photo, used with permission When Eckenrode and Christensen got married, they had some understandably complicated feelings about the institution.Questioning the long upheld standards of marriage gave the couple a lot of freedom to define their own union how they saw fit. The first thing to go? The historic coverture laws that originated today's commonplace tradition of a woman relinquishing a part of her identity, her name, and assuming her husband's."We are a family,