31 August 2016

Bakari Willsky Kafele*

I had no expectation that my partner would take on my last name.

My intention was to do like one of my clients when they got married: he took her last name as his middle name, and she took his last name as her middle.

But my partner wanted everyone in the family to have the same last name, which certainly seems reasonable.
She also wanted to keep both of her parent's last names, in honor of them.  But she didn't want to have 4 names.  Also reasonable.
So she decided to hybridize her maiden middle and last names (one of each of which were her parent's last names) and make that her middle name, and then take mine for a last name.

Brotsky Williams becomes Willsky.

Me, being all egalitarian and such, found it acceptable for her to take on some of my name only if I was doing the same.  And, conveniently, I had no middle name.  So I'll take her new middle name as my own as well.

*Or, at least - that's the plan.  It turns out the state of CA has some very arbitrary, but strictly followed, rules on what names you are allowed to have when you get married.

You can change your name to whatever you want, so long as it isn't fraudulent (like someone else's name) or offensive.  Moonbeam Unicorn Rainbow is totally ok.
But it can't be done as part of the marriage process.
For that, you are limited to exactly:
As a last name:
-The current last name of either spouse
-The last name of either spouse given at birth
-A name combining into a single last name all or a segment of the current last name or the last name of either spouse given at birth
And for the middle:
-The current or birth last name of either spouse
-A hyphenated version of the current middle name and current or birth last name of the person or spouse

For the last name, making a new hybrid name is just fine.
For the middle, it has to be the full name, hyphenated.
What possible purpose could this distinction serve?
This is just one more thing adding to the growing list of pointless government rules which is making me understand more and more the perspective of libertarians and anarchists.
But I'll come back and write about that some other time...

In case it wasn't clear from everything above:

I just got married!!

We did a whole big ceremony / reception thing.  Spent an amount I'd be ashamed to admit on the Mr Money Mustache forums (though 1/5 the average in 2015, and about 1/2 the median).

On the plus side, it was almost all inheritance money, which is actually kind of great, because it solves the problem of getting lasting tangible value or even dividends from unearned money (which matters to me on ethical grounds).  And we got a great party, and to see a bunch of family and friends we rarely see at the same time.  

We combined traditions from both of our heritages, and jumped from under the huppa, over a broom, landing on a glass.

We had a 3 layer cake, with appropriately skin toned figurines.


And while its nearly impossible to find a set where the bride is slightly taller than the groom, the position of the figurines sort of gives the same effect.

Also included on the cake were our pets, Didi and Franklin, and also a very detailed representation of my biodiesel powered work truck, hand-modified by my mom


We had a delightfully flamboyant photographer, who had an amazing ability to demand exacting perfection from his subjects while still seeming entirely personable and friendly and relaxed, an expert with extensive knowledge of the ins and outs of weddings, both traditional and Jewish, and took it in stride when what we had in mind was far from any tradition at all.

A pre-paid burrito truck for lunch

Rachel's fathers band supplied live music

Her family's cabin in the woods of Occidental supplied the venu


And Amtgard / LARP foam swords and badminton provided entertainment, for both players and spectators

We exchanged sparkly color changing glow rings

But we saved the "real" rings, as well as our vows, for the legal transaction at city hall, where we had another ceremony, just the two of us, to make it official.
I meant to get video of that, but I accidentally put the camera on photo mode instead of video, so we will just have to remember what is was like in our memories!

There are many more pictures here:

If you happen to be interested in that sort of thing.
(Also, if you were there, and would like to add to that album, just let me know and I'll send you the upload link)


  1. CONGRATULATIONS. What a BEAUTIFUL wedding. Your article, an excellent read!

  2. Wow this looks like a wonderful time! The kids at this wedding will probably remember this as the best wedding ever. A pre-paid burrito truck, and sparkly rings? My nine year old inner child is delighted.


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