Delwyn Joy Klevenow – Marriage Celebrant Perth

Changing you name after marriageCongratulations on your marriage! After all of the fun and excitement of planning and experiencing your wedding, comes the arduous task of changing your name.  More and more women these days are choosing not to do so, and when you contemplate the task ahead of you, it’s not hard to see why.  And nowadays it’s not just the brides changing their names to that of their grooms, but some grooms are changing their family names to that of their brides.

According to the Bride to Be Cost of Love Survey, 82% of newlyweds choose to change their name, and in a recent survey by the wedding industry over 20% of new brides commented that they were nervous about the name change process.  Changing your name may seem a bit daunting and slightly overwhelming, but changing your name after you get married is actually a quite straight forward process.  It’s just a bit time consuming and it helps if you know where to start, and have a plan.

As a bride you have 4 simple options for taking a new name.  You can take any one of the options below and as a married couple you can have different surnames.  Any of these changes can be taken with only your official marriage certificate as evidence of your new name. This can be applied for through your local Births, Deaths and Marriages office, after the marriage has been registered. The cost is $47 (April, 2016).

  • You can change your surname to your husband’s surname.  It is a custom for a bride to take her husband’s surname, not the law.  However since the mid 90’s approximately 85% of brides still choose to take their husbands name.
  • You can choose to take a double barrelled surname which is a combination of both your surnames.  For instance if Jane Citizen married John Smith you can take the surname Citizen-Smith or Smith-Citizen.  It’s your choice whether to use a hyphen or space between the surnames.  You do not both have to have the same surname, for instance a couple can be Jane Citizen-Smith and John Smith. About 5% of brides do this.
  • You can use a combination of your married and maiden name.  Professionally you may want to retain your maiden name, especially if you have developed a reputation in your industry.  Personally you may choose to update your passport, driver’s license and various accounts to your partner’s surname.
  • You can leave your name as is and take no action.

( – by Genevieve Dennis)

You can start using your new name whenever you like, and you don’t actually have to change your name on any documentation if you don’t want to, this is called ‘name by association’ and is perfectly legal.  Quite a few new brides take on their husband’s name in this way – they use their married name in social circles, but keep their maiden name on their official ID documentation.  This can get confusing though, which is why most newlyweds choose to change their name on your driver’s license, passport, bank accounts etc, and go about their name change in a more official way.

And here is the good news: if you’re just taking on your husband’s name, this is a very simple process.  A Marriage Certificate issued by your state or territory’s Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages ( is sufficient evidence that you have married and you do not need to go through any application process to change your name.  While this will not change your name on your birth certificate / birth record, it will allow you to legally change your name on all of your identification documents, banks, motor registry office, passport etc.  You can start officially changing your name as soon as you are married and have your official Marriage Certificate.

There are other options which are more complicated and involve a different process but are also a possibility. If you are wanting to change your name in any other way however, you will need to go through the * standard name change process.

  • Turn your maiden name into a new middle name and take on your husband’s name as your last name.
  • Make up a new last name that is a combination of your maiden name and married name.
  • Make up a totally new name.

Note: most organisations will not accept the certificate you received on your wedding day to change your name.

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