Hi, my name is Vanessa, and I am the creator of this website and the After The Wedding name change kit.
I have been helping people change their name on this website since 2008, and a previous website since 2006!
In that time I've been featured on ABC Radio, Ideal Bride, Easy Weddings, Polka Dot Bride, the Broke Ass Bride, plus lots of other wedding blogs.
NAME CHANGE KIT
NAME CHANGE KIT
When I changed my name I had no idea what I was doing, and since those humble beginnings I have become a bit of an expert in the name change world.
It all started after I got married and changed my name to my husband's name, and realised there had to be a better way! I gathered all the information I had collected and started giving it out to friends who were also getting married.
Suddenly friends of friends started asking for it, and I soon discovered that the information I had became out of date quite quick, so I came up with a system for updating it and keeping it current. I'm a bit of a systems girl, so at the same time I decided to get it up on the internet to make it easier to give out. At this point in time, there was no other name change kit available to download in Australia - this was the first and it was quite an innovative idea at the time.
So there began my rapid learning curve of how to get information up on the internet!
I was giving all the information away for free at this stage, but keeping the kit and website up to date and answering all the emails that started pouring in became quite time intensive and costly. Reluctantly, I started charging for the name change kit. I have to admit that I didn't like doing it as I really didn't believe in myself or my product and didn't think it was worth paying for.
However, my customers did. I started getting, and still do get emails from happy customers saying how much they love the kit and what a bargain it is. Of course, the name change kit today looks nothing like it way back in its humble beginnings!
My first website was The Smart Bride, but after a while I realised that name didn't really encapsulate what I was doing, so I changed to After The Wedding – simple, and a good explanation of who the website is for and when!
I am incredibly proud that I created the first name change kit that brides can download. Since then there have been a few copycats emerge, which at first I found incredibly disheartening. I put a lot of hard work and sleepless nights into my kit and to have someone come along and ‘steal’ my idea (and sometimes my content, word for word) was heartbreaking. But, I have come to embrace business as what it is – business. It has its ups, and it has its downs.
In the past 10+ years I have learned a lot about creating something that I believe in, about trusting my instincts and distinguishing the voice inside that says “you can’t do it!” And I am incredibly fortunate to be able to help other people in the process – even if it is just saving a newlywed a bunch of precious hours and some frustration.
My priority has been and always will be providing you, my dear customer, with the very best name change kit that I can offer. I welcome your feedback and constructive criticism, and of course I also love to hear your kind words.
Here are the ways that I make sure I offer you the very best:
94% of people who buy from me give me a 4 or 5 star rating.
Until 2021 and the reduced number of weddings due to covid I paid for the Shopper Approved service to collect reviews from verified buyers. Only someone who has bought a name change kit could leave a review, it was collected and stored on the Shopper Approved website, and they are tamper free.
I have a nifty little system that allows me to update the name change kit quite quickly, compared to the time that it would take you to go and read through all the websites and check all the forms yourself. It still takes about a day each time I do it, but I've got it down to a fine art! I do this usually monthly, but over the years have learned when certain government departments are likely to make changes, and the quiet times of year when everything usually stays the same. If you have one of my name change kits, you can download it any time you like for up to 12 months after your purchase, every time you download it you're getting the most up to date version, which includes any updates that have happened. I also notify everyone on the Facebook page when an update has happened, and if it is a major update (ie a brand new manual or a very new way of doing things, like when the whole process for hyphenating changed) I send out an email as well.
I'm not a tech person, so I use a really highly regarded Australian web host with servers in Australia (no large multi-national based in another country) that has lots of technical security features, that to be honest, I don't really understand. The website is also secured with a SSL certificate (important apparently) and is checked for viruses, malware and suspicious links nightly. When you're not an expert in something, it's better off to pay someone who is!
Again, tech isn't my forte, so I pay another organisation to delivery your name change kit to you instantly after your payment. Your details are held securely and safely and you know you're going to get your name change kit straight away without any hassles, and without it landing in someone else's hands.
All along I've been worried about the security of your details. I could easily provide a kit where you fill in the details and it auto populates letters and forms, the technology and service providers are out there to do that. However, with identity theft a very real and growing concern, I don't think it's wise for you to be providing me with your name, date of birth, address, account numbers, drivers license number, passport number... the list goes on. Instead, I collect the very bare minimum that I need to get your name change kit to you (your name and email address) and you can fill in the rest. I don't even get to see your payment information.
Last, but not least, I offer a 30 day money back guarantee. Kit not what you thought it was going to be? Hasn't helped you? Easy, I'll give you a refund.
A few years ago I was interviewed for an article about women in start-up businesses – so I thought I would share it with you – hopefully it will give you an inside peek into After The Wedding. Oh, and thanks for stopping by!
I never made a conscious decision to go into business with the name change kit – it kind of just happened! A lot of people I meet are surprised when I tell them what I do, but I have to tell you, no one is more surprised than me!
I want my customers to be able to visit a pretty little website and complete their wedding journey by changing their name in a straight forward way. I want to save my customer’s time. I want to save them frustration. I want to make it easy!
The people in my life were really the ones who ignited my decision to turn this into a business. In fact, in the beginning it was all about recuperating costs. I was running the whole thing and giving the kit away for free. It basically was a business (there was a product, a website, and email support); I just wasn’t bringing in any money to pay the expenses or for my time. My husband has been incredibly supportive and encouraged me to get it going. What will keep it going? My customers, definitely. I have met some of the most amazing women and the encouragement that lands in my inbox is better than words can describe. The feeling of helping someone, or encouraging someone is fantastic.
That’s a hard one. I’ve looked at marketing materials and guides in the past, and they’re quite focussed on creating a brand and getting repeat customers. But I guess my goal is the opposite. I want to give my customers what they need (help changing their name) so they never need to come back again!
I focus on Australian brides who want to change their name. It doesn’t matter if they are married in Australia or overseas, or want to change to their husband’s name or something else. I even help grooms change their name too! I’ve been asked to help non-citizens change their name too, but, unfortunately, I don’t have any connections with overseas authorities, so I don’t have the expertise in that area.
I like to keep it personal, and I hope my customers notice. All of my emails are personally written by myself or my amazing assistant, and between us I reckon we know absolutely everything there is to know about changing your name in Australia! Speaking of that, I think another point of difference is our knowledge base and industry connections. A lot of other providers give out incorrect information, but I think the connections I have developed with government departments ensures that the information I provide is spot on, and that little bit extra special. Oh, and this means I’m able to keep the name change kit super up to date. I receive emails from government departments almost weekly, letting me know when they are about the change a website or a process, and also with updates to their forms. I also do my own research and check that the kit is up to date on a weekly basis – usually every Friday. Sometimes I send out updates every two weeks, sometimes once every six weeks – it just depends on what has changed and how critical the change is.
Keep it simple. That is the basis of my whole business. Keep the website simple. Keep the process of buying a name change kit simple. Keep the presentation of information simple (extraordinary, but simple!) Make the process of changing your name simple. Keep access to name change kit updates simple.