When getting married, the traditional and most common thing in the past has been for the bride to take on the groom's name. While still the most common name change, one person will take on the other's name.
Hyphenating your last names is a growing trend among modern couples. The name pairs are often hyphenated (Smith-Jones, Smith-Johnson, and so forth). Approximately 5% of couples do this to create a new family surname.
Similar to hyphenating, you can double barrel names by adding the last name to the first name (Smith Jones). This is actually becoming less common, and being replaced with the next option...
Lots of newlyweds are moving to a new trend of making their maiden name their middle name, and their spouse's name their last name. So for example, Jane Anne Jones becomes Jane Jones Smith, where Jones is now their middle name. While it reads a bit like a double barrelled name, this subtle difference actually makes a big difference when it comes to filling out forms and dealing with organisations over the phone where it is often easier to communicate a simple last name. It combines the best of both worlds and allows newlyweds to retain their maiden name, but also take on their spouse's name, and the best bit is it is completely legal and easy to do.
The last option is to make up a totally new name. The sky is the limit here and you can choose anything you like, from a combination of names to something completely new. It's perfectly legal and you can both use this name if you like.
Read more about your name change options here.
NB: If you are taking on your spouse's name you don't have to make your new name legal. It is perfectly ok to use your husband or wife's name without changing your official ID documents and this is called "name by association". If this is what you choose to do, you can stop right here and you don't have to follow any of the further steps!
If you want to make your name change legal, you're going to need evidence of your name change to satisfy authorities and organisations that you are going to, or already have changed your name.
The evidence you need depends on what you change your name to and the kind of name change process you go through. This will be different, for example, if you take on your husband's name or if you make up a new name. And despite popular belief, the 'certificate' that your marriage celebrant gives you on your wedding day is not enough. This is a commemorative certificate only and won't be accepted as it is not an official document. See below for where we can help with this.
This is the tedious part! The average Australian bride will change her name with 55 organisations. Some are easy and straight-forward, and some will make you jump through hoops, seemingly making up the rules as they go!
We here at After The Wedding recommend this order:
1. Drivers license.
3. Everywhere else (check out the amazing checklist we have in our name change kit to make it a breeze!)
Tip 1: Practice your new signature before you start your name change process. Practice it A LOT.
Tip 2: Keep copies of everything. This includes a photocopy (or photo) of your drivers license, passport etc before you go to get your name changed, as you will have to hand in your original.
Tip 3: Be diligent in keeping records of where you have changed your name and what is still left to go.
Tip 4: Do it all as quickly as possible. There's nothing worse than being known by one name somewhere, and one name somewhere else, especially if you can't remember where you're up to in your name change process.
How to Change Your Name on Facebook
Did you know that a large proportion of brides change their marriage status on facebook before their wedding reception has even begun? Find out how to change your status, and more importantly, how to change your name on facebook.
Changing Your Name After Marriage in the USA
Our website and name change kit are focussed on Australian name changes, however, here is some information for our US readers.
Post Wedding Checklist
There is a lot do do after your wedding, and these articles will help you get started. But, the best way to make sure there aren’t tasks hanging around for weeks or even months is to download our free post wedding checklist. Let’s get organised, grab your post wedding checklist here!
Left Over Wedding Cake
What do you do with it? Eat it? Store it? Freeze it? There are a few popular traditions you might want to check out too. Read more here.
Updating Your Will
Next to signing on the dotted line on your wedding day, you should be signing your new Will. Why? Because your previous Will is now null and void. Or if you didn’t have one, now is the time to make sure your belongings end up in your partner’s hands if anything happens to you (because it’s not automatic!) Read more here.
Anniversary Gifts Colours, Stones and Flowers
I’ve listed the modern and traditional gifts, colours, stones and flowers here for your first anniversary through to your 50th. (PS. You might want to let your partner in on this site as well!)Read more here.