Although you’ll probably want to become ‘Mrs’ as soon as you say ‘I Do’, we recommend that you wait until after you’ve returned from your honeymoon, fresh and glowing, because otherwise you may need to rush to get new passports and IDs before your trip (and you don’t need any more stress before you leave on vacation)!
So, once you’ve arrived back home post-honeymoon, it’s time to start the process of changing your surname. Grab hold of your newly embossed marriage certificate (which should be hot off the printing press) and then start to consider how you’d like to change your name, because this can drastically simplify (or complicate) the process. Your options include:
- Taking on your husband’s last name
- Hyphenating your maiden name and his last name (e.g Brown-Wright)
- Taking a double barreled surname (e.g. Brown Wright)
- Turning your maiden name into a new middle name taking on your partner’s last name
- Keep your own name and do nothing at all
- Fun fact: you don’t actually have to change your name on any documentation if you don’t want to. You can still use your new married name and it’s legally considered ‘name by association.
Phew – so many options. When you’ve made your decision, you can then start working through these steps to finalise the process.
Image from Stephanie and Simon’s Wedding. Photography by Yervant Photography.
1. Create a List
If you’re changing your name, here’s a list of the most common official documents that you’ll need to get renewed. Create a list, so that you can tick off as you go and ensure you don’t miss any!
- Driver’s license (car registration, road toll accounts)
- Medicare Card
- Insurance (car/house/contents/medical)
- Utility bills (electricity, gas, water)
- Australian Tax Office
- Electoral Roll
- Banks (ATM cards, cheque books, accounts)
- Your workplace (business cards, email, professional memberships)
- Mobile/home phone and internet account
- Council (rates, animal registration)
- Landlord/real estate agency (if you’re renting)
- Investments and shares
- Personal memberships (gym, library, sports clubs)
- Subscriptions (magazines, pay TV)
- Alumni (university, high-school)
- Professional services (accountant, lawyer, GP)
- Online (Facebook, eBay, LinkedIn)
- Your will (marriage immediately voids any prior will)
- Pet services (vet, microchipping company)
2. Get That Marriage Certificate
Usually, presenting a valid Marriage Certificate issued by your state or territory’s Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages is adequate evidence and should supersede any application process. Have multiple copies of your Marriage Certificate on hand when filling in forms for the bank, road authorities and passport office. Bear in mind though, some will insist on the original.
Image from Larina and Ben’s Wedding. Photography by AlbaPro.
If possible, updating your passport and driver’s license first will actually make this entire process move a lot faster. As government issued documents, having these bear your new married name provides solid proof for other organisations, who will quickly follow suit. Keep them handy in case you find yourself at the doctor’s surgery or the insurance office and can quickly update your name in person.
4. Set Yourself a Time Limit
No one likes a pending payment. It’s frustrating, pointless (until it’s deducted) and kind of makes you wish you’d paid in cash so it’d just be done already. Name changing is pretty much the same. Just bite the bullet and get it over with, we say. Like ripping off a Band-Aid! Set yourself a day or two to fill in paperwork, send it all off, visit whichever organisations you can in person, and just get it all out of the way. No one wants to be married for two years and still trying to change their name.
Main image from Danielle and Scott’s Wedding. Photography by Akaphon Phototgraphy.