Getting married traditionally involves the bride changing her maiden name to the surname of her new husband. Although this remains a popular choice, it is not a legal prerequisite and there are other options open to you. You could retain your maiden name, choose a double barrelled surname, keep your maiden name as your middle name or even have your husband change his name!
Retaining your middle name
If you choose the option of retaining your maiden name, this has the clear advantage of there being no need to change any of your documents. A good choice for those who are in a profession where their names are well known, and to change surnames could be detrimental.
A double barrelled surname
To change your name so that you have a hyphenated surname which combines both of your surnames is a little more complicated. If you decide on this option then make sure you make arrangements well in advance of your wedding so that the changes are immediate as soon as the wedding is over.
Changing his name
It is possible for the groom to change his name if you both prefer. This makes things very simple for the bride. The groom can start using the bride’s surname straight after the wedding.
Using your maiden name as a middle name
A good way of keeping your maiden name incorporated in your name is to make it your middle name.
Using both names
Changing your name, especially in certain professions such as acting, can sometimes be deemed detrimental to the career. Many brides like to keep the option of using their maiden name for this reason, but also enjoy the tradition of taking on their husbands name too. You can legally pick and choose in which circumstances you are called by your maiden name and which by your married name. Of course this can create financial and legal confusion, which is why many brides eventually do choose to take on their husband’s name.
What do you need to consider?
So, if you decide to go with the tried and trusted procedure of taking on your husband’s name, you will need to notify everyone of your change of name, supplying proof of marriage in most cases. Make sure that you have thought about each and every aspect of your life so that your name is changed on all the right documents.
Your passport is the only document that you can change in advance of your wedding day; so that you can leave the country on your honeymoon with your new name. You must go through all the usual channels to obtain a new passport: pick up a form from the Post Office at least three months in advance and send it back to the Passport Agency. Click here for more information and forms.
Your passport will not be valid until after the wedding, so will be post dated. If you are a regular traveler and could not do without your passport in the interim period then you may keep your old passport for your honeymoon. As long as you book your tickets in your maiden name then you can travel with your old passport for a short time after the wedding until such time as you are able to change it.
There are lots of companies and parts of your life that you need to consider as you change your name, most of which will need to be notified in writing. Write a standard letter informing people of your name change and attach a photocopy of your marriage certificate to each. Government departments and Banks will need to see the original document to make the changes but most other establishments will simply need a photocopy.
We have listed below many of the companies and organizations you need advise of your name change:
- Credit card and store cards
- Clubs and societies
- Department of Health
- Social Security Administration
- State Motor Vehicle Department
- Email address change?
- Finance/loan companies
- Internal Revenue Service
- Institutes such as universities, etc
- Insurance companies
- Investment companies including premium bonds and shares
- Mail order catalogue companies
- Car organizations
- Passport office
- Pension company