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Changing Your Name

So you’ve done it, you’re now a happily married couple.  And now you’re wondering how on earth you go about changing your name.  I see tons of newly married people asking about this so I thought I’d put together some advice on this to guide you through. Changing Your Name After Marriage

Traditionally women always took their husband’s surname when they got married.  But of course things have changed and there are plenty of other options now if this doesn’t suit your relationship.

The act of getting married doesn’t actually change your name anywhere though.  You have to tell everybody who you deal with in any capacity what your new name is.

There is no time limit on changing your name so don’t panic and think you need to get it all done in a week.  So let’s look at your legal options first and then we’ll consider the people you need to tell.


Keeping Your Maiden Name

You don’t have to change your name once you’re married.  So if you’re keeping your maiden name then you’re all done!  You don’t need to tell anyone and you can stop reading 🙂


Taking Your Husband’s Name

Once you get married and you have your marriage certificate you are legally able to change your surname to be the same as your husband’s.  Many organisations will ask for the original or a copy of your marriage certificate before they will change your name.  So you will need to check with each one to understand what they need.


Taking Your Wife’s Name

If a man wants to take his wife’s surname, then some places, such as the Passport Office and the DVLA  will be happy to accept your marriage certificate to do this.  But, some places, like banks, won’t accept this and so you will probably need a deed poll to change your name.  But it’s always best to check with places first.


Same Sex Couples

If one of you decides to take the other one’s surname, then you can do this using your marriage or civil partnership certificate.  You don’t need to do this by deed poll.


Double-Barrelled Names

This is where you use both of your surnames together with a hypen between them.  Traditionally the man’s surname would go first but many couples now do this by choosing the better sounding order of the two names.

If a woman wants to double-barrel her name after marriage, most places will accept her marriage certificate to do this but not all.  So you may well need a deed poll to do this.

However if you are both intending to double-barrel your names, I would suggest the man changes his name by deed poll before the marriage.  Then the woman can change her name to this new double barrelled name by marriage certificate.  This way you’re only paying for one deed poll.


Meshing Your Names

Meshing is where you take some letters of each surname to create a new one.  If neither of you are particularly attached to your surnames, creating a new surname for you both might appeal.  So for example, Woodhouse and Larkin could become Woodkin or Larkhouse.

It doesn’t work for all names so you need test it out before you decide on this option.  So if me and my husband had done this we’d have been Rhomouth or Weardes – just doesn’t work does it?

Changing Your Name

What’s Next?

So once you’ve decided what you’re actually doing with your name, how do you go about sorting it out?

My advice is to start with the most important changes.  By this I’m thinking things like bank or building society and driving licence.

The process for each of these will vary depending on the company.  Some will allow you to do this online or on the phone.  However, others will need to see your marriage certificate before they will make the change.  Some places will ask you to send the original certificate while others will be happy with a photocopy.

There are lots of places you will need to notify.  Now I can’t promise that this is an absolutely exhaustive list but it will give you a really good start.  (And you probably won’t have all of these so it’s not as bad as it looks!

  • Bank or Building Society
  • HMRC
  • DVLA for your driving licence & car registration documents
  • Utilities such as gas, electric, water, council tax
  • Passport Office
  • Electoral Register
  • Credit Card Company
  • Mortgage Provider
  • Any loan companies
  • Any office financial accounts like Savings, ISAs, Stocks and Shares
  • Insurance (Home, health, pet, travel, gadget)
  • Your Employer
  • Mobile Phone, Landline & Broadband Provider
  • Doctor
  • Dentist
  • Pension provider
  • Store Cards
  • Car Breakdown Cover
  • Gym & Salons you use
  • Student loan company
  • Child Benefit


Online Shopping Accounts

Usually you can just go online to change accounts with online retailers.  I think it’s easier to do this as and when you use each one next.  It doesn’t really matter if you’ve changed some and not others. But you will need to amend your card payment details so that the name there matches the name on your new bank cards.

Remember you don’t have to do this all at once, so spread out the work load.  Maybe create yourself a letter template that you can reuse for each place.  And then just do a few each week until you’ve got them all done.  Good luck!


Louise Wearmouth, Founder of Your Fabulous Wedding