The Marriage Name Change Game

Are you changing your surname after marriage?

Most brides do, but there are still a number of brides that need to keep their name for professional reasons or to still have the connection with their family.

Guest Blogger Genevieve Dennis is the founder of  shares her insights on this topic.

The Marriage Name Change Game

In the lead up to your wedding you’ve probably been banging a new sounding name around in your head. It might sound great, it might sound terrible. Maybe you don’t want to change names at all. It’s actually quite common for a bride to have mixed emotions around a pending name change.

Will you or won’t you

Name change is a personal choice. Centuries of tradition have made marriage name change an almost expected rite of passage, but not everyone is wrapped about it. ‘While I want to be connected with my new family, I’m also very annoyed that it’s expected I will just give up my old name.’ says bride to be, Sarah Johannsen. Sarah’s not alone. In Easy Name Change’s 2012 survey brides were not necessarily happy about having to change names, only 10% were more confident, and only 20% happier after making the change.

Or meet halfway

‘It’s not necessarily as straightforward as my name or his name’, says Easy Name Change director, Genevieve Dennis. A bride can make the change on ID and records, while still using her maiden name with friends or at work. Some brides add their husband’s name to their own to create a joined, or double barreled surname. There’s also a handful of adventurous couples who decide to take a totally new name.

What brides are doing

There’s no official statistics on marriage name change, as there is no registration of a new married name; a bride just starts using her preferred name. Some estimates put this as high as 80%. Of brides who go onto change names, almost 95% will take her husband’s name in place of her own on all identification and accounts. A third of brides from this group will still retain some link to their maiden name, such as at work or with friends. The lesser chosen options are to have a joined name (4%), or take a totally new name (2%).

What will you do?

Inevitably most brides will go onto change names and take their husband’s name. The reason given by most newlyweds is that they want to share the same name as their new family.  If this isn’t for you, or if you’re not ready to make the plunge, don’t freak out. Don’t let friends of family sway your decision. It’s really your choice.

The great thing about marriage name change is that there is no time constraint. A wife can take her husband’s name at any time, and can also revert to her maiden name at any time. The only proof of your entitlement to be known by your married name is a marriage certificate from Births, Deaths and Marriages.

About the author

Genevieve Dennis is the founder of and is passionate about all things name change. Her company runs the annual Australian Name Change Survey and has helped thousands of people to change names.


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