Once upon a time, when a woman married a man, she automatically took his name. And while this tradition is still very much alive, we are here to show you that it’s not an obligation. Here are some things to consider before changing your name after marriage.

Do I have to change my name when I get married?

No man or woman has to take their spouse’s name when they get married. In fact, couples have been getting more and more creative with their surnames in recent times as you’ll discover below!

There is no legal requirement to change your name, just like you don’t automatically become a Mrs. You have the freedom to choose your name and title. That said, many women do still take their partner’s name in line with the long-standing tradition.

Why do some women choose to keep their maiden name?

More and more women are making the decision not to change their name upon marriage: some are sentimental about their family name, others don’t want to jeopardise a long-established reputation at work while others simply don’t agree with the history of the tradition (if you don’t know where this old custom came from, then do go and read up on it – it is actually quite controversial!).

Furthermore, women with children from a previous relationship are often reluctant to change their family name as it would mean that they no longer share a surname with their kids, plus those getting remarried may not wish to change their name for a second time.

What do same-sex couples do?

Same-sex couples, just like everyone else, have the option to keep their own names, take their partner’s name or join their surnames to make a double-barrelled or meshed family name.

But many heterosexual partners are also combining their names in this way. Not only does it allow future generations to share both their parents’ names, but it’s also a very public show of togetherness and equality.

How much does it cost to change your name?

In most cases, the government will change your name for free providing you send them the correct documentation.

However, if couples are both making changes to their names or titles, then it may be necessary to do so by deed poll. This usually costs just over £35 per record change.

How do I change my name?

In order to change the name on your legal documents via the government, you must send your marriage or civil partnership certificate to the Passport Office and all relevant authorities like your bank and the DVLA. This applies to both men and women taking their spouse’s name.

So long as it’s a simple change and you inform them of the order of names, then it is possible to create a hyphenated name using your partner’s surname as well as your own.

If meshing surnames or making other less straightforward changes, then you will need to document and pay for this via deed poll.

It is possible to request a name change on your passport up to three months before getting married, which is useful to know if you plan to head off on an overseas honeymoon soon after the wedding.

Who do I need to inform if I’ve changed my name?

Aside from the Passport Office, DVLA and your banks, there are probably quite a few places you will need to contact after you’ve got married and changed your surname. Just some examples are mobile phone network provider, internet provider, TV licencing office, store or supermarket cards, nursery, school, doctor, vet, gym, and so on…

Anything else might I need to know?

Did you know that you can do any of the above, yet also keep your new name completely informal?

For instance, if you don’t want to go through the hassle of changing your email address or going by a new name at work then you can legally change your name but continue to use your maiden name informally.

Another thing you might want to do, if you are attached to your surname, is to make your maiden name a new middle name. This might be an option for those marrying a partner who already has a double-barrelled name!