The ceremony was exactly what we wanted

in answer to the bride's question, this is how to change your name after marriage in AustraliaHi Anita,

Thankyou so much for the amazing ceremony that you did for us last weekend! The day went really well and we are so happy! You made it exactly what we wanted and really appreciate it. 

I just have one more quick question… With regards to officially changing my name over, how long should I wait for all the paperwork to go through before I try and do that?

Kind regards,
Geoff and Stacey Dalton 🙂
~ Married at Geographe Bayview Resort, Busselton

How to change your name after marriage (in Australia)

The choice to change your name after marriage is a matter of custom, not of law. That is, neither the bride nor groom is required to change their name to that of their spouse. However, for those grooms and brides who do wish to take on the name of their beloved, here is a quick how-to guide…

Technically, the moment I pronounce you husband and wife, you are married and can begin calling yourself by your new name. But telling your bank (and other institutions) that you’re now married  is not sufficient proof for them.

 To update personal documentation to your married surname, you will need the right documentation to
prove your marriage is legitimate.

1. The Marriage Certificate issued by the Australian Government

At the end of your marriage ceremony, I will hand you a lovely looking certificate with the Australian coat of arms on it. This is a certificate of marriage issued by the Commonwealth of Australia, and many places do accept this as evidence of your right to take on your spouse’s name.

certificate of marriage - you will need this to change your name after marriage in Australia
Many organisations will accept the certificate given to you by your Celebrant as proof your marriage is valid, but some will not — those institutions require a marriage certificate issued by the department of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

2. The Marriage Certificate issued by Births, Deaths & Marriages

For some organisations, the “pretty” marriage certificate is not enough. (It can be too easily forged.) They require an original certificate of marriage issued by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

It costs $44 to apply for your marriage certificate from the BDM in Western Australia. The application form can be downloaded from their website.

Note, the applicant will need three certified copies of photo ID, and it can take a couple of weeks to process your application.

If you give me this application form and your certified copies of ID prior to your wedding, I am  happy to lodge these on your behalf along with the rest of your paperwork. It’s just one less thing for you to think about!

Hot Tips!!

From personal experience, I began my own name change process by updating my passport and driver’s license. Being a government issued photo ID, these were often enough proof for many organisations to update their records on the spot.

Then focus on other important organisations to contact, such as:

  • Australian Taxation Office
  • Medicare
  • Bank(s)
  • Car registration
  • Utility providers
  • Insurance companies
  • Memberships and subscriptions
  • Employer
  • Your will (your old will becomes null and void once you’re married)
One more tip…

Carry your marriage certificate in your purse for up to three months — you never know when you’ll come across an organisation that will need to sight it.

And one final tip…

Practice your new signature heaps, until it becomes second nature. You don’t want to sub-consciously sign your old signature on important documents that will later make them null and void. (That awkward moment when …)


Good luck!
🙂 Anita Revel