I met with a lovely couple during the week who were discussing if the bride was going to take on her husbands family name. “Do we need to decide now?” She already had a hyphenated family name so I was all for encouraging her to go for a three-hypha surname (hmmm perhaps not) however the root of our discussion was that they were unsure of how the process all worked. It got me thinking this question has come up a few times before hence it could be a handy topic for lots of people.


I also think I can claim some merit on this topic given my rather unique (cough cough) name… Nicky Surnicky, yes that is my name, it’s not some name I made up to sound cool and awesome. I was lucky enough to marry into that one. Minutes into the first conversation I was having with my future-husband-to-be (can I just add that this was at silly o’clock and many cocktails had been had) he asked what my name was, I said Nicky yet he proceeded to laugh in my face. “What’s so funny about the name Nicky?” I abruptly shot back. His reply – “if we were to ever get married you’d be Nicky Surnicky”. A quick drivers license check backed up his claim and sure enough I find myself here today, many years later known as the one and only Nicky Surnicky. Julia Gulia from “The Wedding Singer” anyone?


The choice of taking on your husband’s family name is just that – a choice. Some brides, particularly for professional reasons, choose to remain known as their maiden name. Others like the traditional element of taking on your partners name particularly for family reasons. There is no legal requirement to take on a partners name after marriage and unless you take action otherwise all things will remain as they were before you got hitched.


The latest advice from NSW Births, Deaths and Marriages is as follows:


> If you were married in Australia a formal Change of Name is not required if you wish to take your spouse’s name. A Standard Marriage Certificate (note this is different to the Commemorative Marriage Certificate you sign during your ceremony) is usually sufficient evidence to have personal documentation, such as your driver’s license and passport, changed to your married surname.


Our certificates contain security features which can’t be easily reproduced, and include the full details of the parties to the marriage such as parents’ names and dates of birth.


‪If you decide to take your spouse’s name when dealing with authorities such as Roads & Maritime Services or Australian Passports Office, you may be asked to show your Standard Marriage Certificate. Please check with the relevant authority in each case to determine their specific requirements.


So in a nutshell it’s entirely up to you. Good luck future brides and please if anyone knows of any other really unique names for the sake of my backwards sense of humor I’d love to hear them!


Best regards,