Lyubov and Juan‘s Jewish wedding | Photo by Fergie Medar Photography
If you’re a bride-to-be, chances are people have started asking you whether you’re planning to change your name once you’re married. Even today in 2023, when changing your name is very much a choice, this can be a fraught topic.
But the good news is, it is a choice. And you’ve got lots of options, far beyond just keeping your original name or changing over to your spouse’s. Personally, I opted to stick with “Cinnamon” professionally, but double barrel with my new surname legally and in my personal life.
Ella and Joel‘s Jewish wedding | Photo by Matt Parry
I sat down with NameSwitch, who I wish was around back when I got married, to go over the most popular choices and some of the things you might want to consider as you make your decision. NameSwitch are the only UK based company to offer such a unique name-changing service that makes it so much easier.
No one knows more about the ins and outs of changing your name in the UK than NameSwitch – and if you do decide to make a change, their streamlining service can save you hours of research and admin. NameSwitch’s extensive knowledge and liaison with government bodies ensures you get it right the first time, and their UK-based customer service team is always on hand to help. And as a Smashing The Glass reader, you’ve got access to a £5 discount off any NameSwitch package – just enter the code “SMASHING-FIVE” at checkout.
Amy and Andrew‘s Jewish wedding | Photo by Mike Staff Productions
9 of the Most Popular UK Name Change Options
These days, we’re lucky to have such a range of choices when it comes to changing your name (or not). I’ve put together a list of nine of the most popular choices, from double-barrelling to picking a totally new surname for the both of you.
- Keep your given name.
- Take your spouse’s name.
- Have your spouse take your name.
- Take your spouse’s name legally, but keep your given name professionally.
- Make your given surname your middle name and take your spouse’s last name.
- Take each other’s surname as your middle name.
- Double-barrelling your names.
- Blend your last names into a new hybrid name.
- Create a totally new last name.
Obviously, some of these options are more common, while others – like creating a totally new last name for the two of you – may raise a few eyebrows. But the most important thing is to make the choice that feels right to you and your partner – after all, this is the name you’ll proudly carry for the rest of your life!
Darah and Yoni‘s Jewish wedding | Photo by Michael Segal
Questions to Ask Yourself When Deciding Whether to Change Your Name
Whether or not you’re clear on what you’d like to do, it’s not a bad idea to have a conversation with your spouse-to-be early on in your engagement about where you’re at and what you’re feeling. If you’re on the fence, have a look at the list of questions we’ve put together – alone and/or with your partner – and see if going through them makes things any clearer.
- Does changing your name feel like changing your identity? If so, does that feel like a good or a bad thing?
- Do you strongly prefer your name over your partner’s? Or vice versa?
- How do you like the sound of your first name combined with your partner’s last name? The initials?
- How attached are you to your name? Does it feel like a big part of your identity? Your connection to your family and/or heritage?
- Would changing your name be potentially damaging to your professional life?
- How does your spouse feel about it?
- How much do you hate paperwork? Because there’s a lot of it involved in changing your name.
- On the flipside, if you don’t change your name, are you prepared for the various administrative hassles not sharing a name with your spouse might cause you later on?
- Do you have issues with changing your name from an ideological standpoint?
- Do you feel that sharing a name is an important symbol of unity for your new family unit?
- If your spouse’s last name is from a different cultural background than your own, how does that feel to you?
- Do you plan to have children? If so, what last name do you see them having? Is it important to you that you and your future children share a last name?
- Do you work in a field where your last name may carry some clout? If so, you could opt to change your name legally but keep your original last name professionally.
Mariana and Jonathan‘s Jewish wedding | Photo by Cortiella Photography
It’s Not Now or Never
One important point – there’s no rule that says you have to make a decision by your wedding day. If you’d rather give yourself some time to ponder it post-wedding, when things might be a little calmer in your life, do it.
And just because you decide not to change your name right now doesn’t mean you can’t ever do it – if after a year of marriage / buying a home / deciding to have children / whatever, you one day feel moved to do it – you can. This is such a personal decision, and the most important thing is for you to feel good about your name – however you come to it.
Sophie and Josh‘s Jewish wedding | Photo by Amanda Ward Photography
Do You Need a Deed Poll?
In the UK, a marriage certificate entitles you to take your partner’s surname or vice versa. It also entitles you to double-barrel surnames, with or without a hyphen, in whichever order makes sense to you.
However, if you’re making a less straightforward change – say, blending your two surnames into a new one you’ll both take on – you will need to change your name by deed poll. If this is the case for you, NameSwitch offers Deed Poll Service packages that will streamline the process for you.
If you both need to change your name by deed poll, then it’s recommended that one of you change your name before the wedding; then the other one of you can simply use their marriage certificate to apply for a new passport and change their records after the wedding. The same applies to a same sex couple if one partner changes their name before the wedding.
Amy and Andrew‘s Jewish wedding | Photo by Mike Staff Productions
How NameSwitch Can Help with Your UK Name Change
So you’ve decided to change your name, whether that means taking your spouse’s, double-barrelling, or any of the other many options available to 21st-century couples. This is exciting: you’re claiming your new identity as a married person! However, it’s also going to require a lot of paperwork and notifying people. A lot of people. Some of the primary organizations and businesses you’ll likely need to inform include
- Passport office
- DVLA (driving licence and vehicle registration)
- HM Revenue and Customs
- Child Benefit
- Local Authority (council tax and electoral register)
- Land Registry
- Student Loans
- Your employer
- Your bank or building society
- Your mortgage provider
- Your pension providers
- Credit card companies
- Your phone & broadband provider
- Your doctor
- Your dentist
- Your vet
- Your gym
- Your motoring organisations (breakdown cover)
- Utility companies (gas, water, electricity providers)
- Your insurance company (motor, home, travel, pet)
- Loans companies
- Magazine subscriptions
- Store cards & online accounts
- Any clubs or societies you are a member of
Jenna and Noaam‘s Jewish wedding | Photo by Studio Nouveau
The process can be time-consuming, confusing and frustrating – and that’s where NameSwitch comes in. Their award-winning name-change service makes the process of changing your name in the UK a breeze, cutting out hours of tedious busywork and ensuring you get everything right the first time.
Within NameSwitch‘s secure system, you can select all of the UK bodies, businesses, and local authorities you want to notify about your name change. You’ll then enter the key details, which NameSwitch’s system will use to populate every form and letter within your selection.
Samantha and Scott‘s Jewish wedding | Photo by Starfish Studios
Within minutes, you will have all the pre-completed letters, forms, and personalised instructions to notify the relevant parties about your new married name, all ready for you to sign and send. You can opt for electronic or print packages, depending on whether you want to print the letters yourself or not.
Packages range from £29.95 – £99.95 – and don’t forget, as a Smashing The Glass reader, you’ve got access to a £5 discount off any NameSwitch package – just enter the code “SMASHING-FIVE” at checkout.
If you’re going to be changing your name in the UK, it’s a no-brainer to choose NameSwitch to help smooth the way – and free up those precious newlywed days for all the things you’d rather be doing!
Sara and Ian‘s Jewish wedding | Photo by Monolith Images Studio
Access your £5 discount off any NameSwitch package by entering the code “SMASHING-FIVE” at checkout