The Marriage Certificate

Marriage is a wonderful institution and brings with it many benefits. One such benefit, one you would least expect, is the marriage certificate itself. The marriage certificate records the husband and wife’s details which include the couples surnames at the time the marriage certificate is issued. It records the husband’s surname and the wife’s surname, i.e. her maiden name. It does not, however, show the name either of them will hence be known by.


Uses of a Marriage Certificate

Under the law marriage certificate allows you to choose what name you wish to be known by upon marriage. Traditionally the marriage certificate it has been used to allow the woman to change her surname to that of her husband. If however the husband and wife want to mesh their surnames together or have a double barrel name to reflect the equalness of the partners in marriage, then for this they may well need a Deed Poll. This is because although government departments may accept the marriage certificate as evidence for the name change, other organisations such as banks and private institutions may not and may want additional evidence for the name change to be acceptable. Also, if you have allowed some time to lapse from the marriage to deciding upon changing your name then you will also need a Deed Poll document.

Although governmental organisations such as the Passport Office and DVLA accept the marriage certificate as proof of change of name for both the husband and wife, non-governmental organisations may not, especially if the couple take an unorthodox or untraditional approach involving the change of any part of the name except the woman’s surname being changed to that of her husband’s surname. We suggest that If the husband decides to take on a double-barrel surname, mesh his name with the wife’s, makes her name a part of his own or takes her surname then it is best to approach the relevant organisations, such as financial organisations (eg banks, credit card companies etc.), and find out what their policies and procedures are to amend their records. A Deed Poll document normally resolves most of the problems encountered.

Prices and Service


Marriage Certificate as Historic Document

Another point to remember in relation to the Marriage Certificate, the Birth Certificate and other such documents is that they become with time what are referred to as historic documents. The information they contain at the time they are issued is correct so you cannot under British law go back and change them because they were correct at the time they were issued.

If you married abroad or you marriage certificate is in a language other than English then one approach is to get it officially translated. This can be rather expensive. Another approach, usually much less expensive, is to simply get a Deed Poll document. This serves the same purpose in allowing you to change your name over and is not time limited to the immediate period after the marriage itself.