<strong>Signature</strong>: Signing the Marriage Register makes it official. <em>*Creative Commons photo by brandocon</em>
Signature: Signing the Marriage Register makes it official. *Creative Commons photo by brandocon

Tying the knot marks the start of an exciting new life together, and for some, a new identity.

Whether you are taking your husband’s name or opting for a hyphenated version, marriage brings a name change.

So what can you do to bring all your affairs and paperwork up to date?

Here is some advice on how a bride should go about this.

Name options

Traditionally the wife takes the husband’s name, but a more modern approach is to retain your maiden name and add your husband’s name with a hyphen.

Alternatively you can retain your maiden name as your middle name.

Another option is for women to keep their maiden name at work, but to take their husband’s surname on a social and legal basis.

Whatever option you decide, this will involve extensive paperwork.

Before the wedding

Inform your employer so he/she can change your e-mail address and business cards.

Tell your family and friends — just in case anyone is buying a monogrammed gift.

Make honeymoon reservations in your maiden name, as your passport and driver’s licence will still be in your old name.

After the ceremony

The first step to changing your name is obtaining your Marriage Certificate.

Once you have this, the next step is a new driver’s licence from TCD (Transport Control Department).

You will then need to change your name with Government for social insurance/security purposes and with the Parliamentary Registrar for voter registration.

At work, your human resources department will also need to see documentation to change your name on the payroll and for tax/pension deductions.

You will also need to present paperwork at your bank, mortgage provider, credit card company, insurance and utility companies.

At financial institutions, you should request credit/debit cards and cheques in your new name.

Professional organizations, clubs, societies and unions also need to be informed.

Some organizations may only require a phone call while others will need to see a copy of your Marriage Certificate and/or Social Insurance card.

Checklist

The easiest way for a bride to tackle this change is to draw up a name change checklist.

This should include: Government agencies; passport issuing agency; transportation authority (car registration/driving licence); work and employment (employer and professional organizations); banks and financial institutions; home (insurers and utility companies); medical matters (doctor, dentist, etc.); family and friends; post office; social media and Internet (such as social and professional networking sites); and other legal documents (such as property deeds, trusts and your will).

Marlene Christopher, Bermuda’s Registrar General, said: “At civil marriages that take place here in the Registry General, we ask the brides if they are going to assume their husband’s surname or retain their maiden names.

“We then have them sign the Marriage Register with the name that they will either retain or assume upon their marriage.

“I do not think that this is the general practice for marriages taking place outside of the Registry (such as church weddings) and which are performed by Marriage Officers.

“However, a married woman is entitled to assume the surname of her husband legally and the production of a Marriage Certificate should be sufficient evidence of the name change.

“She will then have to go to the various departments of interest, such as the Department of Social Insurance, TCD, Parliamentary Registrar and the Immigration Department, to change the name on her Bermuda passport.

“The Marriage Certificate is proof of the marriage, the couple don’t need to go through a deed poll.

“But if the woman is assuming a hyphenated name, she will have to go to a lawyer to prepare a deed poll, for the legal change of name.

“The lawyer would prepare the document and advertise the change of name in the Official Gazette (Bermuda Sun).

“The woman would then need to bring the document here to the Registry General for the name change to be recorded.”

For more information contact the Registry General at www.gov.bm or call 297-7739.

Fairytale Weddings January 2012