Guides for Brides logo
Fairs & Events Planning Tools
discussing their married surname

Let’s Talk About Deciding On Your Married Surname

Katie Stout, Headshot
Katie Stout Updated:
21st of December 2023

When getting ready for their wedding, couples often think about what last name they'll share. Amid all the wedding venue meetings, decor dilemmas, cake considerations and wedding guest management, you must also consider potentially having a new identity - and that's a pretty heavy choice to make. Research shows that 83.9% of modern brides will uphold tradition and take their partners' name when they get married, but that's not the only option available to you...

How the public views changing your name after marriage

In a November 2023 survey, we asked 2000 people (1000 men and 1000 women) about their attitudes towards changing their name after marriage. Here's what they said:

Taking your partners name after marriage

When asked "Would/Have you ever take/taken a/your partner's last name after marriage?", two thirds (59.55%) of respondents said yes. In terms of the gender split, 83.9% of women said they would stick to tradition while 35.2% of men said they'd make the change. 16.1% of women (nearly 1 in 5) wouldn't or haven't taken their partner's last name. For all respondents who said no to the change, here are their top reasons: To carry on own family's surname (39%), prefer their own surname (37%) and loss of identity (12%). For women specifically, 22% of respondents said that they felt taking their partner's name after marriage was "too old fashioned".

Of course, there are many more options than just to take the name or not to take it, there are plenty of options that are suited to all genders (including not changing your name at all!). We spoke to our partners at NameSwitch to guide and advise you through this difficult decision, what options are out there for brides and grooms wanting to make a change and how to ease the tedious process if you do decide to change your name after marriage! 

Changing your surname may feel difficult...

Hen do planning tips

Naturally, you will already have some attachment to your surname. After all, you've had it all your life!  Your title and surname contributes significantly to your identity and the way you present yourself to the wider world. In many situations, people you interact with may know you entirely by your second name, for example, if you are a teacher. 

For some, the thought of changing their name can feel like losing touch with a part of their identity and heritage. After all, your current surname links you to family, your education, your career and your life to date! These are undoubtedly difficult things to lose touch with.

Also, as the average age of a bride is increasing, you may have an even deeper connection to your birth name by the time you say ‘I Do'. You may have built professional reputation using your maiden name, for example. However, don't forget that there is the option to keep your professional name to avoid confusion in your career but be known as Mrs "X" in other, more personal settings.

However, there are common reasons to consider it!

Bride with Veil | Veils and Tiaras | Guides for Brides

On the other hand, there's looking forward to the future. Many feel that changing to a married surname represents your future partnership with your husband or wife to-be; your new family unit and ties to any potential future children.

Many see taking their partner's name as a way to create a new family united by one surname. Some couples may also see it as their ‘team name', especially if they plan to add mini-team members further down the line!

It can also be a link to tradition, the age-old practice of taking a new surname, just like wearing your wedding rings bears a symbol of your commitment to one another. For others, it's simply seen as an exciting and natural thing to do – to have a new title, name and signature that ties together the new you!

Nameswitch Banner

But it doesn't have to be either/or!

How to Postpone Your Wedding

Alternative approaches to deciding on a married surname that can offer the perfect compromise; we've seen a real rise in this over recent years. For example, double-barrel surname are becoming more popular than you might think! According to our research 1 in 4 couples would/have chosen to double-barrel their names after marriage. By both parties keeping their names, your married surname can symbolise equality yet also respect tradition.

Another increasing trend amongst modern newlyweds is the creation of their very own new name! You can create your unique name by fusing your surnames (known as meshing) or choosing an entirely new name that you identify with as a couple. 

So, how do you make your decision?

Bride and groom discuss their wedding plans

Ultimately, your surname is, obviously, an incredibly personal thing and how you view it will be different to everyone else. The reasons for keeping or changing your name are as varied as the brides themselves, and all views on this are equally valid. At the end of the day, it's a personal, yet important, decision as you need to feel comfortable with it for the rest of your life.

While a wedding does tend to bring out the opinions of certain family members on pretty much everything, be careful not to include them in your name change discussions until you and your partner are confident in your own decisions. Sharing your thoughts too early can invite unwanted opinions and confusion!

The only person you need to include in this decision is your partner. It's an important choice for both of you, so make sure you include them in your deliberations. You'll need to be on the same page, especially if you are considering a double-barrelled or meshed married surname. 

Don't worry about the paperwork!

Beautiful young couple relaxing in a living room and using laptop

Whatever you choose, your married surname decision should be based entirely on what feels right for you and not on how you feel about the paperwork! Changing your name can seem like a tedious process which may put you off some of the options we have discussed. NameSwitch can help you there!

NameSwitch was established to help take the effort out of making the change. They ensure the process is as easy as possible for you by saving you hours, or even days, researching policies and processes, writing letters and filling out forms. NameSwitch uses smart, secure automation to populate the forms and letters you'll need to send out to change your details. So, all you need to do is sign them and pop them in the post! This is a brilliant service for UK couples that makes it easy to let government bodies and companies know about the change – whatever decision you've made. Watch the video below to get more of an insight:

As a valued member of Guides for Brides you are entitled to £5 off any of their packages. Enter GFBFIVE at checkout to apply the discount.

So, take the time to make a decision that feels like a perfect fit for you – and then let NameSwitch take care of the rest! 

Katie Stout, Headshot

About the author

Katie Stout

Introducing Katie, our go-to travel expert and lover of all things weddings! With a vibrant background in art & design and as a former cabin crew member, Katie is well travelled and has a keen eye for fashion and styling. She's the ultimate go-to person for creating stunning wedding aesthetics. From her extensive experience attending weddings as a guest, Katie also understands what your wedding guests truly remember on your special day. Katie's about to embark on her own wedding planning journey, having recently gotten engaged in June 2023! So, whether you need first-hand recommendations for your honeymoon, want to make a style statement or get practical planning tips, Katie is your best contact for advice.

Read More

Search for venues & suppliers near you