Name Changes and Certificates
Short answer to the question "does a bride have to change her name" – is "NO" IT IS A CHOICE FOR A BRIDE TO CHANGE HER NAME AND THERE IS NO LEGAL REQUIREMENT TO DO SO. However, most brides do, and the explanation below is to assist you in that process.
A Marriage comes under a Federal (Commonwealth ) Act of Parliament . The wedding legalities and documents are the same no matter which state or Territory of Australia you live, or are married in.
Some couples never request a Registered Marriage Certificate although I do recommend that you do so. If the bride wants to change her name on her Drivers Licence or Passport (and usually Bank Accounts) she needs a Registered Marriage Certificate to do this .
However, the State Parliaments have control of keeping the Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages and can have some slight differences the way the Registered Marriage Certificate is supplied if one is requested.
Let me outline this aspect of your Queensland wedding.
At the end of your ceremony, after your celebrant has declared you to be husband & wife, the certificates are signed.
I ask my couples to sign my register first (this is a legal requirement on the part of the celebrant to keep a Register of all marriages she has performed). I then ask that the newly married husband & wife – in turn – sign the Certificate of Marriage and then the Presentation Certificate. The signatures are all witnessed by the same two people (over the age of 18 years) chosen to be the official witnesses who, of course, add their signatures.
The Presentation Certificate – which is a legal document and carries an individual registered number on the back, and is often written in a calligraphied font, is usually handed to the bride & groom as the celebrant introduces them as ‘husband & wife.’
After the wedding the celebrant completes her paperwork and the Certificate of Marriage is then sent by the celebrant along with the Notice of Intended Marriage (the very first form you completed) to the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages in Brisbane, where the marriage is registered.
Your celebrant will most probably have discussed with you if you require a registered copy of your Certificate of Marriage and may even have provided the form for you to complete. This is the easiest way for you to obtain your registered copy as the celebrant sends your request form to BDM with the other paperwork and you then receive a registered copy in the mail approximately 20 working days later. (This time can vary greatly depending on the time of year and the number of weddings being performed).
If you decide not to complete the Request Form to receive a registered copy of your Certificate of Marriage then you can make your request at a later date. You will however need to provide 100 points of identification to prove you are a person who is entitled to obtain the certificate. So, although a bride can call herself ‘Mrs’ immediately after her wedding for a bride to change her name with Government departments and institutions like banks or building societies and credit unions, you will need to provide the registered copy of your Certificate of Marriage.
So, to summarise, if the Bride or Groom do not want a Registered Certificate of Marriage then they do not have to do anything. But if you do require a registered Certificate of Marriage, as there are significant differences in this procedure from State to State in Australia, check with your celebrant, minister or Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages in the state in which you will be married.