As a Celebrant I provide information to couples on how to apply for the official standard marriage certificate** from the Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages – after the marriage is registered. I’m asked if this is the certificate needed to legally change a surname. Although not strictly the role of any Marriage Celebrant to be involved in the name change process it is a common question and is generally a straight forward response to most couples.
Information given on both ACT and the NSW Births Deaths and Marriages websites state;
“If you were married in Australia a formal Change of Name is not required if you wish to take your spouse’s name. Usually personal documentation, such as your driver’s licence and passport, can be changed to your married surname when you provide a Standard Marriage Certificate.”
So the answer to the original question is “Yes. You will probably need the official marriage certificate to change a surname in many places”.
Of course you can start using your married surname as soon as you are married, even before you have had the chance to change it legally/officially.
**This is NOT the decorative certificate presented to you on your wedding day.