The Paperwork of Romance



As anyone planning a marriage knows, there is a lot of paperwork involved. I am not talking about signing the marriage register on the day. Before that there are at least 3 other forms to be signed and witnessed, one sent to the celebrant at least 30 days before the joyous union. I recently attended a wedding where the completion of forms, signing, witnessing etc, took longer than the actual vows. Apparently while love is grand, it is not real unless it’s in triplicate.

Then there’s some other things. Joint bank accounts? That’s 100 points of ID each thanks, as well as a proof of your new address. Rent receipt? Electric bill? Then you have to go to get your new address on the drivers licence if you move as well. Not to mention change your address details for everything you ever subscribed to or service you use. Rest assured you will forget at least one.

After doing all this I think I know why many women choose to keep their maiden name, there is too much bloody paperwork involved in trying to get it changed! The agencies you have to send it to, the photocopies you need to be certified by a JP and it goes on and on!

It’s even more fun if one of you is from overseas, then comes the paperwork of the Visa as well. Identity check, police checks, statutory declarations from character witnesses and where your brothers went to school. God forbid then if you want to consider changing a last name? The paperwork involved in that on top is enough to drive any sane man mad even with the help of a professional immigration agent.

I wonder if this paperwork is designed as yet another hurdle for those who wish not to undertake pre-marital counselling courses. If you can survive planning a wedding, and you can survive filling out the paperwork, maybe you are meant to be together. After all, what sound is more pleasant, than that of a public servant slamming down a stamp on your document and declaring aloud, “Next Please”?

Have you ever been married? Did the paperwork frustrate you?

  • Monique Fischle

    As I am 43 days away from being married (but who’s counting), I am realising the huge list of paperwork that will await me after the wedding. We’ve already signed the notice of intention of marriage or whatever it’s called and have been doing the pre-marital counselling business.

    I now have a long list that I keep at my desk which I add to every time I think of another place I’ll need to change my name. I don’t like how long it is. I definitely understand women wanting to keep their maiden name, it’s definitely made me question if it’s worth it.

  • Tamsin Howse

    We signed all the official paperwork the day before at the rehearsal and “staged” it on the day. That way it only took as long as the photos. Strongly recommend this!

    There are some things I still have my maiden name on because it was too much of a hassle to change it, including our property title.

  • Melissa Savage

    I didn’t find it a bother at all. But of course all we had to do was file the intention to marry and sign the stuff on the day. The intention to marry form meant I had to get a notarised copy of my birth certificate to my celebrant (a.k.a father-in-law), which was slightly annoying,

    My friends who had an inter-country marriage had a harder time of it. Stat decs and visas were involved. And obviously I think changing your name is patriarchal bullshit, and the paperwork only makes me agree with myself more.