Once a destination bride has tied the knot in Fiji, one of the first steps she’ll want to take care of is changing her name – that is, should she be inclined to follow tradition and adopt the surname of her husband. I’m frequently asked ‘will my Fiji wedding be recognised in Australia?’ and ‘What procedure needs to be taken to change my name?’ Here’s a few things you’ll need to know.
For starters, as long as your Fiji wedding is a legal ceremony (which it will be when booking through I Do Fiji Holidays) and registered with the Fijian government, then it’s a fairly simple and harmless procedure.
All marriages & elopements will need to be conducted in the presence of at least two witnesses who are over 21 years of age. If you’re eloping, these witnesses don’t necessarily need to be people you have known. Resort staff often facilitate this function, particularly on remote or island properties.
Your Certificate of Marriage must be signed, witnessed and endorsed by your minister or celebrant. You’ll then be provided an original certificate for your records, while a second certificate will be filed with Fiji’s Foreign Affairs office where it receives an Apostille seal, authenticating the marriage is legal and recognised in foreign countries as an official file.
Once you’ve returned home to Australia, you’ll be able to use your Fijian Marriage Certificate to change your name with most businesses and institutions. However some may insist on a copy of your official Marriage Certificate, which you generally receive in the mail a number of weeks after your wedding from the Registry Office.
Changing your name on your passport can only be performed with the official certificate and lodged with the Births, Deaths and Marriages office in the state your birth was registered.
If your passport has years of validity remaining, it is not essential to change your name immediately. You will still be able to travel on your passport with your maiden name, but you’ll need to ensure your travel arrangements continue to be booked under your birth name.
For more information on the procedures in Australia, click on the state to view their policies – NSW, Queensland & Victoria.