Skip to main content

What Is Name Blending and Why Are Couples Choosing It?

How do you decide which surname to use after getting married? One option to consider is name blending - either double-barrelling or creating a whole new name. We asked the experts at NameSwitch to explain the process

Close up of a man and woman's hands with the little fingers interlinked; the woman is wearing a sparkly engagement ring

Do you and your partner want to share the same surname after you get married? You definitely need to know about name blending.

In the UK, the tradition is that a woman takes her male partner's surname. However, this doesn't suit every woman - and it isn't relevant if you're a gay couple, or one or both of you is non-binary.

Of course, that being said, you can ignore the tradition element and just choose one of your surnames for both of you to use. However, you may not find it easy to decide - nobody wants the whole, "But I need to carry on my family name" argument, but that's pretty much inevitable if neither of you wants to be the one to make the switch. 

That leaves name blending: using your existing names to create a new surname that you both use.

It's certainly a solution worth exploring. That's why we spoke to Cécile Mazuet-Eller, Founder & Managing Director of NameSwitch, to find out how easy the process is - and, most importantly, how you come up with your new forever-name!

We also spoke to Jade and Sam, a couple who are going through the process of blending their names - their story is a must-read.

Changing Your Name After Marriage


What Is Name Blending?

There are two types of name blending.

"The easiest and most common way to blend two surnames is to double-barrel, with or without a hyphen," says Cécile.

"A couple has the right to assume or combine surnames with their marriage certificate, in whichever order, assuming they are not making any changes to the spelling. For example Read and Duckerin becomes Duckerin-Read (or Read-Duckerin)."

Then there is name meshing: creating a brand-new name for the two of you.

"If you wish to create a new name, a deed poll will required," explains Cécile.

"The inspiration could come from a surname, middle name, grandparent or other. It can be a single surname or a double (even triple) barrelled set of new names. For example Read and Duckerin could become Rein."

Is Name Blending Becoming More Popular?

If you do decide to blend your names, you won't be alone.

"We have seen definite growth in couples taking on a new team name, either in the more established form of double-barrelling or by blending two surnames together," says Cécile.

"The creation of a blended name is a newer trend that we have seen rising over the last few years."

What Are the Advantages of Blended Surnames?

Same sex couple's first kiss after saying I do
Pexels / Wallace Araujo

Choosing a new couple name isn't just about avoiding disagreements over which surname to take.

"It sets up a completely new chapter, based on what a couple chooses to preserve and weave together," says Cécile.

"It’s perhaps one of the most symbolic signs of a couple making a stand that they want to do things their way.

"Co-creating a blended surname draws on a history that has meaning and makes sense to a couple. It may be the meshing of two surnames to create a new one, or weaving in additional names which have had particular influence to their lives such as a grandparent or step parent."

What Should a Couple Consider Before Blending Their Surnames?

Cécile points out that the most important thing is that the couple is united in their decision - after all, this is the name you'll be using for the rest of your lives!

What's more, you may encounter some resistance to the idea from your families, and that is best dealt with when you're both on the same page.

"As with so many things wedding-related, everyone will have an opinion and the intention to alter a surname can cause some friction or bafflement among family members, especially parents!" she says.

"We recommend being united when you broach the subject with parents, and calmly outlining your reasons and thought processes to give them a chance to rationalise rather than assume you are rebelling for the sake of it."

If a Couple Decides to Mesh Their Names, How Do They Make the Change Official?

If you're creating a new, meshed surname, at least one of you will require a deed poll. There are the two possible paths, as Cécile explains:

  • "Change one of your surnames by deed poll before the ceremony. Either you or your partner can do this. You will need to notify your wedding celebrant of your change in name and it will be included in the register and on your marriage certificate. It will also be used to address you/your partner during the ceremony. Either party can then adopt the new surname using your marriage certificate. If you go down this route, we recommend you request two-three copies of your marriage certificate to enable multiple name change requests to be sent off after the ceremony."
  • "You both change your surname by deed poll after the wedding. You may want to discuss with your celebrant/toast master how you wish to be addressed/introduced as newlyweds and whether they would be able to incorporate your new name (unofficially) into the ceremony."

One thing to consider is how important it is to you to go on honeymoon using passports in your new names. For some couples, it's emotionally important; others are unconcerned. If you fall into the former category, you'll need to leave plenty of time to get this sorted. 

A PD2 can only be used to adopt an existing surname in it’s entirety or as a double-barrelled surname. If you want to honeymoon in your brand-new meshed name you can apply for a new passport using a Deed Poll before you travel. Depending on the gap between your wedding and honeymoon, you may need apply for a new passport before your big day. 

NameSwitch advises weighing up the practicalities of getting your passport aligned and allowing at least 2 months before any travel is planned given continued backlogs and demands post pandemic. 

You do not need a deed poll if you're double barrelling your names, but you will still need to notify a range of government bodies and companies in order to make it official in all areas of your lives. Your marriage certificate will be accepted by all government bodies and UK-based companies as documentary evidence of your right to adopt a new double-barrelled surname. 

"Why We Decided to Blend Our Names"

A selfie of the couple next to some flowers

How Did You Come up with Your Blended Name?

Our original surnames are Read and Duckerin. We smooshed them together by taking the first two letters from one and the last two from the other to make Rein.

We tried loads of different combos, including fully jumbling the letters, but Rein felt right as it has clear elements from both of our original names while also being a word that’s easy to pronounce and sounds like a normal surname.

What Made You Decide to Blend Your Names?

Historically a woman would take her husband’s name because she was considered to become his property after marriage. Of course that’s not the case any more, but we still didn’t feel good about upholding a very patriarchal tradition.

That being said, we felt strongly about wanting to share the same surname. We thought about doing a double barrel but our names together are a bit of a mouthful! Blending seemed the obvious solution for us.

Are You Changing Your Name Officially Before or After the Wedding?

We’re changing them after the wedding as that means we both have to go through the same process. Otherwise one of us would have to change now and then the other would change later, so it seemed a bit more complicated.

How Are You Planning to Let Family and Friends Know About Your New Name?

Jade’s mum always kept her maiden name for the same feminist reasoning, so we knew her family would be supportive and they love it. We were a bit unsure how Sam’s would react, as it’s unusual for a man to change his name so we knew it would be a surprise for them.

They were also incredibly supportive, and his parents even joked that they were going to change theirs to a blended name too!

Our close friends know and we’ve had purely positive reactions so far. Most of our other friends will find out on our wedding day as we’re announced as Mr and Mrs Rein!

Find Out More About Changing to a Blended Name

Having made the decision to blend their surnames, Jade and Sam chose to do the admin via NameSwitch. When you realise how much admin is involved, you'll understand why!

NameSwitch estimate that you'll need to notify around 23 different government bodies and companies in order to change your name, in addition to deed poll (where relevant).

That means at least 23 forms, addresses and processes to find, whether searching through websites or on hold to call centres.

Using NameSwitch cuts all that out. Simply head to their website, enter your details, and tick the box for each company that you need to inform about your name change. NameSwitch will generate the letters and forms you need to send off. You'll also get a set of personalised instructions.

As a valued member of Hitched you are entitled to £5 off any NameSwitch Package. Enter HITCHEDFIVE at checkout to apply the discount.