Emma asks:

I have a Jane Brown (married name from her third marriage – the marriage I am looking after will be her fourth)

She uses the name Jane Brown in everyday use, and has Jane Brown on all her current documents. The only document she has with her maiden name (Jane Smith) is her birth certificate.

She has asked if I can use her maiden name, Jane Smith, in the ceremony on the day?

She is happy for Jane Brown to be typed on all her documents as she will be changing her name to her new married name after the wedding anyway, and thinks it will be an easier paper trail if her marriage certificates state Jane Brown.

First things first: I’ve changed the names here to protect Emma and her client’s confidentiality!

Unfortunately what this bride has requested is not allowed. The names used in the ceremony (either before or during the legal vows) must be the same as the names used on all the paperwork. The purpose of including the parties’ full names at some point in the ceremony is to identify to everyone present (particularly the witnesses and the celebrant) that the people getting married are indeed the people named on the documentation.

P71 of the Guidelines has this to say on the matter:

Celebrants should use the parties’ full names (usually given name/s and surname) at some stage during the ceremony, preferably early in the ceremony, for the purpose of legal identification of the parties. The full name of the parties will be the names recorded in the NOIM.

Emma came back to me with a follow-up question:

Can all certificates be printed in her maiden name and then her maiden name be stated in ceremony? Even though the only document she has with her maiden name is her birth certificate??
The answer is yes, but it requires sighting more paperwork. To use her birth name, a celebrant would need to see evidence that that birth certificate belongs to her. The only way we can do it that is by seeing a form of photo ID in that same name, with the photo of the woman standing in front of you on it, or by seeing the full chain of evidence of her name changes throughout her life. In this instance, we’d need to see her birth certificate (in her maiden name, Jane Smith), all her marriage certificates and all her divorce certificates if she changed her name after every marriage (to show the trail of her name changes), and her photo ID (in her current name, Jane Brown).
If she can change her driver’s licence back to her birth name now, we could use her birth name, because then we’d have her birth certificate for proof of date and place of birth, her driver’s licence to show us that birth certificate belongs to the person standing in front of us, and her latest divorce cert to show she’s free to marry.
(Yes, the Guidelines do say that parties can use whichever name they want as long as we give them written advice about the difficulties they may face if their documents don’t line up, but I’d still want to see evidence that a person is currently using the name they want to write on their marriage documentation, and this bride didn’t have that.)