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Admittedly, it's not half as much fun as trying on fairy-tale dresses and fab shoes, but sorting out the legal and financial implications of being man and wife should be high on your 'to do' list before the big day.
Most brides,their heads swimming with seating plans and menus, push anything not connected with the day itself to the back of their minds. If this sounds all too familiar, take time out now to consider the other important issues. For example, are you going to change your surname?

For some women, the change in status to married woman is an important one, and they choose to affirm this by adopting their husband's surname. It's an easy process, as all you need to do is send a copy of your marriage certificate to those organisations that would need to know - for example, your bank - and they'll make an amendment without the need for further documentation.

However, if you want a double-barrelled surname, or to keep your maiden name, you'll need to change your name by deed poll, which can be done on -line without any need for a solicitor.

Prices vary - www.deedpollsonline.co.uk charges £29.99 per adult.

If your husband wants to change his name to your surname, he also has to do it by deed poll - unlike women, men don't have the same automatic legal right to take their partner's name on mariage. If you both want to adopt a double-barrelled surname, you could get your fiance to change his name by deed poll just before the wedding, and then you can adopt it as your own on the actual day. And this way, you'll save money by only paying for one deed poll!

If you want to travel on your honeymoon with a new married name you can amend your existing passport, or have a new 10 - year one issued up to three months in advance. Ask your minister or registrar to fill in form PD2, which is readily available from post offices and large travel agents, confirming the date of your wedding. your new or amended passport will be valid from this date. For more information, call the passport office on 0870 521 0410, or try the website ar www.ukpa.gov.uk

Now the matter of your name is sorted, stop to think about your finances. It's probably not something you'll relish at this point, but it's worth doing. Talk about how you'd like finances to be conducted once you're married - decide before you do anything.

Look at all the savings and investments you hold between you. You may already have joint finances, but it'still worth giving them an overhaul.
Unfortunately, being married no longer has automatic tax benefits, but there are still steps you can take as a married person to stay ahead of the taxman. If you and your husband are in different tax bands for example, consider putting some or all your savings and investments in the name of the lower-rate taxpayer, which could potentially save you a lot of cash in tax payments.

Other financial issues become simpler when you're married - for example, you don't have to write a will to ensure that your estate passes to your spouse, although it's always a goid idea to do it anyway. Also, make sure you nominate your spouse as the beneficiary on any insurance policies and pension plans, or better still, get information on writing policies into trust.

As with any financial issue, it's always wise to get expert advice before you act - call IFA Promotion on freephone 0800 085 3250, or visit their website at www.unbiased.co.uk for details of how to find a professional financial adviser in your area.

If you deal with these issues early on in your married life, it's unlikely you'll stumble across any unpleasant surprises further down the line. However, once you've managed to get this lot out of the way, you'll be ready for another holiday.....so start as soon as possible and draw up a list of things and people you need to contact or inform.

If you've decided to take your husband's name once you're married, you'll need to make a list and to contact all of the following:

· Employer

· Inland Revenue (you can get your tax reference number and tax office address from your employer)

· Doctor/dentist/optician

· Driver & Vehicle Licensing Authority

· Passport Office

· Bank

· Building Society (mortgage and/or savings accounts)

· Utility Companies (electricity, water, gas)

· Telephone Company

· Mobile phone company

· Your local authority (council tax and electoral roll)

· Credit card and store card companies, including any other customer loyalty card and gym memberships

· Finance/loan companies

· Premium Bond Office

· Investment companies

· Companies you have shares in

· Pension company

· Insurance companies (for example motor, medical, life, buildings, endowments, contents)

· Motoring organisations

· TC Licensing

· Any other licence or agreement contracts you hold.

Also - not a fun thing to talk about, but a wedding is as good a time as any to get a will in place, if you haven't already done so. If you have, you should be aware that a marriage invalidates any will made prior to the wedding. See a solicitor, or contact the Institute of Professional Willwriters who can help you with all the legalities. 0845 644 2042

'Wedding Day' Aug/Sept 04

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