We know you’re excited about your wedding day! All of the planning and anticipation will soon come to an end when you walk down the aisle and say, “I do!”.
While you continue to celebrate through your wedding reception and honeymoon, you have already started the clock on your current identity’s expiration. While you are the same person your new husband fell in love with, you might no longer want to legally carry the same last name you had on the day you met him.
Not every bride chooses to change her name after marriage, but if you’ve dreamed of the day you carry your husband’s last name, there’s a process to make that happen. Brides, here’s what you need to know to accomplish your name change after marriage.
It’s Starts With Your Marriage Certificate
The men have it easy! They keep their names. Ladies, you have a lot of work to do.
Your marriage name change starts with your marriage certificate. Your marriage certificate is not the same document as your marriage license.
- A marriage license gives you legal permission to marry. You and your husband-to-be get your marriage license prior to your wedding day.
- A marriage certificate legally confirms that you are married. The officiant for your wedding is responsible for filing the paperwork to confirm you had a legal wedding ceremony.
Your marriage certificate arrives about a month after your wedding, and we recommend that you request several certified copies to help speed up the name change process. Once you have your marriage certificate in hand, the name-changing process can begin!
Be sure you review the certificate and make sure your information is correct. This document is the official record of your new legal name. An error on your marriage certificate leads to errors with each institution where you’ll change your name.
Next Comes Social Security and a Driver’s License
It’s not quite as exciting as the words to the “next comes love and a baby carriage” song, but “adulting” after your wedding includes updating your name with the social security administration first, followed by the department of motor vehicles.
These two I.D.’s are critical to have before changing your name for other important things. Bank accounts and other institutions typically require a valid form of identification or state id and social security number that matches your new name before you can change the name on those accounts.
You’ll need a copy of your marriage certificate to verify your legal name change when changing your name through the local social security office and your local government for your driver’s license.
Make a List
Think through everything that requires your legal name, then make a list like an example provided below.
- Bank Accounts
- Credit Cards
- Voter Registration
- Postal service
- Insurance Policies
- Mortgage Documents
- Car title
- Medical Documents
- Wills and Trusts
If you’re working through each of these items on your own, you’ll need plenty of time and a detailed process to fill out forms and provide documentation as needed. That marriage certificate will make the rounds for most of these institutions to verify your official name change. Be ready to make plenty of copies or send electronic copies after scanning the document.
Make sure you understand what’s required for each institution to have your name changed correctly the first time. Not every institution will require the same documents to complete your name change process.
It can be overwhelming to tackle this list on your own. Work down your list and track when you send in paperwork and documentation. Many brides use a service to help reduce some of the work when changing documents to their new married name.
You won’t need paperwork to change your name on your social media accounts, but you don’t want to forget to do it! You’ve probably already posted wedding and honeymoon photos. Be sure you make your new name and life “Facebook official.”
Other Name Change To-Dos
Your name-change job isn’t over after you’ve filed all of the necessary paperwork. Do your due diligence and follow-through in a few more areas.
Confirm Correct Name Changes
After you apply for your name change with every institution on your list, be sure you confirm that it happens—correctly. A typo in your new name or a delay in your name change becoming active can affect your day-to-day.
If you notice an error with your new name—like a typo or missing letters—contact the institution with the error right away. A misspelled name on your social security card, driver’s license, or bank account can keep you from being able to pay bills or access your credit cards.
Communicate With Non-Official Institutions
Make sure clients know about your new name. If your email address changes at work due to your new last name, make sure your clients are aware and have your new email address.
Contact your kid’s schools, your church, alumni associations, and volunteer organizations to make sure they have your new name. You’ll regret missing important information (and maybe a few wedding gifts) if you fail to let your community know about your new name!
Don’t Delay Your Name Change After Marriage
If you choose to change your last name, whether it’s a full change or hyphenation of your maiden and husband’s last name, start the process as soon as you can. The process of a name change after marriage can take quite a while for all of the necessary institutions to process the update to your new married name.
Brides, check out UpdateMyName.com to learn more about changing your name after marriage. Congrats on your wedding!