From Miss to Mrs
So much planning goes into creating the perfect wedding day — brides typically spend at least one year hiring vendors, trying on wedding gowns, comparing fabric swatches, tasting cakes, and generally making sure every detail has been covered, but not nearly as much thought goes into what happens after the I Do’s!
Changing your last name isn’t a difficult process, but no one really has a straightforward guide that outlines the steps — all the steps — of how to change your name to legally become a Mrs. So today, we’re going to give you a quick-and-easy, step-by-step guide to changing your last name.
First of all, don’t worry about the name change process until after you return from your honeymoon — both for your sanity’s sake (you’ve just planned a beautiful wedding, take some time off!), and for travel reasons. Even if you’re not traveling abroad, all airlines today require a Photo ID, and the name on it needs to match the name on the ticket. If you are leaving the country, you’ll need your passport, and the process of changing your name on that usually takes six to eight weeks, so it’s best to just use your maiden name, enjoy your honeymoon, and get to work on the name change process when you return.
When you get back to reality, here are the steps you need to take to legally change your name:
1. Get Your Marriage License
Go to the county Registrar of Deeds (where you requested your marriage application before your wedding day), and request several certified copies of your marriage license. They’re only $10 a piece, so I recommend getting three copies — one for your personal records (you never know when you’ll need it to change something down the line), one to send off to the passport agency when you request a new one with your married name — they should send your marriage license back to you, but it could take upwards of two months, so I recommend you get a third copy to take around to local departments, like the DMV, where you’ll need proof of your marriage to get a new license, while you’re waiting on your new passport to arrive in the mail.
2. Change Your Social Security Card
This is a biggie! Visit the Social Security Administration’s website and fill out the SS-5 application for a new Social Security card. Don’t worry, the number you’ve always had will remain the same, only your name will be different! Mail in your application, or hand deliver it to your local Social Security Administration office. You should get your new card in the mail within about 10 business days, and then you can get rolling on the rest of the name change process.
A quick word of advice: Check your local office’s hours!
3. Change Your License After You Get Married
Head over to the local Department of Motor Vehicles office to get a new driver’s license with your new last name. You will need your old license, a certified copy of your marriage license, and your new social security card.
4. Change Your Bank Accounts
The fastest way to change your last name at your bank is to just go into a local branch. You’ll need your new driver’s license and a certified copy of your marriage license. You can request new checks, debit cards, and credit cards on top of changing the name attached to your accounts. Be warned, your bank may charge you a fee for requesting a new debit card.
5. Apply for a New Passport After You Get Married
Changing the name on your passport isn’t nearly as critical as steps 1-4, but if you plan on traveling, it’s good to go ahead and get a jump on it, because when you do go abroad, your passport will need to match your license, which you changed in step 3! To do this, you’ll need to mail your current passport, the application for a new passport and any fees that go along with that (you’ll see the different scenarios on the Passport Agency’s website), a certified copy of your marriage license, and a color photograph to the Passport Agency, and they’ll send you a new one (and your marriage license back!) in about six weeks.
6. Make Other, More Minor Changes
While your social security card, driver’s license, and bank accounts are the most important things to tackle, you can also get to work changing other, more minor things to reflect your married name. These might include your employer’s payroll, any utility companies, credit cards, email addresses, social media accounts, insurance companies, doctors’ offices, your voter registration, and anything else (I know it’s a lot!) that has your name associated with it.
Y’all can get through it, it’s not as bad as it seems! If you want a little help with the paperwork check out HitchSwitch. They have packages for purchase that can help you with the details!