I decided to take a break from my usual wedding planning posts to touch on an important part of the marriage process that people often forget doesn’t just happen (although it would be nice if it did). Changing your last name is a process, and while it may not be the most enjoyable one, the end result will have you feeling great and bring you to the realization that you are officially married! Woohoo! The most important thing is knowing the order in which to make the change.
Bonus tip: In order to save yourself a major headache, don’t change your name until after your honeymoon! If you make the change before, your passport and other important items will no longer be valid and you probably won’t get the new ones back in time for your trip. Don’t start the celebration of your marriage off with a meltdown, play it safe and wait until you are back home to start your name change process.
Below are step-by-step instructions on how to make the official change from Miss to Mrs:
- Get a certified copy of your marriage certificate
You need this document before you can do anything else. Your marriage should be on file with your local county clerk by the time you return from your honeymoon. You can get a copy of your marriage certificate at the county clerk’s office and you do not need an appointment. This will most likely cost you $10 per copy. I would suggest getting two copies. You will need to bring one copy of the marriage certificate around with you for the rest of the name change process so it is always nice to have a backup back at home in case anything happens or it gets lost somehow.
What you will need to bring with you: Your ID only
- Visit your local Social Security Office
This is where you actually change your name. This can be the dreaded social security office experience of long lines and waits. To make this as painless as possible, avoid going in the middle of the day like on your lunch break. Going first thing in the morning, maybe even a little before the office officially opens, will help you beat the majority of the line. Unfortunately, the social security office does not allow appointments for a name change, so wake up early and try to beat the rush! I would also suggest going online and printing out the form you need to fill out for your name change so that you are already prepared when you get there.
What you will need to bring with you: Your marriage certificate, your current license, your passport or birth certificate (for proof of citizenship)
- Visit the DMV
The next step is to change your name on your license. You need your new social security card for this so you will have to wait for it to come in first for this part. Once you have your new social security card, head on over to the DMV and you know what to do from there!
What you will need to bring with you: Your new social security card, your current license, your marriage certificate, a bill (for proof of address), payment
And that’s it for the government to recognize your new name! After all of this, you will need to inform others of your name change such as your employer, bank, credit cards and bills, and anything else you would like to see your new name on, such as emails. Most of these things require your marriage certificate to change.
While the process is a bit of a hassle, in the end, it can be exciting when you start seeing your new name on everything. I hope this information has been useful for you. Congratulations and good luck to all the newlyweds in this process!