The most common reason people change their names outside of being in Witness Protection is a bride after her wedding. Taking on your husband’s last name is traditional of a bride, and what many girls have been dreaming of possibly since their first date with the man of their dreams. Changing your last name is much more than scribbling it on your notebook; there’s actually a lot of work that goes into it. You have to make sure to change your name after marriage on important accounts and documents.
To Hyphenate or Not?
Some ladies can’t wait to kick their last name to the curb and change it to their husband’s, but other women are conflicted about replacing it. Some women have been established, and are known as nothing else besides their maiden name, and want to spare many people the confusion of recognizing who they are. Others have no brothers, and want to keep their father’s surname alive even after their nuptials. The decision is up to you, but also ask how your husband feels about the situation.
Where you Need to Change your Name After Marriage
Once you decide what your new name will be, you’ll have to change quite a few things. You need to update more than your family and friends to call you Mrs. You’ll be known as this name until death (or divorce) do you part, and people need to be informed of the change. Some places that need to be notified include:
You’ll need a new driver’s license or identification card with your new name (and address if you moved in with your new spouse).
Social Security Office
Another form of identification, you’ll need to apply to renew your passport with your new family name.
US Postal Service
Unless you don’t mind receiving mail under your maiden name, you may want to contact your local post office and announce that you’ve been married so they can make the necessary changes to your mail.
You’re a new person under the eyes of the law; allow that to reflect when you’re voting. In some states this might be included with your DMV change.
Vehicle Title Information
Yes, back to the DMV. If your car is in your name, make sure it matches your driver’s license in case you get pulled over.
For the same reasons as above, you’ll want to update your information on your insurance papers.
Other places you may need to notify: your banks for your checking, savings, investing, loan and credit accounts, places where you hold a membership like the gym, your utility providers, and your job as well. Your human resources department may need some additional information from you, including if you want to add your spouse as a beneficiary if you have benefits, as well as becoming your emergency contact person on the job.
It’s definitely a hassle, and while some of these changes can be made online, many of them require in person appointments, a phone conversation, or sending in a copy of your marriage license as proof, so be sure to make several copies for companies that require them. If it seems too much for you to be bothered with, there are services that provide you all the forms you need for a small fee. Companies like David’s Bridal are partnered with these services, one called MissNowMrs.com, which claims to save you an average of 13 hours of form research.
If you’re the bride, be sure you’re ready for the paperwork when you get back from your honeymoon. If you’re a friend of the bride, a gift card or certificate for a name change service would be an excellent wedding gift, as she may not know exactly what’s in store, and could easily become overwhelmed. It may be tedious, but it’s one of the many things that come with a marriage. Be prepared and make sure you update your name so that you don’t have problems with an incorrect name later on.