If you're planning a name change after your wedding, the process can be a smidge daunting. But it's only a few steps in total and requires just a little organization. You can handle this! Here's how to change your name after the wedding. (Note: these steps only apply to US weddings. If you're outside the US, check out some country-specific guidelines here.)
Get an official marriage certificate
Snag an extra copy or two of your certified marriage certificate from your county clerk. When in doubt, get the “long-form” marriage certificate, which contains your parents' information and places of birth. You'll need that one for the Social Security office.
Apply to change your name with Social Security
You'll want Social Security form SS-5, which will net you a new Social Security card. Talk about feeling official! You'll need a few original documents (not photocopies) besides your marriage certificate, proving your age, identity, and US citizenship or lawful immigration status (like a driver's license or passport). Feel free to download the form and fill it in before you go to save some time, since it may be super busy there anyway.
Social Security will notify the IRS, which means you'll be able to file your taxes with your new name.
Update your driver's license
The DMV will want to know your new name, too. Google your state's DMV with a quick “[your state] Department of Motor Vehicles” to grab the forms you'll need. It varies from state to state, but you may need to re-apply for a new driver's license and change your vehicle title/registration. As in most of these steps, have a certified marriage certificate with you.
Clean house with the rest of your accounts
Once you have your new ID/driver's license, you can change your name elsewhere, which can be a hefty job. If you've ever had your credit card stolen, you probably already have a big list o' accounts where you need to change your information. Here's a name change checklist for after the wedding for all those other accounts:
- Your employer (gotta keep getting those checks, right?)
- Unions and professional organizations
- Post office
- Investment account providers
- Assets such as property titles, deeds, trusts
- Credit card companies
- Passport office
- Your attorney
- Your landlord or mortgage company
- Homeowners association or management agency
- Insurance companies (health, home, fire, flood, vehicle, renters, life, etc.)
- Doctors and dentists
- Utility companies (cable, phone, Internet, gas, electric, etc.)
- Mobile and home phone and cable companies
- School and alumni associations
- Student loan companies
- Voters registration office
- Club memberships (stores, gym, grocery stores, etc.)
- Social media accounts, if you're planning on re-branding yourself online
Timing your name change after the wedding
Resist the urge to change your name prior to any honeymoon/travel plans! You'll want all your documents to match for this.
There's no rush to change your name, so wait until you won't be traveling anywhere for a bit and you have the time to tackle all of the contacting at one time.
Again, if all this sounds like a huge pain in the ass, we suggest going the easy route using HitchSwitch. They make the name change process simple, guiding you through the process step-by-step. Prices start at $39, and they make way easier than dealing with all the paperwork on your own.