I may be showing my age age here, but how many of you remember this song “The Name Game” by Shirley Ellis? I was a toddler but my aunts would play the song so much, it stuck with me, providing me with great memories of dancing in my grandmother’s living room. This song was one that was played over and over until you figured it out and got the names right. You loved the song because it was fun and had a great beat for dancing, but you would get so frustrated trying to learn the words and use the rhythm with your own name. It was a really fun song.
After all of the wedding day planning, and a day of celebration and dancing, a new bride just might feel this same excitement and frustration with the new life role that is expected of her. Yes, the next day, there is whole new way of life to get adjusted to, like sharing a home with her new husband, figuring out how to combine her finances with his, and let’s not forget, answering to a new last name. If you have decided to take your new husband’s last name (and yes you have a choice), here are a few “first steps” to make the process of officially changing your name a bit easier. Start with your Social Security card and driver’s license: without these, you won’t get very far down the list of other important changes.
1. Get a Copy & Keep a Copy – Arm yourself with a certified marriage license — be sure it has a raised seal, which means it’s authentic. Call the office where your license was filed to get copies if they aren’t automatically sent to you.
2. Make the Change on Your Social Security Card – Once you get your marriage license (which usually takes a couple of weeks to arrive in the mail), download a form from the Social Security website. Then take that completed form, the license and your identification to your local social security office to get a new card.
3. Driver’s License – Visit the Department of Motor Vehicles in your area and bring lots of identification. No matter what, do not forget your certified marriage license.
4. Other Important Places to Make the Change - Once you have a social security card and driver’s license in your married name, other changes should be fairly easy. Some institutions only require a phone call; others may ask for a copy of your marriage certificate or social security card. Be sure to notify:
- Banks and other financial institutions
- Employers/Human Resources
- Credit card companies
- Post office
- Utility and Phone Companies
- Voter registration
And don’t forget to get your new name on these documents as well:
- Passport (Do not do this before the wedding — your passport name must match the name on your ticket and all other travel documents! It’s easier to take your honeymoon with your maiden name.)
- Mortgages and leases
- Wills & Insurance policies; while you are there, update beneficiary information
One last bit of advice, pack on some patience because making these changes can get a bit overwhelming. If through the process you get new info to help out another bride, drop us a comment so we can share it with future brides to come.