The Bride: To Change or Not to Change her Last Name after the Wedding?

Posted on: September 9, 2014


Good Morning!

It is no secret that couples go through many changes and adjustments on the way to the altar but one of the biggest changes that will occur may be the bride’s decision on whether or not to change her last name to that of  her husband or to keep her maiden name or maybe hyphenate it.  In many cultures, it goes without saying that the bride is expected to make the switch after the wedding. However, different variations of this practice or the bride’s decision to keep her maiden name has become increasingly common nowadays for couples.

We found this great article below from the regarding this very topic that sheds some light on how to go about this sometimes tricky terrain after the wedding your wedding day has become a distant memory and the reality of your new marital status has begun to sink in.  Our belief is that communication on this subject should happen before your wedding day and compromise if necessary when the time comes.  This article will definitely help to jump-start or even broaden that conversation.



How to Change Your Last Name After the Wedding

Just because you have a marriage license with your new last name doesn’t mean you’ve officially changed your name. Sorry to break it to you but that’s really just the first step. And you thought that was the hard part—wait until you see the lines at the social security office and motor vehicle bureau! There is a shortcut, though, you can make it easy on yourself and get our Name Change Kit. Rather do it the hard way? See below:

1. Get your marriage license
Before you can change your name, you’ll need the original (or certified) marriage license with the raised seal and your new last name on it. Call the clerk’s office where your license was filed to get copies if one wasn’t automatically sent to you.

2. Change your Social Security card
Visit the Social Security Administration’s website and fill out the application for a new Social Security card. You’ll keep the same number — just your name will be different. Mail in your application to the local Social Security Administration office. You should get your new card within 10 business days.

3. Change your license at the DMV
Take a trip to the local Department of Motor Vehicles office to get a new license with your new last name. Bring every form of identification you can lay your hands on — your old license, your certified marriage license and — most important — your new Social Security card.

4. Change your bank accounts
This one’s a biggie, especially if you’re setting up a joint bank account, or if you have one already set up. The fastest way to change your name at your bank is to go into a branch location — bring your new driver’s license and your marriage license. You should request new checks and debit and credit cards on top of changing the name attached to your accounts. Something to note: You might get hit with fees for requesting a new debit card.

5. Fill in the blanks
Once you have a social security card and driver’s license in your married name, other changes should be fairly easy. Some places only require a phone call; others may ask for a copy of your marriage certificate or social security card. Be sure to notify:

  • Employers/payroll
  • Post office
  • Electric and other utility companies
  • Credit card companies
  • Schools and alumni associations
  • Landlord or mortgage company
  • Insurance companies (auto, home, life)
  • Doctors’ offices
  • Voter registration office
  • Investment account providers
  • Your attorney (to update legal documents, including your will)
  • Passport office

6. Ignore 2-5 and let us help 
There is an easier way to officially change your name. Go to the Name Change Kit and choose your option. It costs $25-$50, but it’s worth it since all you actually have to do is fill out one single form. Still have questions? Find answers to your most commonly asked questions here.

— Amanda Black

name change options

There’s more than one way to take your fiance’s name. Consider these five scenarios:

  • You take his name: In this case, if Laura Walker marries Christopher Smith, she becomes Laura Smith.
  • He takes your name: Far less common, in this case, Christopher Smith marries Laura Walker and becomes Christopher Walker. Granted, it’s a modern approach, but what’s the difference between you taking his or him taking yours?
  • You hyphenate: You could add your fiance’s last name to yours with a hyphen (Laura Walker becomes Laura Walker-Smith). Some couples decide to take each other’s names and hyphenate both. The only drawback is that it can be taxing on the tongue, hand and even the ear, depending on the way your names sound together.
  • You make your maiden name your middle name: In this case, Laura Anne Walker becomes Laura Walker Smith. That way, she holds on to her family name. The one caveat: This option only works if you don’t mind losing your middle name.
  • You keep your name professionally: This can be a nice compromise. Socially, you’re known as a married couple but professionally you retain your identity. So Laura Walker legally changes her name to Laura Smith but keeps her birth name at work.

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