4 Practical Tips for Changing Your Last Name


Your wedding was picture perfect.  You married the person of your dreams.  You’re ready to enjoy a wonderful, relaxing honeymoon.  But wait - here is one more thing you need to do before you can begin enjoying marital bliss.  You have to change your last name.  Just because you have a marriage license with your new married name doesn’t mean you have legally changed it.  There are still some steps you need to complete.  Read on to learn practical tips for making this tedious task easier.

1. Get a Certified Marriage License - The first step in legally changing your last name is ensuring you have either the original or a certified copy of your certificate of marriage (a certified copy has a raised seal on it).  If one wasn’t automatically mailed to you, contact the clerk’s office where the license was filed and request one.  You may also want to make some photocopies of the license and keep them on hand.  Although these are not certified, they can be helpful when correcting the names on certain accounts such as student loans or utility accounts.

2. Start with the Biggies - Once you have your certified marriage license, start with changing the name on the important documents you use for identification.  These would be your social security card, driver’s license,  and bank accounts.  Visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles office for a new driver’s license.  Fill out this application on the Social Security Administration’s website and then mail it in to your local SSA office. Lastly visit your local bank branch to change update name on all accounts.  Don’t forget to order a new debit card and checks as well.

3.Change Other Accounts - After the biggies are taken care of, begin tackling your other accounts.  These would include credit card accounts, car registrations, employer forms, investment accounts, insurance plans, etc.   Keep an updated driver’s license and marriage license certificate on hand.  Some of these places will allow you to simply call and request the update; others will require you to send in documentation such as a copy of a marriage certificate or social security card.

4. Hire a Professional
- If you don’t have the time or energy to do all the paperwork yourself there are professional service companies you can hire to do it for you.  You simply fill out a couple forms and they handle the rest.  These companies typically charge anywhere between $29 - $59 depending on the level of service you choose.

What about the honeymoon?

Many brides are unsure on which name they should choose when booking their honeymoon travel.  The answer to this question will somewhat depend on when you are taking your honeymoon.  If you are planning on travelling right after the wedding, you may want to keep all the documents - passport, hotel reservations, airline ticket - in your maiden name.  That way there are no problems when verifying identification using those documents and your current driver’s license or identification card.  If you are waiting a month or two to take your trip, you should be fine putting the documents in your married name.  You will need to make sure you get an updated driver’s license as soon as you can.  Also send out for an updated passport which could take anywhere from 4-6 weeks for regular service.

Windemere is dedicated to keeping our couples stay informed on everything related to planning their wedding and honeymoon including changing their last name.  Regularly  visit our blog for updates on the latest wedding styles, practical tips for planning the perfect day, and much more.