Congratulations! You’re married! While it certainly isn’t for everyone, changing your last name still seems to be a pretty popular choice among brides. However, if you’re like most brides out there, you probably didn’t think about how to actually do so until after your wedding day. With all the planning and fun leading up to the big day and the honeymoon afterwards, we wouldn’t blame you for putting this off. It can be a daunting, drawn-out, overwhelming process. Luckily, one of our loyal readers and recent bride herself Tori Pipak (formerly Tori Fondrk) is here to take the guesswork out of going from Miss to Mrs. Here are her top ten tips to changing your last name, if you’re choosing to do so.
Getting Your Official Marriage License
On the day of your wedding your officiant will hand you a “marriage certificate.” This is just a sentimental placeholder until you can get the real, government-official certificate. Ten days after your ceremony, your official marriage license is available upon request. If you got married in Allegheny County, you can get it one of two ways: either online or in person at the Department of Court Records office, located in the Allegheny County Courthouse downtown. If you got married in another county, be sure to check with them on how to obtain your official license for the county in which you were married. Either way, you MUST request the triple seal option. It is an additional $10 and this document is a requirement on almost every other step to changing your last name.
Getting a New Social Security Card
Good news! This was the easiest step and it is also free! Fill out this form and take the form and your triple seal marriage license (see above) to your local Social Security Office. You can also use this form to take your maiden name as your middle name if you’d like; no additional paperwork needed! Your name change takes effect after midnight on the day you file your paperwork and your new card will arrive in the mail in 5-10 days. So easy!
Changing Your Driver’s License
Now for the bad news…this was an absolute nightmare! I almost cried when I finally got my new license. If you are only changing your last name, fill out this form and take it, along with your official marriage certificate, to your local DMV. However, if you are changing your middle name AND last name (like changing your middle name to your maiden name and taking your spouse’s last name), you will need your marriage certificate (again, triple seal), new social security card, and TWO other sources of ID that have your new FULL name on them. Examples include a passport, voter’s registration, bank statement, medical license, etc.
PRO TIP: Avoid the downtown DMV! Better yet, try to find one with Saturday hours, like the McCandless location!
Updating Your Bank Account
Get ready for another trip because this one has to be done in person. It’s fairly easy though; all you’ll need is your new social security card and your marriage license. If you’re changing your middle name to your maiden name, you can do so here without any additional paperwork.
Getting a New or Updating Your Passport
This site is the best resource for the forms and fees needed to complete the update. If it is less than one year since you received your last passport, you will not be charged the renewal fee; otherwise, it’s $110 for a new passport and $30 for a new passport card. With either option, you must mail – using only USPS – your marriage license (the original document, NOT a copy), previous passport, a new passport photo (yes, you’ll need a new photo too), the appropriate form (found at the link above), and payment, if needed. Your documents will be returned to you once your application is processed, which usually takes about 4 – 6 weeks. However, you can pay for expedited service. Don’t forget to consider this time frame when planning your honeymoon or post-wedding travel…which brings me to my next point.
Traveling After the Wedding
Whatever name you use on an airline ticket MUST match the ID you plan to use at the airport. For example, if you will be honeymooning immediately after your wedding, purchase your airline tickets using your maiden name, as you will not have time to officially change your name prior to leaving for your honeymooning. If you are delaying your honeymoon, consider whether or not you’ll have time to complete and receive all of your updated documents prior to departure. This will help determine what name to use when purchasing tickets.
If you have TSA Pre-Check, lucky you! It does take 1 – 3 months to update, however. You’ll need your marriage certificate and your new driver’s license, OR just your updated passport.
Updating Any Professional Licensing and Your Employer
Every place is different. Notify your employer of your name change and ask about their processes for updating your records. This should also include any office credentialing or privileging! If you have any professional licenses, certification, or boards, remember to change your name on those as well.
Updating Your Voter Registration
Luckily, this is generally an easy and quick process. You’ll need to fill the online application but you might run into delays if you do so around an election period. You can’t apply (or your application won’t be reviewed) until 30 days after the election, so make sure to take this isn’t account as well.
Changing Your Email
If you’re like most people, Gmail is your email platform of choice. With this, you can update your display name (what appears in the “From” field), but you cannot change your actual email. If you really want your new name in your email address, you’ll have to create an entirely new one. However, you can have everything sent to your old email address automatically forwarded to the new email. Remember to update your email on record for any and all accounts! You can do this gradually as you run into them or as you remember.
Updating Everything Else
In addition to everything mentioned above, you’ll likely need to change your name (and email!) on the following:
- Credit cards
- Mailing address and name
- Car registration
- Car and property titles
- Schools/Universities, current and previous
- Utilities/bills in your name (cable, cell phone, electricity, etc.)
- Business cards
- Insurance (health, car, renter’s/home owner’s, etc.)
- EZ Pass
- BONUS TIP: You might also want to update any beneficiaries to your spouse!
I truly hope that this is helpful for everyone out there who plans to change their name, or anyone who is just thinking about it. It definitely takes time to get everything done and some parts can be frustrating, but I find myself smiling every time I see my new name used on something. In the words of Priyanka Jonas (formerly Chopra), “I don’t take away my identity. He gets added to who I am.”