Should you change your last name? It’s a question that arises for couples getting married and for some, they really have to think about it. These days there are brides that change their names, grooms that take on their bride’s last name, couples that hyphenate, and those that blend both into a totally different name. Whatever you decide, here are some things to consider. And, if a change is going to happen, just how you go about it.
PROS AND CONS OF NAME CHANGING
The pros of changing your last name are that you instantly seem more unified. There are no assumptions by older generations that things aren’t going well within your union. It can also cause less confusion if you plan on having children and want everyone to have the same last name. And if you’ve never particularly liked your maiden name, getting married is the perfect time to change that. But changing your name is traditional, and if you’re not that type of couple, it’s ok not to make the change!
The cons? Well, there’s paperwork and more paperwork, and you might not want to deal with it. Still, once you go through the bureaucracy of it all, you might just find it worth it, so it’s really a personal decision.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO CHANGE YOUR LAST NAME
There’s a lot of paperwork involved in changing your name. The first thing you need to do is get your marriage license and certified copies. If you ask for copies in advance, you’ll get them when you get the original. Otherwise, you’ll have to go back to copies after you’ve received your certificate. Next, you’ll need to update your social security card, which you can do in person or via mail. Either way, you’ll need the following for your application:
- Proof of Citizenship (certified copy of your birth certificate or passport)
- Proof of Identity (that could be a driver’s license or passport, something that has your name, age, and photo on it)
- Social Security card. (Your number will stay the same when you update your name)
- Proof of Name Change (that’s where the certified copy of the marriage license comes in)
UPDATING YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE
Changing your name on a driver’s license has always needed to be done in person. With COVID-19 restrictions, you may be able to do it online, but it’s best to call the DMV ahead of time to find out. If your state considers making the name change a renewal, you’ll need to pay the fee and take a new picture. While you’re on the phone, ask what you’ll need to provide, such as proof of address, current license, etc.
UPDATING YOUR PASSPORT
Wedding Guy Wisdom: Since all passports must be applied for by mail, make sure to book all honeymoon and travel plans under your maiden name if you choose to change it. We know it’s exciting to see your 1st airline ticket printed with “Mrs. Jones”, but if your tickets don’t match your ID, it will only cause stress on your trip. Trust us, it’s not worth it.
If you need to change your last name on a passport, click here for the latest information (which has undoubtedly been changed due to COVID-19). Once you have a new passport, you can work on getting new Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check cards.
MORE PLACES TO CHANGE YOUR LAST NAME
You’ll need a lot of the above as proof to get the following changed: Bank Accounts, Credit Cards, and in the Banking Department of your Employer. You should also look into your health coverage and insurance and go over with your fiancé what you want to do about combining them. Also remember mortgage, rent, and utility companies that need your new name for billing purposes. These are usually easy to update online by logging into your account, typing in your new name, and giving them your updating credit card info.
At the end of the day, changing—or not changing—your name after marriage is a personal decision. Whether you decide to keep your current last name, take your partner’s, or combine each others, it’s all up to you!
Looking for more wedding planning advice and beyond? Check out more on our blog!