The time honored tradition of a woman taking her husband’s name once they are married is a beautiful way to mark your entrance into a new family and for a couple, the beginning of your own family. For years now, the options of how , when and if you change your name at all leave a lot of room for personal decision. Whatever you choose to do, whether you change your name or keep your maiden, both are more than acceptable by today’s standards.
If you should decide to change your name, the task can be daunting. We have pulled the latest to-do checklist to help out our brides and get them organized for legally binding themselves to a new husband AND a new name. But, before that, we have a few new ideas and maybe even a few compromises for those brides who are on a the fence.
- Don’t change. Whoever says you HAVE to have the same name as your husband is seriously living in the dark ages. Women are heads of households and heads of corporations- either way they have earned their right to keep the name that helped them get there. For professional reasons, a lot of women simply don’t have the option to change their name due to years of hard work and PR to gain name recognition in their respective fields. Many doctors, lawyers, and well known figures opt to keep their names professionally and change their name for things like banking, tax filings, and personal use. Others go for a hyphenated version of their name where both names are proudly represented. Which brings us to our next option…
- When in doubt- Hyphenate! Hyphenating your name is a very modern way to go and can be quite convenient if you decide to share both of your last names with your kids. The hyphenate 2 last names almost become like one name for your entire family and equally represents both sides for your children to carry on.
- Name change Anniversary gift? We have heard of many women changing their name on their first, fifth or even tenth anniversaries! We think this is a really cool way to honor your husband and show the journey to becoming one. Some gals also like the idea because they want to really emphasize the importance of giving up their name for their husband’s and also marking the big accomplishment of the years they have already put in.
And here is our name-changing checklist courtesy of The Knot ( For whatever way to decide to go!)
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.
4. 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:
Electric and other utility companies
Credit card companies
Schools and alumni associations
Landlord or mortgage company
Insurance companies (auto, home, life)
Voter registration office
Investment account providers
Your attorney (to update legal documents, including your will)