How to Change your Name

If you are changing your name when you get married, do your homework first.  Whether you’re taking your husband’s name or hyphenating, there are certain steps you need to follow.  Good news: this is something you can do AFTER the wedding.  So don’t fret while you’re wedding planning.  But don’t put it on the back burner either.

Quick tip:  for your honeymoon (if it’s shortly after your wedding), book the arrangements in your maiden name! You won’t have a new license or passport with your married name yet!

Each state is different, but most states automatically send you a copy of your marriage certificate by mail once it has been processed.  On average, this takes about a month.  Some states require you to request a copy of the certificate, so check with your state’s registrar office before making any assumptions.

Once you have your marriage license, you need to obtain a new social security card with your new name.  You can download the name change form at or pick one up at your local social security office. 

When you receive your new social security card, it’s time to make a trip to the DMV for a new driver’s license.  Be sure to bring your new social security card, your marriage certificate, and proof of residency for the address that will be listed on your driver’s license. 

Here is a list of things you need to change once your social security and your driver’s license have been updated:

  1. Passport
  2. Voter registration
  3. Bank/investment/mortgage accounts
  4. Employer (and your benefits provider’s employer)
  5. Credit cards
  6. Utilities/cable companies
  7. Auto/home/life insurance policies
  8. Doctors offices
  9. Any memberships/subscriptions
  10. Pharmacy
  11. Post office
  12. Schools and alumni associations
  13. Your attorney (update legal documents, like your will)

It helps to make a list of everything that needs your updated name, and start checking them off the list!  Some are very simple while others require proof of marriage (for me, Paypal was more complex than expected!).