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Changing Your Name: The 3 Things You Need to Know

Having gone through a wedding of my own and currently being a newlywed is surely working out for me. I have all of this brand new knowledge to share, and I feel like I can better relate to my bridal clients because of it. Oh, yeah, and I got myself a good-looking and sweet hubs out of all of it, so it worked out in that sense too!

Being a bride is pretty glamorous, but changing your name after marriage is not. Why didn’t someone warn me?! Halfway through the name change process and I was trying to convince my husband to change his last name instead. It’s really quite the shock to your system: going from experiencing the most magical day of your life, to sitting in the DMV amongst a bunch of cranky people.

I don’t want to scare any of you, that really is not my end goal in all of this; however, I want to be real with you and give you a little sneak peek of what to expect. Hopefully this post will prepare you for what’s to come and will help your name change process be more enjoyable than mine was!

 Photo by the incredible Molly Jo Collection

1. Your official name change will take longer than one day

I blame my optimism. I thought if I dedicated one day to changing my name that everything would be good-to-go by that same evening, but I was very, very wrong. Not only is it unrealistic, but I also wouldn’t suggest going to the Register of Deeds Office, the Social Security Administration, and the DMV all in one day – that sounds like the worst day ever.

I broke it up into three days:

Day One: The Register of Deeds to get certified copies of my marriage certificate (you’ll need these to apply for a new Social Security card and driver’s license).

Day Two: The Social Security Administration to apply for a new SS card (you will not leave with your new SS card… they’ll mail it to you, and it takes a few days to arrive).

Day Three: The DMV to get a new driver’s license (you should wait until you have your new SS card to complete this step).

To summarize, you’re probably going to experience an awkward timeframe where you don’t know what your legal name is. Being in-between names was wild.


2. Print off forms ahead of time – it’ll speed up the process

Before you arrive at any of the three places listed above, be sure to print out the necessary forms online and complete them ahead of time! By doing so you’ll decrease the amount of time spent at either location.


3. People are going to be cranky, but don’t let them get you down! You just got married, hooray!!

It would’ve been so easy to let that DMV employee negatively impact my mood, but I laughed it off and did a celebratory dance when I got out to my car (a celebratory dance partially because my name was officially changed, and partially because I knew I wouldn’t have to go back to the DMV for a while!). Keep a smile on your face and a bounce in your step, and use that time spent in waiting rooms to relive your wedding day.


Bonus Knowledge: Bring your birth certificate, Social Security card, marriage certificate, driver’s license, a piece of mail with your current address on it (it has to be a “certified” piece of mail, like a utility bill), and money with you to all three locations.


I survived a name change and you can too.

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