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Some people look forward to changing their last name when they get married. Whether you were cursed with a bad one at birth or you are just excited to share part of your spouse’s identity, it can be fun trying on a new last name along with the bridal gown. For those who have navigated the paperwork and long lines at every government office to get this done, we also know it can also be downright frustrating! It seems like it should be simple, as people do it all the time, right? However, new brides may want to prepare themselves for the things no one told them about changing their name after their upcoming wedding.

There’s a Certain Order of Doing Things

Before you can change you name, you will need to have your original marriage certificate, with the raised seal and everything. Most people don’t get this until a few weeks after their wedding, as their officiant must send it to the courts to be verified after theyve said their “I do’s”. If you are going out of the country for your honeymoon, you will need a passport with your old last name until your name has been legally changed.

After you receive your marriage certificate, you will stop by the social security office to get a new social security card. You will keep your number, but they will include your new name on it instead. Next is the DMV. Your state may have a waiting period for changing your driver’s license after getting a new social security card, so it’s best to call and find out before wasting any time in line. Last, you will need to head to your bank to change your name on your accounts. Don’t forget to order new checks and debit cards with your new last name while you are there!

When these essential items are taken care of, you can start the process of changing your name everywhere else.

You Will Need a Lot of Documentation

For the social security office you will need to take your marriage certificate, original birth certificate, your original passport, and your original driver’s license to prove citizenship, age, and identity. For non-citizens or for people who do not have access to these documents, see the social security office website for appropriate documents. Then you will fill out an application and receive your new card that day. Some states only allow a female last name change after marriage, and anything else may require alternate paperwork.

For the DMV you will need your current driver’s license, marriage certificate, and new social security card. Your DMV may also require two pieces of mail to verify your residence. At the bank you will need your new driver’s license and marriage certificate. The bank employees will be there to assist you in filling out the appropriate paperwork.

It Takes a While

Be prepared to spend a whole day, if not multiple days, waiting in lines and filling out paperwork in government buildings. Since these places are usually conveniently only open during work hours, you may have to take time off to get this done. While there is no time limit to when you can change your name after marriage, the sooner you get it done the better. Some health insurance companies impose time limits on when you can change your name with them after marriage. If you miss the deadline, you may have to wait until the next open enrollment to do so.

Your New Last Name Can Confuse People for a Bit

It will take some time for your friends to get used to your new last name, but colleagues may also have trouble at first. For business professionals, changing their name could confuse clients or potential employers if everything done up to this point was linked to the old name. Some professionals choose to keep their old last name to cut down on the confusion, or go by their old name at work and their new name in their personal lives.

It Never Ends

Changing your name doesn’t stop with your driver’s license or bank account. There are still plenty of other cards and pieces of identification to change, such as:

  • Passport

  • Payroll at place of employment

  • Utility bills

  • Apartment building or mortgage company documents

  • Voter registration

  • Credit cards

  • Doctor offices

  • Insurance documents

Even after you’ve changed everything possible and you’ve been living with a new last name for years, you may still run into name change issues. If you move states, you may still need to present your marriage certificate for a driver’s license even if every piece of identification has your new last name on it. So, keep your marriage certificate safe and on hand in the event you need it again in the future!