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Groom 101

Changing the Bride’s Last Name

Chris Easter

It’s becoming more and more common for the bride to keep her last name or to go with the hyphenated name. However, if she’s a traditionalist, here’s a short guide to help your new wife officially change her name.

The most important thing to remember before the wedding is to make any honeymoon travel reservations with your wife’s maiden name. This is essential because she won’t yet have her updated ID and passport with her new last name. It might also be a good idea to let family and friends know about the forthcoming name change. Some of them might be planning on getting a monogrammed gift, and will want to know what letters to use.

The real fun starts after the honeymoon. The first order of business is getting a new Social Security card. First, you’ll have to wait until you receive your certified marriage certificate in the mail. This certificate will usually arrive about a month after you apply for it. To obtain the Social Security card, you’ll need to complete a social security card application.

For your wife to get a new driver’s license, she’ll need to go to the local DMV with a copy of the marriage license. Certain states or counties will require her to bring her new Social Security card along, so we recommend checking with your DMV in advance.

Next, your wife should update her important accounts and agencies with her new name information, including:

  • Place of employment
  • Banks
  • Credit card companies
  • Insurance agencies
  • School
  • Vehicle registration
  • Voter registration
  • Any bills – (utilities, cell phone, magazine subscription, etc.)
  • Any online accounts – (eBay, Paypal, Facebook, etc.)

If you travel frequently, she may also want to apply for a new passport, as it can often take a while for them to be issued.

TMR Recommendation: Before the wedding day, create a checklist of all of the accounts and agencies that will need to be informed of the name change. This list will help simplify the process after the name has been legally changed.

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