Changing your name as a bride

Changing your name is a big decision for brides. Do you hyphenate your name, take your husband's name, make your maiden name your middle name, keep your maiden name, have him take your name; both of you hyphenate your names….? This is a personal choice, but one you might want to discuss with your fiancé early on in the wedding process to avoid an unpleasant conversation later.

Once you have made the decision to change your name, be sure to do it thoroughly to avoid financial ramifications, trouble with Uncle Sam or an adverse affect on your credit rating.

No organization will change your name until you have a legal marriage certificate, which you will get after the ceremony. When planning your honeymoon or other activities use your maiden name until you have a new passport, Social Security card and/or updated driver’s license (depending upon your honeymoon location.)

After your ceremony request many marriage certificates …not copies but the real deal. Not all agencies will ask for the marriage certificate up front but they may come back and request it later.

Now that you have your marriage certificate, the first step is to notify the Social Security Administration (SSA). Go to http://www.ssa.gov/gethelp1.htm for all the information you need regarding your new name and other information about which you should be aware. SSA will notify IRS.

The next step is getting a new driver’s license. Some DMV’s simply require your marriage certificate, others may require your new social security card. I recommend calling your local DMV before trekking down there to sit pretty for a new driver’s license picture only to be turned away for lack of documentation.

Don’t forget your creditors, insurance agency affiliations, bank and other membership organizations. Some organizations simply require a phone call others may need a letter and copy of your marriage certificate. They may also ask for a copy of your new social security card.

You will also need to notify your Human Resources Department or payroll representative. They will need to update your benefits and payroll information and you want to make sure that you are maximizing your tax deductions.

Additionally, you will need to order new checks with your new name, and possibly new address/phone number (something else to change along the way if applicable.)

If this all seems overwhelming, there are automated services to assist you. One such organization is www.MissnowMrs.com. This website provides state and U.S. Government name-change forms, as well as, generic name-change notification letters for other organizations. Once you complete the required fields you will receive detailed instructions for filing your name-change request. Now you can go and enjoy the blissful state of being newlywed!