Monday, January 4, 2010

Hey Miss Jill

So, I’m still learning the intricacies of living in the south. For instance a co-worker just said “hey, Miss Jill”. I started thinking. Will I still be referred to as Miss Jill, after I’m married? Is that when you officially become Ma’am? As a result of musing what I’d be called when I was officially MRS. Jill, I started thinking about changing my name.

Changing my name has to be one of the most dreaded parts of the wedding process for me. I mean, girls get married and change their names every day. But this seemingly mundane task is leaving me with hives. Where do I start? WHEN do I start? How do we book a honeymoon, do I book it as MISS Jill or MRS Jill??? I need to renew my passport. Do I renew it with my maiden name AND THEN change it to my married name? This is complicated. I’ve been poking around the internet for tips on how to do this. The more lists I read the more hives I get. I mean, this is a serious deal! Should I get a “name change kit” or can I do it on my own? Is there anything I can do ahead of time?

According to these are some of the steps I have to take to change my name.(In between planning the party of a lifetime. Setting up a home. Losing a gazillion pounds.) Maybe while I’m at it, I should change my first name too, to something with a little more flair… like OPRAH. That’d get me noticed, doncha think????


• Get a new social security card
Once you get your marriage license (which usually takes a couple of weeks to arrive in the mail), download a form from the Social Security website. Then take that completed form, the license and your identification to your local social security office to get a new card. (if you've gotten creative with your last name, you may also need to go through more formal name change procedures.)

• Get a new drivers license
You'll also want to change your name on the other main form of identification – your drivers license. Most DMVs will change it with a copy of a marriage certificate, although others require you to wait until your social security card has been changed. Check with your local DMV for their rules.

• Change that paperwork
Visit your office's HR department again with your new social security card to change your name on financial information, including your tax deductions. You'll want to be credited properly with those deductions come tax time, and with your social security contributions when you retire.
For everyone else, including bank, insurance policies, credit cards, utilities, creditors, and membership organizations, type up a letter with all of your information on it, including name, address, new name, account number, and possibly your social security number, and include a copy of your marriage license. No one should charge you money to change your name.

Don't forget to order new checks and credit cards

• Start using it
It will sound a little funny at first, but as you start using your new last name, everyone else will catch on. Don't be afraid to courteously correct people when they erroneously use your maiden name.


  1. When you renew your passport in your maiden name you can get it changed for free (maybe pay for postage?) if you do it within a year of your wedding.
    You can't officially change your name until you have your marriage certificate in your hands. So take a breath and worry about that afterwards.

  2. Thanks! Good advice and a total relief! :-)

  3. I agree with the first poster. The main thing is that the 'system' is friendly and gives large windows of time to newly married couples and name changes.

    I would recommend that, once you get your marriage certificate, you CHANGE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY CARD first!!!! Take your marriage certificate to the county court, where you were married, and get a marriage license. Take that marriage license with your maiden name social security card to the local social security office and get it changed. Changing the social security card will get your married name into the system and transfer over into all of the other databases (passport, license, credit reports, etc.) Then, change your passport and drivers license. After that, other things become easier and apparent.

    If you are going somewhere international for your honeymoon, you can:

    1. Book tickets in your maiden name (because you can't change your name on documents the night of your wedding) and carry several copies of your marriage certificate, but not the original.

    2. Book tickets in your married name, carry your documents with your maiden name AND carry the ORIGINAL marriage license.

    I would opt for number 1 (it's what I did). Number 2 seems like a set-up for failure and difficulty in boarding.

    It seems that many people want to assist newly married couples on their honeymoon. Be straightforward about the fact that you just got married and you still have your documents in your maiden name, though you also have a marriage certificate.

    If something, God forbid, disastrous happens while overseas ... Take your maiden name documents, your marriage license and your husband to the nearest American embassy and pray it all works out.

    p.s. Our banks also had overdraft protection and other sweet perks for the three months following our wedding. It's referred to as "Lifetime Event Change" or something like that. I would look into some of those perks if you could.