Changing Your Name? 5 Answers to Your Most Commonly Asked Questions

Changing Your Name/ Betsi Ewing/The Knot blog Betsi Ewing

If you’re one of the 80% of couples who have decided to change your name after the wedding, this is for you. To help demystify the process we asked Jake Wolff and Josh Gelb, the experts behind the name change service HitchSwitch. Here, answers to the most commonly asked name change questions.

1. When should I change my name?
Even though you may be anxious to change your name, you must wait until you receive your official marriage certificate to begin the process. You can start preparing at any time and researching next steps, but you must have a certified license before you start changing your name on documents. Call the clerk’s office where your license was filed to get copies if one wasn’t sent to you automatically.

2. What documents do I change my name on first?
You should start by changing your name on your Social Security Card (via the Social Security Administration or SSA) — Jake and Josh call this the “gatekeeper step.” Next, they recommend changing your photo identifications including your passport and driver’s license followed by all of your accounts and records including bank accounts, loans and mortgages, credit cards, utility companies, subscriptions and memberships.

3. If I’m hyphenating do I need to go through a formal name-change process?
Yes! A hyphenated name is legally considered a new name so you still must go through the process.

4. How do I let friends and family know my new name?
Most newlyweds create a new email address and send an email to extended family and friends to make them aware of the change — especially if your email has changed. A fun idea: Some of Jake and Josh’s clients throw name change parties as a fun and creative way to celebrate the new one!

5. What name should I use on my honeymoon reservations?
If you are leaving on your honeymoon soon after your wedding, book your travel under your maiden name and use your old passport or driver’s license then wait to change it until you return, says Jake and Josh. If you are leaving for your honeymoon six months or more after your wedding, they recommend booking your travel under your new name since you’ll have plenty of time to change your name prior to departing. Take note: It is required that your photo ID match your boarding pass so remember to book accordingly! Don’t rush to use your new name before it’s changed legally or you may run into a hassle at the airport.

Are you changing your last name? Tell us below!

More from The Knot:
> The easiest way to change your name…Hitchswitch Name Change!
> 10 to-dos to take care of after the honeymoon!
> 12 things all brides have Googled

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  • Jessica
    07/23/14 at 01:29

    I did not change mine. My father had no sons to carry on the family name so my sisters and I will all keep our own names and our children will have both last names.

  • Sarah
    07/25/14 at 11:00

    I just experienced this embarrassing feeling of forgetting to change my name on my voicemail! I don’t call my own voicemail so didn’t even think about it! Then I got a call from my husbands grandmother scolding me for it ugh.

  • Robin Joy Segovia
    08/05/14 at 02:09

    This is my renewal ceremony, so I Already changed my last name 12 years ago. I did use both my maiden name and married name for about a yr to transfer everything over.

  • Liz
    11/11/14 at 07:32

    How quickly can you get a name change if I were to go through your service?

  • Linda Nixt
    02/04/15 at 03:02

    How many offical copies of the license do I need? Or will copies be ok?

  • Marquisha
    04/07/15 at 04:15

    Hi there!
    So My fiancé and I plan to marry in a couple of weeks at the courthouse. He would like to change his last name and I would ultimately change mine accordingly. I wanted to know if there was a way (at the courthouse) if we could write our desired names on our marriage licence/certificate, wait for the official licence then go in and change it – OR do we have to keep our last names, get the marriage certificate, then have to apply for a new last name through the courts? I NEED HELP ON THIS ASAP (it’s driving me insane).
    -M

  • Yilbis
    05/08/15 at 01:30

    Yes on your marriage license certificate there will be a spot for you to write in your desired name, that is how it will be printed on the marriage certificate. If you want to change it, when you fill the form out that is the time to do so. Congratulations!

  • Laura
    04/08/15 at 10:42

    I did not change my name on my wedding license. Can I still change my name? We got married in March 2015.

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Escort cards are extremely easy to personalize and an excellent way to bring in your wedding day colors -- from calligraphed seating cards set atop a textured linen to apples tagged with each guest's name or small personalized bundles of lavender tied off with string. Other ways to display escort cards: Pin them to a clothesline, post them on a board covered in color-coordinated ribbon, or incorporate them into your cocktail hour using personalized stirrers tagged with guests' names.
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