How to Change Your Name After the Wedding

There are two ways you can do it, and one of them is super simple.
diane hall senior editor and wedding expert the knot worldwide
Diane Hall
diane hall senior editor and wedding expert the knot worldwide
Diane Hall
Contributing Senior Editor & Wedding Expert
  • Diane writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a specialty in weddings, party planning and couple lifestyle.
  • She produces editorial content for The Knot, The Bash and WeddingWire Canada.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, she was the publisher of 2life Magazine and WeddingBells Magazine.
Updated Mar 21, 2022
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Just because you have a marriage license with your new last name, doesn't mean you've officially changed your name. Furthermore, your maiden name appears in lots of places and so you've got some important steps to take in order to legally change your name after marriage and enjoy living with it in all aspects of your newlywed life.

While changing your name after the wedding is not too complicated, it can be time-consuming. There's a sequence that you need to follow, and we've laid out everything you need to do step-by-step. From legal name change requirements and a checklist of documents to married name options and name change information for each state, we're here to help you get it all sorted.

There's a shortcut, though: You can make it easy on yourself and fast-track your paperwork with HitchSwitch, a brilliant and easy name change kit.

In this article:


Legal Name Change Documents

In order to get a legal name change after marriage, you'll need to start by contacting a few government agencies. The name change process varies by state, but generally speaking, you'll start with these four pieces of ID.

1. Get Your Marriage License

Before you can change your name, you'll need a certified copy of your marriage license (a.k.a. marriage certificate) with the raised seal. Call the clerk's office where your license was filed to get a few copies if one wasn't automatically sent to you.

2. Change Your Social Security Card

Visit the Social Security Administration website and fill out the application for a new Social Security card. You'll keep the same social security number—just your name will be different. Mail in your completed form along with copies of your ID (do not mail original primary documents) to the local Social Security office, or just go through the process in person. You should get your new card within 10 business days.

Social Security Card ID Requirements:

  • Your current Social Security card
  • Proof of name change (a certified copy of your marriage license)
  • Proof of citizenship and/or residence (valid passport or birth certificate)
  • Photo id (valid driver's license, state ID card, military ID, valid passport)

3. Change Your Driver's License at the DMV

Once you've got your social security card name change in the system (after 24 hours), take a trip to the local Department of Motor Vehicles office to get a new driver's license with your new name and photo. Bring every form of identification card that your local DMV instructs you to. There will be a fee, so bring along cash, a check or a credit card.

Driver's License ID Requirements:

  • Your current driver's license
  • Your Social Security card (or receipt from the Social Security office if your new card hasn't arrived yet).
  • Proof of name change (a certified copy of your marriage license)
  • Proof of address (bank statement or mortgage papers)
  • Photo id (valid driver's license, state ID card, military ID, valid passport)

4. Update Your Passport and Travel Documents

When it comes to a passport name change, the timing and location of your honeymoon is a consideration. If you are flying out of the country, the name on your airline tickets will need to match your passport. So if you have plane tickets booked with your maiden name, delay getting a new passport until you return.

Once you're ready to proceed, you'll contact the U.S. Department of State. To make a name change to a valid passport, you'll complete a Form DS-5504.

US Passport ID Requirements:

  • Your current U.S. passport
  • A completed form DS-5504
  • Proof of name change (a certified copy fo your marriage license)
  • Passport photo that meets these criteria.

If you are a member of a Trusted Traveler Program such as TSA Pre✓, Global Entry or Nexus, visit the Homeland Security website for further details on updating these ID cards.

Name Change Checklist

Once you have a certified copy of your marriage certificate, your updated Social Security card, and a new driver's license and/or passport, you'll be armed with new ID cards to look after changing your name with other companies and services.

Here's a name change checklist of all the usual places you'll need to notify. Supplement this list with any additional spots where your maiden name appears.

  • State ID
  • Bank accounts and investment accounts
  • Credit card companies
  • Employers/payroll
  • Post office (if your address has changed too)
  • Electric and other utility companies
  • Schools and alumni associations
  • Landlord or mortgage company
  • Insurance companies (auto, home, life)
  • Doctors' offices
  • Voter registration office
  • Your attorney (to update legal documents, including your will)
  • Rewards and loyalty programs
  • Subscriptions
  • Covid vaccination card (For the most up-to-date guidance on this, refer to the CDC website or contact your local health department for more info.)
  • Social media and email accounts (Bonus: Here's How to Change Your Last Name on Email and Social Media.)
  • Your social circle (Pro tip: Use a wedding announcement card, your wedding website or send an email to let your friends and family know your married name so they can update their address books.)

Name Change Options After Marriage

You could take your spouse's last name and call it a day, however, there are in fact several married name options for newlyweds. If you're considering a name change, take the time to discuss this with your partner and make a decision well before you get your marriage license for a thoughtful conclusion and a more streamlined legal process.

Last Name Change

The American tradition of the bride taking her husband's last name after marriage is based on coverture laws, which dictated that in marriage, a woman's rights were subsumed by her husband to become one legal entity. In modern times, the decision to take your spouse's last name is a personal choice.

Hyphenated Last Name

If you're attached to your last name for sentimental or professional reasons and don't want to completely let it go, a popular option is hyphenating your maiden name with your spouse's last name to establish a new name that honors your union. Read more about hyphenated names.

Middle Name Change

Rather than hyphenating your last name, these days some newlyweds are changing their middle name to their maiden name (or adding a second middle name) and taking their spouse's last name. Check out this article for details on how to get this done.

An Entirely New Last Name

Did you know that you can choose an entirely different last name—neither your maiden name nor your spouse's name? To do this, most states will require you to file a formal name change petition with the court.

Keeping Your Maiden Name

For many individuals, keeping their maiden name is their preferred choice. If that sounds like you, turn your administrative attention to other practical matters such as how you will handle banking and paying bills as a married couple.

Benefits of a Name Change Kit

As the saying goes, time is money, and so if you want a hassle-free method to get all of this paperwork done and save hours of admin, use a name change service. The premise of this service is to help you with pre-populated forms and letters ready to submit to government agencies, financial institutions and companies while supporting you with their expertise. Name change kits help expedite the name change education process, and ultimately, can help you feel empowered and informed throughout the process.

The ever-popular, HitchSwitch is dedicated to helping newlyweds with their name change and offers three packages with different levels of service ranging from $39.99 to $99.99. Once you provide your information online—this takes just a few minutes—you'll get pre-populated name change forms along with pre-stamped envelopes. Their Platinum service includes access to a concierge team to guide you through the process and a free passport photo. You'll take your photo with the PassportNow app using a promo code and HitchSwitch will send you prints to submit with your completed form.

How to Change Your Name by State

Looking for name change information specific to your state? With all of this general information in mind, we've got everything you need to know about the name change process in each state:

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