What’s in a Name? A Lot, That’s What!

A few months ago, I wrote this post about changing my last name after the wedding. At the time, I was deciding between “The Ol’Switcheroo” and “The Fresh Start.” I’m back to report that I opted for “The Fresh Start”!

Changing one’s name is a really personal and sometimes emotional decision, and now that I’m standing on the other side of the fence, I can truly understand why there are so many options and why brides and grooms alike often struggle with the decision to keep their names, change them, or even create a new family name. To get to my ultimate decision, I looked at my MIDDLE NAME and my MAIDEN LAST NAME and made a mental pro/con list for keeping either—since I had already decided I wouldn’t be keeping both. At the end of the day, I always felt closer to my MIDDLE NAME rather than my MAIDEN LAST NAME and opted to become MRS. FIRSTNAME MIDDLENAME MARRIEDLASTNAME. It’s got a good flow, no?

Now that I’m officially a Mrs. in the eyes of Social Security and everything, I have no regrets about my decision at all. It feels really warm, comforting, safe, and just”¦good to share a last name with Mr. Jet. He’s my person.

Picture

Image via RedBubble

I offer you no advice on choosing—but I will offer you advice on how to get things switched up if you decide to make a change! Here’s Mrs. Jet’s Guide to the Name Change!

  1. There are lots of companies out there that tout a one-stop name-changing shop, but there are free lists all over the internet that will lead you in the right direction, and with just a few stamps and phone calls, you can get this done yourself and use the money you would’ve spent here on a mani/pedi”¦or maybe a sweater with a weird looking elk on it that you just cannot resist.
  2. Get a certified copy of your marriage license from the town in which you applied for it. Most towns give the option of purchasing a second copy, which I did, but I haven’t used the second copy yet and the first one was returned to me by the Social Security Office. I always thought a marriage license would be all fancy and cool like a college degree. IT IS NOT. Don’t be too disappointed.
  3. Fill out this application and mail it (along with your certified marriage license) to your LOCAL Social Security Office. I say local to cut down on processing times and shipping time. You can also visit an SSO office, but ain’t nobody got time for that.
  4. Check your state guidelines, but in Massachusetts you can do a name change online through the RMV. Since my license photo was taken on my 21st birthday, which was approximately a MILLION years ago, I went over there on my lunch break to get a new license. In Massachusetts they don’t ask you for any proof of a name change. Hmmm”¦Princess Consuela Banana-Hammock? Again, check your state guidelines to see what you may need to present for proof, if anything.
  5. Once you receive your new SS card and sign it, visit your human resources department so they can make the appropriate changes to your health/dental/vision insurance, tax information, 401k, and any other work-related accounts you hold. You also may need to contact IT to get your email and phone extensions changed. At this point, people you work with will no longer respond to your emails because they have no idea who MRS. Jet Setter is. Kindly remind them.
  6. Next, contact your banks, loan lenders, creditors, gyms, AAA or other auto clubs, retail store cards, car insurance companies, friends, Romans, countrymen, and just about anyone else you’ve ever met to ensure they have the most up-to-date information regarding your shiny new name. I literally went through my wallet, threw out my eight year old Delia’s rewards card, and wrote down a list of every current card and club and contacted each via phone to make the change. This step could get tedious, but if you tackle a few a day, it’s not that bad!

It was a relatively painless process that I’m just about finished up with! The hardest part is going from signing my old last name, “capital D ::illegible scribble::” to signing my new last name, “capital A ::illegible scribble::.”

If you did one, how was your name change? Mucho drama or crazy easy?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Jet Setter

Location:
New Bedford
Wedding Date:
October 2013

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  1. Member
    SarahCF 496 posts, Helper bee @ 2:55 pm

    Just got back from the DMV to change my license. It’s not been too hard to do the formal stuff, but it’s the little stuff I’m dreading – all the bank accounts, credit cards, and so so much professional stuff. I had a really hard time deciding what to do with my name. I’m happy with my decision but I knew making a change would be a huge pain. I’m in the “huge pain” part right now but so far it’s only a “minor pain” so far.

  2. Member
    mswaterfall 1403 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:07 pm

    My God that sounds like so much paperwork! I’m so glad I didn’t have to go through that. Your new last name really suits you, too :)

  3. Member
    mscamera 300 posts, Helper bee @ 6:27 pm

    @Mrs. Waterfall: agreed! Love it :)

  4. Member
    Mrs. Rubber Stamps 821 posts, Busy bee @ 7:12 pm

    I love that you referenced Friends :-)

    It’s been 3 years and I still have a few things I haven’t changed since I don’t feel I should have to send PayPal a copy of my marriage certificate. I had to LOL about the work email too, I’ve been at my job a LONG time and some still type out my maiden name for emails so I have two work email addys.

  5. Member
    dancingriss 305 posts, Helper bee @ 7:38 pm

    I love my middle name too. It made me feel still connected to the south, since my maiden name was always mispronounced anyway (it’s cajun). Even though my parents were never big on the FIRSTNAME MIDDLENAME call, my middle name totally fits the vibe and I love it.

    I still haven’t changed any of my frequent flyer account numbers though. womp womp

  6. Member
    mswallaby 2061 posts, Buzzing bee @ 5:16 am

    I changed my name to hubs’s last name, and kept my maiden name as my middle name, so I have a suuuuper long name between my long first name, my German maiden name (now middle name), and Mr. W’s hyphenated last name. It’s kind of cray. Don’t regret it one bit, though – it works just perfectly for me and now I feel strange when I see my maiden name written somewhere. Glad you’re not having any regrets either!

  7. Member
    roadtrip 803 posts, Busy bee @ 5:45 am

    I’m getting ready to start this process and, truly, the only part I’m really dreading is dealing with the bank at work (since I’m a signer for our checks), everything else is fairly simple and I have a new wallet I plan on putting each of my updated cards into once they come in :)

  8. Member
    beachbride1216 9174 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 5:47 am

    Thanks for the link to the online application. When I went to change my name after my first marriage, the official at the SS office gave me a hard time about wanting to make my maiden name my middle name. Hopefully mailing in the application will solve that issue.

  9. Member
    pyramid 95 posts, Worker bee @ 6:02 am

    Aaand saving this for later. So helpful, and I’m glad you’re happy with your name change! I know I’m changing my last but not sure about what’s going on with the middle name..

  10. Member
    kit_kath 1331 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:25 am

    This is the part I am looking forward to least. Not the actaul name change, the process. I plan to have two last names, with a space and not a hypen. While it’s common historically (you’ve heard of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Laura Ingalls Wilder) people kinda look at you like you have two heads when you say it. I’m afraid I’ll get the nasty person at the DMV or SS office who won’t let me do it. But luckily I live in a big city where there are multiple DMVs to choose from :P

  11. Member
    mspalmtree 1122 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:21 am

    While I have changed my name through the SS office and the DMV, I haven’t gotten around to it everywhere else. Soooo much paperwork and erranding, gah.

  12. Member
    daniellekira 573 posts, Busy bee @ 2:55 pm

    Changing my name was a long process, but not too bad. I made a list on my blog about it, which is parts of other lists I found and then a few of my extras. We couldn’t mail our SS applications in, so I had to go down there. Luckily, my dad’s wife works there and she gave me the hookup. Otherwise go on a Tuesday morning. So much easier.

  13. Member
    gondola 1046 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:32 pm

    Great tips. It’s good to know that those one stop places online aren’t necessary.

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