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.
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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?