So you want to change your name?

Updated: Jul 28

You’ve gotten married, congratulations! And I’d venture to say, one of the very first things you did (other than kiss your new spouse) is change your name on social media. If only it was that easy!

Even though there are SO many resources out there for changing your name, as a recent (COVID) bride myself, I have been navigating the waters on changing my name and wanted to pass along some helpful tips I've come across. Below is my list, in a step-by-step format for you to follow along with.

In this time of COVID, I do recommend checking with all the different offices you’ll be visiting to ensure they're open and what their requirements may be. Here in Indiana, I had to mail everything into our local Social Security (SS) office (yes, my certified original marriage license and ID). Be sure to add in some time for the mail to be processed, it took about 3 weeks round trip for me to get my items back and an additional 2 weeks to receive my new card. Good news is, I was able to use the confirmation letter than came back with my items to change my name with my employer and all other items other than my driver’s license. That you will need to go into the BMV for, at least in my area.

Check out the graphic at the end to have it all in one spot!

Marriage Certificate

Before you get started, you must have a certified copy of your marriage certificate. It could take up to 6 weeks to get your certified marriage certificate back. As I said, you cannot change anything without having this and is your first step in changing your name. Most officiants will mail this out to the county clerk, but could also leave it for you to do (or if you are like me, you want to be in control and do it yourself). Remember to hold back a stamp from your invitations to send this in if your officiant isn’t handling it for you.

Social Security Card

After you have received your marriage certificate, you will have to change your name with the Social Security Administration before moving onto anything else. Check with your local Social Security office for specifics on what to bring/mail in. Usually, it’s just your ID and marriage certificate. Find your local SS office here: If you peruse their website, you’ll see they offer some online services, unfortunately, name changes are not one of them.

Driver’s License/State ID

After you have received your updated SS card, go to your local BMV and request the change on your license. Be sure to take your certified marriage license copy, that is all you should need (but it doesn’t hurt to have your new SS card on hand when you go), unless you are changing your address too. If you are changing your address at the same time, be sure to take two pieces of mail in (paystubs are also acceptable). This is a good time to change your car title and registration, as well. From there, you can get started on changing your name on the items below!

The Don't Forget List:

o Passport

I do not recommend changing this until after your honeymoon (if you are taking one immediately or very shortly after you get married). If you are delaying your honeymoon and have not booked any reservations, go ahead and change your name.

o Employer

Reach out to your HR department and they will let you know what they need. They should handle retirement/insurance changes if they are provided by your employer. I also recommend updating your current W2 and changing your exemptions at this time. If you do not have employer sponsored retirement account(s) and insurance, you will want to change your name with them on your own. After your insurance has changed your name and you have received a new insurance card, you can go ahead with changing it with your doctors and all that deal with your medical insurance.

o Creditors

Credit cards, student loan(s), car loan(s), etc. This will require a phone call to each one. Some may request documents/documentation, others will just go ahead and change it. I found that I was not able to change these online and had to call each one.

o Bank/Credit Union Accounts

o Investment Accounts

o Mortgage or Lease

o PayPal/Venmo

o Utilities

o Cell Phone Provider

o TV/Internet Provider

o Car/Home/Renters Insurance

o Voter Registration

o Professional Licenses and Associations

o Child(ren)’s School (if you have kids prior to marriage)

o Online Subscriptions

o Add a note in your mailbox about the name change, so your mail person isn’t confused.

It is also recommended to let your local Post Office know of the name change, but I’ve found a note posted in your mailbox is usually sufficient.

o Magazine Subscriptions

o Memberships/Clubs/Associations

o Library Card

o Airlines if you travel a lot and have miles to use

o Loyalty Cards

o Email Account(s)

o Your Gym

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