Changing Your Last Name After Marriage {Belle in Boots}


Hey Y'all.
I'm Meredith and I blog over at Belle in Boots. I've enjoyed following along as Morgan has planned and shared her wedding details and I'd be lying if I didn't wish I was on that beach with them right now.  Now hurry up and get back and share your wedding photos!!

As a newlywed, I was all caught up with the fun stuff: planning the honeymoon, picking out colors, deciding on a theme, I put in a lot of hard work for my wedding but what I didn't think about was all the work that goes into changing your name. Below is my simple guide to the name change process (some of it is specific to North Carolina).

Getting married, that was the easy part.  Changing your name, well that requires a bit of patience and a lot of thinking.  I've done my best to outline the major things to update, change, consider but I'm sure there is more. Just being totally honest, I've still not gone by the bank to update my personal accounts.
bridal photo
Just think for a minute how many things are tired to your name....yep everything.  Before I even got started I knew it was going to be a daunting task.  Updating beneficiaries, changing any insurance plans, combining our insurance & phones, oh and the whole gov'ment shut down of 2013 that made me think I'll just get to keep my lovely last name forever. Actually I'm pretty fond of my last name and middle name so this 'ol girl is going to just slap the new on one the end and call it a day.

Thankfully my middle and last name both start with L so for monogram purposes, no one knows any different.  My car minded husband does think its neat our initials are now BMW.

You must obtain marriage certificates, social security cards, and the drivers license in that order, the rest are up to you.  Most of those items are required to change other items.

Marriage Certificates
Get at least two copies, you will need to take an original with you to most places you visit during the name change process you may also need to send a copy off to update certain items.

Social Security Card
Find an office and get the form
Being the efficient government program they are, offices are conveniently open from 9am-3pm (most days) For the average working citizen this means you'll be taking off early or coming into work late.
Once you've got documentation that you've updated your SS card, you can the proceed to the next steps.  I applied on Tuesday and the new card arrived on Saturday.  Thankfully I was in and out of the SS office in 15 minutes, I still don't know how I managed that.
Drivers License
Each state is different NC requires you to update you license within 60 days of a legal name change, you must wait until the next day after you've changed your name at the social security office, the systems update overnight and must match.

US Passport
Good news friends, if your passport was issued within the last year, you can have your passport re-issued with your new name, for free. Otherwise you are required to pay the renewal fees.  If you are super fast about your changes and your passport was issued in the last 90 days prior to the name change you do not have to submit a new photo.  (Which I don't understand this part because the info about photos says it has to be from within the last 6 months, which would be approx 180 days, its the government, why should policies match), get specific info and forms here. Specifics: you do have to send in your old Passport, Marriage License, name change form, and be on the safe side a photo (even if its the 90 day window)

Medical Benefits
Even if its provided through employers or personal, make sure you do the math and see what options work best for you and your new spouse.  For example I added vision for the remainder of 2013 and we both got exams and new glasses for a great deal!

Retirement plans, life insurance, 401K, 457....all of these plans require you to have a beneficiary on file, it is vita to update these immediately because should something happen to you the listed beneficiary will be the one who receives the payouts, regardless of marriage, legal wills, etc.  Working in HR I've seen far to often the ex-wife get a payout when the employee had remarried and never updated his beneficiaries.

Credit Cards
It was pretty simple to change my credit cards as scary as that is, by either contacting the company or requesting a new card through my online account.

Bank Accounts
Depending on where you bank, requirements may be different. Both of mine require you come in person with the updated documents (SS Card and ID)

Additional Items
Employers Records
Notary (different regulations by state, for North Carolina)
Club Memberships / Discount Cards
Insurance (home, auto, private life insurance)
Utilities (power, gas, water, trash, internet/phone/cable)
Any subscriptions (magazines, emails)


  1. Seriously the most awful thing ever!! I planned to do it on the day after we returned from our honeymoon, which would have been a Friday. His best man, though, paid for us to spend another night in Savannah, GA, though, so that plan was trashed. I ended up having to mail off for copies of things and for my SS Card (which took forever). lol.

  2. Gosh I wish I had this list when I went through and had to change my name a few years ago after our wedding! Its seriously one thing that I never put much time in to thinking about until after the wedding, but it was one of the biggest stressors and more frustrating parts! Glad other ladies will have this list to help them!

  3. My husband and I got married almost 2 years ago and I still haven't changed my license. Oh expires soon, anyway. haha.