Today's bride has the choice of keeping her maiden name, taking her husband's name, or hyphenating. For example, women who have established a professional career using their maiden name may choose to continue legally using that name.
It also is possible for a woman to socially use her maiden name at work and at career-related functions, yet legally take her husband's surname. Hyphenating the surname, whether it is a husband-wife name (Smith-Jones) or wife-husband (Jones-Smith), is yet another option. You can pursue any of these options, however for any legal name change, (rather than just a social one), you should make sure that all of your important documents reflect that change.
Regardless of which option you choose, couples who want to alter their names legally in any way should address this matter immediately upon returning from the honeymoon.
Before the Wedding
- Tell your employer what your new name will be - they can start changing company email, phone lists and business cards.
- Tell family and friends - in case anyone is planning to give you a monogrammed gift.
- Make honeymoon reservations in your current, pre-wedding legal name - your tickets must match your current ID, and you won't be able to get a new passport or driver's license until after the wedding because you will need the wedding certificate. The paperwork for your marriage license should be started before the wedding at the County Clerk's office. See "Obtaining a Marriage License" in The First Steps section of The Wedding Guide for more information on the process of obtaining a wedding license and certificate.
After the Wedding - The Big Three
- Get a new Social Security card - go to www.ssa.gov for information and forms. Don't be fooled by those online companies that will "help" you for a fee - this is a free service.
- Get a new driver's license. Visit your closest Department of Public Safety office, and bring a certified U.S. marriage certificate, your old Texas driver's license and your Social Security card (either old or new will work). A name change must be done within 30 days from the date of marriage. For more information and to locate the DPS office nearest to you, visit www.txdps.state.tx.us
- Get a new passport. Visit http://travel.state.gov/ for information.
- Change name on all additional paperwork (see suggested checklist below.)
Name Change Checklist
- Auto Registration
- Bank Accounts
- Car Insurance
- Credit Cards
- Credit Reporting Agency
- Doctor / Dental Records
- Employee Records
- Internal Revenue Service
- Life/Health Insurance Policy
- Post Office/Mail Address
- Property Title
- Savings Accounts
- Stock Certificates
- Voter Registration
- Wills-yours, your husband's and any others you may be listed on should be updated.