The wedding is over, which means the work is over…right? Well, not really. There are a billion thank you notes to write, gifts to be gone through (and some to be returned/exchanged), and then of course, there’s the big task of changing your last name.
There’s plenty of information already floating around on the web about how to change your last name after the wedding. But sometimes it’s hard to know where to start and the order in which to do everything. So today, I wanted to share with you *my* experience with changing my last name!
NOTE: This will differ from state to state, and possibly even from county to county. This is only my experience in Linn County, Oregon in 2019, so do your own research as needed.
# 1 Pick up your marriage license from the courthouse.
After the wedding, your officiant turns in the marriage license to the county courthouse. I had thought that we would then be getting the official stamped copy of our marriage license in the mail. But come to find out, we actually had to go pick it up at the courthouse. You want to do this within 30 days of your wedding date, otherwise you have to pay a $7.75 fee! Luckily, I slid in 5 days before the cut off. I called ahead and they had everything laid out for me, so all I had to do was walk in and pick it up.
#2 Change your last name at the DMV.
Our local DMV opens at 8am, so I got there at about 8:02, thinking I’d be one of the first people there. Well, apparently everybody else had the same idea, because there were 9 people in front of me! Thankfully, they rolled through everybody pretty quickly, and I only ended up being in there for about 25 minutes.
I had printed out the “Driver’s License/ID Card Application” online (find it linked here) and had it almost completely filled out before I came in. The only two things I hadn’t done on the form were writing my last name and signing my name, because I wasn’t sure if I was writing/signing with my maiden name or my married name. When my name was called, I asked the man behind the counter what to do. He let me know that it would be my married last name, and that from then out, I would always be writing/signing my married last name. (Eekk!! Exciting!) They needed various documents and info, which I had all paper-clipped together. I definitely recommend having everything done and ready to go as it saves time!
The things I brought were:
- filled out Driver’s License/ID Card Application
- our marriage license (make sure you get it back from them)
- my drivers license
- my passport (which they didn’t need)
- proof of address (I used our power bill)
The man typed a few things on his computer, asked me to verify the info, and I paid the $26 fee. (I also had my picture taken, which I was sad about because I had my picture taken last year and I really liked that one.) Then I received my temporary card, and I was out of there!
# 3 Change your last name at the Social Security Office.
This was also a case of thinking I got there early but ending up not being early enough. The local SS office opens at 9, and I got there about 8:50…only to find a line already formed and more people arriving by the moment. (The security guard told us that early at that location is 30 minutes before they open.) We got inside, and right before we each stepped up to the kiosk where we entered our SSN and reason for being there, the guard asked us to confirm that we didn’t have any knives, guns, or pepper spray. If someone had a bag, he asked to do a routine search of it, and also asked that all phones were put on silent or turned off.
The number two people ahead of me had been called when the guard said that anyone applying for a SS card or changing their name needed to fill out a form sitting on the counter. I definitely felt a little panicky as I quickly filled the form out! I had it almost completely done when my number was called.
NOTE: I got home and found that the county clerk had actually given us a copy of this form in the packet we got with our marriage license. SO, I could’ve filled that copy out before I got there, or I could’ve also printed the form off from the Social Security site (find it linked here). Either way, I definitely would recommend printing and completing that form prior to arriving at the office.
Once I was at the window, the lady took our marriage license and the application form, typed some info into the computer, asked me to verbally confirm the information, and then I was on my way! I had brought my passport and the power bill and everything in with me, but all she needed was the license and application. I think I spent about 30 minutes total in there. All in all, the Social Security office was a lot scarier looking/feeling/sounding than it actually was.
#4 Change your last name everywhere else.
After the DMV and SS office, it doesn’t really matter what order you go in to change your name. I went to my bank next, simply because it was right down the road, and I wanted to get it done. Now I get to start in on everything else! Here are a few of the places I will be changing my name. But just remember, you may have places you need to change your name at that I am not listing here. (Such as your employer…I don’t have to do that since I’m self-employed!):
- Insurance company
- Landlord and utility companies
- Car Title/Registration
- Investment account
- Post Office for address change
- Voter Registration
- And the one I’m most excited about…adding me to my husband’s Costco account and getting my own Costco card!!
So, there you have it! My experience with changing my last name, and the few things I would’ve done differently. If this is helpful to you at all, let me know in the comment section below…I’d love to hear from you!