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As if you don’t have enough details to worry about during your wedding planning, changing your name requires some careful thought and deliberate timing. If you’d like to legally change your name to match your partner’s once you’re wed, be prepared to take many steps to achieve new-name status: your social security card, driver’s license, financial accounts, credit cards, postal address, and your passport (among other things) will all need to be updated. Planning a well-deserved honeymoon? Newlywed travel complicates matters further, as you’ll need to make sure all of these changes are made around the same time, and in a certain order, in order to successfully use your frequent flier miles, book your travel, and depart on your first trip as a last name-sharing couple. Our advice? If you plan to change your name, make sure it’s not an afterthought—or your honeymoon dreams might not take flight.
"The name change process was pretty painful—you need to think about your driver's license, passport, SSN and frequent flyer accounts, all around the same time, which can be stressful especially if you're also planning your honeymoon then, too. I wish we had someone to help us think through the order of operations, timing, and sequence of everything before I started the whole process." — Carolyn C.
The first step in changing your name is to consider of all your options. Gone are the days when a woman is expected to take her husband's last name; either of you can adopt the other's last name, or you can hyphenate or create a new hybrid name. As you embark on the process, it's important to remember that the list of places you need to notify of your name change—and the paperwork that might accompany each update—is long. Allow yourself plenty of time, patience, and a very thorough checklist to work from, or hire a service provider that will help you through the process.