The Name Game

Planning a wedding demands some major decision-making. Dresses, colors, dates, locations, menus, songs… The list sometimes seems infinite. Still, one decision cannot be avoided: Name change or not? If you do opt to take your fiancée’s surname, (or he, yours), you can rest easy. Here’s a quick and easy rundown of the name-change process.

Marriage Certificate

You can’t make any legal changes to your name until you’ve received your marriage certificate, so try to be patient while it’s processed. Definitely resist the urge to book your honeymoon airline tickets under your new name if you plan to vacation directly after the wedding. Changing your name takes a little bit of time to process. Instead, enjoy that last airline ticket with your maiden name. It’ll soon be a thing of the past.

Social Security Card

Begin the name change game here. The DMV won’t give you a second glance if you’ve not filed with the Social Security Administration, so save yourself the time and heartache of being turned away, and get to the SSA! You’ll need to complete form SS-5, which can be done directly on the web at You’ll have the option of mailing the form, or filing directly at a local SSA office. Be sure to bring along your marriage license and a current photo ID. Local SSA offices can be found on the website, or by calling 800-772-1213.

Driver’s License

The Department of Motor Vehicles will verify your name, birth date and social security number electronically through the SSA, so be sure you filed with Social Security first! You’ll need to fill out an application for a new driver’s license or identification card, bring your marriage certificate, and current DL or ID card. You may be asked to surrender your current ID card. For name changes in California, you can see the checklist and download an application form at You can also change your voter registration status through most DMVs.

US Passport

The easiest way to complete a passport name change is to fill out the online form at You’ll need your current passport, a certified copy of your marriage certificate and two passport photos to complete the application. If you have travel pending, you may need to pay extra for expedited shipping.

Banks, Loans, and Credit Cards

It’s fairly simple to change your name on your financial accounts. Simply go into your local bank branch with certified copy of your marriage license, and sit with one of the bankers to complete the process. In my experience, some credit card companies will allow you to change your name over the phone. Don’t forget to alert any companies with whom you hold investment/retirement funds, mortgages, stocks and bonds, leases, automobile loans, etc.

Car, Home, Life and Health Insurance

Policies on name changes vary from company to company, so contact your provider for specific steps on making your name change.

Frequent Flier Accounts

Oddly enough, it is easier to change your name on a credit card than it is on your mileage accounts. Most airlines require a copy of your marriage license before they’ll switch your surname.

Who Else Needs to Know?

Your name appears many more places than you might imagine. Here’s a quick list of whom else to alert:

> Your employer. You’ll want to be sure to be able to deposit those paychecks!

> Doctor’s offices. Can most often be done at your next visit. Be sure to update your insurance information with them while you’re there.

> Utilities: Gas, electric, cable, phone, cellular phone, etc. Some companies will require you visit the office in person to show them proof of name change.

> Be sure to update your will if you have one.

> Subscriptions: Magazines, newspapers, Netflix, etc.

> Gym memberships, yoga and dance studios

> Social networking sites: Facebook, MySpace, Linked-In, job-searching sites, and online website log ins (unless you prefer to keep your current user names)

> Change your name in your email settings so your new name appears in the ‘from’ field. You may want to get an altogether new email address, as well.

> Your friends and family. Consider sending out ‘at-home’ cards after the wedding with your new name and address (if you have one). Alternately, you can send a similar notice via email.

As always, Coco Rose Events is here to help with all your wedding and party planning needs! If you have any questions, I invite you to contact us at

Ashley Fauset is one of two owners of Coco Rose Events, a full service wedding planning, special event coordination and party consulting company. From restaurant and catering management to large-scale concert productions, Ashley has overseen events on every level. As a catering manager at the Westlake Village Inn, she’s directed weddings, bridal and baby showers, anniversary celebrations, corporate holiday parties, rehearsal dinners, and birthday brunches. Her industry event experience includes managing artist catering for the Coachella Valley Music Festival and Long Beach Jazz Festival, as well as productions at Staples Center, The Shrine Auditorium, El Rey Theater, The Henry Fonda Theater, and The Hollywood Bowl. Ashley’s international event experience includes her own wedding on the French Riviera.

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