The process of changing your name is intimidating, not to mention complicated. For instance, you will NOT be able to get a new driver's license until your new social security card comes in. Then there’s your passport, bank accounts, car titles, etc. This process can’t be done all in one day, or even all in a week. If it’s government issued, get ready for a big time hassle.

The first thing you have to do is wait. We know that seems hard, especially since you've been going full speed ahead for months now, but your marriage license — the one your clergy sent in — will be delivered to you by mail usually within two weeks of the wedding (that is, if it was sent right away). Once you receive the official, gold-starred document from the courthouse in the county in which you took the license, you can begin the time-consuming process of changing your identity.

Make some copies of the license, and store one in a safe place like a locked box at the bank. Also, put away your original, or frame it for a special memory. But before you tuck your original away, you'll need it for a few name changes.

Take the original to your local Social Security office (search for your local office) and fill out some painless paperwork; they say it only takes a few minutes. Your new card will be mailed in two to three weeks.

Next, the most logical step is the DMV. Take the original copy of your marriage license to the same place you renew your driver's license. If you are buying a house and don't have a permanent address yet, you might want to wait on this. The DMV people will issue you a new license under your new name and address.

A new license will allow you to open a joint checking account, if you wish. Keep in mind, though, that if you want to do this, you both must be present at the bank. You'll also need your new license.

Once your driver's license and bank accounts reflect the new you, write to your utility companies and other businesses that might need your address (electric company, magazine subscriptions and doctors’ offices). You'll also want to check with your employer and refile payroll information, and you should compare insurance policies with your hubby. It might be a good idea to create a small postcard on your computer to send to the places mentioned above. If it organization decreases your stress, use a spreadsheet to keep track of the businesses you have contacted and when the name change was completed by each one. Be sure to include your former and new names, account numbers, address and a copy of your marriage license (many companies like to have a copy of your license in your file). Also, consider changing your e-mail address to reflect your new name.

Fortunately, there are several websites that streamline the process for about $30 (we’ve used and love These sites have you to fill out one form that automatically fills in all the forms you’ll need during the process and organizes them in the order you’ll use them. Below are some of the most popular sites out there:

For even more information and guidance, check out or and search “name change.”

This may be information-overload, but it's worth the feeling you get when you're addressed as a Mrs. with your new, married name.