I am really pleased to feature a guest expert Danielle Tate who is the founder and president of MissNowMrs.com. As a successful entrepreneur, Danielle is a newlywed expert, on-camera personality, writer, author of a top rated Google newlywed blog, and a bridal magazine contributor.
Since 2006, Danielle has served as president of MissNowmrs.com and revolutionized the online name change market. Since 2006, MissNowMrs.com has assisted over 100,000 brides in their transition from Miss to Mrs. In 2011 Danielle expanded her company internationally creating the Canadian site, MissNowMrs.com/Canada.
It was not what I envisioned as newlywed bliss and not a good day to break in a new pair of honeymoon heels. My feet were killing me after standing in a two-hour line only to be sent to the back of the line because I didn’t have the right forms to change my name from Miss to Mrs. I got the outdated forms from their website. I took off a day from work and went to the DMV three times. When I got home, I was still a Miss on paper. 13 hours? It was all too much! I had to stop the madness and make the process simpler in some way.
It took me nearly a year to research the laws and rules in all 50 states. During my research and development of MissNowMrs.com, I became well educated about name changing laws and rules in all 50 states and Canada.
What I learned was that in most states a married woman can choose from several options. She can take her spouse’s last name, take two last names, hyphenate two last names, take her maiden name as a second middle name or replace her middle name with her maiden name.
If she thinks his last name is just too boring and refuses to take it, surprisingly, he can change his last name. It seems unusual but not uncommon. I read this summer that a Twi- Hard couple both legally changed their last name to Cullen. WOW!
As I interact with brides year after year, I’ve noticed a hot trend since 2010; more second-middle names and not as many hyphens. Some women have told me the Mrs. X- Y introduction is a mouthful and others say two last names is not their way of being seen as an equal partner with their husband.
Brides wanting to be on trend though, must be careful in certain states. Juggling middle names around won’t work.
In California, Pennsylvania, Washington, New Jersey and Ohio women can’t change their middle name using the married name change process. Women in those states must petition the U.S. court system for a name-change order to change their middle names. Women in New York can take their maiden name as their middle name, but they must bring their Social Security card and U.S. passport showing their new name to the DMV to have their maiden name as their middle name listed on their driver’s license.
In Canada, if you are changing your name it is extremely important to change your name on your health insurance.
I know it can be really confusing depending on which state you reside, and many brides have no idea there are so many rules in place just to change a name. Before doing all the research, I think it’s important to have a discussion about your new name with your partner before the wedding, just like all the other marital decisions. Sometimes that’s half the battle.
Changing your name doesn’t have to happen right away. It’s one of the few things that can wait until after the honeymoon. Waiting post-honeymoon will save you one enormous headache when booking your trip and during travels.
These are my best tips for every bride out there:
1. Don’t book your honeymoon in your married name. Book in your maiden name. This will help avoid the tragedy of a missed flight and trip. That can happen when flights and reservations are booked in a bride’s married name and her ID and passport still show her maiden name.
2. Consider completing all of the name-change forms and letters before leaving, then filing them after your return. Nothing kills the feeling of newlywed bliss like dealing with IRS questions! Who wants to deal with that? Security and body scanners at the airport are quite enough.
3. Order two-three certified copies of your marriage certificate. Having more than one copy allows you to file multiple name-change forms simultaneously and become an official Mrs. much faster.