I'm pulling out some of my archived goodies. They are sure to be chock full o' snark and perhaps a little good advice. I stand by this post, over two years after the fact!
You know, if I had researched this particular aspect of getting married as I did say, my wedding shoes or our centerpieces, I could have saved myself some time, energy and thirty bucks.
While I never really thought that I would ever get married, there was one thing for sure that I always imagined and that was changing my last name. I have never been a big fan of it. I'm sure this might shock my family members who share that same last name, but I've never really liked it. I don't like the letter it starts with. Never really have. I dont' like words that start with that letter, in general. Yes, I'm an alphabet bigot. My maiden name rhymes with words that as a kid were tortuous at times, and as a teenager - even worse. Combine the rhyming thing with the fact that I go by my middle name (it is such a Southern thing) combined with the fact that my Dad was a Marine and we moved ALL THE DAMN TIME, explaining exactly who I was, was a total pain in the ass.
All that being said, I wasn't about to hyphenate, so knew I had to change it. If I knew now what I didn't know then, I'd kinda re-think changing my name at all. WHAT A TOTAL PAIN IN THE ASS. It might be easier if I was a 20-nothing with only a credit card and a driver's license to worry about. But no. I own a home. I have investments. I have multiple insurances. I have banks, doctors, garbage men, Home Owners Associations, voter registration...the list goes on and on and I am constantly tripping over yet another thing coming to me under my maiden name. What a bitch it is. Some things I don't even know HOW to change - like my work voice-mail log-in name. Someone set it up for me and now I have no idea how to change it. Apparently the person who set it up no longer works for the company and I can't find a damn soul who knows how to do it. The whole thing is a total time-sucker.
So I started researching how to change my name. I went to blogs I like and trust and checked out some of the ads.
A lot of the "bigger" wedding blogs are all about the website in question and topic of this post. You can't miss this website now that you're a missus. These "bigger" web sites talk about how easy it is to use, how all you have to do is fill out the forms, click your mouse and PREST-O-CHANGE-O you are now Mrs. Candyman! Bullshit.
The forms are helpful, but the work you have to do to fill them in is ridunkulous. Stupid, in fact. I was working my way through the forms and they wanted the addresses to all my credit card companies. Ever try to find that? I called the phone number on the back of my card to get the address, the helpful guy gave it to me and asked why I needed it. I told him and he said, "Oh, I can do that for you now over the phone." Done. No need to fill out a form, which drops the infp into a pre-formatted letter, which you then have to SNAIL MAIL to the credit card company. That's when I stopped filling out the forms and started calling. Why? Because some places you can do over the phone, easy-peasy. Others require a copy of your Social Security card, driver's license, marriage license and first born child. Every entity is different and thinking that a catch-all form will handle it is just dumb.
Here's what you need to do:
All things start with your Social Security Card and Driver's License. Do those first.
Go here to get the SS-5 form for your Social Security Card.
You'll need to go to your particular state's DMV website to get your form. 99.9% of the time you will need your marriage license when you submit. In person. At the DMV. Suckage.
The other biggies?
The U.S. Postal Service- but really only if you're moving in with you're honey and changing addresses.
Passport (You will need to mail in a physical marriage license, but you get it back. I highly recommend getting one or two extra notarized copies. In Tennessee you can request them in writing with a handy dandy on-line form and they are $5 each. It takes less than a week to get them back.)
Health Care Providers
Frequent Flier Cards/Membership Cards (this one has quite honestly been the most difficult group)
Your place of employment (they'll need a copy of your new SS card)
Investment Houses (401K, IRA, etc)
Legal documents (wills, trusts, power of attorney, etc.)
There are also some web sites out there that offer all these forms for FREE.
Now, the webiste that I wasted my money on does have a handy checklist that lets you know when you're done filling stuff out. But please, any moron can do this. eHow has a free check list that you can use - that again, is free.
I'd say save your $30 for a spring t-shirt or two at Old Navy and DIY this one, ladies. It's just not worth it.