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Changing Your Last Name After Marriage

As a Tampa and Tallahassee wedding officiant service, we marry many wonderful couples. We are asked about how the bride changes her last name. I recently changed my last name (was Amanda Doumanian now Amanda Reeves) so I totally understand that it’s a confusing processes, as well as, a pain for the woman! Haha! So we are glad to help with all your marriage license and name change questions please do not hesitate to ask us!

This is an email I recently received from a groom, “We were a little curious how bride will sign her name on the marriage license. She intends to change her last name to mine, so should she sign the marriage license with my last name or her last name now.”

So to clear this up (because we are asked this often), the bride will change her last name AFTER the marriage. Just because you get married does not mean the woman’s last name automatically changes. Today, a lot of woman do not change their last names. When I changed my last name, I made my middle name my maiden name and last name my husband’s last name. There are all sorts of options and in our modern time the woman is free to chose to do what they want.

The bride doesn't have to change her name

The bride can change her last name after the marriage.

If the bride is changing her last name there are a few steps to take and they are all be done AFTER the marriage is legal.  In Florida, your marriage is legal after your Florida Marriage License is notarized by a Florida notary and returned back to the County Clerk’s office where you got the marriage license. After the County Clerk records your notarized marriage license you will receive a certified copy which you will use to get your name changed. Note– if your marriage license is returned via regular mail it’ll take 7-10 days to get the certified copy back OR if you bring it directly to the County Clerk’s Office you will get the certified copy back right then and there.

If you are going on a honeymoon right after the wedding you will use your current ID or Passport then when you return you can take the steps in getting your last name.

Here are the steps (do them in this order) to get your name changed after you are legally married:

1.  Marriage license – get your certified copy of your marriage license. One will be given back to you and if you need/want more you can pay to have extra copies

2. Social security card– you must change your name on your social security card before changing it on anything else. You cannot change your name on your social security card online. You must go to your local social security office to change your name- find yours here. There is no charge to change your name on your social security card. You will need to fill out an application for social security card and bring the required documents. Click here for more details on changing your name on your social security card.

3. Drivers license- contact your local DMV to find out what forms are required to change your name on your drivers license. There will be a fee to do this.

4. Passport- if you have a passport you should go ahead and update it with your new name. Click here for details on how to change your name on your passport.

5. Everything else– bank accounts, credit cards, doctors, insurance, voter registration card, etc.

6. Your signature 🙂 Now that you’re name is legally changed it’s time to practice your new signature!

Getting married is exciting and so is changing your last name so have fun with the process. I recommend making a list and going down the list as you get each one done changed. It’ll make it less overwhelming. You only have to change your last name one time so just do it and have fun with it. And of course, we are here to assist with any more questions your may have!! For more information on changing your license, sunset and sunrise times, and marriage license/County Clerks Office visit our Resources page.