Changing your Last Name

So I'm coming up on my 1 year wedding anniversary! WHAAAAAT?! Time, sloooow down please.

There is a lot to do before your wedding, but the journey to becoming Mrs. doesn't end there. Today we are going to go over "the name change". 

I personally chose to hyphenate so that I could keep my maiden name (and my family roots) and add my spouses name to that. So I'm going from Lacey Johnson to Lacey Johnson Rootness.

I'm not sure if a name change is something you have thought too much about, but if you have then you might know what's involved, you will need to consider changing your: drivers license, passport, bank accounts, insurance, company employee information, car registration, gym membership, credit cards, social security card... basically everything.

But don't feel overwhelmed, I'm breaking it all down for you.

If you handle the paperwork within the first year of marriage (while you are still a newlywed) it saves you a lot of complications and fees down the line. So, right now you can come along with me on my journey to becoming Mrs.

Follow these 5 steps below...

The below links are specifically for California residence living in Santa Clara County

Before the wedding ceremony...



Before you get married both you and your fiancé will need to hop into the County Clerk-Records Office to obtain a marriage license.

If you are a resident of Santa Clara County in California here is a link where you can expedite the process and fill out this form. This can also be done in the office.

A standard marriage license in Santa Clara County, California is $80.

Once you complete this process you will receive the following documents from the clerk:

  • License and certificate of marriage

  • An envelope pre-addressed to the County Clerk-Recorder

  • Instructions for the Officiant (if applicable)

From here...

  • Give these items to the person performing your marriage ceremony.  That person will complete the rest of the information on your license and your two witnesses will sign after your ceremony.
  • Post ceremony, your efficient will then mail the license and certificate of marriage to your County Clerk-Recorder’s Office for recording no later than 10 days after the ceremony.  

After the wedding ceremony...



After your wedding you can go to your County Clerk-Record's Office to obtain your marriage certificate.

For Santa Clara County California peeps, It's $15 per person per marriage certificate. Fill out your marriage certificate here to expedite the process. Check out the California in Santa Clara County  website for more details. 



Based on the research I've done it seems like the best starting option for a name change is to start with your social security card. So grab that marriage license and download and fill out the social security form and book an appointment at your local social security office. You will need to bring along proof of your identity along with a copy of your marriage license. For more information on name changes for your social security card click here.



Next let's get that drivers license changed! You will need:

Form DL 44

Unfortunately you cannot grab this form online because original signatures are needed. So you can either... 

  • Have the form mailed to you. Just call the DMV To obtain a DL 44 or DL 44C form, at 1-800-777-0133 (available 24 hours a day, 7 days per week).
  • Or visit your local DMV office to pick one up 



To get yourself ready for your next international adventure you will need to obtain a new passport by mail! You will need

  • Form DS-5504 (for US citizens)
  • Your current valid passport
  • Your original or certified name change document, such as a marriage certificate or court order (no photocopies or notarized copies)
  • One color passport photo. Check out the photo requirements here - to get a passport photo you can pop into a local drug store or take your own photo.

For more information on changing your passport click here.

The Knot also offers a really cool name changing service called Hitchswitch, a hassle free option.

I know paperwork is not the most exciting, but hopefully this will be a valuable resource to help you get all your ducks in a row and get your name changed in no time!