It’s one of the toughest decisions post-engagement: Will you (or won’t you) change your name? Here, seven things that might happen if you decide to make the switch.
1. YOU WILL HAVE THE MOST FUN PERFECTING YOUR NEW SIGNATURE
Flashback to elementary school when you paired your first name with the last name of all the boys you were crushing on. This feels kind of like that except it’s permanent. Huzzah!
2. BUT YOU’LL HAVE TO DO A TON OF PAPERWORK
Your social security card, license and passport all need to be updated, not to mention your credit cards, voter registration and mailing address. In most cases, you’ll just need to provide a copy of your marriage certificate as proof, but you’ll still have to spend quite a few hours on the phone and in line (like at the DMV…ouch).
3. AND SET UP A FORWARDING ACCOUNT FOR YOUR EMAIL
To make it extra easy, keep your old email address and simply change your username (go to Settings > Accounts, then click Edit Info beside your email address to update your name). Or go whole hog and create a brand-new email address and forward mail from your old (single lady) account there. (Once your new account is good to go, log into your old account and go to Settings > Forwarding and POP/IMAP and type your new email where it says Add a Forwarding Address.)
4. YOUR CREDIT HISTORY MIGHT GET A LITTLE WONKY
When you change your name, your credit history won’t be erased—instead your married name will get added as an alias to your credit report. As a result, you can expect to see a few inaccuracies (like incorrect addresses or old debts) throughout the transition. Just keep a close watch and contact the appropriate credit bureau if you catch a mistake. (FYI, when you generate your score online, contact info should be supplied right on the page.)
5. YOUR COWORKERS MIGHT NOT RECOGNIZE YOU
Yep, part of that name change paperwork includes notifying HR at work. They’ll issue you a new email address, so don’t be surprised if your colleagues—who have known you for 10-plus years—shout out: “Who the heck is Sarah Smith?” when your name appears in their inbox. (They’ll get up to speed soon.)
6. BUT LIFE WILL BE A LOT LESS COMPLICATED IF YOU HAVE KIDS
Did you know that if you don’t change your name, you have to bring a copy of your marriage certificate to the hospital when you have a baby? (Assuming you want your hubby listed on the birth certificate.) And that’s just the beginning. From PTA phone chains to airport security, having a different last name from your kids is complicated—and some women prefer to avoid the hassle.
7. AND NO MATTER WHAT, IT’LL TAKE SOME GETTING USED TO
So, you don’t immediately respond when you’re at the doctor’s office and the receptionist calls you by your new last name. And you feel a bit strange when your boss introduces you as Mrs. Harrington. Don’t stress—even though your last name is different, you’re still you.