Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Officially ABC!

A lot's happened since last we spoke! I apologize for my looooong blogging hiatus, but I promise to post lots and lots of pictures and wedding recaps--as soon as the pro pics roll in! For now, here's a teaser shot:

I have also decided that I'll start off my post-wedding posts by talking about the name change process. (I have always known that I would change my name. There have never been any doubts as to whether or not I would, and I'm excited in a nerdy way to sport my new driver's license!)

If you're active in the wedding blogosphere, you know that contests abound. I entered one from Junebug Wedding's What Junebug Loves blog, and I won! What did I win? A gift card for complete services from! I was so excited to get my gift card in the mail. I kept it in a safe place till I had my marriage license in hand.

Here's how the service works: You purchase a package online--either the basic package, which is $20 and gives you completed forms for the Social Security Administration and the DMV, or the complete package for $30. The complete package involves paperwork not only for the SSA and DMV, but also for your voter registration card, the IRS 8822, passport, USPS and notification letters for anyone who might have your maiden name on file and want your married name. You enter all of your information into MissNowMrs and they fill out the forms for you. If, at any point, you feel uncomfortable entering some of your personal information online, you can simply opt to leave that field blank, and you can fill it out by hand once you print the form. (The website is secure and encrypted.) After you have filled everything out, you can save and print PDFs of all the forms you need to change your name in various places. My favorite part? The instruction sheet that comes with each form, telling you what you'll need to take with you or mail, and where to file.

Having used the service and now, officially, changed my name, I can honestly say that it's worth the $10 to upgrade. I might even go so far as to say it's NOT worth it to just spend the $20 for the basic package. I don't think it would be beneficial to only have the two forms. I say this because I didn't actually end up using those two forms. I used the others, though!

In Tennessee, to get your name changed legally, you start that Social Security office. They require your marriage certificate and your social security number. Nothing else. I didn't even fill out paperwork there. I showed her my marriage certificate, gave her my SSN, and signed. It was really that easy! Your shiny new social security card comes in the mail after about 2 weeks.

After you change your name with the SSA, then you can head to the DMV. Be sure you bring your receipt from SSA! It's required to change your name on your driver's license. At the DMV, I showed them my marriage certificate, my receipt from the SSA and my old license. I had to fill out their special form (the one I printed from MissNowMrs wouldn't work). They checked all of my paperwork, took my picture, and voila! I'm now ABC on my driver's license! The process was surprisingly easy and pain-free!

What I did use from MissNowMrs: Voter Registration update, IRS 8822, Medical, Dental, Insurance and Investment Notification Letters, and the check list. I don't have a passport (sad, isn't it!) so I had no need to update that. I changed my address online via (be warned, this will cost you a dollar!). The form letters were super-handy to be able to send out all at once, and they request that the recipients contact me in order to confirm the name change on the account.

In all, I was happy to have the services of to help me change my name. Would I have paid for it myself? Probably not. But, it was a great resource to have for free :)

Tips for newlyweds (specifically in Tennessee, but generally, as well!):
  1. Yes, that little tiny slip of paper that you tore off the bottom of your pretty marriage certificate really is all that is required to legally change your name in Tennessee.
  2. Get to the SSA office early. The one I went to is open M-F, 9-4 and I got there at 8:50 this morning. They were already open, and the line to check in was out the door. That said, I was out of there by about 9:15.
  3. Avoid government offices around the first or last of the month LIKE THE PLAGUE. They're busier at those times.
  4. Check hours and locations online BEFORE you venture out. The DMV closest to where I live is closed on Mondays. This would have been a MAJOR bummer if I had taken time off work and showed up there only to have to come back another day.
  5. Go somewhere tropical on your honeymoon, and come back with a tan. I even LIKE my driver's license picture because I'm nicely bronzed!
  6. Bring a book or thank you notes to write, just in case the lines are long.
  7. Celebrate your new name once you're done!

Did you change your name? Was it a hassle?


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