UPDATE 2020! Mary has relocated to Toronto, Canada. You can find information about Canadian weddings at ElopeToronto.com I'm keeping this blog because I've been told it's very helpful for couples in New York! If you need a wedding officiant in New York or Toronto, email me at MaryBeaty (at) gmail (dot) com, and I'll try to help. Best wishes!

Tuesday

Should you change your name at marriage?

Think carefully about this question.The important points are:

1) Neither bride nor groom is required to change their surname to get married. (You may remain Jane Pepsi and John Cola). You may keep your original name for professional reasons, family reasons, or because that's who you are.

2) Either bride or groom or both MAY change their surname. (You may both become Mr and Mrs Pepsi-Cola, or Pepsico, or ColaPepsi, or many other variants. John Cola might become John Pepsi.
You might choose to become Mr and Mrs. Dr.Pepper. You might use your former last name as a middle name, aka Hilary Rodham Clinton: Jane Pepsi Cola). But note that only CLINTON or COLA will be the OFFICIAL last name, unless you hyphenate.

3) You do not have to decide to change your name at the time of the wedding. You may change your name(s) any time afterwards - for instance, if you have children.

4) You cannot go BACK and change your actual marriage license if you change your mind at a later date about a new surname: you will have to go through a legal process to make any changes in the future. (Mrs. Pepsi-Cola may not have her marriage license altered to change her name back to Jane Pepsi. But she may make a court petition to change her name back to Jane Pepsi. The marriage license will remain Pepsi-Cola, asthat's what she decided the day she applied for the license).

5) Once you change your legal names, you'll need to change: social security, drivers license, passport, voter registration, (IRS - address change only), vehicle title/ registration, workplace, financial institutions, insurance, medical, utilities, credit cards etc. There are a number of online kits that have forms and detailed instructions on where to send each form (or if you need to make a personal appearance) as well as what additional documentation you'll need.

Therefore, when in doubt, do nothing.