How To Change Your Name After Marriage - 6 Simple Steps

After months and months of cake tasting, color coordinating, dress fittings, and everything else that goes along with planning your wedding, your big day has finally come and gone! It probably seemed like this day would never come, and now that it has, you might not be sure what to do with yourself!

Though the wedding planning stage is over, you can be confident that there will be plenty of things for you to do. Thank you notes should always be one of the first things on that list. Brides technically have a three-month window to get their thank you notes sent out, but your guests will be happy (and grateful) to receive them sooner rather than later. 

Should you choose to do so, the next step on your to-do list as a newly married individual is to change your name. This is a big step in a woman's (or man's!) life. Our names are a huge part of our identity, and changing them should not be taken lightly. While the majority of married women still adopt their husband's last name, there are several alternative methods being used today. Some women choose to hyphenate their last name to include their maiden name and their husband's last name. Some men change their last names to match their wives'. Some women replace their current middle name with their maiden name and take their husband's last name.

Regardless of which name change route you choose, there are a few steps that must be taken to make your change name officially and legally. Here's the best way to do it.

Step 1 - Obtain Official Copies of Your Marriage License

Unfortunately, photocopying your copy of the marriage license won't be enough. You'll need to contact the county clerk's office where you applied for your marriage license in the first place in order to get official, certified copies of your marriage license. These certified copies will serve as legal proof of your marriage, which will make the rest of the name-changing process much simpler.

Step 2 - Update Your Social Security Card

The Social Security Administration should be the first organization you contact to update your name. This agency is the most important because discrepancies between your name and social security number can cause major problems with your taxes and retirement benefits. 

In order to update your name with the Social Security Administration, you'll need to fill out Form SS-5 and file it with your local social security office. You can obtain copies of this form at your local office, or you can save time by downloading it online here and filling it out ahead of time. You will also need to provide proof of your age, identity, and U.S. citizenship. Your birth certificate and your driver's license should suffice.

Step 3 - Get a New Driver's License

Because driver's licenses are such a common, easy way to prove your identify, most people recommend updating your license next. Having a new copy of your license will make it easier to change your name everywhere else. Different states require different pieces of evidence in order to update your license, so be prepared. When you visit your local DMV, we recommend bringing your old driver's license, an official copy of your marriage license, your new social security card, and proof of your new address (if you and your spouse moved after the wedding).


Step 4 - Inform Your Employer

This step is pretty self-explanatory. It's important to let your employer know when your name has legally changed so that your paychecks and benefits will be in your new name. Small businesses may handle this type of change differently than large ones do, so check with your boss to see how to best make this change happen.

Step 5 - Change Your Bank Accounts

If your employer is going to be writing checks to your new name, it's important that your bank and/or credit unions are in the loop as well! This will probably be most easily done by visiting your bank in person. Bring an official copy of your marriage certificate and your new driver's license. While visiting your bank, go ahead and request new checks, debit cards, and any credit cards associated with your bank.

Step 6 - Contact Everyone Else

Steps 1-5 will make sure you contact the most important individuals or agencies first. Now, all that's left is to fill in the cracks. Sometimes, women are surprised when they realize just how many other people or companies there are to inform! Examples of other people to contact are:
  • Post office
  • Lawyers (to update any legal documents)
  • Doctors
  • Club memberships
  • Voter registration board
  • Passport
  • Insurance companies
  • Vehicle registration
  • Alumni associations
  • Investment accounts
  • Cell phone company
  • Independent credit cards
  • Home utilities
  • Mortgage company or landlord

This may sound like a daunting process, but it's really not that bad. The hardest part (as with most tasks) is the act of getting started; once you get the ball rolling, however, the rest of the process follows pretty smoothly. If you don't feel up to changing your name yourself, there are several agencies that will take care of all the legalities for you (for a price, of course). Whether you want to change your name yourself or hire someone else to do it is completely up to you - there is no right or wrong answer!


~ The WhereBridesGo.com Team

Where brides go®  ... for what brides love!
Connect with WhereBridesGo.com online!

What Do Your Wedding Colors Say About You?

"What are your colors??"

This is often one of the very first questions brides get asked when they begin planning their weddings. Colors help establish the look and feel of the wedding day, and family and friends are eager to be let in the loop. We accept this eagerness as their way of expressing excitement and sharing in the wedding planning process, but did you know that their innate desire to know the wedding colors actually stems from an deeper, subconscious level?

Colors have been shown to have strong psychological impacts on our moods and our emotions. Colors seem to "suggest" certain behaviors or energies, helping evoke desired actions out of guests or customers. For example, the color red is prominently displayed in the logo for many fast food restaurants because it instills survival instincts, desire, passion, and hunger in their customers.

The colors you choose to surround yourself with on your wedding day will have a subtle but strong impact on you and your guests. You can use this effect to your advantage by taking some time to familiarize yourself with common colors and their emotional triggers. When you choose your wedding colors, you won't just be selecting the pretty colors that will pop the best in your wedding photos, you'll be choosing the emotional effect you want to have on your wedding party and your guests.


RED

As we just mentioned, red evokes passion, desire, and survival instincts from those around it. Red is the color of fire and blood, and it is often associated with strength, masculinity, power, danger, energy, sexuality, confidence, courage. People who are surrounded by a lot of red for a significant amount of time can become empowered or angered, depending on their preexisting emotional tendencies.

Red instills a confident, powerful energy in weddings. Dressing yourself, your groom, or your bridal party with red accents is a bold move, but it can be very effective.

YELLOW

Yellow in indisputably happy and cheerful - all of the time. Yellow is the color of sunshine and flowers, and it tends to exude happiness and enthusiasm wherever it goes. Yellow also inspires creativity, intellect, self-worth, excitement, impulsiveness, joy, enthusiasm, optimism, and spontaneity in those who surround themselves in it. Because of its constant quick, speedy energy, however, spending too much time around yellow can cause people to feel agitated or stressed.

Yellow can be very inviting as a wedding color because it evokes such positive feelings from those around it. If you're generally a spirited, happy individual, yellow could be a perfect wedding color for you.


ORANGE

The color orange is created by mixing red and yellow, so it follows that its emotional pull is a combination of the first two colors. It takes the flighty enthusiasm and excitement of yellow and grounds it with the strength and power of red, resulting in a warm and positive effect. Orange stimulates us on both a mental and physical level, inspiring us to move forward with focused enthusiasm. Orange also tends to stimulate the appetite, so it is sometimes used to advertise food products and services. Orange does not seem to play a large role in our current culture, so there is also a sense of novelty and uniqueness associated with it.

Orange is surprising and unexpected as a wedding color, but it can be very effective if used correctly. Its youthful optimism and positivity could be a great addition to your big day.

BLUE

As the color of the sky and the ocean, blue symbolizes depth, trustworthiness, and stability. Blue has an incredibly calming effect on those around it - it has even been shown to suppress appetite and slow human metabolism! It evokes feelings of quiet strength, honesty, self-expression, wisdom, loyalty, faithfulness, persistence, and idealism. Because of its steady consistency, however, being surrounded by too much of the color blue can make it difficult for people to adjust to new changes.

Blue serves as a wonderful wedding color because it evokes wonderful emotions that most people would love to embody as the enter into a new marriage. After all, who wouldn't love to surround their wedding with honesty, trust, and contentment?

GREEN

Green - the color found most prominently in nature. Green evokes wonderfully positive emotions in those around it, such as balance, healing, harmony, safety, love, and abundance. Green is made from a mixture of blue and green, so it combines the spirited enthusiasm of yellow with the calm serenity of blue. Green instills an excited but grounded happiness in everyone it surrounds.

Not surprisingly, green is another wonderfully popular wonderful wedding color. It can help you welcome in the new phase of your life with abundance, prosperity, and balance.

PURPLE

The color purple was traditionally worn by kings, queens, and other members of the royal courts. It is considered to be a very rich, prosperous, and regal color. It also stimulates the imagination and inspires spirituality in those around it. Purple is created by mixing red and blue, so it follows that purple inspires a powerful but quiet strength in those who wear it. 

Purple isn't a particularly common wedding color, but it can be extremely effective. You and your bridal party are sure to enjoy the quietly regal air purple accents can instill in you!

PINK

Pink represents delicacy, compassion, love, femininity, and innocence. Its quiet sophistication can please and impress those who encounter it. Pink is also associated with nurturing and mothering actions. It is gentle, soft, beautiful, calm, and good-natured. 

If you're not afraid to embrace your girly side, the youthful glow of the color pink can be a wonderfully delicate and feminine addition to your wedding decor.

WHITE and BLACK

White is the most traditional of all wedding colors. It symbolizes innocence, purity, goodness, virginity, cleanliness, and perfection. Brides traditionally wear white to symbolize their purity and their beautiful innocence. 

Black is the opposite of white, representing a sense of mystery and dark power. In the most negative connotations, black can imply evil and death, but it can also represent a classic elegance. When appropriately paired with white or another color, black can add a grounded power that can positively impact all who surround it.

Armed with the emotional and psychological impacts colors can have, you'll be much better equipped to choose your wedding colors! Based off your new knowledge, which colors do you think you'll choose for your big day? We'd love to hear your plans!


~ The WhereBridesGo.com Team

Where brides go®  ... for what brides love!
Connect with WhereBridesGo.com online!

Choosing Your Wedding Venue - 8 Mistakes

Congratulations! You and your groom-to-be have finally taken the plunge and gotten engaged. You're probably surrounded by family and friends congratulating you, oohing and ahhing over your ring, and begging you to tell them how he asked you "just one more time!!" 

Amidst this wave of congratulatory messages, it's time to begin making some practical decisions about your wedding - specifically, when and where. While the date and the venue often go hand-in-hand, initial decisions on each of these topics must be made independently. 

In this blog post, the WhereBridesGo team is here to help you choose your wedding venue easily and efficiently! We're going to outline some of the common mistakes people make when choosing their wedding venue and discuss ways to avoid making them yourself. (See our earlier blog post for help choosing your wedding date.)

Mistake #1: Waiting
Waiting (or, worse, procrastinating) is often the first mistake couples make in the process of selecting their wedding venue. It's easy to be fooled into thinking you have all the time in the world (especially if you're planning on being engaged for at least a year), but when it comes to reserving your wedding venue, that simply isn't the case. 

If you're looking at a popular wedding venue and you know you want to get married on the weekend, you'll most likely need to book your wedding venue at least 12-18 months in advance (if not longer). You'll be able to wait a little while if you're okay with getting married on a weekday, but even then, the rules remain the same: the sooner you can get your wedding date locked in with your wedding venue, the better off you'll be.

Mistake #2: Not Knowing Your Guest List
Obviously, no one expects you to have your guest list completed as soon as you get engaged. However, it's important to have a few realistic discussions about how many people you want to attend your wedding before you begin touring potential wedding locations. 

Wedding venues often advertise the approximate number of guests they are designed to accommodate. You want to be sure your venue is big enough to hold everyone you will want to invite, but at the same time, you also need to be sure that your venue won't be too big for your event. Having a small amount of guests in a big space can be overwhelming, or it can look like you were expecting many more people to come than those who actually did. Save yourself any awkwardness or embarrassment in the future by getting a realistic estimate of how many people will attend your wedding before you begin venue shopping.

Mistake #3: Not Timing Your Visit Right
You know you need to take a tour of your potential wedding venue before signing any contracts, but do you know how to make your initial visit really count? When visiting their prospective wedding venues, there are two common mistakes couples make:
  • Visiting during a different season, and
  • Visiting during a different time of day
Both of these mistakes can cause you to get an inaccurate impression of your potential wedding venue. It's no surprise that a venue's appearance can change drastically from season to season, but the differing times of day can have equally great effects on the venue's look and feel. In order to make sure you know exactly what you're booking, schedule a visit that reflects the time of day and the season of your actual wedding day.

Mistake #4: Not Having a Clear Idea of What You Want
Like all big decisions, choosing your wedding location is much easier if you have a clear understanding of what you do and do not want. Wedding venues come in so many different shapes and sizes that it's easy to get overwhelmed if you don't have a clear goal in mind. 

Save yourself time and energy by sitting down with your fiance and discussing your priorities. How many people do you need to be able to comfortably accommodate? How private do you want your location to be? Does it need to be close by someone or something? Having a strong grasp of your requirements ahead of time will allow you to keep your search much more focused and efficient.

Mistake #5: Not Knowing Your Budget
The wedding venue is often the first big financial commitment couples make as they begin planning their wedding. Unfortunately, it's nearly impossible to know how much you can afford to spend on your venue if you don't know how much you plan to spend on your entire wedding. 

Before you begin seriously shopping wedding venues, take a thorough look at how much money you have to spend on your wedding and where it will be coming from. Will you and your fiance be funding your event yourselves, or will you have help from parents, grandparents, and/or other friends and family? It is not uncommon for brides and grooms to put off seriously addressing their wedding budget for as long as they can, but the sooner you have a clear view of your budget, the easier planning your wedding (and booking your venue) will be.

Mistake #6: Not Knowing Your Wedding "Style"
The venue will set the scene for your entire event. You can add music and decorations later, but nothing else will have as great an impact on the look and overall feel of your big day. It stands to reason, then, that you should have a clear understanding of what type of event you want your wedding to be before booking your venue. 

Do you want a religious ceremony? Do you want your decor theme to be rustic or formal? Do you want the ceremony and/or the reception to take place outdoors? Taking the time to answer these questions ahead of time will not only simplify your decision-making process, it will help ensure that you find the venue that best fit your needs and desires.

Mistake #7: Not Knowing the Rules
Your potential venue is, first and foremost, a business. As with all businesses, each venue has its own list of rules and requirements you and your guests will be expected to abide by, should you choose to hold your event there. 

Before signing any contracts, take the time to find out exactly what will be expected of you and your guests. What time will you need to be off the premises? Does the venue have contracts with any caterers or other wedding vendors that will require you to work with them if you host your event there? Will you be responsible for the cleanup? It's important to know exactly what you might be getting yourself into so you can be sure the venue is a good fit for your wedding.

Mistake #8: Not Asking the Right Questions
When you tour your potential venues, don't be afraid to ask questions. While you should obviously be polite, it's important to recognize the tour for what it really is - an interview. You're interviewing the venue in order to decide whether or not you want to "hire" it. 

You'll be paying your venue a decent amount of money to use the space, so you want to be completely confident that it will suit your needs, that you know what will be expected of you, and that it will be conducive to the type of wedding you want. Now is the time to ask the little questions. Does the venue supply cups, plates, and silverware? How many electricity outlets are available? What is included, and what will cost you extra? 

Choosing a wedding venue is a big decision, but being aware of these common mistakes will help you avoid falling victim to them yourself. What else do you think needs to be considered before deciding on your wedding location? We'd love to hear your thoughts!


~ The WhereBridesGo.com Team

Where brides go®  ... for what brides love!
Connect with WhereBridesGo.com online!