I now understand why women don't change their names after marriage and it has nothing to do with being a feminist. 

During the 6 months of our engagement I had a handful of people comment on the topic: 

"You're going to stay a Smith aren't you." - a rhetorical question.

"I can see you not changing your name." - a definitive statement. 

"What?! You're going to switch to Kladder?" - and surprise. 

"You're kidding! You of all people are changing your name?!" - last, the realization that I'm not as much of that 'Female Libralist' people pegged me as in our high school mock elections. 

I'm excited and proud to become a Kladder... but the government processes in place sure make me want to rethink the tradition of changing my last name. They are inefficient, long, extremely confusing, and they go a little something like this: 


A. Change your name (and address) on your Social Security Card: 

  1. Download, and pre fill out the following form: SS-F
  2. Visit the Social Security Office, not to be confused with the Secretary of State office.
  3. You will need: your marriage license, your current social security card, and a second form of ID (drivers license, birth certificate, passport). 
  4. Sit nearly 2 hours in a stuffy waiting room with gray painted walls for something that takes the teller 5 mins to enter in the computer - all this somewhere between the hours of 9am-3pm Monday-Friday. 
  5. They give you a receipt of your name change, keep this for step B. 
  6. You will receive your new SS card by mail in 2 weeks. Then... 

B. Change your name (and address) on your Drivers License or Identification Card: 

  1. Visit the Secretary of State office. 
  2. They will give you a form to fill out once your number is called. Similar waiting room... still stuffy, still gray walls. 
  3. You will need the receipt of your name change from the Social Security office, plus your current drivers license or I.D. 
  4. This costs $9 and you WILL have to take a new photo - I didn't know that. Also, if you aren't already, I suggest joining the organ donors list. They will send you a sticker along with your new license in the mail. 
  5. The process takes about 10 minutes once you are at the desk. We waited only 10 minutes, but we also went in the middle of the afternoon when no one was around.
  6. You will receive your new card by mail in 2 weeks. In the meantime they give you your old card, clipped, with a stapled slip of paper attached. 
  7. While you're there change your Voters Registration Card.... 

C. Change your name (and address) on your Voters Registration Card: 

  1. Visit the Secretary of State office. 
  2. They will give you a form to fill out once your number is called. Again, if you do this at the same time as your Drivers License, you won't have to wait in line twice. 
  3. This change happens immediately and you walk away with your new Voters Card. 

D. Change your last name on your address (and your physical address if needed - this is why Jeff came along) at the U.S. Postal Office: 

  1. Visit any U.S. Postal Service Office. 
  2. Fill out the Change of Address Form - they have at the postal office; it takes two seconds to fill out. 
  3. You will need proof of your name change just in case (the receipt from the Social Security office will do, or your Voters Registration Card). They didn't ask me for mine, but I was told I would need it. 
  4. It's important you do this right after steps A & B... otherwise your new documents might not be delivered to your address because the postal carrier doesn't recognize your new last name. 

E. Change your name (and address) on your Passport (assuming you already have one): 

  1. Download and pre fill out the form: DS-82
  2. Fee will include: $110, plus postage (assuming you've had your passport for more than 1 year. If it's within the 1 year time span, the replacement book is free). 
  3. Send the form, your marriage license, your current passport, and a new passport photo that you will also have to pay for to: . You can get these taken at Walgreens for $15. They print them instantly for you and it takes about 20 minutes. 
  4. You'll get this back in 6 weeks by mail. 
  5. On a personal note, I'm really sad to be losing my pages of stamps from past travel. I know it's silly, but they're like a special collection I'm forced to toss out. 

F. Change your name (and address) and/or combine your insurance providers with your honey-bunny (haha, pet names):  

  1. You will need: your marriage license. 
  2. This will need to be done within 30 days of the date of your marriage, otherwise you'll have to wait until open enrollment (different with each company and care provider). 
  3. Contact your or his Human Resource department.
  4. You will receive new insurance cards by mail in 2 weeks.  

G. Change your name (and address) with your Bank and credit card providers: 

  1. Visit your bank office. If combining accounts you'll both need to be present. 
  2. You will need both of your I.Ds (your updated one with your new last name OR your receipt of name change from the Social Security office). 
  3. Consider whether you want direct deposit forms or not - they'll ask you. 
  4. Also, if you have monies from your wedding (gifts!), now is a good time to make that deposit. 
  5. Don't forget about updating your automatic payments for bills. 
  6. Your new cards will come in the mail in 10 days. Note: it usually comes in an unmarked envelope and can easily be confused as junk mail. Careful! 

H. Change your name with your employer: 

  1. If you haven't done so already (when you changed insurance items) you'll have to let HR know about your name change. 
  2. You might need your marriage license or proof of name change (that receipt from the Social Security office, or your new SS card if it came in the mail already!). 
  3. Don't forget about your signature on your email and name on your door (cause you fancy like that). 

I. Change your name on the internets: 

  1. Social Media my friends: facebook, twitter, instagram, LinkedIn, Vimeo, Pinterest... and the list goes on. 
  2. Your personal email - cause no one wants to be known as NikkiSmitty@hotmail.com for the rest of their adult life. It's time for an upgrade. 
  3. And!... if you are a blogger... it's time to update that 'About' page. 

Needless to say... changing your last name is time consuming, tedious, and costly. For steps A through E (all government run processes) there has GOT to be a better way than needing to visit 4 separate offices, filling out 4 separate forms, and jumping through 4 separate series of hoops. I can't believe how outdated all of this actually is.

And in recent news, I'm sure future brides will have to jump through even more hoops pertaining to Step F (insurance). Government taking over healthcare means a 5th set of hoops. I'll keep you in my prayers ladies in white. Hashtag America. 

{  N.R.K. }