Now that the Chelsea Clinton-Marc Mezvinsky wedding is over, the former first daughter isn't through with making big decisions. Next up on her list: whether or not she'll be changing her last name. The newlywed could opt for "Chelsea Mezvinsky" or keep "Clinton." Mother of the bride Hillary kept her maiden name (Rodham) and added her married name (Clinton) right after it. Decisions, decisions.
Brides have many different reasons for changing or not changing their names, which can range from the sound or length of the new name to personal preference and a desire to maintain one's heritage. When going from Miss to Mrs.-no matter what choice you make-there are eight major things to consider before doing anything.
1. Should you take your groom's last name? That's a personal decision only you can make, so think it through carefully. To help decide, consider the long-term implications for your marriage, career, family relationships, children, and finances.
2. The choices: Let's say Emma Smith marries Jason Green. She could drop her name and take his ("Emma Green"); use her maiden name as a middle name ("Emma Smith Green"); hyphenate ("Emma Smith-Green"); or create a name they both use ("Greensmith").
3. Discuss whether or not you'll be changing your name with your parents and future in-laws before the wedding. If you aren't changing it, be sensitive to the groom's family, especially if they were expecting you to be the newest Mrs. Green.
4. Since every jurisdiction has its own rules, check with your city hall to find out about the name-changing process in your area. Plan on visiting the local marriage bureau or filing the papers online between 30 and 90 days before the wedding.
5. You won't get your marriage certificate on the day you wed-instead, it will be mailed to you a few weeks later, after processing by the local marriage bureau. But legally, you can use your new married name as soon as you sign the license.
6. Book your honeymoon in your maiden name. Airlines require that the name on your photo ID and/or passport matches the name on your ticket (no special consideration for newlyweds), and you can't change your IDs until after the wedding.
7. Once you have your marriage certificate in hand, notify every institution that has your name on file. The most important include the Social Security office, your state's department of motor vehicles, the IRS, and your employer.
8. Planning to do the paperwork yourself? Just download the forms at formsguru.com, or order a kit ($20) from NameThatBride.com. Or skip the hassle by hiring a firm to do most of the work for you, like MissNowMrs.com (from $20).
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