How early is too early: When can I start using my new married last name?

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Mrs. Awesome
Photo by Heather Compton

My surname now is ridiculously common. Googling me is a waste of time. There are zillions of us. After I get married, though, my last name is going to much more unusual.

My school will be taking away my email address, and I'm going to sign up for a Gmail account — can I put my new surname on it and start using it, or do I update everyone's info again in six months after my wedding? What if something I've submitted for publication gets accepted? Can I put my new name on that? How about my website?

I guess my question is this: How early is too early to start incorporating my new last name into my personal brand? -Kallisti

When to start using your new last name socially

Many people who take their partner's last name start using it socially immediately after the wedding. Like, SUPER immediately. One Offbeat Bride told us: “I still have to do all the paperwork to make it legal, but as soon as I was announced Mrs. MacKinnon after the ceremony, that is what I used.”

Some folks even start using it before the wedding. A few examples we heard from Offbeat Bride readers:

  • I started using it as I was establishing a new business while we were engaged. Bought a domain name, set up and used a new email address, etc.
  • I started a new job 2 months before my wedding and started using the new last name in email and business cards. I didn't want to confuse people and it was kind of exciting!
  • I set up my new gaming system with my married name but I'm not getting married until next year.

The big risk with using your new last name socially before the wedding is that, well, weddings can get canceled, for a variety of reasons.

When to start using your new last name legally

Legally, obviously you should wait until after the paperwork is filed.

This means that if you're talking about stuff like bank paperwork, plane tickets, or even registering for classes, do not start using your last name until all your name change paperwork has been filed.

If you're changing your last name after getting married, we suggest going the easy route using HitchSwitch.
They make the name change process simple, guiding you through the process step-by-step. Prices start at $39, and they make way easier than dealing with all the paperwork on your own.

Comments on How early is too early: When can I start using my new married last name?

  1. I set up my ps4 with my married name but I’m not getting married until next year. Like most others here if I set up something (that doesn’t require official paperwork) I’ll use my married name. I’m just forgetful; when I move house there’s always things that don’t get updated to my new address, so I figured I’d get started early with the changing of my name business.
    I really appreciate this post and the tone of the comments on it. On a traditional wedding blog the commentators would be like: NO THAT’S TACKY! And I know there’s offbeat readers who aren’t/don’t agree with the changing name tradition. But no comments question or berate the poster or the commentators for their decisions. It’s lovely to just read what others are doing about this modern challenge 🙂

  2. I started using mine immediately ^-^ I still have to do all the paperwork to make it legal, but as soon as I was announced Mrs. MacKinnon after the ceremony, that is what I used.

  3. I started using it as I was establishing a new business while we were engaged. Bought a domain name, set up and used a new email address, etc. Conversely, I continued using my maiden name in academia even though I graduated 4 years after we got married (and 4 years after I legally changed my name). I didn’t have any particularly strong reason for the latter choice. I think I just felt like my school identity was my maiden name. Also I hated the school registrar’s office with a fiery passion. 😛

  4. I started a new job 2 months before my wedding and started using the new last name in email and business cards. I didn’t want to confuse people and it was kind of exciting!

  5. Personally, as a designer I’d come across this problem too. My solution was to, on non-changeable documents (such as website urls) drop my last name entirely. Otherwise I would use my married name (his last affixed to my last with a hyphen).

  6. I registered a new gmail account right away when I decided to change my name, even though I’m not using it yet! Just wanted to know I’d have it ready to go.

    My question is: my partner recently put me on his fancy health insurance plan through work, and the card they sent for dental and vision says my future name, even though we didn’t tell them that was my name. We think they think we’re already married… Is it like, insurance fraud if I don’t correct them and just let my new dentist bill the insurance company with my future name?

  7. I am actually thinking of doing something a little different.

    I am going to adopt his name as sort of a second middle name so I will be Cassie Cumberbatch Hiddleston (not my real names obviously!) So I can keep Hiddleston on my passport, academic and professional branding and everything like that, but if somebody calls me Mrs Cumberbatch picking the future hypothetical sprog up from school, well that won’t be a problem either. I haven’t looked into the legalities of it in Australia, but I can’t imagine it being a big problem.

    • I’d love to be Laura Cumberbatch Hiddleston. *Swoon*

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