This one goes out to all of my traditional ladies and gents! Are you getting married in the Washington DC area soon and wondering, “Where on Earth do I go to change my last name?” Personally, my last name is so consonant-heavy, I know it will be quite the adventure if/when I get to that point! Changing your last name when you get married is such a personal choice. Should you skip it all together? Maybe you are known in your line of work by your name and thus changing would be a huge issue. Maybe you want to hyphenate your name with your partner’s. Maybe your partner is going to take your name? So many options!

Many married couples in the Washington DC area just choose to keep there current last name after tying the knot. And, that is that. However, if you are among those living in the DMV, that is Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia, who are interested in taking the last name of your spouse, we’ve done the research for you. Here are some easy steps for you to get from Smith to Jones in almost no time flat!


Photo Credit: Amber Wilkie Photography from “Simple Washington DC Courthouse Wedding

Changing Your Last Name in Washington DC:

First of all, you’ll need to make sure you have a driver’s license or ID from Washington, DC. It’s so easy to keep your home state license or ID as a nostalgic memento to your past, but if you’re going to be living in the DC area, you’ll need a DC, MD or VA-issued source of identification. (So sad, I know!) (Visit the DC DMV for info on how to get yourself a DC driver’s license or ID card.

Once you’ve got your DC driver’s license or ID, you’re in business. You’ll now need to first change your name with the Social Security Administration. You can do this in person or by mail. I’d recommend in person if you can, since mail can sometimes get lost! Here’s what you’ll need to bring to the Social Security Administration (Visit for more info on where exactly to go.):

  • Your complete application for a social security card (Here is the form or you can find it on their website).
  • Proof of your identity (the usual, license, ID or passport)
  • Lawful presence in the U.S. (think: birth certificate, U.S. citizenship certificate)
  • Name change (your marriage certificate)
  • A book, magazine or tablet (to read United With Love, of course!) because just like the DMV, you might be waiting awhile!
  • Your spouse. Got you there! You don’t have to bring your spouse, but wouldn’t it be nice to have some company?

When you’ve gone through the process, they’ll send you an updated Social Security card in 10 business days.

Now that you’ve got your shiny DC license and Social Security card, if you want your last name changed on your license, guess what? You’ll have to head back to the DC DMV (Don’t hate us, we’re just the messenger!). Don’t forget to bring your marriage certificate (again) and your current license, of course. You’ll need to remember to bring a form of payment for a duplicate card fee too ($20).

If you have moved since you were married, you can also change your address too. You have to update in 60 days, but you can do it online, by mail or in person!

That’s it! Congrats all you DC dwellers! Now, on to you Maryland ladies…

Changing Your Name in Maryland:

When it comes to name changing after your big day, Maryland is much of the same as Washington, DC. You’ll need to notify the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration within 30 days (that’s after first changing your name with the Social Security Administration – see above!). Once again, you’ll need to visit the MVA in person, since you’re not allowed to change your name online, by mail or via phone.

Don’t forget your Maryland license or ID, marriage certificate and proof of age and identity (This can be your passport or certificate of citizenship, etc.). You’ll also need your original social security card, so hold on to that for a while before you shred it! You’ll need proof of Maryland residency too, in the form of two documents (This can be a Maryland vehicle registration or title, utility bill or bank statement.).

Changing Your Name in Virginia:

Just like DC and MD, you’ll need to change your name with the Social Security Administration first (see above). The DMV checks it out with the SSA to see if your info is correct. Save yourself the frustration and remember: SSA first, no matter what part of the region you live in!

You’ll also need to visit the VA DMV in person with:

  • A completed driver’s license and ID card application (Form DL1P.)
  • Proof of your name change (marriage certificate)

Once you’ve updated your records, you’ll need to apply for a replacement driver’s license/ID showing your new name. More info on that can be found here.

One thing to note: copies of any documents you bring must be originals or certified copies.


And, there you have it! That’s how you change your name in the Washington DC area. So, what are you going to do? Will you change your last name or leave it “as is”? Let us know!

In the meantime, be sure to check out all of the other DC area wedding advice that we have put together for you or look through our list of the best Washington DC area wedding vendors to help make your life easier, before and after your big day!

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