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When changing names after marriage you must be able to prove your new name. Marriage certificates are the first step to getting your records updated. All marriages are filed with the county registrar. They hold your original marriage license, and on request will issue a certified copy of your marriage certificate.
The first organization to change names with is the SSA. The only proof of name change they require is your religious or government issued certificate. Once your SSA records are updated you can get your license updated with the DMV. Other organizations set their own proof requirements - some may ask for a copy of your marriage certificate, others need to see updated photo ID.
Our service provides information on how to order a marriage certificate in your state, including forms, fees and how to apply. While most states have centralized ordering through Vital Statistics, it is usually quicker and cheaper to order a certified copy of your certificate from your county registrar.
Religious versus government certificates
If you were married in a religious ceremony you are issued with a religious marriage certificate. This can be used in most places to change names, but usually not with some state DMV's. If you hold a US driver's license and want your name changed it is recommended you order a government issued marriage certificate from either the court or Vital Statistics.
Apply at the country registrar's office
Before the ceremony a couple obtains a marriage license from the county clerk's office. Once the wedding is performed, the minister or officiant returns the completed license to the country registrar for filing. If in doubt which county your marriage was recorded in, ask the person who conducted your ceremony. Turnaround for certificates and costs can vary, but in general wedding certificates cost between $5 and $30. If you attend an office in person certificates are often issued on the spot. Many counties also allow for online ordering, or you may be able to return a form and apply by mail. The county registrar needs to allow about 2 weeks for your completed license to be returned and filed, so certificates are usually only available 2 weeks after your wedding.
Apply from the Department of Health - Vital Statistics
All marriages records are eventually centralized with the state. The county registrar sends all marriage records to the Department of Health, Office of Vital Statistics. This ensures records can be centrally accessed. Some state offices can take up to six months to enter the marriage into their records. It is recommended that newlyweds apply to the county for their marriage certificate. Only apply at the state level if your wedding was more than two months ago, or if you know the current turnaround time for your state. Check our name change kits for advice on where to apply for your state.
Who can apply for a wedding certificate
No matter where you live, wedding certificates are always made available to the bride and groom. In some situations third parties can apply with the bride or groom's permission. Many states allow anyone access to a marriage certificate, but the certificate will be clearly labeled 'not a valid document to establish identity'.
How to apply for a wedding certificate in your state
Easy Name Change explains how to order a marriage certificate for all US states. This information usually includes what you can expect to pay for a certificate, how to apply and the marriage certificate application form, if your state has one.
Get your records changed
Once you have your wedding certificate, start updating your identification, bank accounts, phone account, membership cards and more. Save yourself hours of research and waiting on hold - we deliver virtually all the information you need in just minutes. Select which organizations to notify from our database of thousands. Within minites we'll send comprehensive name change procedures, ready to send forms and letters and compete filing procedures. Our kits will save you hours or your money back!