The name change list…

July 30th, 2010

Planning on changing your name when you get married? has a really great and helpful article on everything you’d need to do this.

Start with…

  • Social Security Administration
    Application for a New Social Security Card
  • Note: It takes about 10 days for IRS records to be updated after the Social Security Administration effects your name change.

  • Department of Motor Vehicles – Drivers License and Vehicle Registration
    This is likely to require an in-person appearance at your local Department of Motor Vehicles to submit forms, which are provided on the premises. Bring two kinds of identification, such as a certified copy of your marriage license and/or birth certificate, your current driver’s license, or a U.S. passport. Don’t expect to be able to change the name or address on the title of your car, however: A new title is only issued upon transfer of ownership.
  • Continue with…

  • U.S. Passport Agency
    Correcting or Changing Information in Your Passport
  • Also communicate your name change to…

  • U.S. Post Office
  • Employer
  • 401k / Retirement plans
  • Credit card companies
  • Bank accounts / names on checkbook
  • Mortgage
  • Voter registration
  • Doctor, dentist, HMO, medical records, heath-care proxy
  • Health, life, auto, and home insurance policies
  • Clubs
  • Memberships
  • Discount, courtesy, and frequent-flyer cards
  • Utility companies (phone, cable, gas, electric, etc.)
  • Legal Contracts
  • Will (you may want to change the beneficiary to your spouse at the same time)
  • Is your head spinning? Mine is! You can do all of this….or you can let us do it for you! Name Change Express makes it super easy to change your name after you get married.  Check us out! is the premier service to use to change your name. Our process turns 30+ hours of paperwork and standing in line into just minutes.

    A word on in-laws

    July 22nd, 2010


    My in-laws moved to Florida a few weeks after our wedding two years ago.  My parents moved to North Carolina the year that followed. While we’re all adults here, I kind of felt a bit abandoned by my Mommy and Daddy.  Sure I’m surrounded by my sister, friends, and not to mention, my loving husband, but there’s something about having family close by that makes it easier to get through the day – and the holidays.

    Each summer my in-laws come back North to stay for the summer. The other day my MIL (Mother-in-law) was coming up and the boy and I couldn’t wait to take her out to a local Italian place that we LOVE. Since she and I are Chicken Parmesan Connoisseurs, we of course needed to try theirs.

    I was running a tad late at work and I quickly mentioned, “I’ve got to run – we’re having dinner with my Mother-in-law!”

    My statement was met with grimaces, smirks and I believe a snort! “What?” I asked. “I love my in-laws!”

    I was met with story after story, horror story after embarrassing story of really bad in-law experiences.  They sounded like “Monster-In-Law” movie ideas! Yikes. I hit the jackpot!

    Are you marrying into a Monster-in-law situation?

    It occured to me that what the boy and I have with our in-laws is really special and at times, rare.

    Last April my parents, sister, aunts and uncles went on a family cruise. The boy and I were armed with our friends, and my husband had a great time on vacation – surrounded by his in-laws.  Every weekend when we travel down to visit my in-laws at the beach, we have a great time cooking, laughing and drinking too much wine. We really are blessed to have the families around us that we have. And we certainly don’t take it for granted.

    If you’re entering into a family with your upcoming wedding you may find you’re inheriting more than just your fiances last name. You’re getting his family too. And if you’re very lucky, you’ll enter into a family that loves you just as much as they love their own – and count you as part of the family too.

    So – call your soon to be Mother-in-law today. Tell her you’re happy to be a part of her family – include her in the planning of your wedding – and value her experience, opinions and years of cute stories about your fiance.

    Oh – and call your Mom too – she’s just as important!!

    Simple beach wedding

    July 2nd, 2010

    This past weekend my husband and I couldn’t drag ourselves away from the beach. It was a clear and cool Sunday evening and the last thing
    we wanted to do was sit in Parkway traffic-so we opted to stay another night.  As we were getting ready to head into the house for dinner
    though, we saw a cluster of people start to collect near the entrance to the beach.

    They were all well-dressed and barefoot and the lingering smells of their colognes and perfumes wafted down to us. I noticed white bows
    hung on the bench near the entrance and realized a wedding was about to happen!  We propped ourselves up on a nearby bench and settled in to watch.

    Despite being more than a football field away, you could tell it was a simple and intimate ceremony. One man with a guitar was flanked by a minister and a nervous looking groom.  You could hear little notes of music coming from the guitar but couldn’t quite make out the song.

    Then the bridesmaids processional started and the girls looked relaxed and cool, with a kind of lavendar beach elegance. The crowd parted again just in time to see the beautiful barefoot Bride walk in, arm in arm with an older man who I presumed was her Father.

    Its been nearly two years since the boy and I said “I Do” and it all came flooding back to me.  I was struck by the elegant simplicity of this lovely little beach wedding and was moved to tears despite not knowing anyone in the wedding. I can remember geting hung up in all the tiny details that got in the way of our big day, and I think this couple just got it right.

    Friends, family, loved ones all standing around them closely to hear their vows-and at the end of the day, the wedding was about the Bride
    and Groom and their love one another and of the beach.  We heard a low cheer and applause and knew they selaed their vows with a kiss and then it was off to the water for pictures. “I’m a Believer” was the song the guitarist played as they walked back down the makeshift aisle.  And I became a believer in this kind of wedding ceremony.  There was something so intimate about seeing them exchange vows and while we weren’t guests, and neither was half the other people in swim suits watching, we felt like we were.

    Congratulations to that beautiful beach couple. I wish you years of happiness!

    Next week, I’ll post a blog on some of the simple elements of their wedding as well as the best places for pictures!

    The anti-bride?

    June 23rd, 2010

    I was having drinks with a friend of mine last night when we got on the topic of her sparkling engagement ring. Any plans yet?, I asked, a seemingly innocent enough question, to which she responded with nary a detail. I suddenly felt like I was in a twilight zone of the anti-bride.

    There have been quite a few welcome and celebrated engagements among friends recently and one detail became increasingly clearer after a glass of wine. Most of them were “30 somethings” and none of them are in a mad dash to the alter!

    I asked my friend then to explain but first I had some questions.

    Is it that you don’t want to plan it?
    Is it that you want a small wedding?
    Would you rather elope?
    Are you getting pre-wedding cold feet?

    The resounding no to all of these made me heave a sigh of relief, but I was still confused. Then she said, “I’m 36. We’ve been together for 6 years….we’ve been together this long, what’s the rush now?”

    I’ve been reading articles recently about the “magic age” that contributes to a long lasting marriage. It seems that experts agree that when a woman marries after the magic age of 25-27, the marriage
    is stronger and more fulfilling. Chalk it up to experience years, education and a feeling that you know yourself pretty well at that age and you’ve probably got yourself a recipe for happily ever after. Our
    Grandmothers were right. Timing really is everything.

    In NYC, the average woman is married well into her early 30s. They tend to be more career driven and decide to build a family later in life. There is nothing wrong with this. But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense to me: my 30 something friends weren’t dashing their way to the alter but making a tortoise like, well thought out investment in each other and their futures, walk to forever.

    Its all about timing and in this case slow and steady really might win the race!

    my bride-zilla moment

    June 8th, 2010

    This past weekend I was watching the show Bridezillas. It’s addicting; something you can’t peel your eyes away from almost like an accident you can’t help yourself from rubbernecking on the highway.  But some of those brides to be? Insane.

    As more and more of my friends have started getting engaged, I can’t help but wonder….will they be a Bridezilla? Was I?

    I was teased about being the least likely to become a Bridezilla when I got engaged. I’m pretty low maintenance and tend to take things fairly easy. I roll with the punches, so to speak. But I did have one. Just one Bridezilla moment that I’ll share you with here and then never speak about again. :)

    My sister, who lives in CA, wasn’t able to come into the bridal shop to try on her bridesmaid dress. So she took her own measurements and we placed the order for her.  It came in along with the other bridesmaid dresses and I was responsible for shipping it to her.  Why I trusted the USPS to do this for me versus sending it with something that could be tracked – aka UPS or FedEx -  I’ll never truly understand.  Rookie mistake.

    To put it nicely, they lost my package.  In fact, it was so lost that it was rerouted from NJ to somewhere over China where it stayed for at least a week.  I discovered this only after having gotten stuck in the USPS automated system on what was the hottest day of the year in my 1929 non-air-conditioned house.   Cursing and crying and stomping like the baby Zilla I had become, I became fed up with the lost package # and the USPS automated phone system and threw my cell phone.  Up against the staircase.   Where it smashed into four, irreparable cell phone pieces.   I didn’t feel better. In fact, after having dried my eyes and driven to the nearest AT&T store, paid $150 for a new phone (because cell phone insurance doesn’t cover uncontrollable-Bridezilla-rage-induced-cellphone-slammings) and recounting the story to my poor, consoling fiance, I felt even worse.

    The package arrived a week later in CA where it was intended to go.  It arrived with three Chinese language books, a rubiks cube and sweat socks, dress included.   Where it had gone on it’s little adventure was a mystery to me, as was my Zilla moment heard round the family.

    Ladies – getting angry and taking it out on inanimate objects like cell phones, flowers, linens, your veil, dress or stoic fiance is not the way to go.   Here’s my tip from me to you if you feel  a Zilla moment approaching:

    1. Breathe
    2. Breathe
    3. Breathe

    Everything will be OK – I promise.  Nothing that happens during the course of the wedding planning process is worth being a Zilla over.  Relax.  If you need to vent, call your Maid of Honor; just don’t take it out on her please.  She’s there to help.  In the meantime, if you can’t control your temper, don’t take it out on your vendors, planners, fiance, in-laws and cell phone.  Take it out on the treadmill. Those happy little workout endorphins will have you forgetting that your Aunt Lilith invited six other people to the reception without asking you.

    Shhhh….we’re engaged…

    May 27th, 2010

    Maybe I’m spoiled.  I spend a good amount of time online sharing my personal whims, wishes, and general business to all who choose to read it.  Maybe I’m just trying to keep up with the internet Jones’.  Maybe I just like to talk.

    Where am I going with all this?  Recently a friend of mine told me he was getting engaged.  Well this isn’t entirely true. A bystander asked him if he was married and he let slip, “Funny you should ask, – I’m actually going to propose tomorrow.”

    He said this as though he was ordering a burger, hold the cheese with extra fries.  It didn’t seem like a big deal when he said it and to be honest, my perception was that it wasn’t a big deal to him.  I can understand maybe he didn’t want to make it seem like too much of a big deal because he was nervous or excited or thought she might say no, but as a good friend of his and of this soon to be engaged couple, I would have expected a bit more, shall we say, enthusiasm?

    I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised then when she, the new fiancé didn’t even call the next day to announce the good news! I got a text message.  And only after I probed a bit to learn more.

    Are we not as good a friends as I once thought? Were they not entirely enamored by one another and happy to share the news? Are they just taking this moment as one to share between the two of them?  Albeit annoyed, I respect their privacy, even though I wanted to celebrate for them by showering them with champagne and well-wishes, it made me think. How do most couples share their engagement news?

    My hubby proposed at 2:00 a.m.m after a late flight home from a business trip.  We called everyone we knew who would answer their phone to shout out our excitement.  But maybe we’re different – to each their own, I always say.

    So spill it – how’d you spread the news to your friends and family? Email? Text? Phone call?

    An engagement shoot in May…two years ago

    May 16th, 2010

    This time of year always makes me smile – the grass is greener, the flowers are starting to bloom, the Cherry Blossoms are just stunning and two years ago, my hubby and I ventured into NYC for our engagement shoot. Our photographer, Tommy Waltz, was just getting started with his budding photography business and in an effort to learn his style, he invited us to Central Park for an Engagement Session.

    It was Spring – the night before it had rained, stormed and we were nervous that it would be a bad day for photos. But it turned out to be my favorite pictures, memories and moments in the Wedding Planning process. We became good friends with Tommy Waltz. He wasn’t just our photographer, but he felt like Family. He even stayed after the wedding to celebrate with us. That’s pretty cool.

    Here are a couple of my favorite pics – I highly recommend an engagement shoot.  They help you get comfortable being photographed together and they make for great and memorable elements of the Wedding. Enjoy!

    newly engaged?

    May 4th, 2010

    My co-work was just recently engaged! We were so excited to hear the news and of course, like most girls, I wanted to hear all about  two key things:

    1. How did he propose?
    2. What’s the ring look like?

    But it occured to me, after chatting briefly with my co-worker that newly engaged couples instantly feel pressure!

    While she was explaining how her new fiance bought the ring and how he proposed, she immediately followed that up with what felt like an excuse for why they weren’t further along in the ‘planning process’. I felt so bad!

    I know we get excited when our friends and family decide to get engaged and get married, but we need to let them enjoy the engagement period and not pressure them to set a date, choose a location, decide on their colors and send announcements.  Have we, over the years, put so much pressure on soon to be Mr. and Mrs. that they, immediately after getting engaged, feel that they should have already sent the Save the Dates?  Newly engaged couples shouldn’t have to apologize.

    To my soon to be Mrs Co-worker, - congratulations! Enjoy being engaged! Relish the experience of calling each other Fiance! The planning part will come. Believe me. For now, enjoy the cards, the well wishes and the gifts :) And to those people out there who want you to have already sent the invitations, tell them to back off for a month or so. You’ll get to it.

    When I changed my name

    April 22nd, 2010

    I wanted to change my name; my husband wanted me to as well. There was something romantic and traditional about taking his name. Everyone who was previously married in my family and in his all changed their names after marriage so it seemed natural.

    Ever the planner I knew it would take a while to process my legal name change, so I set about creating a list of things I needed to do. I didn’t know about Name Change Express then, so bear with me.

    I needed my marriage certificate, social security card, passport, drivers license, to make a list of all my credit cards, frequent flyer accounts, work documents, tax forms, cable, internet, phone, etc., etc., etc.  It was exhausting just making the list!

    The moment I arrived back from our honeymoon I picked up a copy of our marriage certificate and set about changing my name. On Monday I went to the Social Security Office to file for a new SSN card. That took about 45 minutes and then a week of waiting.

    Then Iwent to the post office to file my paperwork for a new Passport.  That took another 30 minutes and 3 weeks.

    Then I went to the DMV with my new SSN Card and Passport and changed my ID. Don’t ask how long that took – I still can’t talk about it. :)

    All in all, after I made all of those changes, I still needed to send letter after letter and make phone call after phone call for all of the other things that had my maiden name on them. WOW. What a time suck!

    Eventually my new name was legal on all of my paperwork – and by the time that was all finished I was used to my new last name.  It took me a good 25 – 30 hours to process all of this for one tiny little name change.

    Name Change Express makes it easy to change your name – we do almost all of it for you. Fill out one form and tell us who you need to notify. We fill it all out for you.  Simply print and mail to finalize everything and WHALAA! Within a couple of minutes you’re done.

    Why take hours when it can take minutes?

    Check us out: Name Change

    Bachelorette Parties – It takes all kinds

    April 20th, 2010

    I recently spoke to a friend of mine; we’ll call her Lauren, who has two upcoming Bachelorette parties. Now she’s not a super big fan of these things or marriage in general, but wants to show support for her friends. That is until she heard about their ‘parties’.

    My Bachelorette party was what I would describe as the classic Bachelorette party; dinner with 8-10 of my best friends followed by bar hopping in one of my favorite Cities; Philadelphia. I made my girlfriends swear there would be no ‘unclassiness’ and I think you know what I mean by that.  Just girls – no interrupting fake cops.

    But Lauren’s friends have different ideas altogether. Albeit unique, they swing the pendulum so far from what we may deem as a ‘normal’ party that they seem almost dull. Here’s a brief synopsis of each:

    • Dinner at a low key dive in Manhattan followed by…adult tap dance lessons.   Tap dance. Lauren’s frustration with this idea is that it falls so far from the typical night out with girlfriends that it’s almost the anti-night out.  And I agree. I wouldn’t want to go to dinner and then strap on a pair of patent leather shoes and bounce around on a floor click-clacking for three hours.  I’m all for burning calories, but is this really how the Bride wants to spend her last single night out with her friends? And let’s be honest, my tap dance lessons ended when I was 8. No one after the age of 8 besides Grace Kelly or Fred Astaire should be tap dancing. No one.
    • Brunch, on a Sunday afternoon, followed by…sailing lessons. What is this? Again, after a couple of mimosas and omelet’s, the last thing I want to do is strap on a lifejacket and step into a rickety boat on the Hudson.

    So what are these new concepts in Bachelorette parties? Are these women a tad older than the average Bride and feel they’ve “been there done the whole bar scene”?  I’m not saying that every Bachelorette party needs to involve too much alcohol, crazy amounts of pink beads, feather boas, crowns and veils, but let’s celebrate ladies!  Bridesmaids – take your Brides out for a rocking good time. Do something you’ll all enjoy whether it’s dinner, a show, a wine tasting, karaoke, barhopping, a concert and if it ends up being sailing or tap dancing, well, enjoy that too.

    I’m curious – what other kinds of Bachelorette parties are out there?