How To Change Your Name Now That You’re Married

 

In the State of California, the name change process begins when you get your California marriage license. Thanks to the Name Equality Act of 2007, one or both parties can change their surname by placing their new name on the marriage license. Either party may take the other’s name or the name can be hyphenated or combined to form a new name. If the new name is chosen at the time that California marriage license is issued, there is no charge.

After your wedding, your officiant will return your California marriage license to the office of the County Clerk in the county in which it was issued; this must be done within 10 days of the wedding date. If you paid for a certified copy of your marriage license at the time that it was issued, you will automatically receive that copy within 6 – 8 weeks from the date that the original was received by the County Clerk. If you did not pay for the certified copy up front, you can either return to the County Clerk’s office to request a copy or you may request a copy by mail, but your mailed request will have to be notarized.

Now that you have your certified copy of your California marriage license in hand, what do you do next?

  1. Visit the Social Security Administration Office: The first step is to take your marriage license to the SSA and fill out form SS-5 to change your name. You will be issued a new Social Security card, with the same number, on the spot. If you wish to obtain a new Social Security card via mail, you will have to submit your request along with a certified copy of your marriage license. Do not expect to get this back, so make sure you have another certified copy of your marriage license.
  2. Get a new driver’s license: Now that you have your new Social Security card, take this, your current driver’s license and a certified copy of your marriage license to the Department of Motor Vehicles. They will process your name change request and you will receive a new driver’s license within a few weeks.
  3. Change your name at work: Take your new Social Security card and driver’s license to the HR department at your job. The HR department will complete the process of changing your name on work related records.
  4. Don’t forget to order your new passport: You can visit the U.S. Passport Website and complete Form DS-5504 if your passport is less than one year old or Form DS-82 if your passport is more than one year old.Then submit your printed copy to your local Passport Office in person.
  5. Now take care of everybody else: Now is the time to change your name with your banking institution, your credit card issuers, any other creditors, your medical and insurance providers and any other company that you do business with. Some of these companies may request photocopies of your certified California marriage license while others may not. Contact each company to find out their name change procedures.
  6. Take care of your social media accounts: Most of my brides do this the day after the wedding, but here’s a gentle reminder just in case you forgot.

Black Cakes & White Pantsuits: 5 California Wedding Trends For 2018

Californians have a reputation for being trendsetters and that reputation holds true when it comes to the weddings scene. From bridal pantsuits to matte black cakes, here are five wedding trends that are hot in Cali.

1. October Is The New June: According to wedding planners, October 7th was the most popular wedding date of 2017, followed by the next weekend. October, and fall weddings in general, are especially popular in California. Partially because California couples also favor outside weddings and fall temperatures are generally not to cold and not to hot but just right. However, from personal experience, November in Southern California tends to be prone to light showers. So make sure you have a rainy weather plan B if your wedding is being held outside.

2. Bridal Pantsuits: A rising trend among millennial brides is the bridal pantsuit  Whether you’re looking for a classic woman’s cut suit, a ladies tux, or something ultra girly like this ensemble by Lela Rose there are countless options in style and color for the bride who wants to say “no” to the dress.

3. Best Women & Men of Honor: More couples today are ignoring traditional gender roles when choosing their wedding party. Many brides are enlisting their male besties into the role of Man of Honor and many grooms, like Omar and Brandon below are assigning the role of Best Woman to their gal pals.

4. Neon Wedding Signs: Once only associated with bars and seedy hotels, neon signs are set to be the “it” trend for the 2018 wedding season. Neon wedding signs can be used to display the names of the bride and groom, the new surname or a meaningful phrase. They can also shine a new light on the wedding hashtag. After the wedding these signs can be displayed in the couple’s home.

Neon Wedding Signs, Los Angeles Wedding Officiants, African American wedding officiantsPhoto credit: Laura Golden Berger

5.  Matte Black Wedding  Cakes: The days of the naked cake may be numbered as a bold new trend finds favor with couples for whom pale colors are so last wedding season. That trend is the luster free black fondant that decorates cakes  like this, almost to pretty to eat, black and gold masterpiece  from Rossmoor Pastries in Signal Hill, CA. It’s matte, black and all that.

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Jasmine & Reggie ‘s Santa Monica Beach Elopement 

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This autumn has been an exceptionally warm one for the Los Angeles areas. With almost two weeks of triple digit temperatures and no signs of sweater weather in sight. It’s prompted many to ask,  “Where is fall?”.  Jasmine and Reggie, on the other hand, have taken advantage of the extended summer to have a short and sweet elopement with just their parents in attendance

The couple met seven years ago at the Empire State Building in New York City.  They’ve spent the past seven years travelling the world together and have visited many exotic locales such as Chile, Italy, Japan. Thailand  and France. Now they have decided to put down roots and start a family in Los Angeles.

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Los Angeles Beach Elopement, African American Wedding Officiants
Jasmine & Reggie with Rev. Connie

Both sets of parents flew in to witness the marriage of their children. Jasmine’ s parents flew in from Colorado and Reggie’s flew in from North Carolina. It was the first time that the parents had met.

Santa Monica Beach Weddings, Los Angeles Wedding Officiants
Reggie & Jasmine with their parents

Jasmine and Reggie are planning a lavish destination wedding in Mexico for Apri 2018.

Venue: Santa Monica Beach
Officiant: Rev. Connie Jones-Steward

Dawn & Mark’s Joyful Seaside Ceremony

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The dating website Match.com boasts about the high number of marriages between its users. Now it can add Dawn and Mark to that number.

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Los Angeles Wedding Officiants, African-American Wedding Officiants

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The couple chose to exchange vows at the beautiful Hotel Maya in Long Beach, CA. They chose the location because they loved the gorgeous Spanish theme and the spectacular  views of Long Beach Harbor and the city skyline.

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If Dawn could sum up her wedding day in three words they would be: amazing, loving and memorable Says Dawn “My big day was exhausting but the excitement of going from Ms. to Mrs was exhilarating. I was filled with love, happiness and joy to share my vows with the man I love in the presence of all our friends and family.”

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7 Quartz Alternatives To The Diamond Engagement Ring

Diamonds and engagement rings go together like Frick and Frack. However Many couples are looking for diamond alternatives for moral, financial or spiritual reasons. Perhaps they disagree with the ethics, or lack thereof,  of the African diamond trade, maybe they would rather put their money to other uses or maybe they want their rings to carry a certain spiritual energy. Whatever the reasons, quartz  crystals  come in a variety of colors and carry a variety of energies that make them excellent alternatives to the classic diamond bridal sets.

Quartz crystals are a seven on the MOHS scale which means they are almost as hard as diamonds. Like diamonds they can scratch glass and can only be scratched themselves by stones with hardness of eight or higher.

Here are seven of the most popular alternatives to the classic diamond engagement ring.

1. Herkimer Diamond: Herkimer diamonds are so named because they were first discovered in the area of Herkimer County, NY. This variety of quartz is known for it’s clear, almost water like clarity.

They are known as high energy seekers and as conduits to Divine energy. They correspond to the throat,  brow and  crown chakras and can help heal physical, emotional and spiritual pain.

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Ring available from HSN.

2. Rose Quartz: This lovely pink stone is mined in many places throughout the world, but Brazil is it’s main source. Rose quartz corresponds to the heart chakra and carries the energy of unconditional love. It also eases symptoms of stress, sadness and depression. Rose quartz transmits the feminine energies of compassion, tenderness and healing.

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Ring available from HotForStudio via Etsy

3. Amethyst: This stone was first discovered in 3000 B.C.E in Europe. The Greeks believed it warded off drunkenness and so named it “amethystos” which meant “not drunk”. Purple was the color of royalty in Elizabethan England; Therefore Amethyst was highly prized by English royals.

Amethyst is not only associated with sobriety; It also helps ease conditions of the nervous systems and sleep disorders such as nightmares and insomnia. It is associated with the crown chakra.

Ring available from Jewels For Me.

4. Lemon Quartz: Lemon quartz is the trade name for an irradiated form of citrine. It is said to help focus positive energy and to help control food and nicotine craving. It is also reputed to help post-surgical healing. As a yellow stone, it helps to balance the solar plexus chakra.

Ring available from Slowack Jewelry via Etsy.

5. Citrine: Citrine has been used as a stone of manifestation since at least 300 B.C.E. It comes in colors ranging from pale yellow to almost brown. It enhances professional relationships such as between buyer and seller and therefore increases personal wealth. It also promotes harmonious family relationship.

Citrine helps to balance the solar plexus chakra. A healthy solar plexus chakra helps to maintain a healthy digestive system, back and liver. It is also the seat of personal will and power.

Ring available from Jewels For Me

6. Rutilated Quartz: Rutilated quartz is a clear quartz with golden strands known as ” rutiles” crisscrossing throughout. It is said to repel negative energy, however if negative energy does make it through the crystals, it will be caught it the rutiles like nightmares in a dreamcatcher.

Rutilated quartz opens and connects the third eye and crown chakras to facilitate meditation and insight.

Ring available from PenneliBelle via Etsy

7. Smoky Quartz: Smoky quartz is a transculent stone ranging in color from light grey to dark brown. Its use dates to at least 12th century China where it was used to make the first recorded sunglasses. Ancient documents also report that Chinese judges wore glasses made of smoky quartz to hide their expressisions in the courtroom.

Smoky quartz is associated with the first or root chakra. It helps calm fears associated with fear of failure, financial lack or loss. It is a grounding and stabalizing stone that helps keep us connected to Mother Earth.

Ring available from Jewels For Me.

How Do I Obtain A California Marriage License?

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If you are getting married in the State of California you’ll be happy to know that California maariage license  regulations are some of the easiest in the United States. For example:

  1. There is no blood test required.
  2. There is no waiting period. You can get married literally the minute after you receive your license.
  3. Only one witness is required. Make that 0 witnesses if you opt for the confidential license.
  4. You can get a confidential license if you and your partner currently live together. The confidential license cost less and there are no laws that specify how long you have to have been living together.
  5. Without a court order, the confidential license is not viewable by anyone other than the parties to the marriage
  6. You can start the application process online. This is a huge advantage for couples coming from out of state.
  7. The public license can be used in any county within the State of California.

California marriage licences are obtained from the County Clerk’s offices of California counties. The website for the Los Angeles County Clerk is www.lavote.net To obtain more details on the process of obtaining a California marriage license as well as to find the web addresses to the County Clerks of other Southern California counties, please visit the wedding license information section of my wedding officiant website at www.officiantlady.com

Three important points to remember are:

  1. The County Clerk initially issues to you a “license” to be married.  The  “certificate” of marriage is issued after your properly executed license is  received and recorded by the County Clerk’s office.
  2. It is the responsibility of your wedding officiant to return your marriage license to the CountyClerk within 10 days of your wedding ceremony. 
  3. Your marriage license is only valid for 90 days from the date of issue by the County Clerk.

Must You Have A Ceremony To Marry In California?

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Photo credit: Connie Jones-Steward

From time to time during my many years as a Los Angeles wedding officiant I have been asked if a ceremony is needed to be legally married in the State of California. These wedding clients have wondered if they could just meet with me and have me sign the license.

The answer lies in what you consider a ceremony. While it’s  true that the California’s Family Code requires a “ceremony” for a marriage to be legal section 420(a) makes it clear that there is no legally required format for the ceremony. Specifically section 420 (a) of the Family Code reads:”No particular form for the ceremony of marriage is required for solemnization of the marriage, but the parties shall declare, in the physical presence of the person solemnizing the marriage and necessary witnesses, that they take each other as spouses.” That means that I can legally marry two people by simply receiving an answer of “yes” or “I do” to the question “Do you Mary take John to be your husband?”.

There are various legitimate reasons that a couple would want such a ceremony. For example, the couple pictured below had a legally non-binding ceremony earlier in the day followed by my officiating  a “Simple I do” ceremony as part of their evening Halloween party.

California marriage laws, Los Angeles wedding officiants, African-American Wedding Officiant
Photo credit: Connie Jones-Steward

Other reasons include that they are marrying for insurance or tax purposes or one partner is deploying soon. In these cases there are usually plans for a more formal ceremony in the future.