Name Change - My Experience with HitchSwitch

When the dust of the wedding and honeymoon excitement settles, real life kicks in. Now that you’re officially a newlywed, it’s time to find your new normal and tackle the daunting process of the name change. To be honest, I wasn’t always sure that I wanted to change my name. I’ve been Caralyn Rose Mirand for my entire life and career, after all! I decided to change my middle name to Mirand so I could still keep things fluid professionally and still have the same last name as my husband and potential future children. So now I’m Caralyn Mirand Koch (pronounced “cook”). It’s a personal choice what to do with your name - there is no right or wrong way to go about it. This is my experience and journey on the name change process and I’m happy to share it with you!

I discovered HitchSwitch on Instagram a few months before the wedding. I was incredibly skeptical about it but saved it to revisit after the wedding. I reached out to them and told them I’d share my experience, they gave my readers a code. Use “CARALYN” for 15% off a package of your choice.

HitchSwitch has two different packages to choose from ranging from $69 to $89. The services essentially make the process significantly easier but you still have to put in a decent amount of work because the US government still has a certain way of how the process needs to be done.

I chose the Platinum plan which includes:

  • Beginning the name change process in minutes

  • Online access to all of your paperwork

  • Receive your auto-filled paperwork in the mail

  • Pre-paid mailing envelopes

  • Free printed passport photo that you can take on your phone

  • Name Change Concierge to answer all questions

Step 1:

You submit a form directly on their website with some basic information: your current name, desired name, wedding date, your address, etc. They then send you all of the paperwork that you need in the proper order to begin the process.

Step 2:

In the mail, you receive a personalized package filled out by the HitchSwitch team with all of the basic and redundant information that you may not want to fill out over and over again (i.e Name, Date of Birth, Your new married name). Each set of documents will come with a set of easy to follow instructions and the appropriate envelope and pre-stamped for your convenience.  All of the paperwork comes with a sheet that tells you exactly what to fill out and what else you need to complete that step. The rules and process can vary state by state so be sure to pay attention to the exact order that they suggest. For example, in New York State it can be illegal to change your maiden name to your middle name unless you follow a certain order. HitchSwitch really lays it all out for you in a thoughtful, fool-proof way. The first official step to a name change is changing your social security card, which they encourage you do to in person. After that, I mailed in my passport information to be updated. I then renewed my driver’s license in person - it was quicker than mailing it in.

Step 3:

Once you complete the major things - social security card, passport, license, you can start updating your TSA Pre Check number, your credit cards, bank accounts, frequent flier accounts, car insurance, health insurance, email address (if you want- I didn’t), etc. This part was actually quite frustrating for me because every credit card and airline had a different process on how to update your name. This is when the HitchSwitch concierge came in… I sent them an email asking for the specific process on each of the store cards I had left. They sent me back these tailored PDF’s of each way to do things. This was SO helpful!

Step 4:

Bask in the glory of your new name change. You deserve it. Buy yourself something nice with your new initials on it! I sure did… here are a few things I bought with my new initials:

Other Helpful Tips:

  • Get more than one certified copy of your marriage license. In some cases, a photocopy will not suffice. You have to mail a certified copy in for your passport so if you want to speed up the process, get an extra copy so you can update your driver’s ID without having to wait for the other one to get mailed back. You can go back to the county clerk’s office (where you got your original copy) for another one. For me, it was $10 for an additional copy.

  • Don’t feel like you need to get this all done in one day. I dedicated a solid week in the beginning to doing something each day but overall the process overall took well over a month. Fact: there are still a few things I need to update. Don’t stress over it!

  • If you’re a frequent traveler, don’t forget to update your Known Traveler Number (TSA Pre-Check Number) BEFORE you book a flight in your new name. Otherwise you will NOT get Pre Check, my rookie mistake there!

Final thoughts:

The name change process is NOT easy but HitchSwitch makes it manageable. I would definitely recommend this service based on the fact that they help keep you organized and provide an easy step by step process of doing things. Considering every store, bank and airline have a different way of changing your name, HitchSwitch has all the answers on how to make this as seamless as possible!

They were kind enough to give my readers 15% off their name change package and they told me they would not let it expire! Use “CARALYN” for that discount!

Would you use a service like this? Do you have any questions? Leave them below!

Wedding Wednesday: Our 6 Month Countdown

I seriously cannot believe we're more than halfway to my wedding- Brian & I got engaged in June 2017 and we're getting married in June 2018! Time has been flying by- being engaged is fun but planning a wedding is a whole different ball game. Up until this point, the wedding day has felt like a distant thought but now that the new year is here, it's time to kick wedding planning mode into high gear.  Yesterday on my Instagram and Instagram Story, I asked if you were interested in a more consistent #WeddingWednesday series! It seems like you are so I am so excited to give you some updates! For anyone who has never planned a wedding before or for anyone just curious about the planning process, here's where we're at 6 months out! I also wanted to give a shameless plug to all of my incredible vendors that I've had the privilege of working with. 

✔️Location & Date: Buffalo, NY - June 29, 2018

This was one of the first things we needed to figure out in order to set a date! We toured a few places and decided on a location and date. It will be a one stop shop, so ceremony & reception all in one place! For privacy purposes, I'd like to keep the location on the down low until after the wedding. But I cannot wait to share with you!

✔️Photographer: Colin Gordon Photography

This was one of the easiest decisions that Brian & I made, for any Buffalo brides out there looking for a photographer be sure to check out Colin and the blog post that I did on working with him!

✔️Florist: Buds & Blooms Floral Studio

My girl Delaney over at Buds & Blooms is seriously THE BEST and easiest to work with! I cannot wait to see our vision come to life

✔️Wedding Planner: KC You There

Karina has been incredible to work with! I feel incredibly grateful and lucky that we are able to work with a wedding planner to make sure everything goes smoothly. Check out the post I did on why you need to hire a wedding planner

✔️Desserts: B Sweet Designs

Marisa at B Sweet Designs is a visionary! I've never met anyone so passionate and good at desserts! I'm so excited to see what she creates for our wedding. 

sneak peak of some florals and colors we're deciding on! 

sneak peak of some florals and colors we're deciding on! 

Other things we've been able to cross off the list:

✔️Selected Our Bridal Party

✔️Got The Dress!

✔️ Booked our music

✔️Created a wedding website

✔️Created first few drafts of guest list

✔️Set up our gift registry

✔️Selected the menu at our food tasting

✔️Created our wedding website with guest information

✔️Booked hair & makeup

✔️Set up guest hotel accommodations

✔️Figured out theme/ decor

✔️Set a bridal shower date

This may seem like we have a lot done but when it comes to wedding planning, there's always SO MUCH more to do! Here's what we'll be working on within the next few months and I will definitely be able to share more with you as I do it:

🔲 Mail our Save The Date's

🔲 Cake tasting

🔲 Decide on bridal party attire

🔲 Rehearsal Dinner location

🔲 Wedding day transportation

🔲 Start planning honeymoon

🔲 Wedding rings

To any fellow brides to be out there, my biggest token of advice right now is to not take those typical "wedding schedule trackers" too seriously. They will give you heart palpitations and stress you out. Instead, use them as a rough guideline of things you'll need to do but don't stress about them too much. I've been doing my best to be positive about everything, but I won't lie- it's definitely overwhelming and stressful at times. You just have to keep reminding yourself that ideally you'll only do this once so try to enjoy it as much as possible. At the end of the day, it's about marrying your best friend and that's all that matters to me!

Many of you voted that you loved and wanted to see more wedding content, is this the kind of stuff you want to see? If not, leave some suggestions below in the comments!