Wedding Customs & Traditions Forum

Stupid question........

I'm kinda embarrassed to ask this, but when you sign the marriage license do you use your maiden name or your new name?

Re: Stupid question........

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    With ours, I had to sign my maiden name, because that's what my name was when we applied for it, it wasn't legally changed yet.

    I'd ask when you apply for it.
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    Not to be completely sterile about it, but legally marriage is just a contract.  Basic contract law applies (as well as some state law restrictions like age and gender requirements). You can sign it however you want as long as it is you who signed it and that you intended the signature to bind you to the marriage contract. 

    If, for example, your legal name is Gertrude Katherine Jones and you sign it Katie Jones it's fine as long as you, yourself, signed it and you intended to bind yourself to it.  It would even be fine to just sign GKJ or Gertrude Queen of the Fairies Jones.  Anything that is signed by you with the intent to marry you will suffice.  Although very few people take these crazy liberties with the signature.

    But generally, you aren't married yet at the time you sign (because signing IS what marries you), so you should use whatever signature you used for your maiden name.  So it would be a little weird if you, still technically a Jones, signed your name Gertrude Katie Smith...but if you sign it and you intended to enter the contract when you wrote it your marriage is still perfectly legal.  
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    For my first marriage in South Dakota, I was told to sign the papers with what I want my married name to be (and in the county we got married in there were places for witness signatures).

    At my friend's wedding in Texas there was only a place for the officiant to sign (not bride/groom or witnesses). In the next county over there's a place for the officiant and witness (not bride/groom).

    If there is a place for you to sign and it doesn't say, you could always check with your officiant to see if they know or just make a quick phone call to the county and ask them directly.
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