Danielle Tate wants to warn you that legally changing your name is actually kind of a pain. On the list of things that brides think about when they are planning their wedding, it’s nowhere near the top (you know, up by cakes, dresses, and bridal party invites). In fact, many brides don’t really understand quite how stressful it can be until they are in the moment, months later, wondering why signing that form didn’t magically transform the world as they know it.
Now there is an app that aims to make the process a lot easier.
The MissNowMrs app launched in late November of 2018, and Tate, the founder, hopes it will disrupt how people manage name-changing post-nuptials. The app is a spinoff of the MissNowMrs website, also founded by Tate, which first streamlined the name-changing process back in 2007.
Tate aims to repeat the website’s success by beating the competition to a technology that takes the website’s process down to as little as three minutes. Mobile applications certainly seem to be a new frontier for wedding planning: a 2018 Wedding Wire report that showed approximately 42 percent of engaged couples using phones and tablets to wedding plan, with 52 percent using an app, up from a third of couples a year prior.
The annoying problem that the MissNowMrs website—and now app—addresses is the abundance of paperwork couples are required to fill out in order to legally change their name. There are separate processes and directions to file name changes with the Social Security, IRS, US Passports, United States Postal Service, voter registration, driver’s license, vehicle titles, credit cards, banks and more, all the way down to your gym membership and magazine subscriptions. The app helps streamline by collecting all the required information at once (if you want to leave out sensitive information like your social security number, you can), walking you through state-by-state protocol. Then, the company mails you the pre-filled out forms for you to sign and includes pre-paid pre-labeled envelopes. Of course, the company charges a fee for the service. There are tiers, but full-service as described above costs $70.
Twelve years ago Tate, a biology major from central Pennsylvania, accidentally stumbled into the role of tech entrepreneur when—surprise, surprise—she got married and needed to change her name.
“I’m not an unintelligent person, but it took me three trips to get my name on my driver’s license changed,” says Tate. “I just thought, ‘why isn’t there a TurboTax for this?”
Tate was so set on the concept that, after struggling for six months to maintain her day job while getting MissNowMrs off the ground, she left her six-figure position as a sales rep selling cancer diagnostic equipment company to pathology departments in order to pursue the startup full-time. Once the MissNowMrs website launched, she says, it was profitable within the first month.
Included in the new app are some fun features, like a quiz that can help you decide if/how you may want to change your name (the app suppresses options that aren’t available in your state, for example, only in California can you mush together last names a la Gwyneth Paltrow, i.e. Paltrow + Falchuk = Faltrow.)
And before you get upset about an app with roots in a patriarchal tradition, know that Tate isn’t suggesting all women change their name. “Today’s bride are very current and comfortable,” says Tate, “they have no question about the equality in their relationship, and the name change is a personal choice.”
Plus, in the states that recognize a man’s right to change his name via marriage (CA, GA, HI, IA, IL, LA, MA, NY and ND) men can use the app, too. In other states, it’s a bit more complicated: they’ll need to petition a court for a legal name change order before they can use the app.