Analise - I went through this two years ago when I got married and changed my name. I'm sure this isn't the best way, but here's what I did:
*First* Get certified/official copies of the marriage certificate. In Chicago, this wasn't available until 5 or so weeks after the wedding. I paid extra to get 5 or 6 of these "official" copies. Most vendors asked for copies of this document, so you can't really start the name change process until you have a copy. Some vendors wanted "official" copies that they then mailed back to me afterward, so it was nice to have extras.
*Second* Get a new SS card. I went to the SS office with one of my "official" marriage certificates and was able to get a new card the same day.
With a new SS card, you can now change your name with your employer. Because of tax reasons, I don't think most HR departments will change your name without first seeing your new SS card.
This may vary by state, but in Illinois I needed my new SS card before I could get a new license, so the DMV was my next stop.
For me, the timing of getting a new license was a big deal. I fly twice a week every week, so I really didn't have any down-time to start the name change process. I had some tickets that were purchased months ago under my old name, then future tickets in my new name. Just to be safe, I told the DMV that I lost my license and needed a new one, and coincidentally, I have a new name.
This way I had BOTH licenses, just in case. This really came in handy for me. Its almost impossible to synchronize the name change with all of your travel vendors. Even if you inform both vendors at the same time, there were HUGE differences on how long it took them to update their records. For example, I couldn't use Avis Preferred service for a few weeks because because my credit card on file had a different name than my Avis account, so every week I had to go inside to the rental counter to explain. I would guess that most places would be willing to take your new license and a copy of your marriage certificate, so the double license thing was probably overkill (and possibly illegal
), but it saved me a lot of hassle.
Next, I started the colossal project of changing my name everywhere else in the world. Some places I could just call and change it over the phone, some wanted "official" copies of the marriage certificate, some just wanted a fax with a copy of my new drivers license, it varied by vendor.
The last thing I did was obtain a new passport. The timing on this might also be tricky. When you apply, you mail your old passport to the government, and they send you back the old AND new one. This means you are passport-less for the duration of time it takes them to process the paperwork.
Hope that helps.....