Recently, we published a post about the pros and cons of changing your name when getting married. While there are definitely two sides to the coin, at the end of the day it’s a personal choice.
A choice that shouldn’t effect simple things like depositing a cheque given to you as a wedding gift. Even if it is made out to Mr. and Mrs. Just Got Hitched. If you have proper documentation, the cheque is endorsed, marked for deposit only, and is being deposited into a joint account… there really shouldn’t be any issues. Right?
As sports writer Pete Iorizzo and his wife found out, it may not be that simple. In this article, Pete tells the story of how his wife – marriage licence in hand – took the cheques from the wedding (you know, the cheques that were endorsed and marked for deposit only) to put into their joint account and was turned away. She was told in no uncertain terms that “Mrs. Peter Iorizzo did not exist”. It’s true. She doesn’t. Pete’s wife chose to keep her name.
She was then told that the only solution would be to have the cheques re-written by the gift-givers.
Unwilling to accept this ridiculous suggestion (“Thanks so much for the thoughtful wedding gift! Can you please write another one. And this time make it out to ‘Cash’ please.”) the couple called the bank manager. Here’s an exert from Pete’s article detailing the conversation.
Surely there must be some solution, right? A copy of our marriage license, perhaps? A meeting with both of us together? A witness? Bank of America told us there was no way around it: All the checks were void. We would have to go back to our guests and request new checks.
“Here’s the thing I can’t understand,” I told the manager during our 10-minute phone conversation. “This must happen all the time.”
After all, 10 percent of women don’t change their names – a small percentage, sure, but a figure that amounts to about 300,000 women a year. Surely many of these women receive checks as wedding gifts. And surely many do business at Bank of America – the largest bank in the country.
“I’ve only seen this once in my 20 years in the business,” the manager told me.
Only once? Okay. And what about every other Bank of America location in the country? At this point, the story gets a little anticlimactic. His wife ended up driving to another branch where she was congratulated on the wedding and had no problem depositing the cheques.
There are a lot of reasons to change your name and some equally compelling reasons not to. Once of which was just brought to my attention by Ottawa-based PR pro and bride to be, Kelly Rusk:
From my point of view, I think this might be one of the most compelling reasons yet
Regardless of the reason why (or why not) companies, financial institutions and government need to find a way to deal with either scenario.
So, if you’re getting married and keeping your name, here’s how you can avoid the drama (warning: shameless plug!):
Use Wedding Republic – it’s an online registry that allows guests to contribute cash towards the things you want. No cheques, no banks, no headaches.
And a detailed list of who gave what so even thank you cards are drama-free.