Canadian bride drinking beer. Photo by Ralph Heinze Photography

While you are planning your wedding you will have to decide whether or not to change your last name – unless of course you live in Quebec, where you legally retain your maiden name.

For some brides, this can be a difficult decision. After all, you have numerous options (you can keep your last name, hyphenate your last name to include his, take his last name, or create a new one, combining both names), and it can be difficult to chose which one is right for you.

Some brides take their husband’s name socially, but use their maiden name professionally. Others use a hyphenated name professionally, but take their spouse’s name socially.

If you decide to take your husband’s name, you can legally use it immediately (except in Quebec). To change your documents, (health card, social insurance card, driver’s license) you’ll need to contact each government agency as soon as possible after your marriage. There is no fee for a specified amount of time (in Ontario, it’s 90 days). After that, it can get costly.

Here is a list of other documents that you may also need to change:

Vehicle registration
Auto insurance
Credit cards
Bank accounts
Doctor/dental records
Employee records
Life insurance policy
Library card
Property title
Voter registration
Business cards

If you want to simplify the process, you can order a name change kit.

Rena Anderson, owner of What’s in a Name, offers name change kits to make life easier for brides not keeping their maiden names.

Anderson, who lives in Mississauga, started the business after spending five hours trying to change her health card.

“When I got home that day, I figured there had to be somebody who knew what to do,” she said. “There were lots of kits in the U.S. but nothing in Canada. I had to learn to change each card myself.”

Her company not only offers name change kits, but also personal service: She’ll even stand in line for busy brides.

Photo: Ralph Heinze Photography