Your Married Name Options


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As a bride or groom you have 3 options for taking a new name. Either partner can take any one of the options below. As a couple you can have different surnames. Any of these changes can be taken with only your marriage certificate as evidence of your new name.

  • You can change your surname to your spouse’s surname. It is a custom for a bride to take her husband’s surname, not the law. However since the mid 90’s approximately 85% of brides still choose to take their husbands name.
  • You can use a combination of your married and maiden name. Professionally you may want to retain your current name, especially as you have developed a reputation in your industry. Personally you may chose to update your passport and drivers license to have the same surname as your partner.  Just ensure your personal documents and ID are consistently under the one name.
  • You can leave your name as is and take no action.

Double barrelled surnames

A double barrelled surname (or joint name) is where you take your spouse’s surname and add it to your own surname in any order (ie: Jones-Smith). The names can be hyphenated or spaced and can be arranged in any order. Most Canadian organisations, including the passports office, allow a double barrelled surname on presentation of a marriage certificate.

BC Care Cards does not allow double barrelled surnames after marriage and request a legal name change.  If you chose to take a double barrelled surname we recommend you update your passport and/or driver's license first then apply. BC Health Care may allow a double barrelled surname on your care card at their discretion. Of course the risk is that your application is rejected and you may have different names in different places. While not illegal, it does make proving your identity more difficult.

Want a different surname entirely?

A couple could change their surname name to a different name entirely, but if it is not one of the above options then you need to undertake a legal name change. It can be easier for the husband to legally change his surname before the wedding, then after the wedding the bride can use the Wedding Certificate to change her surname.

Ready to start changing names now?

No matter if you are already married, or even if your wedding is only a few weeks away, you can start changing names now. Click below to get all the information and paperwork required to start changing names. You can send off all your name change notifications and forms as soon as your wedding certificate is available. If you don't yet have your wedding certificate we can provide you with the application form too.

GET STARTED YOUR NAME CHANGE PAPERWORK