The Friday Five

Changing your Last name after Marriage

We got a wedding invitation in the mail this week. I was SO excited that we could actually attend this wedding as guests (*very rare for a wedding photographer*) that I put my pen to paper and started signing “Mrs. Amy Sturgeon” on the dotted line next to ‘Accepts with Pleasure!’. It was only after saying it out loud to my husband that he stopped me…“don’t you mean Amy Pinder??” I froze…dangit, I DID mean Amy Pinder!…how could I forget that I changed my name? How was I going to get used to this after 28 years as a Sturgeon?? Well…I’m still looking for tips on that one. For now, let’s stick to what I do know: 5 things you need to know to amend your last name after marriage.

This post was written for brides in ONTARIO who are planning to assume their spouse’s last name after marriage. It was written from PERSONAL – rather than legal – experience, so please be sure to check-in with your online government services before standing in line for hours at your local service centre… *Phew…now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the fun stuff!!*

5 Tips for changing your name after marriage in Ontario, The Friday Five weekly tips for brides and newleyweds


As long as you have your Marriage Certificate with you, it will cost you absolutely nothing to assume your husband’s last name on your health card and driver’s licence.

(Except your time…which, can be seriously painful…repeat after me: I will not go to ServiceOntario at noon…I will not go to ServiceOntario at noon…)


…well, actually do you?? Amending your name after marriage is broken down into two categories: those who elect to ‘CHANGE’ their last name, and those who ‘ASSUME’ their spouse’s last name. I fell in to category two, because I wanted to change my name on everything except my birth certificate. For me, I liked leaving this piece of my identity intact, and was happy to leave it as-is. If you’re looking to CHANGE your name on your birth certificate, you’ll have a bit more work to do (and, as it turns out, a WHOLE LOT MORE work to do if you were born outside of Canada).


Remember that temporary driver’s licence you got when you passed your G1 exam (…Umm, obviously!! Best day of adolescence), you’ll get one of those oversized pieces of paper to lug around, for about 6-8 weeks until the official plastic card comes in.


This is NOT the document you get from your officiant immediately following the ceremony; that would be your ‘Marriage Licence’…What you need is your ‘Marriage Certificate’ – which you’ll have to apply for after your marriage is registered – and proves that you are legally married.


It’s not just your licence and health card that need to be updated after your name change; there’s a whole long list of other people who will want to know about this name revamping…Your passport; credit cards; checks; insurance; CAA; utility companies; voter registration; subscriptions; memberships; email signature; library card; doctor’s office; pet microchip info; and…(obviously) social media!

For a sweet list of all these + more, check out this infographic from Sweet Green Studios!

And with that, I changed my name… I actually thought the whole thing would be a lot harder, and that it would feel like a BIG life change after I’d swapped my new name to Pinder…but, as it was, there was no fanfare or AH-HA moment when I got home…just my husband to greet me with a big kiss and a hug (which is way better anyways, if you ask me).

As always, let me know if you have questions – I know I did when I first started this process!! If you need me, I’ll be at my desk, practicing my new signature…

Much love,
Amy PINDER!! x

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  1. Love this!! Not in this boat yet but something I may do! I’m a big believe in assuming, not changing, because that’s not who you were when you were born, so why change your birth certificate. It’s also a huge additional bag of worms. Book marking this! ;)

  2. Thank you for making this whole process easy to understand! I am also thinking along the lines of assuming and not legally changing. I echo the part about leaving a piece of my identity in tact in the birth certificate. How does it work with a hyphenated surname? Is that still in the assuming section, or do I have to legally change it?

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