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Your wedding is one of the most important days in your life, but life doesn’t end at “I do.” Here are important things you need to do after the wedding.
When you’re a bride-to-be, there’s no shortage of people to turn to for advice planning your wedding.
There are nearly 40,000 active wedding planners in the U.S., not to mention several bridal magazines. And of course, your family and friends that help you leading up to the big day.
But what about after the wedding? It’s time to kick back and relax now that the ceremony and reception are behind you, correct?
Unfortunately, your work is not quite done yet just because you are a new Mr. or Mrs.
There are several loose ends you need to wrap up after you say your “I dos.” Here are ten important steps you need to take as soon as your honeymoon is over.
1. Write and Send the Thank You Notes
This is one of the most dreaded tasks for any married couple, but it must be done.
Your guests spent money on you and may have travelled some distance to celebrate your special day with you. They deserve recognition for accepting the invitation and buying you a gift.
If you and your spouse divide up the job and tackle it for an hour or so every day, you’ll get those thank you gift cards off your plate sooner than you think. Have your spouse write addresses on the envelopes and stamp them while you write out the messages in the cards.
Be sure to make each one personalized. Mention the specific gift the guest gave you and let them know how much you appreciate it and their presence. Mail the cards no later than two to three months after your wedding took place.
2. Clean and Store Your Wedding Dress
Even though you’re probably never going to wear it again, one of the first things you should do after the wedding is having your gown cleaned and placed into storage.
Your body’s sweat and oil secretions can stain the dress after time, and you never know when you may decide to pass it on to another bride-to-be.
Having the dress dry cleaned and preserved will ensure it stays protected over the years. If you don’t feel like doing it yourself, a wedding dress preservation kit company will clean your gown, make any minor repairs, and place it in a sealed preservation box for safekeeping.
3. Make Your Name Change Official
If you’re taking your spouse’s surname, you’ll need to make it legal and official.
There’s a lot of people to contact, but letting the government and your employer know about it is a good first place to start.
Obtain your original marriage certificate with the raised seal from the country registrar in case you need to provide proof of your nuptials. You should first notify Social Security of your name change so you can obtain a corrected card. It will also then be reflected in your tax forms and other important documents.
Here is a partial list of other places that will require notice about your name change:
- Your banks and financial institutions
- The Department of Motor Vehicles
- Your employer
- Your car, health, and life insurance companies
- Utility companies and your internet/cable provider
- Voter registration
- Your 401K and pension plan administrators
- Your doctors, lawyer, and accountant
There will be other people you’ll encounter that you’ll need to give your new married name to, but the list above will ensure your tax and billing information is up-to-date.
4. Thank Your Vendors and Leave Positive Reviews
Did your wedding planner do a stellar job keeping everything organized and deflecting any emergencies? Did your DJ keep your guests grooving on the dance floor all night long?
Then take the time to rate them online and give them the positive reviews they deserve.
There’s a lot of work involved with weddings and making sure the big day goes off without a hitch. You’ll be helping all your vendors and the venues you hired win repeat business by letting the world know great things about them.
While you’re at it, take time to send them all a quick hand-written note letting them know how much you appreciate their labour in making your day special. A personalized hand-written card will be much appreciated in today’s email-heavy society.
5. Settle Your Registry
Now is also the time to review your wedding registry for any gifts that weren’t purchased and officially close it.
Some retailers give couples a discount on items that weren’t purchased. If you and your spouse still want them, now is the time to take advantage of the discount and buy them yourself.
While you’re at it, you’ll also want to return or exchange any registry gifts that you’ve changed your mind on (no need to let the person who gave you the gift know). If you’re planning on moving, place whatever gifts you won’t be using right away into storage.
6. Share Wedding Photos
Your guests are going to want to see professional photos from the day, so share albums online or on your social media channels.
If you’ve received a website and password to view the watermarked photos online, share these with your network if you feel comfortable.
You’re not obligated to post every photo from the ceremony and reception.
Choose your favourites and the best shots for your Facebook album. If friends and family members posted their own photos, you definitely want to acknowledge and share these as well. If you gave guests a specified hashtag to find photos on social media, be sure to review and acknowledge them.
Don’t wait too long to organize and share the best images. People will lose interest if you don’t post them until months after the wedding.
7. Have Your Album Created
While you’re at it, now is a good time to discuss having an album created with your wedding photographer.
Everything may be shared online, but it’s nice to have a physical album that you can browse or break out to show your friends and family members.
This is also the perfect time to pick a wedding portrait photo of the two of you to be framed and displayed in your home.
8. Freeze Your Cake
If you wish to go the traditional route and enjoy your wedding cake on your one year anniversary, you’ll need to take immediate steps to preserve it.
Have your caterer remove the top tier of your wedding cake and set it aside to prepare it for freezing.
A staff or family member will have to remove any decorative elements including flowers. The cake will need to be chilled in the fridge until the frosting hardens so it won’t stick to plastic wrap.
Wrap the cake carefully in a few layers of plastic wrap (avoid aluminium foil, which can cause freezer burn). Then, place it in a sealed freezer bag. Mark the bag so it won’t get lost among your other items in the freezer.
Some cakes freeze better than others, so keep this in mind when you unwrap it on your one-year anniversary.
9. Give Your Parents and New In-Laws a Gift
Your parents and new in-laws were probably just as stressed out and overwhelmed as you were when it came to planning the wedding.
Perhaps they also went above and beyond paying for certain parts of it.
Give them each a personalized gift to show how much you appreciate their efforts. The keyword here is personalized—try to buy them a gift that you know they will use and that speaks to something they love. If you’re at a loss, a gift certificate to their favourite restaurant or a hotel stay for a night away makes a great gift.
10. Decide How to Merge Your Finances
Hopefully, it’s a discussion that was had before the wedding day, but you and your spouse should now finalize your financial plans.
Will you have a joint savings or checking account? Who will manage the bills and balance the budget?
Complete the needed paperwork to get your financial agreements settled. This is also a good time to review and update your list of beneficiaries on your retirement plans and insurance policies.
There’s a Lot To Do After the Wedding
As you can see, your work after the wedding isn’t completely done until these ten to-dos have been taken care of.
Once these are over, however, it’s time to celebrate with your spouse. Consider hosting a dinner party with loved ones and friends to celebrate your new married life together.
Keep checking back with our site for more helpful tips and advice like this.