My husband and I said “I do” six weeks ago, and it truly was the best day of our lives. We partied with our closest family and friends, indulged in delicacies, and sipped too much champagne. The prior year of planning was totally worth it. Luckily, we had a team of vendors who helped us to coordinate every detail in the month leading up to the wedding. The day after our wedding, we said goodbye to family members and headed to the Pacific Palisades for a mini-moon. We decompressed from all the excitement over a few days at the beach before driving home. When we arrived back to our apartment, we returned to unopened gifts, my dirty wedding dress, and my husband’s rented tuxedo, which was overdue for return. At this point, I thought, “Now what?”
Everyone knows there are numerous responsibilities for a couple leading up to the wedding itself. Once you are married though, there are a few more tasks that you should prioritize before you can truly put it all behind you. For weeks, I couldn’t stop daydreaming about our wedding, so I used this time and energy to motivate myself to complete post-wedding to-dos. My friends were impressed by my promptness. A few of them have been married for over a year and haven’t gotten around to these things. Use your newlywed excitement to fuel yourself to complete these post-wedding to-dos so you don’t put them off indefinitely.
Preserve your wedding attire and accessories
My husband was given the option of purchasing his rented tuxedo after our wedding, but he had to decide quickly. Rented suits and tuxedos often need to be returned the day or two after the wedding, so if rent-to-own is an option, it’s best to start thinking about this prior to the wedding. Ultimately, my husband decided he probably wouldn’t wear the tux again, but he purchased his bow tie as a small keepsake. Rather than putting the bow tie away in our closet, I decided to put it on display with my crystal bridal headband in a shadowbox. I used this West Elm shadowbox and secured both items with safety pins to give us the option of hanging it on the wall.
It’s inevitable that your wedding dress will be dirty from the big day. The sooner you take it to a professional for cleaning, the better chance you stand of all the stains being removed. Whether you want to keep your dress forever or want to sell it, cleaning and preserving it will give you options and ensure that your dress remains in pristine condition. I didn’t know what type of service I should look for when it came to cleaning my dress (I didn’t even know preserving was a separate service), so I asked my seamstress if she knew someone who could help me. Luckily, word-of-mouth recommendations never fail in the wedding industry, and my seamstress had just the person to help me. The business owner I worked with explained to me that they are part of the International Association of Wedding Gown Specialists, which offers a guarantee against yellowing of the dress in the future. I was glad to hear that I can take my wedding dress back to any business within the association, and they will inspect it and press it for free if it will be worn again someday.
Deposit your wedding gift checks and cash
It can be overwhelming to keep a large amount of cash on hand, so use this money to tip any remaining vendors or deposit it into your bank account right away so you don’t worry about it. Out of respect for your wedding guests, it is best to deposit wedding checks as soon as possible. Unless you instruct your guests on who the wedding check recipient should be, you will most likely receive checks written in a number of different ways. If checks are written out to you and your partner (ex. Mr. and Mrs. Smith), you may want to go to the groom’s bank together. When my husband and I went to his bank, I brought two forms of identification. The teller checked my driver’s license and passport and requested that I sign with my signature and fingerprint on the checks before submitting. Every bank is different, and some may accept the checks via mobile deposit, but we didn’t want to run the risk of getting charged a fee if there was an issue.
Update your medical benefits and insurance
Marriage is considered a qualifying life event for updating your medical benefits, but you only have 30 days to make a change. Be sure to review your benefits as a couple and decide if it makes sense to consolidate into one medical plan. This is also a good time to update your beneficiaries in your workplace insurance plans and retirement accounts if it isn’t already set as your partner.
Don’t forget to inquire about family discounts when looking into combining your benefits or insurance accounts. My husband was able to get our monthly car insurance bill reduced by inquiring about discounts. We qualified for multi-vehicle and multi-driver discounts which saved each of us about $25 per month. Take advantage of these unexpected perks of married life!
Manage your wedding photos and make an album
We received over 1,000 wedding photos from our photographer. After scrolling through and obsessing over them for days, my husband and I decided to purchase a large portrait for our apartment and to make 4×6 prints of all the photos. I loved the idea of having these printed photos to browse through with friends, but I found an additional benefit to having them on hand when it came to designing our wedding album. Because there were so many photos, I found it easiest to lay them out on the floor and arrange them together to mock up our wedding album pages. As I put together each page, I edited layouts and dragged and dropped photos on the album website to match my physical mockup. This method was much easier than trying to switch between the digital wedding album design and all of the photos online.
Write thoughtful thank you cards
This can be a daunting task depending on the size of your wedding, but that’s more of a reason to get started sooner rather than later. Use your newlywed excitement to motivate you and your partner through it! You can write a few cards each day, keeping in mind The Knot’s recommendation of mailing thank you cards within three months of the wedding. Try to think of memorable wedding moments to include in your notes to guests. They will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Be sure to order thank you cards before your wedding so you can start writing after opening your gifts and cards. My husband and I wrote the gift that was given inside each wedding card so we didn’t forget who gave what. For guests who gave us gift cards, we made purchases before writing their thank you cards so that we could tell them what they bought us. This may require a Saturday filled with errands, but who doesn’t like picking out their own gifts?!
Don’t forget to thank your vendors! While you may have tipped them for an exceptional job, a hand-written thank you card is a sentimental way to show your appreciation to the people who made your special day a reality.
Capitalize on compounding interest
Every couple is unique in their approach to money management. I’m not a money expert, but luckily, my husband is well-versed in the subject. While I tend to daydream during his money management lectures, there is one piece of advice he would be proud of me for remembering, and it’s the benefit of compounding interest.
Capitalizing on compounding interest is the main advantage to combining your funds. The more money you have in an interest-bearing account, the more money you receive in interest. This interest compounds over time, so the longer you let this fund grow without touching it, the more your accumulated interest will work for you. Taking advantage of an interest-bearing account is a powerful tool when saving for a goal that is five or more years away. This may be a good approach to build your fund for a down-payment on a house or for starting a child’s college fund. Consider consolidating to one mutual fund or savings account to take advantage of compounding interest.
Merge your dreams and goals
When you’re planning a wedding, it’s difficult to think about the future beyond that day. My husband and I knew we wanted to discuss longer-term goals, but we couldn’t bring ourselves to focus on these until after the wedding. Once the big day had passed, we decided to spend a night brainstorming about what our next few years would look like.
To get started, we came up with the two questions below to think deeply about our individual dreams and goals.
- Where do I want to be in life in six years?
- What do I want to have accomplished before then?
After pondering the questions separately, we shared our answers with one another which prompted lots of good discussion. We realized there are so many things we want to see and do. To visualize how we could achieve all of our goals, we created a timeline of the next six years and mapped out what we wanted and when it made sense to do it. After a few iterations, we had a plan!
This exercise was a lot of fun and helped me and my husband go from wondering whether or not we could ever accomplish our goals to creating a plan to make our dreams come true. As a newlywed couple, set aside a night to think deeply about what you want and how you can work together to achieve the life you desire. Exploring these ideas together makes you excited for the future and motivates you to take the small steps that will move you towards your goals.
Strategically schedule your name change (If you’re changing your name)
My final post-wedding to do is changing my name at the right time. My husband and I will be traveling internationally for our honeymoon in a few weeks. When we planned our trip, I wasn’t sure what the process was to change my name or how long it would take. I didn’t want to take a chance on having mismatched names on my airline tickets and my passport, so I decided to book the trip in my current name to take the stress out of it. Once we return from our honeymoon, I plan to start the name change process following the Wedding Wire’s step-by-step guide.
It’s important to be strategic about when you will change your name if you are an active traveler. For example, I have another airline flight booked for two months after our honeymoon, and then again one month after that. I went ahead and booked these tickets in my new name since I feel confident in completing my name change before then. Don’t get me wrong, you can certainly contact your airline about changing your name on your reservation, but I wanted to keep things as simple as possible.
It may feel like all the excitement is over after the big day, but you can extend your wedding-mode mindset longer by completing these tasks. The post-wedding to-dos kept me reminiscing about the best day of my life, helped me plan for the future, and brought me peace of mind. I know when my husband and I hit our one-year anniversary, we will be grateful to have a wedding album to browse through and relieved to look back over the year knowing that we completed all of the post-wedding tasks that were important to us.