As much as you enjoyed planning your wedding, you're relieved that the pressure's over. You've just returned home from your honeymoon, and you and your partner are ready to start this new chapter in your relationship. But you've got a few more things to do. Some of them are tedious, but others are definitely worth considering.
1. Check In With Your Wedding Photographer & Videographer
Most professional wedding photographers will post an online album of photo previews by the time you return from your honeymoon. Review your contract, and touch base with your photographer to set an appointment to plan your wedding album. You might want to select a few images to print right away and include with your thank-you notes. Did you hire a videographer? Get ready to tear up as you relive your wedding day! Some couples like to hold viewing parties for their wedding videos, or just crack open a bottle of wine and enjoy all those wedding moments from an entirely different perspective.
2. Open Your Gifts & Send Thank-You Notes
The bulk of your wedding gifts will have arrived by now, and if you're savvy, you'll have had them delivered to a family member or friend for security. Pick them up and pour some wine. Make gift opening a date night with your partner, and be sure to keep a notepad handy to help you write those thank-you notes.
Don't wait too long to send those thank-yous; six weeks following your wedding day is a good grace period, though if your guests know you've been on an extended honeymoon, they'll understand if you take a little longer.
(Photography by Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock)
3. Change Your Name & Update Legal Documents
It's not as difficult as you think! There are reputable online name-change services such as Hitchswitch to get you started. Once that's done, you'll want to take your marriage certificate to the DMV to update your ID card and driver's license. Then fill out and mail the necessary forms to update your Social Security card.
From there, take these documents to your bank. You'll need to update all your accounts, including loans and mortgages, and notify the following of your new legal identity:
- Passport office
- Medical providers
- Home, auto, life, and health insurance companies
- Post office
- Social media accounts
Of course, this is only a partial list. Expect to have to make changes to your records as things "pop up" over the next year.
4. Update or Create Your Will
Now that you're legally married, the laws in your state might dictate who automatically inherits your assets upon your death. If you brought your own children into your new family, make sure their inheritance is secured, and make plans to accommodate your partner and other loved ones. Who will be your new power of attorney?
5. Exchange Your Gifts
How much do you really like that art deco mantel clock? Did you receive three waffle irons? Be sure to make any returns and exchanges within the first month of your wedding, and keep track of your gift card balances and expiration dates.
6. Preserve Your Wedding Mementos
If you intend to save your bouquet or wedding dress, you should have had a bridesmaid or family member send them in for preservation shortly after your wedding day. Arrange to pick up your mementos, laminate your programs and invitations, and decide how you'd like to display or store them.
(Photography by Hrytsiv Oleksandr / Shutterstock)
7. Leave Reviews for Your Wedding Vendors
Do you remember how important reviews were for you when you selected your wedding professionals? Help other couples make informed decisions by leaving honest comments on the top wedding planning websites, Google business pages, and their own websites. If your overall experience was very positive, but if you feel that future brides should know about certain shortfalls, your honesty might be more helpful than an all-out glowing recommendation, especially since customers are aware that paid reviews are a "thing." If you have issues with a vendor, reach out to them directly to let them know how they can remedy the situation before you make your initial review. This way you can also report on their willingness to correct the problem.
8. Develop a Sound Financial Strategy
The nagging feelings newlyweds feel when they procrastinate album orders, thank-you notes, and legal paperwork is nothing compared to the stress new partners experience when reconciling different spending and saving habits. Find a reputable financial adviser who will help you lay down realistic budgeting ground rules and set actionable savings goals, so you're both on the same page moving forward.
From "To Do" to "Done"
If you haven't yet made the trip down the aisle, or if you've just returned home, create your post-wedding checklist now and add it to your planning materials. Create a realistic timeline for getting everything done, and make sure both you and your future spouse share the responsibilities of following-through. You'll feel really,really good about getting it done.
Hopefully you won't settle done after your wedding and then talk about the serious subjects, such as finances. If you do, consider referencing the article 5 Steps to Take Before You Merge Finances with Your Romantic Partner before you make any decisions.