Does your to-do list conclude with the reception? Well, as much as I would love to tell you that it should, your obligations don’t end when the last guest walks out.
After the big day, there are still a few crucial tasks brides and grooms need to take care of, from settling up with vendors to writing heartfelt thank you notes.
Essential items, like formally changing your name (if you choose to do so), aren’t difficult to remember. But you won’t want to overlook any of the small things, such as freezing your wedding cake for your anniversary or preserving your wedding dress.
We suggest compiling your post-wedding checklist now, so you’ll remember to dot your I’s and cross your T’s after the “I do’s”!
- Immediate To-Dos
- Important Stuff
- Fun Stuff
- Preserve Your Bouquet (ASAP)
- Preserve Your Wedding Dress (1 – 2 months post-wedding)
- Create a Wedding Album (4 – 6 months post-wedding)
- Return Duplicates and Clean Up Your Registry (4 – 6 months post-wedding)
- Leave Your Vendors Reviews (3 – 6 months post-wedding)
- Send Your Parents and In-Laws a Personal Gift (2 – 4 months post-wedding)
- Post Wedding FAQ
Your guests will understand if your thank-you cards arrive a week or two late – newlyweds deserve to honeymoon, after all!
Unfortunately, your vendors aren’t likely to be as accommodating if you don’t return your rentals ASAP. Here’s a breakdown of everything you will need to complete immediately post-wedding.
Tip & Pay Your Vendors (ASAP)
This is a significant priority that you can’t overlook. Wedded bliss likely won’t be so blissful if you have collections calling. Be sure that you have fully paid your vendor expenses as soon as possible after your wedding.
This is especially true if you plan to go on your honeymoon and unplug from the rest of the world. Ensuring vendors have been appropriately tipped is essential too! Thankfully, most vendors require payment in full just before the event, but it doesn’t hurt to double-check.
If you are worried about this getting done between the wedding and the honeymoon, you can always put one of your parents or even the trusted maid of honor or best man in charge of handing out the checks while you jet off into the sunset.
Return Any Rentals (ASAP)
It can be challenging to keep track of what’s been rented, borrowed, and bought. Having a list can be helpful. If you have rented an item, it likely came with a due date for return. Before you take off to a tropical destination or settle into your new married life, be sure to return everything you’ve been loaned. This can include:
- tablecloths and linens
If you’ve borrowed the items from a friend or family, you probably have a bit more leeway. Again, enlisting a trusted friend or family member to help you with the returns is a tremendous help – especially if they are the same person who picked up the rentals in the first place!
Freeze Your Wedding Cake (1-2 days post-wedding)
Tradition says that couples should freeze the top tier of the wedding cake to enjoy it on their first anniversary. I wish I could have frozen the whole thing and enjoyed it every day for a year! But I digress.
If you want to take part in this tradition, expediency is critical. Decadent wedding cakes can spoil, and that delectable frosting will melt. Try to freeze the top tier of your cake as quickly as possible, but certainly within one to two days post-wedding. It’s a good idea to look up instructions on exactly how to freeze your confection if you want it to last a full 365 days and still taste delicious.
Send Thank You Cards (1-2 weeks post-wedding)
Hopefully, your guests understand that you two deserve some time as the new Mr. & Mrs. Nevertheless, sending thank you cards is expected and greatly appreciated. Within a few weeks of your ceremony, it’s a good idea to get your cards in the mail. Experts recommend having your cards posted three months after the wedding at the very latest.
While sending a virtual thank you is fine, we love beautiful stationery with a heartfelt message. Therefore, you’ll want to keep in mind how long it will take you to write, stuff, and address all your thank-yous when considering your to-do timeline.
Deposit Monetary Wedding Gifts (1-2 weeks post-wedding)
There isn’t a hard and fast deadline as to when you need to cash in, but to help move the rest of your post-wedding checklist along, you might not want to wait. You may need to buy those last few unpurchased wedding registry items!
Not to mention, some… older members of your family who still balance a physical checkbook may be waiting for you to cash the check, and may continue to send reminders until you do. (Not spoken from experience or anything…)
When you return from your honeymoon, it’s a good idea to head to the bank, usually around two weeks after the wedding. This to-do can be tricky, depending on who the checks are written to and whether or not you have already changed your name. If you need to wait to get your accounts in order, just carefully organize and store your gifts so nothing gets lost.
Take a breath, but don’t fully relax – these items are important but not immediate. Still, failing to do them could cause quite a few problems, so don’t brush them aside!
Complete and Finalize Your Marriage License (3 – 4 weeks post-wedding)
This first one isn’t even your responsibility (woohoo!), but sadly, you’re not entirely off the hook. It is often the officiant’s job to take the completed marriage license to the county clerk after the ceremony. Most couples don’t have a problem with their officiant following through, but you can never be too careful.
You should receive a copy of your marriage license in the mail in a few weeks. Though, in some circumstances, you may need to pick it up in person. You’ll need these copies for changing your Social Security, insurance, and more. You can always get more in the future, but we recommend requesting three copies to start.
Begin the Name Change Process, if you desire (3-4 weeks post-wedding)
Many couples choose to change the bride’s last name. However, this isn’t the standard anymore! Some couples hyphenate their names, have the groom take the bride’s name, or choose to leave everything as is.
If you do decide to make any changes, you’ll need to go through a somewhat long and definitely dull process. There are companies, like newlynamed.com, that will do this for you (thank goodness!), or you can save the money and apply on your own. Unfortunately, changing your name isn’t as easy as filling out a form and sending it off.
You’ll need to apply at each government agency and company that uses your name for official purposes. That includes Social Security, your driver’s license, passport, bank accounts, insurance, and most likely your work. It can be beneficial to create a list of everywhere that uses your legal name before beginning the process.
Some places might allow you to mail in the forms, while others require you to appear in person. You’ll need a variety of documents, including those marriage certificate copies you should have gathered in the post-wedding list item before this!
This process can be a pain, but hopefully, you’ll only have to go through it once! Pro-tip: make sure your honeymoon tickets match your passport. Don’t change your passport until post-trip if you purchased your airline tickets and reservations with your maiden name.
Update Medical Insurance (1-2 months post-wedding)
If you and your spouse plan on using only one insurance plan, you’ll need to update it. It’s easier to make this change after all the name corrections have been taken care of.
For many insurance plans, you’ll have 30 days after your qualifying life event (marriage, in this case) to make any changes to your plan. If you are adding your new spouse to your plan, note that you will likely need to show a copy of the marriage certificate.
Along with updating your medical insurance, you might want to file your new insurance with your medical offices. Taking care of these things from the get-go can make future appointments much smoother.
Set Up a Joint Bank Account (1 – 2 months post-wedding)
You don’t have to share any more finances than you did pre-wedding. Yet, most couples like to have at minimum one shared account, typically a savings account. You will probably need to visit your bank with all your new documents to change financial accounts.
This is another step that is best completed after your name change. Additionally, you and your partner should plan on attending together. Most banks only allow a member to be added to an account with the account holder present.
Complete Minor Contact Changes (2 – 4 months)
Some of these you’ll discover long after your wedding. Because many changes aren’t urgent, you don’t need to fret too much. If you still have your mom as your emergency contact, consider updating it to reflect your partner. This applies to your work, doctor’s office, and even your gym. There’s something slightly delightful about updating all your information to “Mrs.” and making your primary next of kin your beloved spouse!
Also, if you didn’t live together pre-wedding and you’re moving into a new home after the “I do’s,” you should probably update your mailing address. This can be a bit tricky, as more places than you think are likely to have this address on file. However, it’s vital to receive bills and necessary documents, so don’t wait too long with this task.
Finally, on to the fun stuff! While this stuff is certainly more pleasant than many other tasks, it doesn’t make them less important. Primarily because time is of the essence for a few of these items.
Preserve Your Bouquet (ASAP)
Yes, you may only be drying flowers, but there is still no time to waste! Regardless of how you plan to preserve your bouquet, starting when your flowers are as fresh as possible is key. This will keep their colors brighter and prevent them from breaking.
One way to preserve your bouquet is with the age-old method of drying. You can hang your blooms upside down in a cool, dark, and dry place for about one to two weeks. After this, they should be thoroughly dried and able to be used as a décor arrangement or place them in a shadowbox. Or, you could DIY dry them in silicone beads. This helps draw out the water and leave your bouquet looking fresher, more vibrant, and less dry.
Some couples choose alternative methods of making their flowers into a keepsake. You could have a few petals or small blooms preserved in an acrylic piece of jewelry, press the flowers in a notebook, or have them professionally preserved by a company like keepsakefloral.com.
Preserve Your Wedding Dress (1 – 2 months post-wedding)
The sooner you can preserve your dress, the better. Many experts advise that you shouldn’t wait longer than six weeks. The key to successful preservation is preparation. Your gown needs to be cleaned first to rid it of all the makeup, sweat, and possibly spilled champagne accumulated on your big day. Then, it should either be immediately preserved or stored in a cool, dark, dry place until you’re ready.
There are online companies who you can send your dress for professional preservation. Or, you can order a kit and DIY your gown storage at home. Either method usually keeps your beautiful dress clean, dry, and safely tucked away until you are ready to enjoy it again (or let someone else enjoy it)!
Don’t forget your veil either. As treasured keepsakes, any accessories you want to hold onto should be professionally cleaned and preserved.
Create a Wedding Album (4 – 6 months post-wedding)
There are so many ways to create a wedding album these days! We highly suggest saving yourself hours of time and using a professional company. You can be as involved or hands-off as you desire.
Shutterfly, Mixbook, and Artifact Uprising offer various services that let you upload photos, design, decorate, and personalize your own wedding album (or let their experts do it for you!). You can keep it digital or have it printed when you’re done.
Even if this task takes you a bit of time to get around to, reliving your wedding day never gets old.
Return Duplicates and Clean Up Your Registry (4 – 6 months post-wedding)
Most retailers, thankfully, have a pretty long return window for gift returns. This means you shouldn’t have to worry too much about getting rid of all those duplicate wedding gifts. While you’re double-checking your receipts, consider taking a second look at your registry.
If any items you had your heart set on have been left, you might consider purchasing them yourself. Maybe using some of those wedding funds you deposited earlier!
Word to the wise: if you don’t think you’ll use an item, it is best to return it. Five years post-wedding, my husband and I discovered a great Kitchen Aid mixer that we had never used nor needed. Instead of buying a new mixer, we decided to give the found one a go. It had a terrible wobble due to a manufacturer’s error, much to our surprise. Needless to say, it was long out of warranty. I wish I would have more carefully gone through our gifts instead of packing them away after the wedding!
Leave Your Vendors Reviews (3 – 6 months post-wedding)
We love this thoughtful post-wedding checklist item. It’s a sweet way to share the love from your wedding day. If you have a vendor you were genuinely thankful for, consider leaving them a kind review on social media.
Alternatively, if you had a vendor you weren’t crazy about, you can always offer some criticism. Online reviews are how most of our population chooses who to do business with. If a terrible experience significantly impacted your wedding day, consider letting other brides know so they don’t make the same mistake.
Send Your Parents and In-Laws a Personal Gift (2 – 4 months post-wedding)
If your parents and in-laws are like the majority of moms and dads, they likely provided you with tons of help with the wedding. Whether they paid for a significant chunk or stayed up long hours making sure everything was perfect, a personalized gift is a great way to recognize their efforts.
A pretty yet practical gift is a great choice! We love personalized wine or whiskey glasses as well as customized cutting boards. Alternatively, you could treat them to a delicious gift basket or indulgent spa box to thank them for their love, support, and contributions.
Post Wedding FAQ
We’ve tried to put a lot of helpful timelines in this article, but it can still be a bit overwhelming. The day after your wedding, take a deep breath and enjoy the sensation of waking up beside your new spouse!
Then, ensure you’ve checked off those “immediate” items. This usually includes paying and tipping your vendors, returning rentals, and not missing your flight for your honeymoon!
If you find yourself having a hard time getting motivated to accomplish post-wedding to-do’s and feeling a little deflated, know that the post-wedding blues are a real thing. Sometimes we trade all that wedding stress for sadness, which can be a bit shocking. However, it can be normal to experience a low or letdown period after an extreme high, like the excitement of getting married.
If you think you have the post-wedding blues, let your spouse know. Talk to your friends and family if you feel comfortable, or reach out for professional help. Thinking about all the things you have to look forward to, like a new set of family members and small daily moments you get to share with your partner, can help you see the positive side again. Hopefully, you’ll shift away from wistful and back to blissful soon!
First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage…
Then comes a few post-wedding checklist items that will help ensure things get off to a smooth start. Thankfully, there aren’t many things that need to be done immediately after your wedding, though a handful of to-dos are more crucial than others.
If you can enlist friends or family members from your wedding party to help, it can make a big difference. Finding services that can perform specific tasks for you, like preserving your gown or changing your name, can also help relieve some stress.
You’ve accomplished a lot on your journey to the altar. Taking care of a few things afterward is like crossing the finish line!
Save THIS PIN to your Wedding Checklist board on Pinterest so you can always find it when you need to!
Megan’s wedding experience began over a decade ago when planning her dream ceremony. Since then, three kids have been added to the mix. Megan wholeheartedly embraces all things baby, childhood, and family. When she isn’t writing or chasing little ones you can find her running, hiking, or reading.