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THE ULTIMATE WEDDING CHECKLIST - Post Wedding
Post Wedding Checklist - Download it here!
Return all rented items
- Change your last name
Send out thank you cards
Return, exchange, and complete your registry
Take down your website and registry
Plan something new
THE ULTIMATE WEDDING CHECKLIST - Post Wedding
Hopefully you had the wedding day of your dreams because everything was perfectly planned, thanks to our checklist notebook! Just don’t make the mistake of thinking your job is done when the big day is over.
Our wedding checklist continues with items that you need to do in the days, weeks, and months after your wedding is over.
Return All Rented Items
The first item on your agenda is to return any and all items that were rented. Most vendors have a time limit for returning items, and in some cases, it may be as soon as the next day.
Start by making sure groomsmen who rented their suits or tuxes return them. If you’re worried about leaving it up to each individual groomsman, consider having the best man collect them all and return them. The groom should also return his, if it was rented.
If you rented any décor items, they should be returned too. The sooner you return rented items, the better. Even if you have a week to take them back, the longer they sit around in boxes, the more likely you are to lose or forget something when it’s time to take it all back. Strive to return it all within a few days.
Returning all those chair backs and candle holders sound like the last thing you want to do in the days after your wedding? Enlist the help of someone else to return those items on your behalf. A parent, sibling, or the maid of honor are good people to ask for help.
- Make sure groomsmen and the groom return suits and tuxes if they were rented.
- Return rented décor within a few days of your wedding so nothing gets lost or left behind.
- Enlist the help of friends or family members when returning rented items like tuxes and décor.
Decide What to Do With DIY Décor
DIY wedding décor is a great way to save money. It also enables you to get the exact look you want. The trouble is, you can’t just drop it off somewhere else when you’re done with it like you can with rented items. You have to figure out what to do with all of those painted candle holders and vintage flower vases.
Start by figuring out what you want to keep. It might be useful to keep a few candle holders or vases around the house, while silk flowers can be used to decorate rooms in your home.
Once you have decided what you want to keep and what you want to get rid of, you may want to consider selling some items. Facebook, Craigslist, and eBay are great places to sell décor because it's where a lot of other brides go when trying to find items to use in their upcoming wedding.
If you're not having any luck, try selling them at deeply discounted prices at a garage sale or donate them to someone else who is having a wedding.
If you truly can't figure out what to do with your DIY wedding décor, don't just stuff it into boxes and leave it in the basement. You'll feel a lot better if you get rid of all the clutter, even if it means dumping it in the trash.
- Decide what you want to keep.
- Try selling décor on Facebook, Craigslist, and eBay.
- Get rid of hard-to-sell items by deeply discounting them at a garage sale or donate them.
- Throw items you can’t get rid of in the trash instead of packing it into boxes that will just collect dust in the basement.
Freeze Your Cake
Enjoying a slice of your wedding cake is a sweet tradition for newlyweds on their first year wedding anniversary. Just don't make the mistake of thinking you can just put a slice of cake in a piece of Tupperware and forget about it for 12 months.
It's important to prep your cake properly before putting it in the freezer. First, wrap the cake in clear plastic wrap. Then, wrap it again in tin foil. Wrap your cake as tightly as you can without damaging it to prevent freezer burn.
You should also think carefully about where in the freezer you place your cake. You don't want it to get crushed, after all! The deep freeze is a good choice, as it's colder and it's the best place for long-term storage. If you place it in your refrigerator's freezer, consider placing it inside a Tupperware container to prevent it from being smashed.
- Wrap the cake in clear plastic.
- Then, wrap it in tin foil.
- Wrap the cake as tightly as you can.
- Put your cake in a deep freezer.
- If you don’t have a deep freezer, put it in a Tupperware container in your freezer.
Clean and Preserve Your Dress
No matter what you decide to do with your dress, you should have it professionally cleaned. The sooner you have it cleaned, the better. That way stains don’t have a chance to set. If you’re going on your honeymoon, ask a trusted friend or family member to take your dress to a reputable dry cleaner for you.
Preserving your dress is a good idea if you think you might want to pass it down to a future daughter, niece, or granddaughter. Just make sure you have the procedure done by a professional.
Request a cost estimate. Preserving a dress can be quite expensive if you have a long train or there is extensive beadwork. The process is more complex with certain details too, so you want to make sure you're covered with a warranty or a guarantee in the event there is an accident.
Once your dress has been preserved, find a safe place to store the box. Keep it away from extreme temperatures, moisture, and direct sunlight. In the back of your closet or underneath the bed are good places to keep your dress.
Don’t feel like you have to preserve your dress in the traditional sense if you don’t want to. Instead of preserving your original gown, consider having it made into something else, like decorative pillows, a clutch, or a baby’s christening gown.
If you don’t have an attachment to your gown, you can sell it. Some second hand stores may be willing to sell your gown, or you can try selling it online.
If you like the idea of doing something good, consider donating your gown. Gowns can be donated to military brides in need, brides-to-be who are facing financial hardships, and non-traditional gowns that aren't white can be donated to teens who don't have anything to wear to prom. Some charities, like Angel Gowns, can even transform your wedding dress into gowns for stillborn infants.
- Have your dress cleaned as soon as possible, even if it means asking someone to do it for you while you're on your honeymoon.
- Consider preserving your dress if you think you might want to pass it down in the future.
- Store your dress in a safe place, like the back of a closet or under the bed.
- Consider having your dress made into something else, like decorative pillows or a clutch.
- Try selling your dress in a second hand store or online.
- Consider donating your gown to charity.
Preserve Your Bouquet
Not only should you consider preserving your dress, you should also consider preserving your bouquet!
If you used real flowers, you can have them dried and placed in a shadow box. Dried flowers can also be transformed into wreaths, while buds can be preserved in their natural state if they are suspended in resin as a paperweight. If you want to do something a bit more creative, consider having individual buds pressed, encased, and turned into jewelry. They can be dipped in wax, and they can even be crushed up and incorporated into homemade bath salts!
If you had a silk, paper, or beaded bouquet, it can be used to decorate your home, but consider finding a way to cover it. Your flowers will collect dust and grime that can be nearly impossible to get out of fragile paper flowers or the small nooks and crannies of silk flowers. Have a special box made or consider displaying it inside an enclosed lantern.
Don’t forget about the groom’s boutonniere! They can be preserved in many of the same ways as bridal bouquets. If the boutonniere is made out of silk flowers or any other type of long-lasting material, put a magnet on the back and stick it on the fridge.
- Consider having real flowers dried.
- Real flowers can be preserved in their natural state when suspended in resin.
- Buds can be turned into jewelry.
- Flowers can even be dipped in wax or used in homemade bath salts!
- Display silk, paper, and beaded flowers in a custom box or enclosed lantern.
- The groom’s boutonniere can also be preserved. Put a magnet on the back and it can be stuck to the fridge!
Change Your Last Name
Arguably, the biggest job you have to do after you get married is to change your name, if that’s something you decide to do. It’s not a decision you necessarily need to make right away, but if you know you want to change your name, the sooner you do it, the better.
Changing your name means notifying the government so you can be issued a new Social Security card. You’ll have to change your name on your license and on other important documents, like your home mortgage.
Don’t forget about all the other places you need to change your name! You’ll have to change it on Facebook and other social media platforms, as well as with financial institutions.
Make a list of all the places that require your new name. When the change has been made, you can cross it off the list.
- Notify the government of your name change by going into your local Social Security office or mailing in the required information.
- Change your name on other important documents, like your license and home mortgage.
- Remember to change your name on social media platforms and with financial institutions.
- Make a list of everywhere your name needs to be changed and mark each item off as it is completed.
Send Out Thank You Cards
Although writing thank you cards can be grueling, especially if you had a lot of guests at your wedding, it is a very important task.
If you followed our advice from month two of our wedding checklist, hopefully you have had a chance to put a dent in writing your thank you cards by writing them as gifts have arrived. Whether you got a head start or not, you have to get it done now that your wedding is over.
Create a plan to tackle all the thank you cards you have to write. Commit to writing a certain number every day or split the list in half with your spouse so one of you isn’t stuck writing them all. Try squeezing in a few cards when you have some downtime, like on the subway to work or on the plane to and from your honeymoon.
There’s no need to stress about getting them in the mail right away. Most guests understand that the life of a newlywed couple can be busy and stressful. Strive to get them in them mail within the first few months of your wedding date and even your most demanding relatives will be happy.
- Create a plan to tackle a certain number of cards per day, or split them with your spouse.
- Write cards when you have downtime, like on the subway to work or on the plane to and from your honeymoon.
- Get them in the mail within the first 60 to 90 days.
Return, Exchange, and Complete Your Registry
Did you get doubles of some items? Or maybe you simply got something you really don’t want? Make time to return those items and get the money or exchange them for something else. Many places will take items without a receipt. If the item is from a registry, you have an even better chance of returning the item without a receipt. If it was marked as purchased, you will receive a monetary refund or a store credit.
Are there items on your registry you wanted, but didn’t get? Many registries offer discounts to couples who want to complete their registry and purchase items that they didn’t receive. Take advantage of these discounts if you really wanted that Kitchen Aid stand mixer or le Creuset Dutch oven.
- Return items you don’t want for money or exchange them for something else.
- If items are from a registry, you may not even need the receipt.
- Many registries offer discounts when purchasing items you didn’t get. Take advantage of it!
Take Down Your Website and Registry
Once the wedding is over, it’s a good idea to take down your wedding website and registry. In the future, if someone were to search your name for professional reasons, you may not want them stumbling across pictures and messages from your wedding. It’s an especially important task if you paid for your website. Many platforms and domains renew automatically. You don’t want to find out your bank account was charged to maintain your website when your wedding was a year ago!
Taking down your registry when everything is all said and done can prevent unwanted marketing and provide you with a little peace of mind knowing that unnecessary information about you isn’t floating around on the internet.
Just make sure you don’t take things down too soon. Keeping your wedding website and registry active for six months to a year enables guests to post pictures they took on your big day and it enables guests who were unable to attend to send you a gift after you said “I Do.”
- Take down your wedding website for professional reasons, but especially if you paid, so your site and/or domain doesn’t renew automatically and charge your bank account.
- Taking down your registry can prevent unwanted marketing.
- Keep your site and registry active for up to a year to enable guests to post pictures and send presents.
Plan Something New
The post-wedding blues are very real. Although planning a wedding can be very tiresome, the day-of is almost always a ton of fun that most couples wish would never end. Give yourself something to look forward to by planning something new.
It doesn’t have to be something big or expensive. Host a dinner party to try out your new dishes or plan a weekend getaway with your new spouse.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be something that happens soon either. In many cases, especially when it comes to vacations, the anticipation is often more fun than the actual event. Plan a big party for your one-year anniversary or make plans to go somewhere amazing on your five year anniversary. Having something to look forward to, no matter how big or small, soon or far in the future, will help you stave off those post-wedding blues.
- Consider hosing a dinner party or planning a weekend getaway to banish the post-wedding blues.
- Think long-term and plan something for your one-year or five-year anniversary.