Once you’ve taken that first step down the aisle, you might think your evenings and weekends spent addressing envelopes and updating your budget spreadsheet are a thing of the past, however there are still plenty of big day-related tasks to keep you busy throughout your first few months as newlyweds.
The good news is that having a to-do list to work through together can help distract you from the post-wedding blues and makes the transition from wedding world to newlywed life a breeze. Here’s all the wedmin that might come up once you’re back down from cloud nine, and how to tackle it as a married couple…
Sending wedding thank you cards
After your wedding writing your wedding thank you cards is a task that should be prioritised. To make this time-consuming task more fun, crack open a bottle of champers with your new spouse and have one person write the message, while the other addresses the envelope. Read our guide to what to write in a wedding thank you card to help you craft your messages.
If you chose an online gift-list company, you’re in luck – most have a nifty feature which lists all the gift givers with their address and a tick box to confirm when you’ve thanked them.
If not, you need to make sure someone is keeping a good old-fashioned list of which gift came from which guest when you open them. Consider yourself a super-organised couple? You could always address your thank-you card envelopes at the same time as you do your invitations. Remember, it’s not just guests you’ll want to thank either. Any suppliers that really went above and beyond will be delighted with a hand-written letter, too.
Your thank-you cards are also a last chance to show off your wedding style and be creative, so either order them to match your stationery suite or have fun with them.
It’s a lovely idea to have a picture from the wedding on the front of the card (think a gorgeous couple shot or one of the entire wedding party), but make sure to ask your photographer how long this will take, as you don’t want to keep guests waiting for months for a thank you. Finally, don’t forget to budget for the cost of postage (see below for more unexpected post-wedding expenses).
What to do with your bouquet after the big day
Take it from us, you’ll feel as emotionally attached to your bouquet as you do to your dress. So, if you want to preserve its beauty, but also like the tradition of the bouquet toss, consider asking your florist in advance for a separate throwing bouquet.
There are several options for creating an heirloom out of your bouquet. To keep it in its original shape there’s silica gel or freeze-drying (visit flowersforever.co.uk). You can then store it in a glass box or dome for a romantic Beauty and the Beast-style keepsake. Other options include pressing the flowers to create a unique framed piece of art (try Precious Petals) or if you want to give the bouquet to someone or lay it on a loved one’s grave, consider immortalising it in a painting by Harriet Parry Flowers.
What to do with wedding decorations after the wedding
If you’re going all-out with fabulous wedding table decorations and dramatic decor ideas, chances are, after the big day, your garage or spare room will be cluttered full of boxes containing glitter-encrusted jars and that photo-booth backdrop you slaved over for hours.
Before you end up on Britain’s Biggest Hoarders, decide what you want to keep and what to sell. Put sentimental items in a keepsake box (Not on the High Street has some beautiful options as does Meminio), and sell the rest on sites such as eBay, Bride2Bride and Preloved. Our sister publication, hitched.co.uk, has a forum where you can ask brides-to-be if they can make use of your items.
Traditionally, the top tier of the cake is saved for the christening of the couple’s first child or first anniversary. If you want to do this, let your caterers know so they don’t cut into it and then ask them to wrap it up at the end of the evening. The tier should be placed in the freezer for half an hour then wrapped carefully in cling film, followed by foil. This works best with fruitcake, and the more airtight it is, the better. Finally, place it back in the freezer to be eaten next year or when a little one makes an appearance.
Everything you need to know about changing your name
When you walk back down the aisle you’re still technically Miss + Maiden Name. If you choose to take your partner’s surname there’s some lengthy, but essential, admin to be done. Visit our how to change your name after marriage checklist to see exactly what your specific name change involves and then set about making a list of all the places you need to notify, from your bank to the DVLA.
Make sure to order more than one copy of your marriage certificate before you tie the knot, so you can send it off safe in the knowledge you have a back up.
There are the less important, but slightly more fun, things to update, such as your social media accounts and email addresses. Remember, your name must be the same on your passport as your honeymoon booking, which means waiting until after you’ve travelled is the easiest option.
How to sort your wedding presents
Thanks to online gift list companies, unwanted gifts are becoming a thing of the past. However, there’s always at least one guest who will go off-piste and turn up with their idea of the perfect wedding present – think ugly vase or one random bowl that doesn’t match your dinner service.
Make sure you decide whether to return or exchange unwanted gifts as soon as possible to avoid going beyond the shop’s returns window. Of course, be sure to thank said guest with a handwritten note first.
If you have an online gift list, you’ll need to close it (we suggest two weeks after the event for any disorganised guests) and order the presents to be delivered. To really stave off those post-wedding blues have them sent all in one go – it’s like all your Christmases and birthdays rolled up into one.
That first look at your photos is a magical moment, so be sure to make the most of it with champagne and mood music. Once you’ve flicked through the final edit (usually 400+!), it’s time to decide what to do with them. Go through carefully and pick out your favourite mantelpiece shots, before making a selection of those images you want in your album. If your photographer is making the album they’ll guide you on how to choose. If you’re going down the DIY route, make sure to pick a mixture of people, decor and venue shots to give your album pace and an overall feel of the day.
Don’t forget to do something special with your honeymoon snaps, too, such as framing them or creating a honeymoon album using album software such as Cewe Photoworld. They might not be as professional as your wedding pictures, but you’ll want to look back on those infinity pool selfies in years to come. If you had a honey-money fund as part of your gift list it’s a nice idea to use honeymoon pictures as your thank-you cards. Visit photobox.co.uk, snapfish.com or vistaprint.co.uk.
Save money in the big-day budget for these post-wedding expenses
1. Getting your wedding dress cleaned
From £75-£250. This is essential if you want to keep your gown for posterity. Even if it looks clean, there will be sweat and grime hidden in those layers. Professional cleaners will know how to store your dress in a presentation box, too. Try Johnsons The Cleaners, Connoisseur Dry Cleaners and Terrington Burchett.
2. Ordering wedding albums
From around £25 for DIY to £500+ for professional. Ordering smaller versions of your main album can make a lovely Christmas gift for your parents.
3. Paying for your wedding photo-booth pictures
Unless you choose the double-print option as an advance extra when you book, you may need to buy additional photos taken on the night.
4. Completing sets on your wedding gift list
Have you just unwrapped seven knives and only four forks? How annoying! It’s unlikely you’ll get everything on your list as most companies encourage you to add lots of options for guests to choose from. Bear in mind that you’ll have to foot the bill to complete any sets. Some companies such as Prezola, The Wedding Shop and Wedding Presents Direct give a 10% discount on purchases after your list has closed.
5. Tips and extras on the wedding night
Underestimated how much of a crowd-pleaser your DJ would be? Or want the photo booth to stay an extra hour? You should ensure you (or your event planner) have some cash at the ready for unpredictable on-the-day expenses. The same goes for tips. You’ll probably want to thank key people such as your hairdresser and make-up artist before they leave so be sure to have cash on hand for them, too.