You’re popped the bubbles, cut the cake and danced the night away – now what? Our newlywed to-do list will help you dive straight into life after the big day.
1. Pay the bills
Make sure all outstanding accounts with your wedding vendors are settled on time. Check your invoices against the quotes you were given and query any extra charges you were not made aware of. A handwritten thank-you note is a lovely gesture of appreciation for all the hard work your vendors put into your wedding. They also love to see photos from couples they’ve worked with, so email them a selection that reflects what they’ve contributed.
2. Collect your gifts
One of the most fun things to do after your big day is to open your cards and pressies, and revel in the love from those who wish you well. Set aside a solid chunk of time when you and your husband can open your gifts together.
A keepsake box makes a perfect home for wedding cards. Be sure to make a list of who gave you each present, so you can personally thank each of your guests.
3. Say Thank You
Send handwritten thank-you cards within three months of your wedding. It can seem like a chore, but treat it as an opportunity to reflect on your day and all the wonderful people you spent it with. Thank-you notes are from both of you, so share the load and create personal, heartfelt messages.
4. Store or reuse
Get your wedding dress cleaned by a reputable drycleaner as soon as possible after the wedding. Wrap it in acid-free tissue paper and pack away in a cool, dry place. If selling your gown, list it on a website such as TradeMe (trademe.co.nz). Alternatively, book a fun photo session or have a tailor modify your dress into fashion pieces that you can wear again. Incorporate other elements of the wedding into your everyday life: use lace or trim from your linens to embellish pillows, or decorate the house with candles from the event. Bridal bouquets take on another life once dried and displayed in a stunning vase or box frame.
5. Return hired items
If you’re heading on your honeymoon straight after the wedding, enlist the help of your bridal party to return all borrowed or hired items, as a matter of courtesy and to avoid late fees. This includes your groom and groomsmen’s suits, props and decorations, sound and electrical equipment, and of course your ‘something borrowed’!
While it isn’t necessary to clean hired wedding attire before returning it, it’s a good idea to double check that you have everything (such as accessories) and be sure that everything is in the same state as when you borrowed them.
6. Change your name
If you’ve decided to change your name, you’ll need to update it on all your important documents and accounts after you marry. The first step is to register your new name with the Department of Internal Affairs: visit dia.govt.nz and click on Births, Deaths and Marriages for more information. Then you can begin changing your driver’s licence, passport, bank accounts, credit cards, insurance policies, utility bills, telephone listing, work email address and business cards.
To change your name on official documentation, you’ll need the original or a certified copy of your marriage certificate. Prior to your honeymoon and other subsequent overseas trips, check your passport is in the same name as the name you booked your flights under to avoid disappointment at the airport!
7. Streamline your personal finances
Once you’re married, you may wish to merge individual cheque accounts into one, or set up separate savings for goals such as a house deposit, a new car or an overseas holiday. This requires a trip to your bank to open a new account, close any old ones, and set up any automatic payments.
8. Update legal documents
Once you’re married, you may wish to merge individual cheque accounts into one, or set up separate savings for goals such as a house deposit, a new car, an overseas holiday or for starting a family. This requires a trip to your bank to open a new account, close any old ones, and set up any automatic payments.
9. Design your wedding album
Once your photographs are ready, you can start working with your photographer on designing your album.
If you’re taking the DIY approach, decide whether you want to use digital images to produce a photo book using a service such as Snapfish (snapfish.co.nz), or print out your photos and create a traditional album. Look for acid-free paper and use photo corners so pictures will last longer. Don’t put it off – you want to be able to flick through your album before your first anniversary!
You may also want to release an official wedding album on social media sites such as Facebook. Make it clear whether you’re happy for guests to share photos they took themselves, or if you’d prefer they sent you their images privately.
10. Set your goals
Whether you’re a regular goal-setter or not, now that your future involves another person, discuss what you hope to achieve in the future. Most couples will already have a good idea of the direction they want to go in before they tie the knot, but now’s the time to put those plans into action. For example, if you want to buy your first home, prepare a budget and give yourselves a realistic time frame for reaching your target.
11. Continue the honeymoon
Make an effort to keep the fun and flirtation in your relationship alive. Carve out quality time together by scheduling weekly date nights that you commit to, no matter how busy you get. You can also keep your relationship fresh by planning fun birthday surprises, romantic picnics, mini-breaks and small gifts for no reason. As American author and journalist Mignon McLaughlin said, ‘A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.’