Wedding 101

10 Things You Need to Do After Your Wedding Is Over

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In the blissful aftermath of your wedding, the world may seem to revolve around your newlywed status. You'll ride the euphoria of those magical moments for weeks, basking in the joy of your commitment. But then, as if from nowhere, half a year has passed, and there's that stack of leftover wedding favors on your kitchen table, a poignant reminder that time has its way of slipping through our fingers. As the clock ticks toward your first anniversary, it's time to shift gears and tend to the practicalities. Here, we'll guide you through 10 essential loose ends to tie up, ensuring your journey as a married couple remains as memorable as your big day. 

Have your wedding dress cleaned and/or preserved

Even if you don’t think your daughter is going to wear your dress some day, it’s a good idea to get your dress cleaned sooner rather than later. You won’t want to see 5-year-old champagne and sweat stains on it (gross!) when you pull it out of your closet to show new friends in the future.

Order your wedding album 

After you’ve shared the digital images of your big day on Facebook, you might not be as excited to create an album IRL. But at some point, you’ll probably want the actual photos (hello, family heirloom!), so schedule a weekend date with your sweetheart to choose your favorites and order your album. This is especially important if your album was part of your photography package—you don’t want to forget about something you paid for!

Review your vendors

Remember how appreciative you felt when your wedding vendors made your day feel so magical and special? Express your gratitude by posting a great review of their business on Yelp! And don’t just do it for them—do it for other couples who deserve to discover your amazing makeup artist or fabulous florist. It’s just good karma.

Return or exchange any unwanted wedding gifts.

Even if you use a registry, duplicate and not-exactly-your-style gifts will still happen. So don’t hold off on taking them back to the store and choosing something that’s a better fit; if you wait too long, you may not be able to.

Send thank you notes

Don’t delay on this oh-so-important task; we suggest you and your partner block out some time on your calendars to take care of it as soon as your honeymoon is over. Avoiding it because you don’t know what to say? Read our tips for what to write in your thank you notes.

Complete your registry sets

If there are any gifts you didn’t receive and still want, especially if they are part of a set, you should go ahead and make those purchases. You may have only received five of the eight place settings you wanted, or two out of the four towels you were registered for. Make a point to complete these sets while the items are still in stock (and while you have gift cards burning a hole in your pocket). And remember that even though most stores offer couples discounts on items that remain on their registry after the big day, the offer is often only good for 30 days after your wedding.

Take down your wedding website and registry

If you’re paying to host your wedding website, you’ll definitely want to take it down after the big day. But also consider that both your registry and your wedding website may show up in Google results when people search for your name; remove both from the Web if you don’t want others to see them. You could leave the registry up for a few extra months in case guests still want to give you something (common etiquette says they have up to a year to send gifts), but if that seems unlikely, go ahead and remove it earlier.

Return any items you bought for the wedding and didn’t use

The supplies for the photo booth backdrop that you never got around to making. The gold frames you were going to use for the table numbers…until you decided to do chalkboard table numbers instead. The cute striped straws that you forgot to give to the catering staff. You’re probably going to have some unused and unopened items after your wedding, so make time to return them (and replenish your wedding budget in a tiny, tiny way).

Figure out what you want to do with all your wedding dress and decor 

After the big day, you might find 15 glitter-covered Mason jars and 25 vintage suitcases taking over your guest bedroom. Do yourself a favor and find them a new home. You could sell the items to other couples (try eBay, Craigslist, or just post a note about the items you want to unload on Facebook), have a garage sale, work them into your home decor, donate them, or toss them. You’ll be so happy once you’ve de-cluttered.

Legally change your name (if you’re planning to, that is) 

If you’ve changed your name socially but haven’t made time to do it legally, take an hour to collect the necessary documents and get the ball rolling. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that you’ll create more headaches for yourself or misplace your marriage license. (Not that we’ve ever done that…)
Rachel Miller
About The Author
Professional writer and editor.
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