1. File Your Marriage License
Tying the knot involves more than just exchanging vows in front of your loved ones. To be legally married, you’ll need a marriage license and a certificate. A marriage license is what you fill out and sign during or after your ceremony. A marriage certificate, on the other hand, is what you’ll receive after the officiant has turned in your paperwork to the county clerk. It’s the official document that proves your union! You’ll need it when you change your marital status on your insurance, credit cards, bank accounts, as well as your last name. (More on that below).
2. Legally Change Your Name
Although a lot of newlyweds opt to skip this step, plenty of couples still choose to join their identities by uniting their last names (or even combining the two). If you’re planning on changing your name, Flora experts recommend hopping on this task within the first three weeks of marriage. That’s because it’s a fairly time-consuming process; you’ll need to update your social security card, get a new driver’s license, update your passport, change your name on your bank accounts, credit cards, insurance, etc. You’ll also need to reach out to your workplace’s human resource department, and update your payroll. In short, it’s a long process – the earlier you start, the better! (Here’s a nifty guide on the ins and outs of changing your name post-marriage.)
3. Plan (And Actually Go) On Your Honeymoon
There’s no one right way to do your honeymoon. Some couples jump right into their post-nuptial getaways; this allows them to decompress, reconnect and enjoy some time off as newlyweds. Others choose to wait. If your budget doesn’t allow you to swing for a vacation right away, it might be a good idea to fly during an off-peak season and keep a close eye on price deals. “Consider a small staycation, and plan a bigger trip later,” Flora experts say. “You can save the honeymoon for your one-year anniversary celebration.” Don’t wait longer than a year, though. Work, family obligations and life in general can come in the way, so plan your honeymoon while the excitement of your wedding is still fresh.
4. Clean and Preserve Your Dress
Have you thought of what you’ll be doing with your wedding dress after your big day? Some brides choose to donate their gowns, resell it or even redesign it into something completely different. Others hold onto their perfect dress. Either way, a professional dry cleaner should be the next stop on its journey. “Try to get this done within one month,” Flora experts advise. “The longer you wait, the harder it will be to clean stains.” If you’re planning on passing down the dress to your loved ones, take a step further and preserve your dress. Wedding dresses are often made from delicate materials, and proper preservation – which involves a more specialized cleaning process – will prevent the fabric from yellowing and creasing, and keep any mold or mildew at bay.
5. Preserve Your Florals
Flowers take up a big chunk of your budget, time and planning, so it’s completely understandable if you don’t want to part with them so soon after your wedding! And in reality, you don’t have to. One way to extend the life of your floral showstoppers – think: your bouquet, centerpieces, etc. – is by preserving them as keepsakes. They can be dried and pressed into a piece of artwork, preserved in resin, dipped into wax, and even freeze-dried. The possibilities are endless – if you plan ahead. Pro tip: If you’re unsure of which method is right for you, reach out to your florist for suggestions. “Do this immediately after the wedding,” Flora experts say. “Maybe even plan before the wedding, so you can hand off the florals to the right person for the job.”
6. Send Your Thank-You Notes
Your guests spent a great deal of time, money, and energy making travel arrangements, booking their stay, finding the perfect gift, and providing support to you and your spouse. So, after the excitement from your wedding winds down, you’ll need to thank them for their efforts – and a thoughtful note will do the trick! Make it a goal to get your thank-you cards written within three months of your wedding. Give yourself enough time to really personalize your note; talk about their specific gift, what it meant to you, and how you’re planning on putting it to good use. “If you get married within the holiday season, consider putting together a thank-you holiday card,” Flora experts say. Bonus points: Make it more personal by using your wedding photos as a thank-you postcard – or even better, send your guests a photo of themselves from the wedding.
7. Square Off Any Balances With Vendors and Write Reviews
Putting together a wedding takes a village. From florists and caterers to bakers and music professionals, there are so many people who come together to bring your dream scenario to life. Show your appreciation by making sure they’re paid promptly and leave no outstanding balances. Combine the payment with a thank-you note, and request a final invoice for your personal records. Worked with a great team of vendors? Share your experience on review sites and even by tagging them on social media. “The vendors worked hard for you,” Flora experts say. “Do something nice by posting a positive review that helps them out with general inquiries and future business. We recommend you do this within the first month so that the feedback is fresh.”