With all the planning that goes into your actual wedding day, it can be easy to forget the important things that still need to be done AFTER the wedding as well. So, we made this list to help you keep track of a few key items you’ll want to make sure you take care of once your wedding day has come and gone.
WGM Tip: Be sure to listen to these tips on the latest episode of The Woman Getting Married Podcast, where we go through every one in detail and offer extra advice!
In this article…
- Tip Your Wedding Vendors
- Freeze Your Wedding Cake
- Finish Your Thank You Notes
- Clean Your Wedding Dress
- Complete Your Wedding Registry
- Make Your Wedding Photo Album
- Change Your Last Name
Make Sure You’ve Tipped (and Paid) Your Wedding Vendors
Before you plan out your wedding tips (and remember to add them to your wedding budget, because they definitely add up! ), you should refer to all your contracts to see if any tips are automatically included in your final bill. If not, be sure to read our guide to Wedding Vendor Tips to see how much each vendor should get. While all tips are completely up to you, on average you can expect to pay 15-20% per vendor (unless they own their own business, but more on that here).
On the day of your wedding, you should enlist the help of your parents or a trusted wedding party member to give tips in separate envelopes to vendors. Alternatively, you can also do it after your event. Just make sure by that time you’ve paid your vendors in full.
WGM Tip: Be sure to leave your wedding vendors an online review if you loved them! Remember that other couples are using reviews to decide whether or not to hire a vendor, so it will go a long way!
Freeze a slice of your wedding cake
Before your wedding, ask your caterer or trusted friend for a slice or tier of your wedding cake to be reserved, and make sure it gets safely home to your fridge! But don’t just stick it in there! There are a few steps you’ll want to take first to make sure it’s actually edible and ready to eat on your first anniversary. Read our step-by-step guide to Freezing Your Wedding Cake here.
Finish sending your thank you notes
You’ll want to aim to have this done within 3 to 4 months of your wedding, but the sooner the better. One of my biggest pet peeves is never receiving a thank-you note for wedding gifts…or any gifts! It’s so rude! So, be sure to stay on top of this task, and read our 6 tips on How to Write a Thoughtful Wedding Thank You Note here.
WGM Tip: You might want to consider sending a quick text or FB/instagram message (or better yet a phone call) within a few days of receiving gift as well. Many older relatives will want to know you got their gift safely, and chances are they’re already asking your parents if you did! It takes 5 minutes and will go a long way.
Also remember you might still receive a few gifts for several months after the wedding, so be sure to keep your address updated on your wedding registry if you’ve moved.
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Get your wedding dress cleaned and preserved
The sooner you can get your wedding dress cleaned, the better! I was fairly careful with my dress at our wedding, but afterwards it was SOOOO dirty on the bottom and even had a tear from where my heels must have caught the lace.
Ask your bridal salon for recommendations, or visit the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists for trusted experts. You can expect to pay $400-$800+ for the cleaning and preservation process, but check out our article on the best ways to Preserve and Clean Your Wedding Dress here.
Change your last name (if you want)
Deciding to change your last name if completely up to you, as is when you decided to do it. My only advice is to make sure you wait to do it until after your honeymoon if you’re planning on traveling shortly after your wedding. That’s because to start the process you have to first wait for your marriage certificate (which can take several days to a week) as well as several days for your new passport and ID to be ready.
Also, don’t be too hard on yourself if it takes longer to do than you thought it would. It took me TWO YEARS to change my name, and that’s OK!
Make your wedding photo album
This is one of those things that always gets pushed to the back-burner. Not only do you have to wait for your wedding photos to come in, but then you have to figure out the best way to make your album once you do (if you’re not having your wedding photographer do it). Thankfully we’ve rounded up the Best Online Wedding Photo Albums for Every Budget here.
WGM Tip: Once you do get your wedding photos back from your photographer, consider making some less expensive family albums to give as a gift.
Complete your wedding registry
You’ll often have several months after your wedding to take advantage of a registry’s post-wedding completion discount, which is typically around 20%. Keep in mind you’ll want to keep your wedding registry open for at least four months after your wedding for any of those gift stragglers. However, once that time period is done you can safely close it out. So stock up on those home essentials while the discount is still good!