The wedding is over…but not everything is done! Accept that the following items are likely to be part of your life for a little while, and embrace them as a chance to continue the afterglow of your special day.
1. Enjoy That Honeymoon!
First and foremost, don’t bring this checklist on the honeymoon! Even if it’s a short vacation, try to focus it on your new relationship. If anything, you probably realized during the wedding planning process that your wedding was partially for your village, not just for you and your spouse. The honeymoon is time for just you two. It’s a break from reality and networks of people in order to really focus on each other and build some cherished memories.
2. Bring Back Presents, if Possible
Presents from your honeymoon location are nice mementos for the inner circle of folks who did the heavy lifting to help your wedding happen. These don’t have to be involved gifts—just something to show how grateful you are and that you’re thinking of these important people.
3. Write Down Who Gave What Gifts
As you open presents, please keep a piece of paper handy! You’ll be so glad that you wrote down “Aunt Cathy: wine glasses” when you get to the task of writing thank you notes. Even if it feels weird to take notes on a pile of gifts, trust that future-you will be very happy you did.
4. Buy Thank You Notes
Pick out some cute, neutral thank you note cards—and get a lot of them! You also want to make sure you have pens, stamps, addresses, and possibly personal address labels ready to make the thank you notes happen. If you aren’t in an inspired-writer mood, at least work on assembling the envelopes, which is a more mindless task.
5. Write Thank You Notes
One way or another, the notes need to be written. I recommend taking a few extra minutes to make sure you have two to three sentences that are unique to each gift giver. They made your day special by attending your wedding and they took time to give you something you (hopefully!) like and/or need. Write thank you notes in batches rather than trying to have the same level of enthusiasm for your first note and your 15th note in the same evening. Also, remember to write thank you notes to those who contributed to the wedding; sometimes, bridesmaids or groomsmen may not give a physical gift, but they paid for a plane ticket to be there, so make sure to thank them.
6. Ensure all Vendors Are Fully Paid
Nearly all wedding vendors need payment by day-of, but in the case that some wiggle room was exercised, clear all leftover payments. It isn’t fun to face the bills for a wedding, but acknowledge that the hard work your vendors put in merits extremely punctual payment. It will help you accurately assess your new, potentially joint, money situation with your spouse, and doing that early on is a great way to get on the right track together.
7. Write Vendor Reviews
It’s easy to move on from the wedding without doing this, but giving online vendor reviews is so kind, especially if you have positive things to say. Taking a few minutes to praise your vendors online can go a long way. Often, reviews are written disproportionately by angry or disappointed customers, so your positive (or balanced) review can be helpful to giving people a more clear picture of what they can expect from the baker, florist, photographer, etc.
8. Make That Photo Album!
Remember that you are currently in the most likely time of your life to actually make your wedding album happen. The longer you put it off, the more likely it will remain a messy stack of photographs and not a beautiful memento. Set aside a few hours with your stickers, album, pretty pens, and any other supplies you have. You’ll be glad you got it made and you’ll still remember the day well enough to make the wedding album shine.
9. Track Down Forgotten Items from the Wedding
If you left without taking all the wedding venue stuff home, talk to relatives and friends to track it down: is someone holding a leftover case of wine for you? The top of your wedding cake? A pile of vases and centerpieces? Some cute family photos? Proactively make plans to retrieve these things and get them out of your friends’ or relatives’ homes.
10. Resell or Gift Leftover Items
Remember all that stuff you’ve recovered? Figure out how to recoup some money or cause some joy with it! Your engaged friend might love those neutral glass vases for her wedding, so consider them as a gift or cut-rate sale. For the unsentimental among us, there is a thriving used bridal gown market, and your gorgeous dress could make another bride feel like a princess on a budget. Use your judgment on what things would fetch a tidy sum and which items would make great gifts.