After the Wedding
So, you've said the I Do's, tossed the bouquet, cut the cake and smiled the night away.
Whether you're leaving for the honeymoon right away or postponing it a bit, there are still a few more wedding tasks that you'll want to consider.
Thank You's: Most couples have probably been receiving generous gifts since the engagement announcement. Today, it is fairly common to receive a lot of your wedding presents before the wedding, since everyone knows it is way easier to order and ship a gift direct to the happy couple, rather than carting it to the wedding itself. This is rather awesome, since it lets you get a jump on those ever-important thank you notes. A note to all the happy newlyweds and soon-to-be newlyweds, you cannot get out of writing personal, sincere thank you cards. Can't do it. Sorry.
I have to lean a little old school on this one, handwritten, paper thank you's are the way to go. I know that you and your BFFs have that group text or g-chat that you're on almost daily, but nothing beats opening a warm fuzzy from the mailbox. Your guests will appreciate that you took the time to send even one line to thank them for their gift and for spending your special day with you. Trust me on this one.
Set a rule for yourself. I found it handy to use the tried and true "Can't use it until the thank you has been mailed". This way you can motivate yourself to write them in a timely fashion. Also, you might find it helpful to write your thank you's as the gifts arrive. Since many people have taken to sending the wedding gift before the wedding, this lets you finish many of the thank you's before the big day! Make a list to keep track of who gave you what and whether you mailed the thank you, that way when you have a mini panic about whether you actually thanked Aunt June for that handmade quilt you have something to fall back on.
Wedding Cards: For your wedding you are going to get a ton of wonderfully tear-inducing cards wishing you well. If you are anything like me, you might consider keeping all ten thousand of them in a box, until you realize that is a terrible way to keep memories of something so happy. Think about ways that you might want to preserve these little memories in a way that means something to you. One of the best recommendations I've seen is to find a paper punch that you like, and use it to punch out shapes of the cards and store them in a shadow box along with other wedding memorabilia like your invitation, your monogram, etc. Get creative with it, and don't settle for letting those memories sit in a box in the attic, make them into something that you can see regularly to remind you of the happy occasion!
Photos: Sometime after the wedding, you'll be able to round up all of the photos from your photographers and guests. No doubt, your family and friends will be asking to see them ASAP. If you're not into posting your entire day in photos on Facebook, there are some other great ways to get Grandma that wedding album she has been asking for.
Services like Shutterfly usually have sales on prints, so you can get some of your favorites printed and mail out. Getting a batch of photos printed is a great way to satisfy all of those family members who are asking for photos without breaking the bank. Just make sure that when you use a service like Shutterfly, you've ironed out the details with your photographer and that you don't need to order prints through them first.
Services like Chatbooks are a great way to get photo books to send to your bridal party and family. This particular service was made popular by printing photobooks of your instagram photos, but they can be customized to include whatever you'd like, and at $6 it really is a steal! These make a great gift!
The Dress: No matter what your plans are for your wedding day attire after the big day, you'll probably want to make arrangements to have it all professionally cleaned. Some places offer special preservation packages and will box the dress up for you, so be sure to ask ahead of time if this is something you want. Also consider that your dress will probably take up a considerable amount of space, so you may need to find the closet space for it if you plan on keeping it.
If you don't plan on keeping your dress, there are plenty of amazing things you can do with it. Donating your dress to a charity can be a great way to give back. Check in your local area for charities that accept dress donations, many will either resell the dress and give the proceeds to a deserving charity, or they will donate the dress to a bride-to-be who is experiencing life changing circumstances. Either way, you are paying it forward in an amazing way!
Married Ladies, what are your tips for future brides on those post-wedding to-do's? Comment below!