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Just Married: Your Post Wedding To-Dos

Feeling a little let down after all the non-stop wedding planning hoopla? Well, wait, there's still more to do once you've said I do.

Photo: Hilton Pittman Photography

All those details you spent months agonizing over miraculously came together: you said your vows, had your party, and somehow, here you are—married! But don't feel blue just yet. You still have a few things to wrap up that will keep you busy. Attend to these final postwedding to-dos during the first few weeks (or even days) after your wedding, and you can enjoy the memories of your special day for decades to come.

Save the Cake

Don't let those yummy wedding cake memories end with the last bite. Instruct the catering staff to take off the top tier at the end of the night and box it for transport. Appoint a 'cake captain' (one of your family members or close friends) to take it home and prepare it for preservation by following these steps:

1. Remove any sugar flowers or decorative adornments

2. Chill the cake well before wrapping it up so the icing hardens and won't stick to the plastic wrap.

3. Wrap the (unadorned) cake in several layers of plastic wrap—not aluminum foil, which may cause freezer burn.

4. Seal the wrapped cake in an airtight bag, tie a ribbon around the package so you won't mistake it for anything else and place it in your freezer.

Tip: Some cakes freeze better and longer than others. If you're hoping to focus on taste as well as nostalgia consider placing an order for a fresh cake tier in the same flavor as your original cake to enjoy on your year anniversary.

Keep Your Bouquet

There are two ways to hold on to your flowers for the long haul. The press and frame option simply flattens a few blooms so they can be displayed in a picture frame alongside photos or your invitation; while the glass dome or shadow box option preserves your bouquet in its original shape and vacuum-seals it inside a glass container. Whichever method you prefer your best bet is to hire a pro for a perfect, polished look. Choose from a local preservation company or a nationwide one and make a reservation about a month in advance.  Then all you have to do is pack up your bouquet according to their guidelines, drop it off or ship it as soon after the wedding as possible (a day or two is best) and they'll do the rest. And if you do plan to save your bouquet be sure to protect it at the reception—ask the caterer to store it in the fridge or at the very least stick the stems in water.

Preserve Your Gown

A gown as gorgeous as yours deserves safe-keeping—to pass down to your daughter or just have for posterity. Your first step, regardless of what you plan to do with it next is to have it professionally cleaned by someone who specializes in wedding gowns. Ask your seamstress or the store where you purchased your dress to recommend a cleaner as well as a skilled preservationist (fyi: they are often one and the same). While it's generally safe to wait as long as six weeks after the ceremony to have your dress preserved, it's best to get it cleaned a few days after the wedding—so if you're leaving on your honeymoon have your mom or MOH bring it in and point out any stains to the cleaner. Until then, store it in a dark, dry place, rolled or folded in a clean white sheet. Before you hand over your one-and-only gown be sure to ask about procedure and warranties and request an estimate since prices for preservation can vary based on the complexity of the gown's beadwork, train length, and stain damage. After preservation find a place to store the box where it's protected from extreme temperatures, moisture, and exposure to direct sunlight.

Say Thank You

While most couples dread handwriting 150 personalized notes the deed must be done. And sooner rather than later—for gifts received after the wedding the rule is you're supposed to get thank-yous out within a month after you return from the honeymoon.  (For gifts received before it's within two weeks of their arrival) Sure that's nice in theory, but realistically if you can get them all out by your two-month anniversary, both you and your guests will be happy. To make the chore more manageable divide and conquer. If you each put aside fifteen minutes daily (or every other day) you can probably bang them out at a rate of ten a day and be done in the allotted two months. Open a bottle of wine, do it together, and soon you'll be back to using all your new gadgets and gifts rather than writing about them.

Create an Album

Most wedding photography packages don't include prints and albums, so after the wedding, you'll need to settle down to the hard work of selecting the photos you want and deciding how you want to preserve them—make this a to-do list priority or we promise you, it will be two years and you'll still be album-less!  Choosing images takes six hours on average, so don't expect it to be a quick task but taking time to reflect with your fabulous photos is part of the payoff for all the planning you did. Start by sorting out the top 20 or 30 that jump out at you as favorites and weeding out the bad pics (i.e: blinking guests). Then group everything else into categories like getting ready, ceremony, cocktail hour, etc. Once you've decided what kind of album you want and how many pages it will hold layout the pictures and keep arranging them until you create a smooth yet dynamic flow that tells a story of the day.

Change Your Name

Facebook status changed: check! Now it's time for those other official changes, like your last name. To do that you'll need your original (or certified) marriage license with the raised seal and your new last name on it. It should have been sent automatically but if not call the clerk's office to track it down. Then do the following:
 
• Change Your Social Security Card
Visit the Social Security Administration's website (ssa.gov) to fill out the application and see where to send it.

• Change Your License
Head to the local DMV to get a new license with your new married name—bring every form of identification you can get your hands on, including your new Social Security card.

• Change Your Bank Accounts
The fastest way to do this is to go into your local branch with your new driver's license and marriage license. As well as changing the name attached to your accounts, you should also request new checks and debit and credit cards too.

• Change Everything Else
Once you've changed your social security card and driver's license everything else should be a piece of cake. Some places may only require a phone call. Make a list (post office, employers/payroll, voter registration office, alumni associations, etc.) and notify each organization one by one.

Sell Off Your Stuff

If you're less sentimental and looking to recoup some of the money you spent consider selling your dress, accessories, or your décor for another bride to enjoy. There are plenty of online resources to help you out. Start by posting your offer on The Knot Message Boards, describing your items and a way for brides-to-be to get in touch. Then Google “sell your wedding stuff” to find lots of resale and auction sites as well as tips for snagging the best price for your things. Don't need the extra cash and feel like doing some good? Donation is another way to go.

Plan Something New

Last but definitely not least start planning something new to look forward to. It will help ward off post-wedding blues and you'll put those organizational skills acquired over the past year to good use.  Invite friends over for a happy hour to christen your new barware, throw an après-wedding name change bash, or start researching ideas for a one year anniversary vacation.  And don't forget to update your ticker on The Knot so you can start counting down to the next milestone.