The first installment of “The Newlywed Diaries”…or something…I haven’t put any thought into a name yet 🙂 How about “Life’s Next Big Step’s Guide to Being a Newlywed”? Oh whatever…read on 🙂
As all good things come to an end, and sadly weddings are no exception. The months, and in some cases years, of preparation, planning, budgeting, re-planning and re-budgeting are all for the same goal; the one day that is entirely about the two of you; the day that most girls dream of their whole lives, beginning the first time they watched Cinderella. And it goes by so fast that you find yourself looking at your wedding pictures and asking “Did I really rap “Baby Got Back” at my own wedding?” (true story…)
Then after the honeymoon, it’s back to reality. Back to work, doing your own laundry, cooking your own meals, and inherently everything you did before the wedding, only the difference now is that you are married. And what’s there to do now, if there are no tables to figure put decorations for, flowers to arrange, invitations to address? Plenty!
If you’ve recently gotten married, then you’ll know most “After the Wedding” articles include the same two things.
1. Write Thank You Notes – If you didn’t know this already, then I’m glad I’m including it, but really, it’s a given that thank you notes have to be written for any gift you received for your wedding and at any bridal showers held in your honor. One thing that is often forgotten is thanking those who hosted your showers or bachelor/bachelorette parties and the people who helped you arrange the flowers, address the envelopes, decorate the tables, etc. Also, if you had a particularly good experience with any of your vendors, either a thank you card or an email thanking them for their time and patience is always in good taste.
2. Change Your Name – Of course, everyone tells you to change your name and that it’s best to do it sooner than later, and ones of the best resources I’ve found for steps to actually changing your name can be found here.
Here are a few more things I thought of that can make your life even easier in that transition phase:
1. Order stamps for your thank you notes. We all remember to order stamps for our invitations and RSVPs, but thank you notes need them too. Ordering online through the USPS or any of their vendors is easy and cheap (going to the office will save you $1 for delivery, ordering online will save your lunch hour) and they are delivered in a few days.
2. Order return address labels. This one I just realized would have been a marvelous idea if I had thought of it before I started writing my thank you notes. Not only will it save you from writing the recipients address and your own address on every envelope, but they usually come in packs of 150 or more and they are customizable and look pretty too. Check out vistaprint.com for their templates, at $8 for 140, it’s a pretty good deal.
3. Order extra copies of your marriage certificate (if you are planning on changing your name). This is not one of the steps I took initially, thinking I could easily order them online after the fact. I can easily order them online, but instead of paying the usual $14 fee for a copy, it’s that $14 fee plus an addition $20 something per copy for processing! So now the options are, suck it up and order them at $35 a piece, go to the Office of Vital Records and wait forever and order copies at $14 a piece, or use my one and only copy and go in person to the Social Security Office, DMV, etc. Save yourself some time and money and order copies when you get your marriage license!
There are other important things to do to make getting back into the groove a little easier:
1. Open presents together. If you are one of those couples who can actually wait until after the honeymoon to open all of your gifts, good for you! Plan out some time where you can sit down together, open your gifts and write down what you got and from whom. If you’re the kind of couple who will open your gifts the night of your wedding, that’s also fine! Be sure to write the gifts down or keep the card with the gift, that way the next morning it’s not so confusing trying to remember who gave you what.
2. Consolidate your household items. Moving in together can be fun and exciting, but it can also be stressful, especially if you are waiting to live together until after you are married. All of the wedding excitement combined with a move can cause a lot of stress. Remember that not everything has to be unpacked immediately, as long as you have your daily essentials, you’ll be fine until things calm down and you get settled. Once things do quiet down, make some time to go through your stuff together and get rid of any duplicates. Two people don’t need two microwaves, blenders, etc.
3. Look through your pictures. Many girls don’t have a problem sparing time to go through each and every picture snapped at their wedding, but sometimes the guys don’t get to see quite as many as they might like to. Be sure to sit down together and thumb through your pictures together. Just because you don’t like your smile in that picture doesn’t mean he doesn’t find it adorable and wants a copy.
4. Relax. Simply relax. Watch a movie, drink a glass of wine (or two), read a good book, enjoy just being together. There is no caterer to answer to or florist to call, just time to be together and relax for a while.
It’s easy to get bogged down by reality once the wedding and honeymoon are over, but think about it, it wasn’t only the actual wedding day that got you giddy and excited, it was also knowing you would be spending the rest of your life with your best friend, and this is when the rest of your life begins. Remember to enjoy the big and little things in life, go on dates, spend time with friends, spend time with each other and if you made it through planning a wedding, you can make it through anything!
Hope you enjoyed and it wasn’t too painful to get through. I’m sure I missed some things, if you feel like contributing ideas, please comment!