After the months of hard work you put into planning the perfect wedding, you'll likely want to rest up a bit and revel in newlywed bliss. But wait! Once you've returned from your honeymoon, you’ll have some pressing obligations. You'll want to tie up all these loose ends as soon as possible to save yourself some trouble down the line.
While some things are going to take a bit longer to accomplish — like changing your name — others you can do fairly quickly. So hop to it! After all, the longer you procrastinate, the harder it'll be to find that much-needed motivation.
1. Preserve Your Dress
Preserving your wedding attire is one of the first things you'll want to do after returning home, though you might have assigned this task to your mother or maid of honor already.
If you haven’t, take the dress to a special cleaner so stains and dirt don't set in too much. If you purchased a wedding dress preservation package through your bridal shop, return the dress so they can clean and preserve it for you.
2. Write Thank-You Notes
If you received gifts or donations to a honeymoon fund on your big day, you'll want to thank all the thoughtful gift-givers. Of course, if you were blessed with many gifts, writing thank-you notes may seem overwhelmingly impossible.
Many hands make light work, though! Enlist the help of your new spouse and write just a few thank you notes a day. Before you know it, you'll have an entire stack of cards to drop in the mail. One more thing to check off the to-do list!
3. Review Your Vendors
It's easy to remember to thank friends and family members, but you should also take a moment to thank your vendors. Your photographer, videographer, florist and hairstylist all depend on reviews to attract new clientele. If they did a great job, write a public review on their stellar services. They'll appreciate you taking the time to both thank them and boost their credibility. And remember to tag them when you share photos and videos of your big day to further show your appreciation.
4. Change Your Last Name
While some brides choose to keep their last name, many decide to change theirs, a process you should start as soon as you receive your marriage license. Begin by changing your name on your Social Security card, then your driver's license, passport and credit cards.
You'll also want to call your medical providers and update your information in their database. This may seem overwhelming at first, but many websites now offer to handle the paperwork for you. It makes the process far simpler.
5. Tell Your Employer
Whether you choose to change your last name or keep it, you should let your employer know you're married. You'll likely need to submit updated forms containing your new name, address and tax information.
Contact the human resources department or simply talk to your boss to re-evaluate benefits and update information. It's essential to do this within the first month of marriage. If you don't make these changes within the IRS' qualifying life event window, you'll have to wait until the next open enrollment period.
6. Create a Financial Plan
Getting married changes every aspect of your life, and finances are no exception. Sit down and discuss debt, expenses, bank accounts and assets with your spouse as soon as possible to avoid monetary disagreements in the future.
Will you merge bank accounts? Will you help pay off his debt? Does your budget support the amount you're currently spending? Additionally, discuss any benefits or support you might qualify for, such as loans or benefits for military members transitioning to civilian life.
7. Choose an Insurance Plan
Once you get married, you have 30 to 60 days to enroll in a new insurance plan, so knocking this off your to-do list as soon as possible will ensure you're both covered medically. Compare monthly premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket costs to choose the best insurance for your situation.
If you have employer-sponsored health insurance, consider adding your spouse to the plan. You might also choose to stay on your parents' plans if you're under 26 years old to save a bit of money.
More Work Now, Less Worry Later
Although filling out paperwork and purchasing new insurance plans may not seem like the most romantic way to spend your first month of marriage, completing these necessary tasks now will save you a big headache in the future.
Focusing on the not-so-fun parts of married life as soon as possible will free up your mind — and schedule — so you can spend more time enjoying each other's company.