Wedding Planning 101

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Wedding Planning 101: 20 To-Dos for After the Wedding

After the wedding, there are so so so many things that need to happen. Just when you think you’re going to gain all this extra time because you are no longer planning a wedding, you really fill that gap with all the things you need to do after you’re married. Someone once told me they wished they had known all the things that needed to happen after they said, “I do.” So, let this blog post serve as a resource to help you check things off your list for “after the wedding.”

  1. Return all of your rentals and borrowed items back to their rightful places:

This could be anything from suit rentals to decor rentals to heirloom pieces you borrowed from family friends. Most importantly, you want to get the rentals back to the companies by their due date so you’re not charged extra. Some rental companies offer to pick up your rentals for you. If this is the case, make sure you confirm that before the wedding day so you can mark it off your list! If you have things you bought for the wedding that you no longer want, this is also a great time to list those items on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or just on your social media profile!

2. Legally change your name:

I know, I know. You may not be changing your name. Or you may be changing your middle and last names. Or maybe your spouse is changing their name. Whatever the case may be, if there is a name change happening, there are lots of things you have to do in regards to this one. First of all, I want to offer to you a lovely website called Hitchswitch that will do some of this work for you. Trust me when I tell you that this is money well spent. If you choose their biggest package, they will do even more than the things I have listed below, and they also have smaller packages to just do your government issued IDs like your Social Security card, passport, and driver’s license. You are still welcome to do everything yourself though, and you can do a quick Google search to learn what your county requires to update your Social Security card and driver’s license. After that process is done, you can start filling out the name change form for your passport! Other things you’ll want to consider changing after you do those first key documents are things like bank accounts, credit cards, car insurance, utility companies, doctors’ offices, subscription services, airline loyalty programs, hotel loyalty programs, vehicle title and registration, voter registration, and probably more that you’ll come across as you begin living life under a different name!

3. Tell your employer:

Whatever the reason, your employer will likely want to know you’re married. If both of you have company insurance plans, it’s way cheaper to merge together onto one insurance plan and drop the other. You’ll also likely get a new company email address (if you changed your name) and possibly a new work badge if that is something you have for your job!

4. Decorate your home/apartment:

This is a fun one! Whether you are both moving out of old places into a new one together, selling one and moving in with the other, or even if you already lived together before the wedding, decorating your new apartment with images and decor from your wedding will be so much fun! I have an AMAZING article for you to read that talks about different ways to incorporate images into your home decor, and you can find it here!

5. Make a new email address:

This one really only applies if you changed your name and your old email address had your old name in it. If you do decide to change your email address, make sure to send out a mass email to all of your vendors, coworkers, friends, and family updating your email address. One really great idea is to set up a forwarding option for your old email address for at least 6 months as well. Usually, you can do this directly through your email server, and if someone emails your old address, it’ll forward to your new inbox so you don’t miss anything. After about a week, double check this feature is working to ensure you’re not missing any important post-wedding emails!

6. Send thank you cards:

You probably had wedding showers throughout your engagement, and hopefully, you sent out thank you cards after each of those. Even still, you will get lots of gifts and cards on your actual wedding day. Make a plan before the wedding for who will collect those things for you and how they will get back to your house so after the honeymoon, you get to open all of your gifts and cards! Then, be sure to send thank you cards to each of those people!

7. Open a joint bank account:

This is not for everyone. I understand that some people don’t like sharing finances. They keep everything separate, separate the bills, and take turns paying for meals at restaurants. Coming from a marriage where we do combine our incomes and our bank accounts and make decisions together on how to spend our money, however, I think it’s a lot clearer and establishes trust in each other. You should never hide anything from your spouse, but especially not financial statuses and decisions. According to a poll done by Dave Ramsay, 31% of spouses are hiding debt from their significant other. That is not okay, guys. If you know you are irresponsible with spending money, it’s even more of a reason to get a joint account so your spouse can help hold you accountable. If you are both irresponsible with money, I recommend starting a financial program together like Dave Ramsay or the 100s of others out there. Finances are the #1 stressor for marriages. Especially young marriages. Don’t let that be something that bogs down a really fun and exciting first few years together!

8. Get your gown cleaned and preserved:

Your wedding dress is going to get dirty. It’s just a fact. Even if you take the most care possible in not letting it touch the ground the whole day. Once you bustle it and start dancing, it’s just going to happen. People will step on it, you may spill something on it, you’re going to sweat…a lot probably. Getting your gown cleaned after the wedding is a must if you want to do anything else with it ever. You may want to sell it, preserve it, have a “trash the dress” session, or just put it on every year for your anniversary. Whatever the case may be, you’ll want it to be clean. If you don’t want to do anything with it immediately, go ahead and preserve it, too, so the material holds up over the years. Maybe one day you’ll open it back up for your daughter to wear at her wedding 😉

9. Put your cake topper in the freezer:

This is one of those traditions that’s kind of weird, amiright? Eating your wedding cake 1 year later on your actual wedding anniversary??? There’s no way that can be good, right? Actually, it holds up pretty well. Our cake was actually delicious one year after our wedding. We were both super surprised. You may not want to actually do this, but throw it in the freezer just in case you change your mind.

10. Write vendor reviews:

All of your vendors are more than likely small businesses, which means they THRIVE on word of mouth marketing. In today’s world where everything is just one Google search away, reviews mean more than ever. Even if someone verbally recommends a vendor, they likely will still research online before pulling the trigger. If you had an exceptional experience with one of your vendors, take the time to write a REALLY thorough review. You have no idea the positive ramifications your one review can have on their business and growth! If you had a good experience but nothing above and beyond, at least leave them some stars! Of course, if you had a genuinely bad experience where they were rude to you or just didn’t perform their services well with no apology, leave them a bad review to protect other brides out there from having the same thing happen to them!

11. Update your beneficiaries:

You’ll want to update your beneficiaries everywhere. Most newlyweds don’t have a will yet, but if you do, you’ll need to update it. You’ll also want to update your beneficiaries on your insurance plans and your retirement plans. This could also be where you update your emergency contacts on all of your health forms.

12. Send your updated address to all of your vendors, family, and friends:

Chances of having more packages come after the wedding are pretty high. Personally, I mail my clients a gift on their 1 year anniversary! Friends and family may mail wedding presents because they just ran out of time before the wedding. So, it’s important if your address changes to email all your wedding vendors, family, and friends to make sure they have the latest and greatest!

13. If you moved area codes, consider changing your phone number:

This is definitely not a majority, but every now and then after a person gets married, they permanently move to another area code to be with their new spouse. If you don’t plan on leaving, you could look into getting a new phone number with your new area code.

14. Combine your bills:

What do I mean by this?? The first and probably most advantageous combination is going on the same insurance plan. If you both have corporate jobs that provide insurance, you don’t need to both be paying for insurance. Compare plans and see which is better for the price and merge onto one. Whoever drops their plan is going to see quite a bump in their paycheck! The next one is merging cell phone plans. Did you know it’s MUCH cheaper to add a line onto an existing plan than it is to have two separate single lines? You can dump one of your internet, tv, and streaming services, too!

15. Make plans for date nights and your next big adventure:

After the wedding, it’s totally normal to get post-wedding blues. On average, most couples spend 10-12 months planning their perfect day. So after that day is over, it’s totally normal to miss it. Instead of feeling that sense of loss, fill the void with your next dream. Go ahead and redirect your wedding planning thoughts to creative weekly date nights, home projects, or vacation planning! Start a new Pinterest board, follow new hashtags on Instagram, and lose yourself daydreaming about these upcoming fun things!

16. Think about getting pets:

Having pets isn’t for everyone. It wasn’t for us. But if you’re a pet person, now’s the time to start thinking about your newest addition to the family!

17. Registry returns:

Now is the time to sort through all the gifts you don’t think you’ll use, duplicate gifts, and anything you didn’t register for in the first place (c’mon, people, that’s what registries are for!!). Return them for the gift cards you will be spending for at least the next two years 😂

18. Give both sets of parents gifts to thank them:

Again, this isn’t applicable for everyone, but if your parents paid for your wedding or even just helped tremendously, taking time to invest in a really good gift to them would be a really kind and thoughtful thing to do after your wedding. My personal favorite is a copy of their very own album from the wedding, but if you don’t have the budget for that, maybe just a framed print with a little message written on the back of the frame with how grateful you are to them for all they did to make your big day so special.

19. Safe place for your documents:

This conversation needs to be had as soon as you move in together. Things like Social Security cards, passports, deeds, titles, your marriage license, etc. should all be kept in a safe place. I would recommend getting a small fireproof safe you can hide in the bottom of your closet or in the basement. If you don’t want one of those, you could do a safe deposit box at a bank. Or worst case scenario, your underwear drawer 😉 kidding…kind of. But f’real, you need a safe place for all of these documents.

20. Take down your wedding website and registry:

It is officially time to take down your wedding website and registries. Some websites will do this automatically for you, but if they don’t, take those things down so you free up your domain for someone else planning a future wedding!

21. BONUS: Schedule your preview party with Amanda May Photos 😉

This list wouldn’t be complete without a bonus, right?!?! Obviously, this is only applicable if you are an Amanda May Photos couple! Not many photographers offer this in the Knoxville area right now. Although, I am trying to convince more to do it because it’s just so much fun. A preview party is where you view your gallery for the first time over a giant TV screen with music playing while munching on snacks, popping champagne, surrounded by some of your favorite people. We spend the bulk of our time reminiscing on your day together. Hearing everyone’s reactions are my FAVORITE. We end our time going over samples of printed products, and at the very end, you get to access a 20% discount on anything you choose to print at that party. I also offer a virtual option where I mail a package to couples who do not live in the Knoxville area, and they are always a huge hit. I love preview parties, and at this point, the majority of my couples opt in to one!

If you found this helpful, share it to your social media to help out some other newlyweds who are trying to wrap their head around all of their to-dos after the wedding day!


I’m a Knoxville Wedding Photographer that loves to travel…I shoot anywhere! Click here to contact me with any questions you have about pricing or booking! If you liked what you saw above, go ahead and follow me on Facebook or Instagram to see my daily updates of the latest sessions!


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