Without going to any trouble, a bride-to-be can find out all sorts of tips of how to prepare for her wedding day. Open any magazine, browse any wedding blog, and you’ll have a veritable bouquet of advice. Such as: pack an emergency kit filled with items like dental floss, talcum powder, and nail polish; time your walk down the aisle to make sure you don’t beat your musicians by half a minute; make sure the DJ actually has CDs of all your favorite songs.
But what about after the wedding? There are still plenty of tasks to finish up — not to mention that honeymoon to enjoy. So here’s a list to help you with a little bit of your post-planning.
Cake: If you’re saving the top layer of your cake for your first anniversary, make sure it is properly sealed and stored in a freezer. Ask your baker the best way to save the cake so that it will retain flavor and moisture during the coming months.
Decorations: Items that you consider particularly beautiful or meaningful shouldn’t just get trashed. Use votives around your home, save tulle for wrapping gifts, and turn a custom-made bower into a garden trellis. Find new, everyday ways to keep your wedding decor around so that every time you see it, you’ll get to relive a moment of your wedding.
Flowers: While flowers can’t be preserved quite like a wedding gown, you can dry your bouquet to preserve a great keepsake. Simply hang your bouquet upside down so that the flower’s heads won’t bend over.
Gown: If you’re heading out of town right away, you’ll need to arrange for a friend or family member to pick up your wedding gown from your hotel or simply take it home from the reception site. Make sure you pass along any important advice about how to store it during your honeymoon — say, warn her that the gown’s lace has a habit of getting caught in the garment bag zipper. Once you’re home, arrange to have your gown cleaned and preserved by a reputable cleaner who has lengthy experience working with wedding gowns.
Hair: Yeah, the time for the fancy updo is over, and it’s time to let your hair down and relax. Sometimes, though, thanks to all that hairspray, it’s pretty hard to let your hair down! But here’s a secret: start with your conditioner to loosen the hairspray, then work in a couple rich lathers of shampoo.
Jewelry: Depending on where you’re honeymooning, taking your bling along for the ride might not be the best idea. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the water, trekking through rugged scenery — or, let’s face it, exploring not-so-savory sides of some cities — consider leaving your engagement ring, and possibly even wedding rings, behind. Two of my friends even bought inexpensive rings to wear on their honeymoon cruise so they wouldn’t have to worry about their one-of-a-kind wedding bands.
Photos: Depending on your photographer’s policies, you may or may not acquire full rights to the pictures from your big day. You should have learned this when you first hired your photographer. If you don’t get rights to the pictures, you can’t start uploading them to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter without the photographer’s permission. Instead, include a link to the gallery on your photographer’s website, or ask her/him if you may post pictures stamped with the photographer’s name or business logo.
Registry: If you’ve registered at a major national retailer, chances are you were offered some great registry incentives based on the price values of items you registered for, and items that were purchased for you. Take advantage of them! Don’t forget to fill out the necessary information to make the most of your registry — and if you didn’t complete the number of items you needed for your bonus gift or gifts, you still have time. Simply check the items off your registry as you buy them yourself!
Shoes: If you bought white shoes for your wedding, consider having them dyed a different color that you’ll wear them again and again! Go for staple black or silver, or turn them into that wild pair of purple heels you’ve always secretly wanted.
Stationary: If possible, pre-address thank you notes to guests you know will be attending your wedding, and mail out thank you notes as gifts arrive. Also make sure you have an easy-to-read list of gifts and who gave them — it would be pretty bad form to thank your best friend’s mother for the tea kettle that actually came from your college roommate. And don’t forget to send notes to the wedding professionals and family friends who pitched in to make your day extra special!
Tuxes: Rental tuxes from large retailers, such as Men’s Warehouse, must usually be returned the day after the event. If you and your groom will already be out of town by then, arrange for one of the groomsmen to return your new hubby’s tux along with his own.
Video: Once you get your wedding video from your videographer, take the time to watch it together as a couple, savoring all the little details you missed in the excitement of the big day. Then hold a viewing party to relive the fun with your closest family and friends.