You’ve said your vows and celebrated with your loved ones — now, what’s next? Here’s how to get your marriage off to an organised start
From bridal gowns to bone china, you’ve been planning the big day for months — and why not? It’s one of the most exciting times of your life. But it’s easy to forget that after the wedding comes not only a lovely honeymoon, but also a slew of loose ends to tie up before you embark on your next chapter – a long and happy life together.
Waiting to see your wedding photos can be torturous, but a good photographer will have done some planning before the wedding to ensure you’re happy, says Marcus Bell of Studio Impressions (studioimpressions.com.au). ‘We always plan the delivery date with the couple and work to their schedule so they don’t have to wait,’ he says. ‘We have our photos ready for the couple as soon as they return from their honeymoon and provide them with a social media peek within days, if not on the day.’ That said, there’s a good reason photographers need a little time to deliver. ‘A quality photographer will often spend over 80 hours after the wedding, as they want to make sure its as perfect as you remember the day. The post-production is a large part of the professional creative process,’ he says, pointing to sequencing, colour correcting, black and white conversions, image enhancement, retouching and designing albums, slideshows and thank you cards.
Then, the hardest part: choosing which photos to print for framing, albums and relatives. ‘Couples are likely to receive anywhere between 500 and 1200 images from their day, depending on the wedding, so choosing what to put in an album can be really hard,’ Marcus points out. ‘Let your heart decide. We say pick what you love, let us help you design it into a story for your album, then choose what to change once you see it all together.’ And while it might be tempting to skip the album in favour of a Facebook version, there’s nothing quite like a tactile reminder of your day that you can physically flip through for years to come. A hard drive? Not quite as romantic, so save it for backing up. ‘Always keep at least two copies and one on a hard drive and preferably one stored away from your home,’ advises Marcus.
‘Your bridal gown is not the same as a regular piece of clothing and needs to be treated with love, care and respect – Ensure your appointed bridal dry-cleaning specialist does not outsource your gown to an unknown third party...’
Your wedding dress isn’t just a memento of your special day, a family heirloom and a sentimental keepsake – it’s also a delicate, costly piece of art that requires a little special care if it’s to last longer than the top tier of wedding cake that’s in the freezer (especially if some of said cake has graced your gown). Vivian Samaha of Bridal Silver Service (bridalsilverservice.com.au) advises getting the gown to a reputable cleaner as soon as possible (Bridal Silver Service even offers pick up on the day after the wedding). ‘Bridal fabrics are often quite fragile,’ she points out, so no DIY attempts – with one exception. ‘A light, gentle sponge-out of fresh red wine stains [using] soda water is the only thing I would recommend. Just be careful not to oversaturate.’
It can be daunting handing your beloved gown over, so look for a bridal specialist over a regular dry cleaner. ‘Your bridal gown is not the same as a regular piece of clothing and needs to be treated with love, care and respect,’ says Vivian. ‘Ensure your appointed bridal dry-cleaning specialist does not outsource your gown to an unknown third party – you’d be surprised how many small operators do! Find someone who is a member of the Dry-cleaning Institute of Australia (DIA), and has extensive experience working with silk- and crystal-safe solvents.’ Need help? Ask your bridal retailer who they use and recommend. If you’re keeping your gown once it’s cleaned, Vivian recommends having it wrapped in acid-free tissue paper, before being boxed in a solid, double-sided bridal box. ‘Find a spot at home which doesn’t have extreme temperature variations – nowhere too cold or hot and definitely nowhere moisture is present. Good, natural airflow is key, away from sunlight.’
If you’re one of the 85 per cent of women* who take their husband’s name when they get married, you have a little paperwork ahead of you. The good news? A marriage certificate from your state’s Registry of Birth, Deaths and Marriages acts as an official proof of identity document for most organisations – just fill out the forms you received when you got married and wait a few weeks to receive it (if you were married overseas, it’s worth also applying for an Australian marriage certificate to make the process smoother). Your next step is making multiple copies of the certificate and having them authorised by a Justice of the Peace. And then it begins: make the motor registry your first stop – once you have a driver’s license in your new name, changing it elsewhere will become much easier. Here are other organisations you may need to contact...
*according to Bride to Be’s 2014 Cost of Love Survey
The People you need to let know:
-Australian Tax Office
-Australian Electoral Commission
-Australian Passport Office
-Home, car and health insurance
Is there anything more delightful than a pile of presents waiting to be opened? Only a prompt thank you note, says etiquette expert and founder of the Sydney School of Protocol, Julie Lamberg-Burnet (sydneyschoolofprotocol.com.au). ‘A wedding gift should be acknowledged with a written thank you note as soon as is practical. Your appreciation is much more sincere when it is expressed promptly,’ she says, pointing to a three-month deadline. And the method matters, too. ‘In our digital world, personal handwritten thank you notes are still considered the global standard rather than texting, email and instant messaging. A beautiful handwritten note on quality notepaper reflects that the writer is thoughtful and caring. Take time to compose a personalised note to express your appreciation for their thoughtfulness.’
Before you put pen to paper, consider your tone and style — how you thank Great Aunt Judy isn’t how you might thank George from work. ‘Personalise your notes and make reference to the person as well as the gift, be enthusiastic, refer to the use you’ll make of monetary gifts and be authentic – write from your heart and the words will come naturally; there is no reason for a note to be stuffy and formal,’ Julie advises. And the big no-nos? Generic thank you messages via social media, pre-printed thank you cards with only your name signed and, of course, the incorrect spelling of names.