Newlywed Checklist: The To-Do List after You Say ‘I Do’

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For many couples, after they get engaged most of the focus (and excitement) is geared toward planning the wedding. I know it did for me. I didn’t really think about (or take care of) the laundry list of after-wedding tasks until 11 months later – arguably, I still haven’t.

That’s right, I didn’t change my name, update my credit card information, combine bank accounts, or really anything for at least a couple of months after the wedding. Why? Because it’s a daunting task.

I’m sure I’m not alone. There were more than 2 million marriages in 2011, according to the CDC, and I think it’s a safe bet that many of those couples didn’t start crossing items off their list until well after they returned from the honeymoon. And that’s okay!

If you’re a newlywed, or maybe if you’re still in the whirlwind of planning your wedding, here’s a list of some of the overlooked items you have to take care of after you say “I do.”

The Marriage Certificate

Depending on the type of ceremony you have, the minister (or person who legally married you) will likely send the signed marriage license to the state or county. In the event that they do not, this is something you want to do immediately after the wedding.

You’ll also need a few copies of this if you’re changing your name, so make note of any instructions on how to do this.

Clean and Preserve Your Dress (or Tux)

Most dry cleaning companies can easily clean and preserve your dress or tuxedo. My mom was a huge help and actually dropped mine off for me after I left for the honeymoon. That way it was ready for me to pick up when I got back.

Changing Your Name

This is an extremely personal decision, but if you do decide that you want to legally change your name know that it’s not as hard as you think it is. That’s right, I said it’s not that hard!

Thanks to websites like MissNowMrs.com, this is a pretty painless process. If you don’t want to pay for all of the forms, this is the general checklist:

  • Social Security Number (you have to do this first)
  • Driver’s License, State ID, Passport
  • Any credit cards or loans (student, car, etc.)
  • Your lease or mortgage

For most of these items, you’ll need a copy of your marriage certificate.

Update Your Information

This is in the same vein as changing your name. If you move into a new home, you’ll want to submit an address change. You may also choose to put all bills in both your and your spouse’s name – or even just add the other person to your account.

You’ll also want to update and/or combine insurance providers (health, life, home), as well as look into your retirement accounts.

Taxes

I was married in April, so we had a full year to determine how we wanted to handle our tax situation. If you’re getting married in the winter, you may not have as much time prepare.

My suggestion is to have the conversation early – perhaps before you get married. That way you know if you’re filing together or individually.

Settle Into New Roles

Believe it or not, there is an adjustment period after you get married. This can be particularly obvious if you didn’t live with your now spouse before the wedding day, but many couples that lived together before still experience it (guilty!). It’s a natural adjustment period that varies from couple to couple.

If you’re struggling with this, my suggestion is to talk it out or seek external guidance. Communication really is key in all relationships.

Enjoy Your New Life

Don’t get too wrapped up in all of the details of post-marriage. Marriage is a fun and exciting time, so embrace and enjoy the change – remember, you’re only newlyweds for so long.

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