Whether you just got married, or are returning from your whirlwind honeymoon, there are a few things you need to get out of the way after your wedding.
1. Get a copy of your marriage certificate
Unfortunately, the marriage certificate that your officiant supplies you with on the day is not actually good enough for anything except framing or maybe some gentle scrapbooking. You need to head to the Registry of Births, Death and Marriages to get the official document that can be used as proof of a name change in the future.
2. Change your name
Cool fact: if you get married in Australia, you don’t have to apply to change your name with the government – that’s all covered by your marriage certificate.
But if you DO decide to change your name, you’ll need to let some government agencies (including the passport office), your bank and utility suppliers know about the change so they can update their records. This may involve a lot of forms, which can be devastatingly boring and might be why some people don’t bother to change their name at all.
3. Check if you can get a better deal
While you’re filling out all those forms, have a look at some of your policies, such as your health insurance. If you and your partner have two separate policies, do some research to see if a couples policy would suit you better. There can be some associated discounts and other fun stuff that makes up for having to fill out even more forms.
4. Preserve the gown
Whether you’re keeping the gown purely for sentimental reasons, or you’re hoping that your future children will wear it someday, get it dry-cleaned ASAP. The wedding dress should be wrapped in acid-free tissue paper and kept in a box away from sunlight.
5. Send thank-you cards
Mail out personalised cards thanking your guests for their attendance and for their gift. Make sure you note the correct gift for each person while unwrapping to avoid any mix-ups!
6. Organise wedding photos
After your wedding, you’ll have to meet up with the photographer for a premiere session, which is basically where you look through your photos and decide which ones to purchase as prints, and which to purchase as digital files.
7. Review wedding vendors
The venue, the catering, the photography and everything else – write up a review of your experience while it’s fresh in your mind. This way, both the vendor and future couples can learn from your rating.
8. Buy all the things
Once you’ve unwrapped all your gifts and sent thank-you notes, check your wedding registry to see if there’s anything left on the list that you still need to purchase after your wedding, especially if you’re setting up your home.
9. Be prepared for the personal changes
Even if you’ve been with your partner for years, some things will change on a personal level after your wedding.
Elizabeth, who has been married for just under four years, says, “Before we were engaged, it was ‘When are you getting engaged?’ When that happened, it was instantly ‘Have you set a date?’ We’d been married less than a week before someone asked when we were planning on having children.”
Elizabeth does admit to feeling a little loss of independence during marriage. “Now that our finances are joint, it makes sense for one of us to look after [the bills]. For us, this person is [my husband] and after a few years I realised it’d take me ages to figure out the finances if he were away.”
But this change isn’t all about the negatives. “[It] also means that we work well as a team; we truly came together and found a balance that meant both of us feel supported by the other,” she says.
“I don’t think getting married changes the people who tie the knot,” says Elizabeth. “It changes what people think about you. Before you’re married, they judge the strength of your commitment. After you’re married, they judge how ‘good’ you are at being married.
“They all have their own opinions of what you do right and wrong. But the fact is every marriage will grow and develop along with the couple. As long as they keep growing along the same path, it’ll always be fine.”