The excitement of your wedding is over, and now it’s time to abandon the real world and go off the grid, right? Well, not just yet. Unfortunately, wedding planning isn’t over the second you say ‘I do.’ Between paying vendors, cleaning your attire, and writing thank-you cards, there are tasks that need to be done before going on your much-deserved honeymoon. Based on how much time you have between your wedding and vacation, here are things you should do before going on your honeymoon.
If you have a week or less before your honeymoon...
Gather all your items from the venue.
Any decor, personal items, or rental pieces should be picked up at the venue the day after your wedding. If you are unable to gather your stuff yourself, ask the maid of honor and best man to help clean up. You don’t want the venue to throw away anything of yours—especially if you need to return it to a vendor.
Also, be sure to take your leftover wedding cake! If you take part in the tradition of enjoying a slice on your one-year anniversary, it’s important to preserve it properly.
Collect gifts and cards.
While you may not have time to figure out who gave you what, you want to ensure all presents have safely been transported from the venue to your home, or the home of a family member. If a member of the wedding party was responsible for collecting and storing gifts, arrange for them to be dropped off to your house while you’re away or upon your return.
Photo Credit // Zola
Get your dress cleaned and return suits.
The sooner you get your dressed cleaned, the better—especially if there are sweat or food stains on it. If you’re leaving on your honeymoon right away, pass your dress to a family member or maid of honor to take to the cleaners. Depending on the design of your dress, you may need a speciality cleaner, so do your research before the wedding to determine where you want it dropped off. The last thing you want is to return home to a dirty wedding dress.
Don’t forget about menswear, either. If groomsmen rented suits, make sure they are all returned on time. The best man can take care of this task.
Pay your vendors.
Vendors held up their end of the deal, so be sure to settle any outstanding charges before your honeymoon. Make sure everyone is paid and all contracts are settled. It’s also common practice to tip certain vendors, so keep that in mind, too, if you haven’t already.
If you have two weeks to a month before your honeymoon…
Write thank-you cards.
While sitting down to write out possibly hundreds of cards may not sound like your idea of newlywed fun, it’s important to take the time to thank everyone for coming to your wedding. The sooner you cross this item off your to-do list, the better. Write thank-you cards while people’s presents are fresh in your mind and before your brain has switched to vacation mode. Not only is it poor etiquette to wait months before thanking folks, but it’s also a great feeling knowing thank-yous are taken care of.
If you’re overwhelmed by the idea of writing all your thank you notes, let us do it for you. Now with Zola, you can type messages for any of your guests or customize our suggested notes. Yes, you can write individual messages to individual guests or families—it's still super personal. Then, we'll print whatever you write in a beautiful font. Find this feature when you select any thank you card style on Zola. You have the option to write your custom message on the inside step of your customization process.
Upload some photos or video.
If a few photos are ready or you had a videographer capture your special day, uploading highlights to your wedding website or social media is a nice way for people to relive the magic. Many photographers take a few weeks to a couple of months to return wedding photos, but some will send couples a few teaser shots beforehand.
Return or exchange unwanted gifts.
Sometimes guests go off course and buy things you already have, or items not listed on your registry. While all presents are appreciated, it’s OK to exchange unwanted gifts. Because most stores have 30-day return policies, you’ll want to bring back gifts as soon as possible. That way, you have a better chance of swapping something you don’t need for something you do. You can also discreetly return anything you received off your Zola registry and exchange it for something else if you changed your mind.
Photo Credit // Zola
If you have more than a month before your honeymoon...
Review your vendors.
While the experience is fresh in your mind, take some time to write reviews for your vendors—especially if you had an exceptional experience. Not only do online reviews help out future brides and grooms, but positive public-facing comments are also a great way to thank vendors for making your wedding day so special.
Purchase any gifts you didn’t get.
Hopefully, you got all the items you really wanted on your wedding registry, but there are times when guests will get you three out of four towels in a set, or only five place settings when you actually need six. Use any wedding money received to purchase those items after your big day.
Your wedding is over, now you can unwind! Use this time to get back into routine and relax from the busy nature of wedding planning. Catch up on sleep, run the errands you’ve been putting off for months, and spend quality time with your new husband or wife. You’ll be in good shape to enjoy your honeymoon.
Don't leave work to come back to after your relaxing honeymoon. Get even a few of these tasks out of the way ahead of time (if you can) and feel free to luxuriate in your newlywed bliss.