After your return from your honeymoon, your marriage officially starts and with that come some changes. It's not to say that the honeymoon phase is over, but you'll have to get some things situated in order to have your marriage start off on the right foot. We tapped the expert advice of wedding planner and wedding dress designer David Tutera and love and career coach Charreah Jackson to dish on six things you must do to have a successful first month of marriage — from wedding-related logistics to wrap up to relationship rules to set.
1. Remember to clean and store your gown.
Your wedding gown will always be one of the fondest memories you have of your special day and the easiest way to preserve that thought is by taking care of your dress. "This is very important and I highly recommend that every bride looks into getting her wedding gown professionally preserved after the big day", says Tutera. "This will keep the gown in perfect condition for many years to come, maintaining its color, fabric and beauty over time. Consult with your wedding planner or bridal salon for recommendations on a reliable and experienced preservationist a few weeks prior to your wedding day. Most importantly, be sure to bring your wedding gown to be professionally cleaned and packaged by your preservationist as early as possible, as stains are easiest to clean when they are fresh and have yet to saturate the fabric."
2. Set house rules if you have not done so already.
Living with your spouse is one of the biggest adjustments you'll have to make, so it's important to discuss the rules of your household as early as possible. Jackson encourages newlyweds to make a clear plan of who is doing what, set expectations, and eschew the age-old ideas of what husbands and wives bring to the table. "Sometimes we put unnecessary pressure on ourselves and others by having unrealistic expectations or fantasies you have had since childhood. You do not have to assign responsibilities by traditional gender. If your man is a better cook, get out of the kitchen and complete other chores that keep your household running smoothly."
3. Write reviews for your vendors.
A wedding truly takes a village to make it go off without a hitch. A little appreciation goes a long way, so you should take some time to write reviews for your venue, wedding planner, florist and more. "Not only does it serve as great feedback to them for their services, but it is also very helpful for engaged couples when doing research and planning for their big day as well", suggests Tutera. Reviews certainly go a long way and there's no telling how much of a boost you'll give these businesses by just adding a few kind words.
4. Get your finances in order.
It is important that you share your credit score, debt, and financial standing with your partner before tying the knot, but the real work starts right from your first month of marriage. Jackson's advice? "Plan ahead for the business aspects of your relationship, including how money is managed. It is good to go into the marriage knowing how you plan to share financial responsibilities, whether you do one account for all your money as a couple, keep completely separate accounts, or do a combination of shared and joint accounts." One of her favorite arrangements is one in which each partner pays a percent of his or her salary into a joint account, which covers all the household bills and joint activities.
5. Send your thank you notes.
If you received gifts before your wedding, Tutera recommends sending thank you notes a few days afterward to reduce the amount of writing done after your big day. For all gifts given on the big day, it is proper etiquette to send your notes of thanks within three months after the ceremony. To avoid having the process become overwhelming, Tutera proposes "spacing out your note writing over the course of a few weeks rather than rushing through them all in a few days."
6. Order your wedding photos.
The photos of your wedding day will live on forever, so you should definitely take the time to choose the ones you love. Do keep in mind that you do not have forever — make sure you check in with your photographer and get the deadline date for when your selections need to be finalized.