After you have walked down the aisle, whispered "I Do" and locked lips with the love of your life, you'll spend the rest of the night dancing, eating and hugging guests. But once that's all over and the night comes to and end, one thing you can look forward to is wedding gifts. Chances are each of your guests gave you a little something, whether it was an item from your registry or just cold hard cash. Either way, those gifts are yours. If you're wondering what to use all that wedding cash for, here are 7 ideas to get you started.
1. Clear Your Debt
If you have a stack of unpaid credit card bills or student loans that are still haunting your finances, you can use the money you received from your wedding to clear your debt and start from a clean slate.
2. Pay Back Your Parents
If your parents picked up most of the bill for your wedding, you can write them a check to pay back some of the money they spent throwing you the celebration of a lifetime. Even if the amount of money you received from wedding gifts doesn't amount to the total that they spent, you can still offer to pay back a portion.
3. Open a Savings Account
Put the money away for a rainy day and don't spend a penny of it now. You never know when you'll need some of the money — whether it's to pay for a future emergency or even for a future purchase that you'll need to pay a lot of money for upfront.
4. Put a Down Payment on a House
Use that money to pay for a down payment on a house or to buy an apartment to live in. If you've been renting for years and looking for an opportunity to buy, use the large sum of money you just received to make you a homeowner.
5. Invest in the Future
It may be hard to put the money you received away for a long time, but you do have the option to invest that money in a mutual fund or an IRA. If you're planning on having kids, you can even think far ahead to the future and put the money in a CD for a college fund.
6. Let Yourself Have Some Fun
Remember, you can do what you want with the money. There are no rules attached. So no matter what you decide to do, use a chunk of the money on something fun, whether it's investing in a new hobby or buying that 72-inch TV for your living room.
7. Take off On a Honeymoon
If after paying for the wedding expenses you feel can't afford to have a honeymoon, you can use the gifts you received from your guests to plan a honeymoon for the next year or two.
Jen Glantz is a "Professional Bridesmaid" and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She's the author of All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store and on first dates.