What To Expect After Your Wedding

The thing that’s so baffling about being a newlywed is the lack of information on what’s to come after all the guests have gone home. There is no shortage of articles, blogs, and roadmaps guiding you through the wedding planning process. From creating your budget, to finding a venue, to knowing how much liquor to stock up on—it’s all clearly spelled out and there for the taking. But once that day is over, you’ve returned from the honeymoon, and your once-pumping adrenaline has dried out right along with the $400 flower bouquet…what’s next? Well, grab a fresh container of Rocky Road and get comfy, because here it is. A Dummy’s Guide on what you can expect after your wedding.

The Thank You Cards

You’ve reached a point where your mailman knows you by name and your apartment looks like an Amazon fulfillment center. Your counters are cluttered with the air fryer, new cold brew machine, and many other *must have* appliances you registered for. Which means one thing: it’s time to write thank you cards. Shouldn’t be an issue, since you’ve diligently kept records of who sent what (basically a list of your new favorite people, and those who need a lesson on etiquette because a $40 felt pen is not a good enough reason to stray from the registry, Susan). 

But 15 minutes in, with exactly two notes completed, your hand starts cramping and you realize you haven’t put pen to paper since your SAT exam, which you’d pretty much rather be doing at this very moment. Overwhelmed by the list you’ve yet to make a dent in, you begin wondering “Can I write the same thing to each person, or do they call each other up and compare notes to see if the messages differ?” and “Aunt Carol is senile… will she even know if I skip hers?”

But before you throw in the towel and Google “professional thank you card writing services” online, here are some suggestions to make the process manageable! 

  1. They do not all need to be written by next week, so do a few each day, and maybe start with the older guests who are likely waiting by the mailbox to receive your note of gratitude, silently judging you with each day that passes. 
  2. Get out of the house! Head to your favorite coffee shop, a park, or other place of solitude so you can actually look forward to this time of writing. 
  3. Script it out! Have 3-4 lines that you’ll write over and over again. “Thank you so much for traveling to celebrate with us.” “Your presence meant the world to us.” “No, we’re not ready for babies just yet.” (Trust me, that last one will save you from many unwanted conversations with the older relatives). Beyond that, trick guests into thinking you’ve spent TLC on their thank you note by inserting an inside joke or reference to something they did at the wedding. Plus, the personalized few lines will serve as an insurance policy in case they really do phone a friend to compare content!
  4. Delegate! This is not a one-woman job. Marriage means sharing, so let your S.O. know that you’re so excited to share in the joy of this process, and no their bad penmanship does not disqualify them from taking half the stack (so kind of them to ask)

For those of you not yet married, you can avoid this overwhelming process by simply writing thank you notes as you go. Most gifts will arrive in waves leading up to the big day, so thanking your guests as you receive them makes it extremely manageable, and you’ll thank yourself later.

The Never-Ending New Ideas

The once so-helpful inspo pics that flooded your IG and Pinterest feeds now seem to be haunting suggestions of what could have been. Wedding gowns that you’re sure would compliment your figure even better than the dress you selected. Adorable bite-sized hors d’oeuvres that put your bacon-wrapped scallops to shame. The more you scroll, the more you start second-guessing each decision you made, and you find yourself mindlessly screenshotting new images, forgetting that your time for these details has come and gone. You start to wonder if guests would be amused or annoyed at the suggestion of a second wedding (we’ll call it a celebration of our marriage). Probably annoyed, right? 

So before you get too deep in the abyss of self-loathing and regret, take a step back! This is a great time to focus on creating a wedding album, and relive the gorgeous moments and perfect details you chose. Watch your video and feel relief at the fact that your wedding was absolute perfection, and no amount of bite-sized grilled cheeses can take that away. 

The Lack of a Project

You’ve spent so much time and energy creating your dream wedding day, and when it’s over, you find yourself bored AF. Unfortunately, having a baby just to cure your boredom isn’t a great reason to procreate, but TBH, I understand the urge.  After all, your days for the past year were meticulously planned out and jam-packed with calls to your coordinator, constant changes to the menu (yes, the french fry bar required a truffle mayo, didn’t they know anything?!), carefully crafted emails to vendors, foraging Pinterest for new and improved decor, etc. But now, with the wedding behind you and nobody to threaten with bad Yelp reviews, you’re at a loss. I mean, what are you supposed to do with your days? Spend them actually focusing at work? I think not. 

Instead of making an impulse decision like getting a dog (guilty), immerse yourself in another project. Have a newly-engaged friend? Great, help her plan her wedding! Have a coworker’s bachelorette party approaching that you had previously laughed at the idea of attending? Well, tell her sister to make room in the party planning efforts, because you’re now free as a bird and here to save the day with your super trendy ideas. Ugh, they’re like, sooo lucky to have you. I’m sure there are other projects/hobbies that don’t involve planning a wedding-related event, but I’ve yet to find any.

The Newly-Married 5

This post-marriage reality is a less drastic take on the Freshman 15. Unlike your days of scarfing down bagels with peanut butter each morning and late night Dominos deliveries for one, the Newly-Married 5 takes a more subtle approach. With the wedding behind you, so is the stress of having to fit into a skintight gown. Which means there’s an opportunity to slack. You begin skipping your once-routine workout classes (Barry’s Bootcamp will still be there next month, what’s a few weeks off?), you say “why the hell not” to the full-fat latte, and you begin seeing the abs you had worked so hard for slowly start to vanish. My suggestion here? Easy: Enjoy it. One of the only—eh hem, I mean biggest—perks to having the wedding behind you, is that any pressure to look “your best” has come and gone. So go ahead, swap out the Halo Top for the real stuff, and feel a tinge less envious of your bestie who is a week out from her wedding and hangry AF. 

All right my friends, this is the end of your roadmap. All of you newlyweds, I hope you find solace in knowing that any boredom, weight gain, or inexplicable crying while watching “Say Yes To The Dress” is tots normal. Obviously the whole “being married to your soulmate” part is amazing, but like, anyone who’s spent half her life anticipating a moment that has come and gone in the blink of an eye is sure to feel some remorse. But soak in those memories, enjoy your newfound boredom, and take slow, deep breaths each time you’re asked about plans to procreate. 

All of you bride-to-be’s, let this guide serve you well. Write the damn thank you notes as you go, enjoy the planning process, and know that the “engagement glow” they speak of is in fact sweat, because coordinating a perfect day is no walk in the park! But it’s a process that, once over, will be sorely missed, so enjoy the chaos and your halo top ice cream while it lasts.

Images: Shutterstock; bobasquared, colleenzewe, desbfit, betchesbrides / Twitter

Lexi Masur
Lexi Masur
Lexi Masur is a past bride-turned-wedding-blogger who is obsessed with peanut butter, crime documentaries, and her dog Tater Tot. Follow her tips on Instagram to avoid becoming a bridezilla.