Two is Better Than One: A Checklist to Help you Turn Two Lives Into One

Getting ready for your wedding can be an exciting time, with all the planning and festivities. Many women, however, get so caught up in arrangements for the ceremony, reception, and honeymoon that they forget about many of the other more practical things that need to be done when you go from being a Ms. to a Mrs. Here’s a checklist of items, many of which can be done before the wedding, so you can spend your first weeks as a couple enjoying your newlywed status, not worrying about petty details.


Changing Your Name

This is usually one of the first thing people think about when getting married. If you are going to take your husband’s name or hyphenate both your names, you need to do this officially. Unfortunately, this is one of the items you will need to do after the wedding, as some institutions, such as Social Security, will need your marriage certificate. Places where you may need to file a name change include:
– Social Security
– Driver’s license
– Passport
– Credit cards
– Bank accounts
– Workplace
Once the name change has been filed with Social Security, you can use that to change your name at work. Make sure not to change the name on your passport before you change your other documents, as you will not be able to use it if it doesn’t match your other identification. It’s perfectly fine to go on your honeymoon using your maiden name and take care of the name change when you return. Be prepared for Social Security to take a couple of weeks and passport renewal to take even longer. To cover other places that may also need to know about your name change, such as the dentist or doctor’s office, you could send an announcement card. This could be arranged before the wedding and made ready to go right after the ceremony. You could also include any change of address in this announcement and send it to all your friends and family.

Changing Your Address

Most couples move after they get married, and this task in and of itself brings a lengthy to-do list. Unlike changing your name, this is something you can take care of (for the most part) before the wedding. You’ll be far less stressed if you can come home from your honeymoon to a new home that is completely set up, instead of waiting until you get home to get started on this list. If you haven’t been co-habiting (or if you have been but you are moving after the wedding), there are a lot of things you can deal with on this front before the wedding:
– Change lease or mortgage deed to include spouse or set up closing/move to the new place.
– Hire movers.
– Make a list of combined furniture and art and decide where it will go in the new place, as well as what will be done with the things you don’t want (store, sell, or give away).
– Likewise list house wares and appliances and eliminate duplicates (you will likely have to do a second round of this once the wedding gifts are opened).
– Pack for the move, label boxes so moving day and unpacking will be a snap.
– Notify utilities, including telephone, electric, gas, and cable.
– Adjust or take out a new homeowners or rental insurance policy (don’t forget to get a jewellery rider that includes your wedding rings).

Decide How to Handle Your Finances

It’s a fact that one of the biggest sources of conflict in a marriage is money. If you spend some time before the wedding deciding how this will be handled, it will make things go a lot more smoothly down the line. If you get this taken care of in advance, then once your name is changed, you’ll have your new name on a new account, new credit card, personal checks, or any other financial documents. When you and your sweetheart sit down to discuss how the finances will be handled, these are some things to consider:
– Do we want joint or separate bank accounts or a combination of both?
– Joint or separate credit cards or both?
– Are there legal issues that need to be dealt with, such as alimony from a previous marriage, child custody, or debt?
– Is there a need for a prenuptial agreement?
– What other insurance policies need to be adjusted after the wedding, such as car insurance, life insurance, or liability insurance (umbrella policy)?
– Do we need to adjust our wills or write one for the first time? What about living wills and end of life care? Guardianship for children from a previous relationship?
– Will we file taxes jointly or separately?
– Are there expensive memberships, such as to golf clubs or gyms that need to be combined or eliminated?
– Whose accountant and attorneys will we use or will we need to choose new ones together?


The Division of Labour

For most couples, the decision about who does what usually starts with the thank you notes and ends with a question mark after that. It’s a good idea to sit down before the wedding and decide how the household will run and who will perform things like cooking, cleaning, and pet care. Get a joint calendar and mark off important dates and times you or spouse are unavailable to do those regular tasks. (While you’re at it, decide where you will be spending your holidays, too!) Also, some common household services may need to be eliminated, changed, or started when you merge homes, such as:
– Housekeeping or house cleaning
– Gardening and yard work
– Pool maintenance
– Pet care or dog walking
– Newspaper delivery and magazine subscriptions
– Home security
– Online services, such as email, Netflix, or Hulu
With a little forethought, many of the items on the list above can be handled prior to your wedding, or you will at least have a game plan for afterwards. Knowing you have planning well in hand will give you the peace of mind to enjoy your wedding day, and will allow you to relax on your honeymoon. It takes a lot of work to take two separate lives and blend them into one, but when all is said and done, you’ll be happy to start your new exciting life together!
This is a guest blogpost from Dixie Somers.
Photo Credits: Mr and Mrs via, Married couple via., Car via, Sparkler ‘Love’ via
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