This post is sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are my own.

Your wedding day is over and you've officially started "real life" with the love of your life. Your wedding day is a blur of joy and complete organized chaos and honestly, so are the weeks following. There are so many things you need to do after your wedding to make sure that you're setting up your future together for success and a lifetime of happiness. It's time to dote over your wedding photos and reminisce of your perfect day.

Today, I'm sharing ten things that you and your spouse should do immediately after your wedding. It's everything from the steps to get your name changed to what to do with your bouquet!

One // Establish a budget

After you get married, reestablishing a budget is super important. Whether you lived together or not before the wedding, finances tend to change after the wedding day. You want to go over each expense together and make sure everything you're paying for is still relevant and needed. You may need to cancel one cable & internet subscription or combine your phone plans. Doing so will help you save money in the long run.

You can even combine your finances with joint checking accounts to pay your bills from, but one thing that Allstate recommends is to keep at least one credit card separate. This allows you to both continue to improve your credit individually. Credit scores don't merge together when you get married, they're for each individual, so you want to make sure you're still building it up and preparing for future investments.

Budgets are super important to stick to--especially your first year of marriage. Money is one of the most common causes for arguments in marriage, so if you establish boundaries and expectations from the beginning, it won't be an issue. Something that works for Chris & I (and maybe for you!) is we have a dollar amount that we can't spend over without consulting each other. Depending on your budget, it can change, but for us, we double check with each other if something is over $200. This doesn't include normally scheduled bills, but things like clothes, shoes, Target trips...you know, anything that can quickly rack up to $200+.

Two // Open your cards & presents

Call us crazy, but we couldn't wait to open up our presents. The night of our wedding and the next day, we spent time opening up our cards, reading the heart-felt messages from our friends & family, and opening up the presents that we received. It was so exciting to see everything from our registry actually in our home! We kept all of our cards from our wedding and placed them back in our card box. It's also perfect, because now we have a place for all our cards we give each other now and forever.

It's also important to open up the cards and cash the checks & deposit any money you've received into your bank account. Since a lot of the checks were written out to Mr. & Mrs. Christopher and Kristen Jones, Chris had to sign them over to me in order for me to deposit them into the bank since my name hadn't legally been changed yet. Once he signed them over to me, it was an easy peasy process. Just make sure you sign them over in person at the bank in front of the teller!

Three // Put $$$ in savings

Piggybacking on the whole budget thing, you know all of the money you just got from your wedding? No matter how much it is, put a good amount in savings. I can't tell you enough how much this money came in handy our first year of marriage. Of course you can use some of that money to pay off any balances you might have after your wedding, but I highly recommend saving at least some of it. You never know when you'll need an extra hundred or so dollars.

My friends at Allstate have some really great tips for moving in together & merging your finances, and they totally back me up on saving that $$$. Emergency funds are never a bad thing to have. Something else that you should work towards if you haven't already is to have three to six months salary saved. God forbid one of you lose your job, you'll have money saved with enough of a buffer to find a new source of income. When Chris and I got married, it was just two months after I quit my full-time job, and I had three months income saved up and that came in handy, for sure.

Four // Write your thank you notes

Give yourself a couple of weeks to recover from the wedding, but definitely within a month of your wedding, you should have all of your thank you notes written and sent out. We would write a few each night and it made the task a little less daunting. When you're writing your thank you notes, get personal and truly thank them for what they've given you.

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Five // Get your name changed

Getting your name changed is one of the weirdest experiences ever. It's one thing to change your last name on Facebook, but to literally change your identity was so weird! I still remember walking into the social security office hesitant to hand over my old social security card. Between you and me, I loved my old last name, but the time had come, I was married, and going from Rodriguez to Jones wasn't all that bad!

I know that it's a little daunting all of the steps that you need to take (and in a specific order, too), so here's what you need to do:

1. Obtain a certified copy of your marriage certificate. It took me a month to get mine after our wedding--You have to allow time for it to be submitted & then a copy sent to you!

2. Submit a name change request through your local Social Security Administration office. You'll get your new SS card in the mail in about two weeks.

3. Head to the DMV and bring your new social security card, certified marriage certificate, and old license with you. In PA I had to retake my picture as well, so get pretty! If you moved, make sure you have a utility bill or cable bill to prove your new address.

4. Notify your employer of your name & information change.

5. Notify your bank, credit card companies, and utility company of your name change.

Take a peek here for a complete list that Allstate put together filled with other places you've probably forgotten to notify! Some that even I forgot about!

Six // Preserve your dress, wedding bouquet & boutonnière 

Let's face it, our wedding dress doesn't stay perfect forever. Mine is still currently covered in dirt, mud, and Lord only knows what else, since we got married in a barn. haha! I should probably heed my own advice and get my dress professionally cleaned. For now, I have it on a dress form in our spare bedroom and it's a show piece for sure! But, don't do as I do and do as I say...get your dress professionally cleaned and preserved as soon as you can after your wedding!

Some brides choose to keep their bouquet and others throw it away. I'm too sentimental and had to keep it. I ended up placing it in a glass & gold display case. The display case that I have even has a place for loose petals and a boutonniere on the bottom!

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Seven // Get a fire proof safe box

Now that you're married, you have even more official & important paperwork. Your social security cards, your marriage license, insurance policies, important contracts, etc. so, you'll want a safe place to store them all. We got a fire proof safe box that we keep all of our important documents in. This way in the event of a flood or fire, our valuables will be saved. It's also handy because you know exactly where everything is--organized & ready for you when you need it.

Eight // Merge your home decor styles to create a home

Chris moved into my apartment that I had for a few years, so of course, it was the most girly apartment you could ever imagine. I had a pink ottoman, Kate Spade bedding, and well, literally everything just screamed girl. Obviously I couldn't keep it that way, so Chris and I purged our apartment together, sold some things on yard sale sites, and used that money to buy pieces we both loved.

*I just had to share this photo again from this post when we first updated our living room. Forever obsessing over our dining table & Lilly-Bear.

We were also super grateful to have received our farmhouse table and a lot of our kitchen appliances as wedding gifts, so we had help getting started on our new home decor. We decided together that we ultimately wanted our home to be a modern farmhouse, because it combined both of our styles perfectly. Combining your styles together is what makes a house your home.

Nine // Get a life insurance policy

I know that it's not the most fun to talk about and honestly a little morbid, but if something happens to you or your spouse, you want to be prepared. Getting a life insurance policy, especially when you're young, is extremely important. Not only are rates lower since you're less of a risk, you also establish a sense of financial security and your family will have a way to cover any expenses you've left behind. Allstate has local representatives you can talk to, and they will help you find a policy that works for your lifestyle and your budget.

Ten // Print out your wedding pictures or design your wedding album

It takes a month or two to get your pictures, but depending on your wedding photographer & packages, you will either have access to create your own wedding album or print out the pictures yourself. We opted to print out the pictures ourselves and put them in an album. It was so fun to be able to reminisce and look through our day as we put the album together.

I hope that this newlywed checklist helps you stay organized after you get married! If you haven't gotten married just yet, but are planning ahead, be sure to check out all of my wedding posts here! I have tons of advice and planning tips to help your day be as perfect as ever.

This post was written as part of the Allstate Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate. As always, thoughts and opinions are my own. As the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer, Allstate is dedicated not only to protecting what matters most, but to guiding people to live the Good Life, every day. Thank you for supporting ACF!

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