Wedding dates in the midst of quarantine conditions presented new and unique challenges. Couples who initially postponed or even canceled their original plans for the big day were devastated. Venues were shut down, travel restrictions were imposed, and beloved family members sheltered in place. For thousands of couples with big event plans for the wedding and subsequent honeymoon, pushing the date out indefinitely was the only option.
But many couples found a way around pandemic conditions because getting married during quarantine wasn’t going to change their focus on celebrating the union of marriage. For those of you who found yourselves exploring creative ways to tie the knot around the shutdowns, congratulations! But now that you’re an official couple on paper, you’re facing a new set of tasks and challenges. To help guide you through, here are three important areas that require your attention now that you’re officially married. It’s the to-do after, “I do.”
Reflecting & Saving the Wedding Memories
Your wedding itself may not have happened like you had initially planned. And now that you’re married, what you do next might look a little different too. Start with preserving the moment as you would have should the big day have unfolded as you originally intended. Spend time saving sentimental and keepsake items. Create that digital photo book with the pictures and videos you have. Consider writing a journal about the day, the quarantine conditions, and feelings so you can reflect in the years to come. Whatever your wedding day entailed, take the time now to make sure you’ve saved, preserved, and shared everything that makes it sentimental.
Preserving the Things
Most wedding and bridal industry leaders suggest taking the time after the wedding to preserve the keepsakes and mementos from your big day. Traditionally, this means cleaning and preserving the wedding dress and putting a piece of the wedding cake in the freezer. For many couples who tied the knot during the pandemic, those special things might now include face masks worn during the ceremony or memorabilia from the improvised venue.
Share Joy Digitally
Many couples were unable to have a reception, complete with DJ and photo booth. You may have had to forgo a daddy-daughter dance or the tossing of the bouquet. You instead opted for a private dance in your living room or only gathered with a few key family members, for a socially distant celebration. Consider sharing the videos of those moments via social media or your personalized wedding site. Those guests who were unable to share in your big day will love to see your footage, and it will help them feel connected.
Keep the Registry Open a Little Longer
Keep your gift wish lists open for friends and family who couldn’t be there for your special day, so they too can continue to offer gifts online. Consider reworking your registry to include a big honeymoon trip later next year. And don’t forget to send your thank you notes accordingly.
Name Changing 101: Where to Begin
Now that you’re married, it’s time to get down to the business of changing your name. Not all couples choose to change names, but for those who do, there is a long list of places to begin. You probably made quick work of adjusting your official social media handles. And those were easy. But getting married during quarantine was hard, and you may now face challenges and extra steps to getting your name officially changed.
Driver’s License & IDs
Start with your driver’s license, passport, or state ID, which may mean venturing to your local courthouse or department of motor vehicle office. Most of these require copies of the marriage certificate and additional proof of your former name or address. Be prepared by bringing along every piece of ID you currently have. And check your local municipality resources for online channels made available during the shelter in place orders.
Social Security & Banking Institutions
Once you have your new name on an official piece of identification, you can then pursue changing your social security card and banking institutions. Making changes at your bank may require wait times for updated debit cards or newly printed checks. Be mindful, too, should you have gift checks made out to your former name, cash, or deposit those before making final changes. Tackling these formal document changes means you may have to venture out to facilities in person to do so. The pandemic conditions and limited hours may cause delays in your process.
Rent, Bills, & Credit Cards
Most of your household bill accounts, including electric, water, and rent, can officially enact changes with a digital proof of marriage or new IDs. Don’t forget to contact your credit card companies or retail card accounts, as well. Much like the banking institutions, it may take time to receive your replacement cards. So you may have to continue signing your former name until your new cards arrive.
Changes to Healthcare & Insurance
Insurance coverages may need to be adjusted now that you’re married. Marriage is considered a qualifying life event, meaning changes or adding coverage is allowed, regardless of the standard open enrollment timelines. Consider reviewing your current policies together and deciding what benefits might be consolidated for cost savings. There are often a host of benefits available to couples that you might not have been eligible for as individuals. Home, auto, life, and health insurance will all need to be discussed, even if you’re not changing names. These qualifying life event windows of opportunity have a tight timeline, so adjustments and policies should be addressed soon.
Health Care Providers
Don’t forget to reach out to your health care providers and make name changes. Once your insurance coverages have changed, or your name is adjusted on existing policies, notify your doctors, dentists, or chiropractors offices accordingly. Many will suggest bringing in your documents for your next visit. If you need to make adjustments to emergency contact references or existing final wills, now is the time to do so.
Notifying Your Employer
Changing your name with your job is essential, as well. You’ll need to connect with your human resources department or supervisor to provide your new identification. Those changes may take time to implement but are important for taxes, payroll, retirement accounts, and beneficiary information. Your company may need to make changes to your work-based email addresses, signatures, or business cards.
Getting married during a quarantine may have changed everything about your original plans for your big day. But you found a way to navigate the challenges and become an official couple. Start with this list of things to do first, now that you’re married. Remember, you have only 60 days from when you get married to find a new health insurance solution that is right for you. When you’re ready to explore and choose new insurance options, in light of your qualifying life event, start browsing to find the perfect coverage today!