You’ve just had the most beautiful experience of your life, and you’re full of emotion. Beneath your excitement, you’re probably bone-tired, too, and anxious to take off your shoes and have some quiet time with your new spouse. But before you leave your wedding venue, there are still a few things that need to be taken care of. You don’t have to do them all personally, but you do have to make sure they’re done, either by the best man or maid of honor, by your parents, or by some other trusted soul.
1. Store Your Cake
If you were able to eat more than a bite of it during the reception, you’re ahead of the curve. Regardless, considering how much time and effort you put into making sure the cake would be both gorgeous and delicious, you deserve to wallow in its yumminess. If you’ve got a cake-topper, you don’t want it left behind, either.
Tell your venue or caterer ahead of time not to slice the top tier, and ask to have it boxed and refrigerated after guests have been served. Then remember to take it with you. If you’re going to freeze the cake, refrigerate it again for a while when you get home so the icing firms up. There might be cardboard underneath the cake; if so, remove and cover the cardboard with aluminum foil and then replace it. Now wrap the cake tightly in two layers of plastic wrap to protect against freezer burn. Even if you don’t have the time to refrigerate the cake first, wrapping it in plastic shouldn’t disturb a smooth fondant coating, although it might mush a softer frosting. But better to have the cake remain edible than perfect.
Finally, put the wrapped cake back into the box, wrap the box in foil, and pop it into the freezer. Alternatively to the box, put the wrapped cake into an airtight plastic container that you had the wonderful presence of mind to buy in advance.
If someone else is doing all this for you while you head directly off to your honeymoon, try to keep the ultimate transfer time to your own freezer as short as possible. Every time the temperature of the frozen cake drops, it gives ice crystals time to form and affect the texture of the cake.
You’ll probably forget this next bit of advice by the time your anniversary rolls around, but we’ll offer it anyway: The day before you want to eat the cake, take it out of the freezer and put it into the refrigerator to defrost, removing the plastic wrap after a couple of hours. Then leave it out for an hour or so before serving so it reaches room temperature.
2. Stow the Gifts
Inevitably, some people will bring gifts with them to the wedding. You made sure that they’ve been safely tucked away throughout the evening. Now don’t go home without them! It sounds like a simple thing, but in the crush of saying goodbye to everyone, it might slip your mind. It’s best to designate someone to be responsible for gathering up and transporting the gifts so that nothing goes astray.
3. Save the Decorations
If any part of the décor is something you want to save, be sure the venue or your wedding coordinator knows in advance. When an event is over, staff swoops in fast to start cleaning up and tossing things or packing them up for retrieval by the rental house. In any case, you really shouldn’t count on the venue to know the difference between the items that have been rented and those that you’ve brought from home and want to keep.
Even things that should be obviously personal, like framed photos, might be inadvertently thrown in with tablecloths that are going to the laundry. You’ll probably get them back, but why go through the hassle? Designate a trustworthy person or two to do a quick sweep of the room as the last guests are leaving.
4. Pay the Bills
You’ve already paid most of the bill to the venue and caterer, but there may be additional items that couldn’t be added until the evening was over. Be clear in advance about acceptable forms of payment (check, credit, or debit card), and make sure the responsible party knows he or she has to wait for the final tally before heading home.
The same goes for tipping. If you studied our wedding checklist, you prepared tip envelopes in advance and entrusted them to the best man or maid of honor to distribute at the end of the evening.
5. Check the Dress
This clearly isn’t something you need to do before you leave your venue, but as soon as possible, carefully check your wedding dress for stains. The faster the dress is in the hands of a reputable dry cleaner, the better the chance is that stains can be removed without harming the fabric.