After rhinoplasty, the vast majority of the swelling, perhaps 70-80% resolves over the first 7-10 days. At this point, the nose is usually quite passable and patients can return to work or social situations. The remainder of the swelling gradually dissipates over the course of 12-18 months, as the nose becomes increasingly refined.
You may have days, in particular in the morning, during which your nose appears slightly more swollen. I have found that a number of factors can contribute to this daily fluctuation, a phenomenon which can last for up to a year. These include: excessive sodium intake, alcohol, hot environments (saunas etc.), and flying (due to changes in cabin pressure). I usually advise my patients to avoid sodium-rich meals and alcohol for 1-2 days prior to a big event, such as a wedding or class reunion, if you want your nose to look as good as possible. On the night of the event you can eat and drink to your heart's content, as the swelling usually doesn't occur until the next morning!