When planning a wedding, we see a 6-10 hour day in super-slow-motion. When it finally arrives, everything happens so damn fast that it almost feels like a cheat. Wait, I want to revel in this amazing feeling of being beautiful and surrounded by love in this gorgeous place! It's 10pm already? WHOA. When it's over, we're left with a glorious pile of memories, some killer photos, and all this knowledge. Now what?
One of the both brilliant and terribly frustrating things about getting married is how much you learn during the process that you can't really apply to anything else. No one really wants to be THAT friend who rattles on about her wedding the second any of her friends gets engaged, shoving off her dreams, style and experiences like a Disney stepsister: "Oh, darling, you can't POSSIBLY live without doing (insert any number of things here)..." Ugh.
Still, we "bridal graduates" know a lot. Planning a wedding is an emotional, physical and often spiritual marathon that is so intense and so fast that you can't help but be changed by it. No wonder some of us become as obsessed with weddings as our mothers and/or mother-in-laws are now obsessed with the incoming grandchildren (right? right?). By the time the day is over, there's usually a list of things that went perfectly, things we wish we'd done differently, and stuff we could have never planned for. Since we're unlikely to ever need that knowledge again, it just... sits there (unless you're a photographer and can talk about weddings almost everyday--bwahaha).
So, dear engaged girls, you can ask us stuff. We're always happy (sometimes a little too happy, sorry loves) to tell you what worked and what didn't. To go dress shopping with you. To help you put together your centerpieces and make jam for your favors. To answer questions and to tell you that, in fact, you aren't crazy! It's great therapy for both the married and engaged.
The advice I received from a few of my fab friends really made a difference on my day and has really stuck with me. For example, choosing your bridal party (and guests, to a certain extent) by whether you could see still being their friend in ten years. Many of my brides talk about decisions they made because one of their best friends told them something really important from their own wedding.
And once you've "graduated", be kind. Be supportive. Be ready to help. But also remember it isn't your wedding, so pull out your own wedding album and enjoy it. You worked hard for that.
P.S. Maybe we need a support group. A yearly party. We should all get together, wear pretty dresses, drink our favorite beverages, play lawn games and talk about our weddings. Because, really, they were pretty fantastic.