I have been consistently surprised by which elements of wedding planning are difficult and which are not. Like, picking a venue was actually really easy. I always wanted to get married at the beach, and my parents recently retired to the beach, and my parents were more excited about helping plan the wedding than my fiance. So the town was all picked out, and it's not a big town. They helped me make a list of location possibilities - I think there were nine - and then visited all of them and collected information. (Yes, I owe this entire wedding to the unpaid labors of my awesome parents. I will be giving them a very nice gift.) After reviewing the information, I spent a weekend in town and visited each place, and at the end there was a clear first choice on which we all agreed. And the date and time weren't a problem either, because apparently a year out is way too late to start planning your wedding, so the place we'd chosen had pretty much two dates left in the year 2015, one of which was in the dead of winter.
The dress was also not as hard as I thought. Yes, it was a saga, but it was a fun saga. At pretty much any point I could have declared myself done, at at every store I went to I found at least one dress I could have happily worn down the aisle. I had thought it would be a miserable saga, a tale of size-two dresses and a not-size-two bride. White makes me look washed out and long dresses make me look like a salt shaker, but apparently wedding dresses have some kind of magic sewn into them - maybe that's why they're so expensive - because almost every single one I put on was beautiful.
The things that have been unexpectedly difficult include:
1) Registering. Choosing your own presents should be easy, right? Except when you're marrying the pickiest person on earth and you are maybe not Miss Easygoing yourself. Also, the 70's have come back in style, so half the plates in the world depress me because they look like something my parents would have thrown out during our 1995 kitchen remodel for being too old-fashioned.
2) I already talked about save-the-dates, which were the hardest-to-choose postcards in the history of the world. What I didn't realize was that save-the-dates were the tip of the iceberg, and there is a whole invitation suite that has to be selected and personalized, with wording that does not offend anybody. Unless you edited a literary magazine with me in college, you would not believe the arguments it is possible to have about a comma.
3) Hair and makeup. Obviously I need to have this professionally done, because if left to my own devices I will get married in a frizzy ponytail and chapstick. What turns out to be hard is finding a hairstylist in a small town where you don't live and where most salons aren't open on Sunday, but they're happy to open specially for you and "your girls" (this is Wedding Speak for bridesmaids, because apparently all brides travel in packs. I am not having attendants, but if I were, most of them would be married with multiple children, or male, so the term would still not be terribly apt.).
Fortunately, all these things are under control. We are 90% of the way through with registering, almost ready to buy makeup, and well on the way to locking down a salon. So that just leaves finalizing the menu, planning the ceremony, writing our vows, planning flowers and centerpieces and favors, addressing that giant stack of aforementioned postcards... piece of cake, right?
Oh, and we have to pick a cake.