I think it is safe to say that many of us have grand plans for our lives, and events in our lives. Even if by "grand" I actually mean "small, intimate, and stress free." That is still a plan and certain expectations come with making such a plan, though we might not realize it at the time.
This is the story of how my expectations finally caught up with me, broke me down, and we redefined what it is we truly wanted from our wedding.
When all of this wedding planning had started, Arlen and I both knew we would want to have a sweet and simple ceremony. Neither of us enjoys being the center of attention, and we have always felt that the most important part of a wedding was the actual marriage to one another. Oh, and the food. We both always talked of having really good food + desserts, NO MATTER WHAT, haha!
Planning a simple, backyard wedding sounded...well, simple, right? How different would it be from inviting people over to hang out with us on a Saturday evening? Aside from being dressed a little bit fancier and having a legal ceremony, it didn't feel all that different. However, from the beginning, even pre-COVID, the stress of this simple affair had already started to creep in.
Fast forward to just a few weeks ago, I had a major meltdown that I wasn't expecting, and it all happened when I was trying to bake macarons for our wedding "cake." I was at my friends house using her amazing kitchen with its double stoves and endless counter tops (oh my goodness, a true dream kitchen for a baker!), and my first batch of macarons utterly failed. I'm not even sure how, but they totally flopped at the batter making stage, and I had to dump it all down the drain.
I did finally manage to get the second, third, and fourth batches pumped out.
This failed batch sent me over the edge.
Generally, I am a very "live and learn" kind of baker where any mistake made in the kitchen is something I can take a lesson from. But on this particular day, a lot of little things had been slowly building, and I just completely cracked. When I made it back home (after baking nearly 300 macaron shells that I wasn't in love with and had a feeling I would have to re-do... which I did the very next day), Arlen and I listed out everything we had left to do because I was in full-on overwhelm.
Luckily, the macarons we didn't love (just the failed color that I had created) worked out well as dessert for not only my friend's bridal shower, but also given to practically everyone I knew. They tasted fine, but weren't what I had hoped for in the end.
This was my first new batch of macarons. We kept them all white for simplicity sake. They aren't perfect, but they worked out just as well for us and I am NOT making any more macarons for a very long time.
You might wonder what any of this has to do with Arlen's pants. Well, it was still on my list and was, in fact, past due in my mind. I had been lugging around extra stress regarding his pants. I still had to:
- Make the pattern from an old pair of his trousers,
- Decide if I had time to sew a toile of his trousers,
- Fit his trousers,
- Sew up a final version of his trousers,
- And pray that I could squeeze his pants out of the remaining fabric I had left from creating his suit.
All of this weighed heavily on me and I felt like I absolutely had to make these trousers for him. Subconsciously, I felt like it would make me a failure if I didn't make him a full on suit like I had always planned on doing. Like I wasn't a good seamstress, or fiance, or partner.
Isn't that so silly of me to have thought?
I wound up trudging along and dismantling a pair of his favorite shorts. They are actually pretty cool shorts that have this nifty hidden elastic that I REALLY want to figure out how to recreate in my own pants one day. 'Cause hidden elastic is always a win in my book!
I then made a very quick pattern from these shorts and haphazardly fit the pieces onto the remaining fabric I had from his jacket. I wound up having to cut a yoke in the back pants and told him I wouldn't be able to add pockets. My stress kept mounting, and I kept trudging along thinking this was something I absolutely had to do.
I then went to try the pants on Arlen and they... fit... I guess? Basically, the pants fit well enough, but there were some major grain line issues in the back leg, loads of drag lines, barely long enough, and still needed a waistband cut out from the scraps of fabric I had on hand, plus a whole host of other small issues.
Cue breakdown #2.
I 100% felt like a failure and like a crybaby on top of that. Why was I getting so worked up over pants? Or a simple wedding? In the grand scheme of things, neither was very important, and I felt guilty for allowing any of this to stress me out when there were elections coming up, a global pandemic to worry about, and people fighting for their basic human rights. Basically every thought and emotion I had been carrying with me for all these months started to flow right on out. I sat with all of my feelings for quite awhile and allowed them to bubble up and down as they saw fit.
Oh, and I hadn't mentioned this to but a few close friends, but throughout the course of all this happening, I also received news that my grandmother had passed away. The first major death in my family and it hit me in a way I am still not quite sure how to explain or that has fully run its course.
In the end, wonderful Arlen came to my rescue and offered the most beautiful solution: Just don't make the trousers.
So simple. So effortless. But what would he wear instead? He couldn't go pant-less in the middle of November. It might be really cold, albeit a great ice breaker, haha!
We pulled out all of Arlen's current pants and held them next to his jacket and shirt to see if any complimented the entire outfit. One pair did (yay!) It may not be the same color or anything, but it looks hella cute! And they are even a pair I had altered for him in the past to fit better, so I kind of, sort of have a mark in "making" his wedding pants.
If you have reached the end of this long, winding tale, all I have to say is... even the simplest of plans can get stressful. The best thing to do when things start to feel overwhelming -- at least in my case -- is to make a list of everything that is causing the overwhelm and ruthlessly cut out anything that truly doesn't matter. I am a fan of having two lists going at all times: One for the ABSOLUTE must haves, like... I must have food to serve at this wedding otherwise everyone might get a little cranky. And then a second for things-that-would-be-nice-to-have-but-I-wouldn't-notice-much-if-they-weren't-present such as a handmade matching pair of trousers or spotless backyard free of leaves or table runners filled to the brim with flowers. Stuff like that can happen and be a totally nice addition, but it's not the most important, so it's ok if it doesn't come about.
I had planned an additional blog post following Arlen's suit making process, but I don't feel another post is necessary. Plus, this entire blog series was just a fun way for me to document the process of sewing our wedding garments, and not an absolute must. I hope you have enjoyed following along in this very interesting tale! It's definitely been a roller coaster of a ride and both of us are so excited to sail into somewhat smoother waters. Only 20 days left and then it's off to hibernate for the winter! I'll see you all again sometime in November for the final post of this series: Wedding Day Goodness. <3