Backyard wedding

The covered patio of this backyard was set up as the dance floor with twinkle lights hanging down from the awning. The family had also set up LED candles for added ambiance. 

Even if you don't have a Pinterest board full of wedding inspiration, you've probably done some daydreaming about the big day. 

Maybe you're making plans for a night of crafting and Netflix binge-watching as you DIY flowers, centerpieces, what have you. 

Or maybe you'd like to take your first dance to the next level. 

Whatever your goals, we're here to help you accomplish your wedding resolutions. 

Just make sure not to stress too much. Above everything else, you should resolve to enjoy the process and keep it all in perspective — when it's all over, you'll be married to your best friend. 

If you want your wedding to give back 

Free Ever After collects donated dresses and sells them. All proceeds fund the organization's mission to help survivors of sex abuse. 

• Buy your dress from Free Ever After. The nonprofit dress shop sells gently-used, discounted gowns and uses proceeds to support victims of sex trafficking. You can also donate your dress to the nonprofit. Visit the shop's new location at 5626 E. Broadway 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Visit for more information. 

• Book your wedding at Z Mansion. This downtown venue feeds the homeless when its not hosting weddings and receptions. Your leftover reception food can go toward those efforts. Take a tour of the mansion, 288 N. Church Ave., 5-8 p.m. Wednesdays. Visit for more information. 

• Hire a horse for your big entrance from Step Up Into T.L.C., Inc. The nonprofit's quiet herd of horses does both weddings and equine therapy. The same horse that makes your day special also visits seniors and hospitalized children. Learn more at

If you plan to DIY all the things

Cathy Day demonstrates how to pack the plants in a wood-pallet succulent garden-making at Green Things.

• Turn your bachelorette party into a workshop with Solace Macrame. For around $300, you and nine of your girls can learn how to make your own macrame pieces — aka beautiful wedding decor. Visit for more information. 

• Take a class at Green Things. The local nursery, 3384 E. River Road, hosts classes that will teach you how to make terrariums, vertical pallet gardens and succulent bowls. Most of these classes only cost whatever you spend on supplies. Check out the nursery's Facebook page for upcoming classes. 

• Check out our tutorials. Angela Pittenger and I figured out how to make a succulent bouquet for about $40. We would suggest doing this for your own bouquet and then giving your bridesmaids something simpler (and cheaper). Learn how to do this here. We also made a cacti centerpiece out of paper. It's so cute and only cost $18. You could definitely get the cost down by buying in bulk. Learn how to do that here

If you want your first dance to go viral

Bride Sheighlin Wilband dances with her new husband Chris Wilband to the band The Desert Cadillacs during their wedding reception at the Tucson Botanical Gardens, Sat. April 30, 2011. 

• Join the Let's Dance Club. Once a month, the ballroom dance club hosts a dance with lessons at 6 p.m. and free dance at 7 p.m. Learn to cha cha, waltz, foxtrot or polka (and more). The whole thing is free. Visit for more information.  

• Take a dance class with Fred Astaire Franchised Dance Studios, 4811 E. Grant Road, or Dance with Amanda Skaff, 1101 N. Wilmot Road. Both studios offer customized wedding dance classes for your first dance, daddy-daughter dance, mother-son dance or bridal party. Visit or for more information. 

• Check out Tucson Swing Dance Club on Thursdays at 405 E. Wetmore Road. For $5-$7 you can get a lesson at 7 p.m. and then free dance after. For more information, visit

If you want to get in shape

The native trees may be dormant but there are a lot of flowers, and yes weeds, covering the ground as hikers Marti and Robert Johnson, from Stanwood, Wash., take their dog Allie for a walk at Catalina State Park.

• Take a hike and take a break. We recommend Tumamoc Hill for a quick but tough workout (it will be closed for about two weeks, starting Jan. 22). Or head into nature. If you live on the east side, check out Sabino Canyon, 5700 N. Sabino Canyon Road, for tons of trails in a variety of intensity levels. It will cost $5 to park. If you're further north, head up to Catalina State Park, 11570 N. Oracle Road. The entrance fee is $7 per vehicle or $3 per individual or bicycle. Trails here range from short, 1-mile loops to 9 mile jaunts one-way. 

• Do some yoga. We love the $5 yoga hour classes at YogaOasis (245 E. Congress St., 2631 N. Campbell Ave., 7858 E. Wrightstown Road). They're great even if you don't have a ton of yoga experience. Visit for more information. 

• Try something new. Angela and I frequently try new workouts and write about them (see a list of those here). Floor Polish Dance + Fitness408 N. Fourth Ave., has plenty of creative workouts if you're tired of your daily date with the elliptical. Classes range from HIIT workouts (high intensity interval training) to burlesque fitness to Bollywood dance and Ab Fab. Classes are $6. Visit for more information. 

If you don't want to become a bridezilla

Angela Pittenger, left, and Johanna Willett suited up and ready to rage at The Breaking Point. 

• See the above information about yoga and fresh air. :) 

• Throw an axe or smash some bottles — in a completely safe and damage-free environment that won't alienate all of your bridesmaids. The Breaking Point, 5740 E. Broadway, has both rage rooms and axe-throwing. Or if you're on the northwest side, go to Splitting Timber Axe Range in the Tucson Premium Outlets, 6401 W. Marana Blvd. Visit or for more information. 

• Stay organized. Pick up a cute planner from Antigone Books, 411 N. Fourth Ave., or any bookstore of choice to keep your wedding plans on track. Or hire a wedding planner to help you juggle everything. Check out our list with around 20 Tucson wedding planners.

• Go on a date. Whether you need some good girl time or to get away with your sweetie, carve out some time for fun or romance. Here's a long list of date ideas — everything from heading up Mount Lemmon to getting drinks in a secret bar. 

Subscribe to stay connected to Tucson. A subscription helps you access more of the local stories that keep you connected to the community.