“The Times, They Are a-Changin…”

Where there used to be intimate proposals on one knee, there are now skywriters, billboards and flash mobs. Engagement parties have gone from fire halls to dance halls. And bachelor and bachelorette parties now last for days, whereas they used to last only a few hours.

The new wedding trend is simple: set your own. Get personal and toss tradition out the window. The engagement, the announcements, the parties, the ceremony and all the little things in between — design them all to complement your personalities. Simple or extravagant, it’s your choice.

It’s a general rule that the ladies in the bride’s family and inner circle throw her a shower before the big day. It’s a day when she’s “showered” with the gifts she and her husband-to-be picked out together; although, that guy isn’t invited to the party. Why is that?

Here’s an idea: toss that tradition. Throw a couple’s shower instead.  And what’s more personal than inviting your closest friends into your own back yard to celebrate your union?

(This & That Creations Inc.)



’Tis the season for barbecues! Plan a simple menu (think burgers, chicken, corn on the cob), but one that allows guests to eat while standing (sliders, skewered chicken, corn on a stick). Ask close friends/family to contribute to the menu with side dishes and snacks.


(Sweet Disposition)



Most people will mingle, so simple, on-the-go goodies are best: cupcakes, cake pops, cookies, etc. Desserts might do best in the kitchen, out of the heat. Creating purposeful spaces — food in one area, a drink station in another, desserts indoors — also encourages guests to move around.


(Love Letters)


Place cans of soda and bottled water in a decorative cooler or even a wheelbarrow, where guests can serve themselves. Depending on the crowd, offer a signature drink (like a refreshing orange crush, pre-made in a self-serve beverage jar) or a bourbon bar for the fellas.

“It all started with a crush”

Orange Crush (serves 50)

12 1/2 cups orange flavored vodka

6 1/4 cups triple sec

100 oranges, juiced

50 splashes of lemon-lime soda

Orange slices



Nature comes to life in the spring, so chances are, your back yard is already lush with vibrant greens and colorful blooms. But it doesn’t hurt to add a few more simple touches. Wildflowers are free and plentiful, and arranged in a Mason jar or old bottle, they make beautiful rustic centerpieces and tabletop accents.

(Coastal Tented Events)


Set the mood with lighting. White twinkle lights strung from tree branches and votive candles create a serene atmosphere, and only get more beautiful as evening approaches.

Personalize your party with framed photos of you and your beau taken throughout your relationship, or create a “bunting” using snapshots and small clothespins.



Hit “play” and let Pandora or Spotify do the work. Also, set up corn hole or horse shoes in the corner of the yard. And don’t forget to offer bottles of bug spray and sunscreen!



Thank your guests for celebrating with you by offering a small gift before they leave. Everyone loves S’mores, and they’re easy to package in single servings. Attach a cute tag: “S’more love” plus your name and date.