Announcing the 2018 PWG Elite Award Winners!

Ah yes, the morning after an incredible night. It seems like we spend all year long waiting for our favorite event, the Vendor Appreciation Party, and then suddenly it’s here and over far too quickly. Luckily our henna tattoos and memories of gold + glam will last a lifetime, even if the Bollywood-themed night couldn’t!

A very special thank you to The View Event Center by Simply Decor for truly tantalizing the senses with authentic chai, stunning performances, and a breathtaking space for us to celebrate and appreciate all of Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s best, local wedding professionals.

In the midst of all the glitz, we also awarded some particularly dedicated local wedding experts with well-deserved awards in categories like Best Floral Designer, Best Bridal Gown Shop, and Best Photographer. Don’t worry though, you don’t have to take our word for it that these vendors were worthy of awarding — they were chosen by local, engaged or recently married couples just like you!

So without further adieu, scroll on to get the scoop on the best wedding vendors Albuquerque + Santa Fe has to offer, as chosen by real local couples!

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2018 PWG Elite Award Winners:

Best Wedding Coordinator | Black Bow Events

Best Bridal Beauty Expert | Makeup by Kim Fisher

Best Spa or Place to Relax | Bliss Salon and Spa

Best Place to Order a Wedding Cake | Cake Fetish

Best Catering or Restaurant | Blue Plate Special

Best Place to Have a Bachelorette Party | Duke City Pedaler

Best Place to Have a Reception | The View Event Center by Simply Decor

Best Location to Have a Ceremony | Casa Rondena Winery

Best Wedding Officiant | Amor Ceremonies

Best Floral Designer | All The Pretty Flowers

Best Event Decor | Simply Decor & Events

Best Rental Company | Occasion Services & Events

Best Bridal Gown Shop | Bridal Elegance by Darlene

Best Men’s Formalwear Shop | Suits Unlimited

Best Place to Order Invitations | Funky Olive Design Invitations & Stationery

Best Disc Jockey | Dream Factory Productions

Best Live Ceremony Musician | Cello for Weddings

Best Local Band | Absolute Entertainment

Best Photographer | Matt Blasing Photography

Best Cinematographer | Southwest Wedding Films

Best Photo Booth Rental | Snapshot Selfies

Best Unique Wedding Service | Bombshell Fitness

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Our sincerest gratitude to the magnificent sponsors, who made our Vendor Appreciation Night the speculator party it was!

The View Event Center by Simply Decor | King Mobile Music | Tori Photography | Little Bear Media | Cafe Venture Catering | Funky Olive Invitations | The Acre Restaurant | Hacienda Del Rio | Jaz Catering | Magic Mirror NM Photo Booth | Tully’s Catering | Simply Decor

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The Sweetest Day: Dennis + Michelle’s Real Wedding

Just a few months ago, as spring was beginning it’s transition into yet another sunny New Mexican summer, a parallel transition was happening at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Albuquerque. Michelle + Dennis, whose love began a long time ago, ushered in the evolution of their relationship from fiancées to newlyweds, while framed by the pristine, white chapel at the Hyatt Regency.

There to capture the once-in-a-lifetime moment was Albuquerque’s very own, Bryan’s Photography, and we’re so glad. Michelle + Dennis have a love story that matches their wedding — timeless, exuberant, elegantly celebratory — and with Bryan’s Photography there to preserve each special moment in time, we’re able to relive the joyous occasion as if we were there with the couple.

Though the details of the wedding — splashes of gold, luxurious white bouquets, full-bellied laughter, undeniable fun — jump out from the photos, perhaps the most endearing and inspiring part of Dennis + Michelle’s story is exactly that: their story. Which, luckily for us, Michelle wrote about for our Fall/Winter edition of the Perfect Wedding Guide magazine, and now, we get to share with you!

Scroll on to read about how Dennis + Michelle came to be husband and wife {spoiler, it’s incredible} and to contact the local wedding professionals who made their celebration possible. {Spoiler, they’re also incredible.}

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Dennis and I dated 14 years ago, and when we realized that fate had brought us back together after a long journey of searching for that happiness that people so rarely find, we knew it had to be special. We wanted to host an evening of fun and elegance for our friends and family to celebrate our reunion and our love. The Hyatt Regency Downtown was the perfect venue for our ceremony and reception, providing a backdrop of modern elegance. Nothing spoke to our dream wedding more than the classics like the black tux with bow tie and stunning décor. We kept it modern and trendy by incorporating items like ahi poke (a tribute to our favorite place Kauai), champagne Jello squares studded with flecks of 14k gold and a casino night, making the evening uniquely us! It was very important to me to bring on my very own “dream team” of wedding professionals that I have had the pleasure of working with for several years. The evening was exactly how I imagined, it was full of love, laughter and the beginning of my life with the man that I know I am meant to be with.

-Michelle, Bride

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Venue: Hyatt Regency Albuquerque

Photographer: Bryan’s Photography

Bridal Gown: Suzanne’s Bridal

Bridesmaids Dresses: Bridal Elegance by Darlene

Men’s Attire: Mr. Tux Formalwear

Jewelry: Shelton Jewelers

Flowers: Something Special with Flowers

Décor: Occasion Services and Events

Wedding Cake: Casey Trent

DJ: Complete Weddings + Events

Photobooth: ABQ Amusements

Lighting: Heritage Audio Visual

Casino Night Vendor: On the Go Casino

Reception Place Cards: Differently Designed

 

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Pili + Sienna’s Albuquerque Engagement Session {Chrisi K Photography}

If you’ll recall, we recently posted our thoughts on the time-old debate: Should you have an urban or natural setting for your engagement photos? With New Mexico’s impressive and historically rich architecture on one hand, and the unrivaled mesas, mountains, deserts, rivers, and forests on the other, it’s a nearly impossible choice for local engaged couples.

But what if you didn’t have to choose? 

Yes, it’s true. We’re here with delightful information for the cosmopolitan mountain-fanatics and city-loving forest dwellers alike… You can have both! Or at least you can according to Albuquerque’s new favorite engaged couple, Pili + Sienna. Instead of compromising, the fiancées opted to have a two-part engagement session with Chrisi K Photography — one of New Mexico’s leading wedding photographers.

Starting in Zendo, Chrisi K Photography and the gorgeous couple graced the whitewashed coffee shop walls with their unbridled laughter and love. Using the industrial-chic interior as their backdrop, Pili + Sienna sipped coffee from matching mugs and stole kisses in front of the exposed brick, which always features local art. Complete with polaroids and shots of their tattoos, the first half of their engagement session with Chrisi K Photography is everything we could hope for in an urban love story.

Then, traversing up to the more northern parts of our lovely state, Chrisi K Photography shot the couple’s happy news in the mountainous desert landscape for which New Mexico is famed. Dancing in the open air, blowing bubbles, and just enjoying each other’s presence, Pili + Sienna’s devotion nearly jumps off the photos here.

We feel extremely spoiled to have the best of both worlds in this one, gorgeous engagement session. So hey, thank you Chrisi K Photography, for capturing Pili + Sienna’s pronouncement of love in all its wonder and glory! And to all other engaged couples, feel free to follow in suit Pili + Sienna — if you want urban and natural landscapes for your photos, don’t settle. Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s wedding experts are here to make sure you can have it all.

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Timeless Touches: A Styled Shoot

As a wedding photographer, I strive to create images and memories for my clients that they can look back on years from now and still love. This was the main motivation behind this photoshoot. Creating something that we can still appreciate 10, 20, 30 years from today.

-Maura, Maura Jane Photography

 

We’re total wedding-trend groupies, and honestly, we’re not afraid to admit it. Following along the perpetual evolution of decor, floral arrangements, and gowns while each facet of the wedding world grows and adapts to fit the needs of current trends is ceaselessly inspiring. Especially when we get to watch up-close as Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s local wedding professionals match — and even exceed! — trends from New York and L.A. without charging New York or L.A. prices.

But there is one downside to the ephemerality of wedding trends, and it’s simply that: they’re ephemeral! Think of your parents’ wedding photos — what with their sepia tones and overabundance of taffeta. The endlessly evolving trends are exciting to keep up with, it’s true, but it also means certain styles and details can carbon-date your wedding photos, and might warrant teasing from your future grandchildren.

So there’s something to be said for choosing to work with what is classic, like Maura Jane Photography did with this shoot at Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Lavender Farm. Rather than limiting the creative possibilities by skirting around current trends, the restriction offers talented local professionals — like A Beautiful Theme, who designed this shoot — the opportunity to showcase their innovative problem-solving skills.

Together, this team of Albuquerque’s best wedding experts manifested a dusty-blue dream and we’re willing to place bets on the fact we’ll still love this shoot in 10 years time. How could we not?!

{Check out the vendors, details, and more from Maura Jane Photography below!}

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Wedding trends have always come and gone, from mason jars and burlap, to dresses with puffed sleeves, and cakes with fountains. However, a wedding that is timeless can always be appreciated. We wanted to create an inspiration photoshoot with a classic and elegant theme. A wedding with timeless touches that also incorporates certain trends that are popular now with some of the most beautiful and stylish weddings of today. We used the popular color of dusty blue throughout the shoot, from the yummy macaroons on the dessert table to beautiful earrings that graced the bride’s ears and the pumps on her feet. She wore her hair in a classic chignon while the groom looked equally as dashing in a navy suit. Exquisite peonies and eucalyptus hung from the mint blue classic getaway car and down the long wooden tables. Ornate mirrored signs with effortless calligraphy decorated the entrance to the reception area and the dessert table.

-Maura, Maura Jane Photography

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Design + Decor + Planning | A Beautiful Theme
Jewelry | Ooh Aah Jewelry
Invitations | Funky Olive Design
Bouquet Ribbons | Desert Garden Silk
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Rick Saul Photography {Professional Spotlight}

We’re sure you’ve gleaned this from our endless scroll of real wedding and styled shoot content, but in case you haven’t: we. love. wedding. inspiration. But as far-reaching and all-encomapssing as our love is for heartwarming, tear-jerking love stories, our adoration for local wedding professionals is twice as intense. Why is it that so?

Because wedding experts are the ones who make the inspiration come to life. 

Might sound simple, but when you consider the years of training, amount of equipment, late nights and the blood, sweat, and tears that go into creating a small business from the ground up, it really is no small feat.  Which is why we’re endlessly impressed with Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s local wedding professionals. There’s a lot of hard work and community support needed to venture out into the business world, but key ingredient needed for a successful small business, especially a creative one like photography, is passion. 

Which, thankfully, Rick Saul Photography has plenty of. Rick, the creative behind the business name, first began dabbling in photography when he was 8 years old. Lucky for us wedding lovers in New Mexico, someone gifted Rick a box camera at the young age, and the curiosity and love for the craft continued with him throughout his life. 

Now, years after that first photo with his first box camera, Rick has bolstered his natural talent with a healthy knowledge of the creative pursuit that only comes with decades of practice. {He even took intel photographs while serving in the Navy, and crime scene photos while working with NCIS. Talk about a range of experience!}

Rick Saul Photography uses this unparalleled expertise to ensure every couple their team works with is not only comfortable and happy on their wedding day, but that they also have classic, tangible reminders of this happiness for lifetimes to come. By using two shooters, male and female, they avoid any discomfort and are able to capture special moments as the groom and bride get ready for their vows, as the photographic storytellers they are. With a documentary-style aesthetic approach that utilizes natural light, the Rick Saul Photography team captures moments that won’t reveal their age as the ephemeral trends of photography come and go. 

With all this in mind, we’re honored to have Rick Saul Photography here in New Mexico, serving well-deserved couples the best wedding photography this state has to offer. Simply put though, we love their team because they also create the wedding inspo that drives our work and warms our hearts. {Like the goodies below, courtesy of their team! Scroll on!}

To book Rick Saul Photography for your wedding, you can contact their team here. 

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Airy + Alluring Apple Orchard {Real} Wedding

Well, pack it all up folks, our work here is done. We’ve officially found the most appealing New Mexican wedding, and it took place at the apple orchard, Rancho Manzana. {Get it? Appealing, apple orchard, peeling apples? Cheap shot, we know, and usually we don’t go for low-hanging fruit, but we’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth for food puns and couldn’t resist. It stems from a place of deep admiration, we promise.}

Though there’s still a few weeks before the official start of autumn — three to be exact, but we’re not anxiously counting the days or anything like that — it seems all of New Mexico is ready to release the summer heat in favor of fall’s freshness. Green chile roasting has already begun filling the air with savory, mouthwatering memories, earlier this year than ever before. At least as far as we can remember!

So there’s no better wedding to share for some unrivaled wedding planning inspiration at this particular moment in time. Captured by the dutiful and darling, Arielei Kinzer Photography, this celebration is exactly what we need to tide us over until the leaves finally start to turn. Wrapped up in a warm, cinnamon-y type of love, Lynsey + Kent married last October in Chimayó, New Mexico at, yes, a stunning apple orchard.

I loved getting to photograph this wedding for Lynsey and Kent! They blew me away with how kind and genuine they were, and their friends and family were all so wonderful. Their wedding was heartfelt, simple, and filled with personal touches — it really was serene and beautiful. Definitely one for the record books!

The wedding took place at an apple orchard in Chimayó, and Lynsey spent the week beforehand picking apples. She used these apples for homemade apple butter, which she then packaged into little jars to give away as wedding favors! How awesome (and adorable!) is that?

-Arielei, Arielei Kinzer Photography

Our suggestion for scoping out this exceedingly serene wedding for inspiration is to do as follows: blast your air conditioner, draw the shades, and make a cup of tea. Only then should you wrap up in your favorite sweater and/or blanket, and scroll on to live vicariously through Lynsey + Kent’s celebration that’s as sweet and warm as Lynsey’s apple butter. When real life calls again and you simply must step out into the beating sun again, remember — only three more weeks until we can all get married under golden leaves and sweet fruits.

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Venue: Rancho Manzana || Dress: Shareen, L.A. || Flowers: Renegade Floral || Officiant: Naomi Fiske || Cake: Whole Foods || Makeup: Sally from Santa Fe Lash and Beauty Bar || Hair: Ana Claudia from Diva Salon || Favors + Invitations: Bride DIY || Music: Absolute Entertainment ||

 

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