Eco-Friendly Florals with Simply Sola Decor

For all of you Earth lovers out there, and we hope that all of you are, this blog is for you. For most people, when searching for wedding essentials like food and tableware, the idea of waste pops into mind right away. Like all other big events and celebrations, weddings end up producing an unbelievable amount of waste. According to The Green Bride Guide, “the average wedding produces 400 lbs of garbage and 63 tons of CO2”. With everything else going on during the wedding planning process, these stats can be overwhelming and it can be hard to take the time to research eco-friendly alternatives that can reduce the amount of waste that is accumulated during the event.

There’s no need to fear because your Perfect Wedding Guide ladies are here to bring the positive light and help you reduce your wedding day waste! We’re so proud to say that we work with an incredible group of vendors that specialize in sustainable essentials–like our newest member, the talented and quite crafty, Simply Sola Decor. She uses sola wood to make floral designs that will last forever and can be used over and over again. Simply Sola Decor immediately fits into the category of one of our three favorite “Rs”: Re-use!

Via Simply Sola Decor

Christina is the magic-maker behind the business, and it is clear that she has a strong passion for creating beautiful and high-quality alternatives to wedding florals. She creates with intention and her clients choose wooden flowers so that they can be repurposed or saved as keepsakes, where live flowers will be thrown away or die just days after the wedding. Often, live flowers are imported and not locally-sourced, which can be damaging to your health and the environment.

Via Simply Sola Decor

Something that we love about Simply Sola Decor is that her wood flowers look like REAL flowers. At first glance, you would never guess that the flowers weren’t freshly cut from the garden. Christina is just really good at this stuff. Period.

Via Simply Sola Decor

BONUS TIP: Simply Sola Decor‘s florals can be re-purposed in a variety of ways. Here are just a few of our faves:

1. Home decor – Keep your dining room table or fireplace mantle looking chic with a vase of ever-lasting flowers!

2. Flower crowns – Create a masterpiece that you can wear around and show off, all while enjoying a memento from the special day.

3. Passed on from one person to the next – If you have friends and family that are planning a wedding or event, you can always pass on your florals for them to use!

If you want florals that last, then Simply Sola Decor is your match! You can learn more here.

Sources: Harrison, Kate L. The Green Bride Guide: How to Create an Earth-Friendly Wedding on Any Budget. Sourcebooks, 2008.

You're Engaged, Now What? A Comprehensive Guide on Planning Your Wedding

Your partner popped the big question and you said yes–congratulations! Although the excitement of your engagement has your stomach filled with butterflies and you wish you could hold onto these perfect and stress-free moments forever, you are probably starting to wonder when the chaos of wedding planning is going to begin. More importantly, you’re probably wondering where to start, and that is where we come in! Before we go any further, we want to tell you that planning your wedding is meant to be filled with personality, joy, laughter, and bonding. It can truly be an amazing experience for you AND your loved ones, and we encourage you to have some fun!

The First Steps

Let’s take a deep breath. Sit down. Close your eyes. Imagine your ideal wedding. What do you see? What does your dress look like? What does your suit look like? Is your wedding inside or outside? Do you see trees? What about a chapel? How many people do you want surrounding you while you say ‘I do’? These thoughts can quickly become overwhelming and we know that money and time are the first things that come to mind. For just a moment, imagine that these concepts don’t exist and then open your mind to the possibilities! Instead of seeing them as negative thoughts, turn them into opportunities. This is the moment where you let your personality and imagination take control. After you’ve designed your ideal wedding, now you can take it to the drawing board and decide on the details.

However, we know that some people enjoy having a professional to guide them in their first steps, and that is why wedding + event planners exist! One of our own lovely wedding planners, Danielle of D Events and Weddings, is an expert in her craft and offers full service event planning just for you from beginning to end. Remember that wedding you just imagined, the one that seemed impossible? She’s here to make it possible–and she’s done it countless times before. Yup, you can breathe easy now.

Jasper K Photography | Black Bow Events

Local Wedding Vendors

So you’ve reached out to your wedding planner, or maybe you’ve decided to DIY, but either way you’re ready to start building your team of love experts. Find your venue, caterer and get all of the high priority planning squared away. Your wedding planner will be right by your side during this process for smooth sailing and emotional support (it’s not in their job description, but we know that they must be pretty good at it). After that, it’s time to grab your gals or your bros and have some fun. Dress and suit shopping, creating ‘save the dates‘, florals–local wedding vendors will have everything you need without the hassle of ordering online and waiting to see your product. We do love a good Etsy shopping spree, but we also encourage you to support your community because they’re kind of flippin’ awesome.

You can also get discounts on local vendors when you have a wedding planner like Black Bow Events, another local business who has years of experience planning amazing weddings. We love that event planners are there every step of the way and have cultivated connections with the wedding community so that planning your wedding can be stress-free and budget friendly.

Brandon Harwell Photography | D Events and Weddings

Just Months and Even Days Away

The wedding is months away, and everything is pretty much settled. Well, as settled as it can be–we get it. Now it’s time for all of the final preparations, like teeth whitenings, spa days, gym memberships, guest accommodations, etc. A wedding planner can help you get set up with all of these things if you’ve lost the energy! But beyond all of this, it’s your time to rest and focus on the love between you and your honey. These moments before the big day are unique and exciting, they should be embraced. So put down your notebook filled with wedding planning notes, go grab the love of your life, and remember why you’re doing it all–for the love.

Feel like you need more wedding planning help + inspiration? You can check out our own website here where you can find upcoming wedding shows, local vendors, discounts, and giveaways. We would be honored to be a part of your planning process and we’re here for you every step of the way.

Lavel Marie Photography | D Events and Weddings + Black Bow Events

Header photo: Lavel Marie Photography

New Mexico History & Culture: Lucas Stein Designs

Good photography starts with a trained eye and technical skills, great photography comes from the connection developed between photographer and subject.

Lucas Mathew Stein

We love everything about New Mexico, from the sunsets to the authentic and delicious cuisine. There is something that really stands out, though – the people. We are fortunate enough to live in one of the most unique states in the whole country where our communities are close-knit and utterly diverse. This is why so many eager couples travel from all over the world just to come experience a wedding in the Land of Enchantment.

For one particular local, New Mexico is both home base and canvas. Enter Lucas Stein Designs, one of the newest additions to our Perfect Wedding Guide family! We love to welcome local vendors that are passionate about their work and our state, and we are especially thrilled when they’re making big moves in the industry. Lucas Stein has made his mark countless times while working on local film sets in many departments, and now he is focusing his energy on capturing stunning photos of couples. Yeah, he can pretty much do everything.

Lucas Mathew Stein has worked on movie sets and television shows for the past 21 years. He has served as a Director, an Executive Producer, Assistant Director, Production Coordinator, Transportation Captain, Personal Assistant, Medic/Massage & Bodymind Therapist to celebrities and crew; he is now focusing his energies towards the art of photography.

In every bit of his work, he makes sure to use New Mexico as his canvas to create authentic and high quality images. Something that we enjoy so much about his photography is the unique stylistic choices he makes. Unlike many of the recent trends in wedding photography, vibrant colors and editorial style poses make everything come together perfectly, all while making sure that the couple and their love for each other is still at the forefront.

If you are looking for a professional wedding photographer that will take your photos to the next level, then Lucas Stein Designs should be your go-to. With an outstanding portfolio, years of experience, and super friendly and adventurous personality, you’ll be in good hands!

Want to get in contact with Lucas? Learn more here.

Going Garcia: Elena + Antonio's Wedding Story

We, your Perfect Wedding Guide team, adore stories. Stories are what make us who we are from start to finish, and they live on beyond our years on this Earth through the gift of family and friends. We are especially fond of the stories that are about love, of course, because they are passed on from generation to generation. This is why whenever we receive a new wedding story from a bride, we grab a box of tissues and anxiously wait to share it with all of you.

Elena and Antonio Garcia just got married in October of 2019, and have quite the story to share. Before you keep reading, we just want to warn you–it’s a bit of a tear-jerker (in all of the best ways). The way Elena tells her story is so eloquent, so we are going to let her take center stage for this feature:

“Tony and I met in 7th grade pre-algebra, but it wasn’t until the summer before Junior year of college that we went on our first date. We were friends, of course, for the 7 or so years before we started dating, but this guy was ALWAYS in a serious relationship. (If you asked him he’d say the same about me, haha). He asked me to go to breakfast with him sometime in April of 2014, and the night before, actually like 10 hours before, he texted me to cancel. So, I took matters into my own hands and text him later in the week asking if we could make it up another time. We scheduled for May and this time he showed! We went to the Tea House in Santa Fe and afterward he waited the appropriate amount of time…5.5 hours… to call me and ask if we could do it again (lol). Then 3.5 years later, Christmas Eve on the Canyon Road Gallery Walk at that very same little cafe table, he got down on one knee. At the time I was living in PHX finishing my doctorate and he was in ABQ. We had spent the last 2 years fumbling, and I do mean FUMBLING, through long distance. However, as hard as it was Tony never gave up on me, drove 6 hours one way 2-3x/month, and loved me harder than I ever knew was possible. The second he reached for that ring in his pocket, and even way before the considerable shock and awe wore off, I knew my answer was: yes.

Haley Lupinski Photography

It took us a while to begin planning our wedding as I was set to move back and finish my clinical rotations in May of that same year. But once we did, I was immediately in love with all of it. I had no idea how much fun it would be to coordinate, plan and truly create a whole day centered around this incredible love I had found in Tony. We truly were a team throughout the whole planning process, in fact, he is the one who found and booked our venue, baker and DJ and he and his groomsmen created all our woodworking DIY items. We went to Bridal Expos and open houses together, he would bring home the latest copy of the Perfect Wedding Guide, we watched wedding shows on TV and followed wedding videographers near and far to get inspiration. We painted signs together, built custom monogram cornhole sets, made an escort card board and set visions for our head table displays and for months I was amazed to find how much my right brain loved being able to create, plan and enjoy the whole process. We elected to have a kind of “week-long” celebration in that our bridal party arrived 2 days early and we stayed all-together in bride and grooms suites. Which led me to wonderful insight. The day goes by so fast that you will likely not even have time to think. I would 200% recommend having your close loved ones around in advance. My girls and I got to hot tub, we bonded with the boys, we stayed up and ironed robes and talked about the excitement and butterflies, we enjoyed a few adult beverages together and truly I could not imagine anything more calming two days before the wedding than that. It was absolutely wonderful and necessary.

Haley Lupinski Photography

Then, the day arrived. Which, of course, everyone says its the “best day of your life” but no one can prepare for how truly magical it feels to see your loved ones all in one place there for no other reason than to support this incredible love and life you have created. Tony and I are both criers so we, and just about everyone there, sobbed the entire day. But in between that we laughed, we danced, we took tons of photos and most importantly we stayed present and enjoyed every second. As with every wedding, or event in life really, there were a few game-day challenges. For starters my dress came in..in the wrong size, twice, months beforehand. The second too small dress I actually tore trying to get off in the bridal store…that was horrifying. But still beyond worth it the day of to see my husband’s face as he saw me for the first time walking down the aisle. Next, I ordered a veil online that was apparently not proper veil material because when I took it in to get steamed on the Monday before the wedding, yes, as in 4 days before, it burned. But my dress consultant was kind and generous enough to actually give me one that was truly WAY more beautiful and matched my dress to a T.

Haley Lupinski Photography

And then….the weather. Beginning the week before, we found that our wedding day was being called an “Impact Weather Day,” and supposedly bringing not only a chill, but 40-45MPH wind gusts. That forecast seemed to be getting worse and worse all week until that morning while in hair and make-up, our wonderful coordinator Shaunna came to ask me what we would most like our back-up plan to be. I found out later that not only was the wind gusting…it had been raining and somehow my amazing friends had kept me away from the windows enough to keep that a secret. In all her wisdom, Shaunna decided to keep our original planned ceremony spot and drop the two back-ups seconds before the wedding, so we were a go. Then, at exactly 4:00pm, just as the weatherman had projected…the wind came. Set to begin at exactly 4, I was wondering slightly what the hold-up was but at this point knew better than to ask. Turns out, our officiant, after walking down the aisle and getting everyone ready to go had been victimized by one of those “Impact Day” gusts, and his paperwork, our vows, and our ceremony script were riddled along the dirt path behind the ceremony site blowing away and being chased down by guests. So, at 4:15pm, completely unaware, the paperwork finally collected and the guests back in their seats, I was finally walking down the aisle. When I first looked outside I was terrified. I literally thought some of those trees may blow over, and I realized the ground was somewhat damp. For a second as I looked down at everyone in their places I thought, “is it too late to use our back-up ceremony room” but realized as I saw my husband standing there with tears in his eyes (no telling if from the wind or from emotion) that it certainly was too late. But then, something amazing happened. The wind blew the clouds away, the sun came out, and the gusts settled (probably to 20MPH or so) and we got married, exactly as we had planned to.  My gorgeous new veil blew in the wind the whole time, and although my head was a touch sore, it made for some BEAUTIFUL photos.

Haley Lupinski Photography

The rest of our day was gorgeous and perfect. Tony made everyone laugh with his “dance lessons,” our friends and family made gorgeous toasts,  our reception space was exactly as we had dreamed it to be and I have never laughed so whole-heartedly in my life. The one thing that we got complimented on most had nothing to do with our planning or preparation. It turned out, Tony and I began our vows in the exact same way, completely unknowingly. It was a sweet, unexpected surprise for us, but more than that our guests loved to hear the same story in each of our perspectives and I learned quickly throughout the day that it was simple personal touches that made the most impact. After all the hustle and bustle of the most perfect and wonderful day I have ever experienced I was left with three main pieces of advice that I collected and came up with throughout the nearly two years of our engagement.

1. Rain is good luck.

2. The best weddings are the ones where something totally unexpected happens, you can’t plan for everything, nor would you want to.

3. Don’t forget the day is about you and your significant other. Spend time together and alone, laugh with one-another, take time to meditate beforehand, notice not only your guest reactions and facial expressions, but more importantly your partners, and be present.

If you truly plan the day together you will learn more about each other than you ever thought you could, so don’t forget to enjoy every second.”

Wedding Makeup Tips: A Guest Blog with Mesa Makeup

Here at Perfect Wedding Guide, we get to see countless stunning photographs of brides and grooms sharing their special moments together. Everything is always picture perfect, from the venue to the gown, but there is something that absolutely emphasizes the radiance of couples in love: wedding day makeup. We’ve asked one of our newest members, Mesa Makeup, to give you some tips + tricks when it comes to looking fabulous for your wedding day. Summer and Erica share a bit about who they are, what they do, and what you can do to make your makeup experience the best yet! Read what they have to say below.

Mesa makeup puts makeup on a bride.
via Mesa Makeup

Meet Mesa Makeup

Hi lovely NM brides! We are Summer and Erica of Mesa Makeup and are super excited to be a part of the Perfect Wedding Guide family! Before we get into our top 10 dos and don’ts of wedding makeup, we wanted to tell you a little bit about our business and what we think sets us apart. 

When we decided to pool our talents into Mesa Makeup, we wanted to create an experience for our brides rather than just a makeup service. In order to do that, we spend a little more time on skin prep so that everyone feels relaxed and pampered before the makeup magic begins! We are also the only makeup artists in New Mexico to offer a full makeup and skincare application using only clean cosmetics – meaning those products are free from chemicals such as parabens, sulfates, and other potentially unsafe ingredients. We have spent a lot of time researching and testing different “clean” products to ensure that these items meet our standards for long lasting, gorgeous makeup! In addition, we can assist you in creating a gift package for your bride tribe containing some of our favorite New Mexico-made skincare, spa, and beauty products!

FUN FACTS | Before we started Mesa Makeup, we both were students at the University of Minnesota at the same time but didn’t actually meet until makeup school! Summer is fluent in Spanish and Erica is a polymer scientist. 

Now For Our Top Ten!

  1. DO start a skincare routine as soon as possible! Makeup will look better and last longer if your skin is healthy and well cared for. We recommend figuring out your skin type (normal, dry, oily, or combo) and concerns (fine lines, acne, age spots, etc.) and talking to an esthetician to help you get a skincare routine established. 
  2. DON’T try out any new products within a few weeks of your wedding date. Sometimes an ingredient in a new product may irritate your skin. We also recommend avoiding any harsh skincare treatments (e.g. chemical peel, waxing) within a week or two of your wedding for the same reason. Remember MUAs can cover discoloration but we can’t get rid of texture!
  3. DO have a trial makeup run beforehand. This lets you get to know your artist and their makeup style to see if you vibe well. Plus, it’s one less thing to worry about the day of if you already know your makeup is going to be perfect! It’s also nice to schedule this before an engagement shoot so you can see how the makeup photographs. 
  4. DON’T worry about changing your mind about your makeup on the day of your wedding! It happens frequently and we promise it won’t hurt our feelings if you want something changed!
  5. If you aren’t doing a trial DO bring pictures of makeup styles you like. This also goes for anyone in your bride tribe or bridal party having makeup done. It helps get you and your artist on the same page from the beginning so there are no surprises at the end!
  6. DON’T be afraid to wear a little more makeup than you usually wear on your wedding day. We want you to look good both in person and in your photos so we may suggest a deeper eyeshadow or lip color than you originally thought so you don’t look washed out in photos. 
  7. DO respect the timeline you and your MUA establish. No one likes to be running late so ensuring you and your party are on time and ready to start at their allotted times!
  8. DON’T be afraid to try fake eyelashes. We have a ton of different styles to choose from and can customize any lash to you! We also have lashes that work well for first timers that are very comfortable to wear. 
  9. DO ask us about our clean cosmetics package, what our favorite products are, and where we get them! Also DO pick Erica’s brain on ingredient safety and where you can learn more about it. 
  10. DO leave your vendors a review. It lets us know how we did, helps us improve, and also helps other brides in their search to find professionals best suited to their styles/needs!

We can’t wait to meet you and we hope you have a Happy New Year!

Want to get in touch with Mesa Makeup? You can visit their page here.

Why You Should Have Your Wedding at a Country Club

Every bride and groom wants to find a wedding venue that is both practical and perfect. As you’ve been searching, possibly very overwhelmed by all of the options available to you, there may have been moments where you felt that finding the practical and perfect option was impossible. We are here to reassure you that, first of all, anything is possible, and secondly, we have your back.

When deciding on a wedding venue, there are always quite a few things to keep in mind, such as the time of year, capacity, catering options, services, etc. The best thing to do right before you start your search, or halfway through when you’ve given up hope, is to pick up that notebook dedicated just to your wedding, and make a list of your wedding venue NEEDS, WANTS, and NOPES. This will help you narrow down your search and give you a clear path toward the perfect and practical venue.

There is a special kind of venue that we, your Perfect Wedding Guide team, absolutely love because of it’s well-roundedness–country clubs! Rain or shine, big or small, country clubs are the ideal place for weddings. Not super familiar with the benefits of choosing country clubs? Here are some reasons why they are great:

1. They’re unique, exclusive, and classy

Since country clubs are local, the event venue is unique and centered around the views of the city! Country clubs are often perceived as being unattainable because they are typically member-based, but this doesn’t always apply to weddings. Most clubs are willing to host guests who are not members, you just have to ask. Country clubs are always clean, well-maintained, and classy! Just take a look at this beautiful indoor set-up at Tanoan Country Club here in Albuquerque.

Tanoan Country Club by Kyle Cahill

2. They’re Accommodating

Aside from all of the beauty of country clubs, their accommodations are incredible. Whether you’re having a small or large wedding, there are plenty of options indoor and outdoor. Most country clubs offer multiple ballrooms for ceremonies and receptions, depending on the size of your party. The Event Center at Sandia Golf Club has the most wonderful set-up, a large ballroom with Lanai Doors that lead to a heated/cooled patio and out to an outdoor gazebo. This is the perfect all-in-one experience!

The Event Center at Sandia Golf Club by K. Mari Photography

3. They’re All-Inclusive

Since country clubs host many events all year, they are often fully inclusive when it comes to providing food, drinks, tables, chairs, etc. Many country clubs don’t allow outside food and drinks because of their full service kitchens and cleanly grounds. The Canyon Club at Four Hills is one of the venues that can provide just about everything you need for your wedding, from food and bar services to elegantly arranged seating in the ballroom.

Canyon Club at Four Hills Catering by Chef John Apodaca

We hope you’re sold by now on our favorite country clubs–and if you’re not, don’t fret. Just like everything in life, they’re not for everyone. There are more options for you! Simply check out our local venues here.

Vendor Spotlight: Adrienne Renee Photography

By now you’ve heard of plenty photographer duos being husband and wife, but rarely do we come across a sister-in-law dream team like Adrienne Renee Photography! We’re in awe of their passion and dedication, and we’re so happy to welcome them to our Perfect Wedding Guide family. If you’re on the hunt for your 2020 wedding photographer, or even just want to spruce up the family photos, Adrienne Renee Photography is going to provide you with the most exquisite work that will ‘wow’ everyone who sees her photos.

Nicole and Amanda Lucero, the charming faces behind the business, started their business in 2009, and have been working to grow and build a community ever since. We are constantly stalking their profiles to see the new content that they put out. If we had to describe their style, we would say that the photos appear light, dreamy, and full of personality! As professionals who capture the essence of love through photographs, which is not as easy as it sounds, they are doing a fabulous job.

Wanna hear a fun insider secret about this sister-in-law team? They are married to identical twins! As confusing as that might get when everyone is in the same room together during the holiday, we think it’s pretty cool. The wedding industry is filled with so many wonderful vendors that create businesses with their best friends and we love that it was marriage that brought these two creative forces together!

The Perfect Wedding Guide team has pulled together a gallery of our favorite photos from Adrienne Renee photography for you to look through–because it would be unfair to keep all of the loveliness to ourselves.

Want to learn more about Adrienne Renee Photography? Check them out here.