Registry or Money Tree? The Pros + Cons

As you plan your wedding, you may be wondering whether you should create a registry or ask for money. While both options are beneficial in their own way, the benefits of one far outweigh the other. In fact, in my own experience, the registry proved to be a waste. To help you figure out which option is best for you, we’ve come up with a few pros and cons of registries and money trees. At the end of the day, however, it all comes down to what you really want.

The REGISTRY

  • Con: You may not know what style of décor you want for your house, so registering for random stuff can make your new home together feel cluttered. *Tip for New Wives: Remember, your new home also belongs to your husband so you want to make sure to choose things you both agree on and that he would feel comfortable living with. Some men may not care, but most aren’t going to feel comfortable with pink and white shabby chic everything.
  • Con: Chances are, you will register for a bunch of trendy items that in a few years will make your house look outdated. *Tip: If you decide to go with a registry, make sure to register for classic, timeless items that will go with any décor and will never go out of style. As your style evolves as a new couple, the items you registered for will blend right in.
  • Con: To add to the first two, if you don’t know exactly what you want or need, a registry may prove to be a waste of time and money.
  • Con: You may not have a home together, so if you register for items without knowing what your future home will look like, this could be a problem.
  • Con: Not to mention, items may look a lot different in the store or on the internet than they do in your house or in person.
  • Pro: If there are specific essentials you know you will both need for your new home and new life together a registry can be a life saver.

The MONEY TREE

  • Pro: Instead of just putting “money tree” on your invitation, you can get specific and ask your guests to contribute to one big purchase. For instance, you can ask your guests to contribute to your honeymoon, a down payment on a new home or even a charity. For example, a friend of mine asked guests to contribute to their honeymoon to Scotland. When I received my “thank you” in the mail, she included a picture of her and her new hubby on their honeymoon in Scotland.
  • Pro: Asking guests to contribute to a money tree for a specific purpose, can help eliminate the chance of receiving an expired basket of sausage and cheese from old aunt Liz.
  • Pro: If you’re not sure what you want, you can save the money until you both figure out how you want to decorate your new home together. Instead of having random stuff (that looks a lot different in your house than it did in the store or on the internet), later on, you will have a nice stash to purchase the things you really want when you’re ready.
  • Pro: Not only will you save yourself time, but you will also save your guests time and money, from having to go out and purchase your registered gift or buying online and paying for shipping.
Photos by Arielei Kinzer Photography

What are your thoughts on creating registries or asking for money? Personally, I can’t think of any cons for a money tree, can you?

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Find Your Dream Dress in Your Size

Have you ever found a beautiful dress online, only to order the dress and be completely disappointed in how it fits or looks in person? I don’t know about you, but this has happened to me many times. Unfortunately, the same is true of wedding dresses, so don’t make the mistake of falling in love with a dress you see in a magazine or online before you have tried it on.

To help you make the right decision from the get go, I had the pleasure of meeting with Darlene of Bridal Elegance by Darlene to give us insight on some of your most pressing questions about wedding dresses. Particularly, how do you find the right style of dress? and, how do you find the right size?

Darlene had some great tips to help all you brides-to-be find the perfect dress for your big day. With over 35 years of experience, well over 500 styles of wedding gowns and over 200 bridesmaids dresses to choose from in her local bridal boutique, you may want to pay attention to Darlene’s advice — I have a good feeling she knows a thing or two about this topic!

Number One: Keep An Open Mind

Usually, brides look on Pinterest or see a picture of a model in a dress and get locked into that idea and imagine that they will look the same way. Only to get to the bridal boutique and find out it isn’t the right style or fit for their body type. Ladies, if this happens to you don’t feel bad — you’re not alone.

Darlene explained that this is very typical and that is why it is so important to keep an open mind. Besides, after trying on a few dresses at Bridal Elegance by Darlene, she is usually able to help brides find the perfect dress that turns out to be even better than the original gown they had in mind.

Maura Jane Photography
Photo by Maura Jane Photography

Number Two: Trying On vs. Fitting

Many brides are concerned about their dress fitting them perfectly so they put off trying on dresses until the last minute, hoping this will ensure the most accurate size for the wedding. However, you don’t want to put it off. To have a dress that fits you perfectly, you should definitely start trying on dresses 10 months to a year out from your wedding.

Doing so will ensure enough time for placing the order, processing, shipping and alterations. Once the dress is in you will have an official fitting with all your undergarments four weeks from your wedding date. Once the initial alterations are made, you’ll have another fitting two weeks before to fine tune your dress, make any additional changes and make sure it’s just right!

Photo by Roxana Albusel Photography

Number Three: Wear Your Shoes

If you already have the shoes you’re going to wear or know the height of the shoes you want, it would be a really good idea to take them or another pair of the same height on your search for the perfect dress. Oftentimes, this detail is overlooked and the dress isn’t the right length come the wedding day. You don’t want it to be too short or too long that your tripping over it as you walk down the aisle.

And if you shop for your dress early enough, you can order your dress in the perfect length and save money on alterations later. For more on being prepared for your visit to the bridal boutique, take a look at our post: How to Survive Your First Bridal Appointment.

Photo by Maura Jane Photography

Number Four: What About Bridesmaids?

The same advice applies to bridesmaids, if not more so. You don’t want to get locked into a certain style with bridesmaids dresses because, as Darlene mentions, “You have to fit five different body shapes into one style.” You want your entourage to feel just as beautiful and comfortable, so be sure to keep each lady in mind as you dream about the perfect look for your bridesmaids.

Photo by Maura Jane Photography

Number Five (Advice Mine): When in Doubt, Don’t

If you’re not absolutely in love with a dress, don’t settle. You will end up wasting money on something you don’t really like and regret your decision in the long run. Be patient. When the right dress comes around you will know it!

And whatever you do, don’t settle on a dress because someone else thinks it’s beautiful. Choose a dress that you love and that you feel comfortable in. After all, it’s your wedding and you only get one shot to look and feel your best on your big day.

Ladies, lets not decide on this bridesmaid’s dress straight away. Let’s let our bodies decide, try some things on, and have some fun.

— Helen, Bridesmaids

For more on everything Wedding + Wedding Planning, visit us at: PerfectWeddingGuide.com

Mountainside Elopements: Nature’s Sanctuary

One of the many things I love about New Mexico are the varying landscapes within its borders. As you travel along the highway, you can pass through everything from deserts, farmland and open meadows of the Valles Caldera to majestic mountain peaks of the Sandias and Sangre de Cristos, all within a matter of hours. With such beautiful scenery across our diverse state, there is ample opportunity for romantic elopements.

If you’re planning a wedding on a tight budget (or not) and would rather bypass all the stress of a large wedding anyway, a whimsical outdoor elopement is perfect for you! Mountainside elopements are one of the hottest trends on the wedding scene — and for good reason. Not only are they naturally beautiful and fun, they are completely budget friendly. And with a wide variety of climates and landscapes to choose from in our gorgeous state, you don’t have to be limited to mountainsides.

First off, you still get to plan all the fun stuff like a wedding dress, bridal bouquet, photographer and wedding cake to complete your epic celebration. Lucky for you, New Mexico is home to amazing photographers and officiants who live for adventurous moments like this. Secondly, you get to save a ton of money on decorations because nature provides the best and most beautiful decor (no setup necessary). More importantly, your venue will cost so much as a day pass, if anything at all!

Another cool thing is that you get to share this special occasion with your closest family and friends — if, that is, you decide to include others. With a mountainside elopement, the pressure is off and you are free to plan and execute your wedding however you see fit! Check out this amazing mountainside elopement captured by Matt & Tish Photography at the Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Photos by Matt & Tish Photography

For more on everything Wedding + Wedding Planning, visit us at: PerfectWeddingGuide.com

The Minimoon: A Local Honeymoon Staycation

Want to go on a luxurious, romantic honeymoon, but don’t want to break the bank? Minimoons, or local honeymoons, are the perfect solution. Rather than spending thousands of dollars to fly across the country (or the world) to stay a short time together in a foreign land with jet lag, invest in your future and go on local honeymoon instead — it’s just as fun and romantic without all the stress of traveling. Plus, you get to relax from all the wedding festivities!

Once you find the perfect minimoon spot, you can still do all the fancy things you would normally do on a conventional honeymoon far far away. You can still have a beautiful candlelight dinner, get a his and her massage or go sightseeing and discover new things about each other and your city on bike, horseback or trolley. Best of all, you don’t have to spend the first few nights as a married couple in crowded airports and rental cars!

Lucky for you, we have some of the most beautiful and relaxing honeymoon spots right here in New Mexico! Some of our favorites include Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm, Hyatt Regency Albuquerque, Sandia Resort & Casino, Hotel Andaluz, Girliebird & Co, La Fonda on the Plaza and Isleta Resort & Casino. And many of these gorgeous locations offer all the amenities you would want on a romantic honeymoon getaway and then some.

For instance, Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm offers a beautiful farm-to-table breakfast and dinner. Not to mention, they can make arrangements for a couples massage or local bike tour. If you would like a more intimate setting, Girliebird & Co is the perfect option. Like a home away from home, they offer a cozy honeymoon cottage and delicious homemade breakfast. It is so charming you won’t want to leave.

What about a romantic weekend at La Fonda on the Plaza in Santa Fe? Explore the historic sites of Santa Fe by day and relax with a rooftop dinner overlooking the city by night. Whether you’re staying in a friends cabin, a family vacation home or one of our honeymoon favorites, you don’t have to go in debt to have a romantic minimoon staycation. Besides, just being together is what a honeymoon is all about! ♥

Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm, Photo by Kevin & Amanda
Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm, Photo by Mike Crane Photography
Girliebird & Co
Girliebird & Co
La Fonda on the Plaza, Santa Fe
La Fonda on the Plaza, Santa Fe

For more on everything Wedding + Wedding Planning, visit us at: PerfectWeddingGuide.com

Six Reasons You Should Hire a Professional Officiant

Recently, the team at Perfect Wedding Guide met with a group of local wedding professionals in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The meeting turned out to be quite fruitful and one of the topics that came from the meeting was the importance of hiring a professional officiant.

Unfortunately, the officiant isn’t always a big deal to the bride and groom so this very essential part of the wedding is often overlooked. After discussing this important topic, however, this inspiring group came up with a list of major reasons you definitely want to hire a professional.

De Novo Pastoral Services, Photo by Think Harris Photography

Six Reasons You Should Hire a Professional Officiant

  1. Hiring a professional officiant to create a ceremony for you, as opposed to asking your uncle Jim (who just got his reverend certificate on the internet), will prove to be a good investment. Professionals offer a guiding hand through this transitional time in your life. Essentially, they are the compass at the start of your new journey together.
  2. If you wouldn’t want uncle Jim holding your hand while you give birth to Junior (or some other significant life event), you probably don’t want him to officiate the wedding because this event is just as important.
  3. Almost every wedding officiant is going to be over the moon to create a custom ceremony for you and your fiancé. Incorporating pieces of your love story, sense of humor, religion and personalities into a beautiful ceremony is what they do best.
  4. The officiant’s energy sets the tone for the entire ceremony and you want one who makes your guests feel inspired and full of joy — sans awkward moments and embarrassing stories from uncle Jim.
  5. Most officiants will want to meet with you a handful of times before the wedding in order to craft the perfect ceremony. Establishing a relationship of trust and friendship with your officiant ensures that you will be comfortable for your wedding. Not to mention, many offer premarital counseling including De Novo Pastoral Services, to ensure you get off on the right start.
  6. Professional officiants not only know how to coordinate the ceremony but also to collaborate with photographers and wedding planners to ensure every moment is smooth and perfect.
Awakening JOY Ministries

Professional officiants know to step away when the big kiss happens so they don’t accidentally photobomb the special moment.

— Arielei, Arielei Kinzer Photography

De Novo Pastoral Services, Photo by Maura Jane Photography

For more on everything Wedding + Wedding Planning, visit us at: PerfectWeddingGuide.com

Celebrate Freedom! Five Benefits of Hiring a Wedding Planner

Wedding planners and designers don’t always get the credit they deserve. I suppose it comes with the territory when providing a service that is predominantly behind-the-scenes, so we want to show some love to our amazing planners and designers right here in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

As you get inspo from this elegant Americana styled-shoot, celebrate freedom from planning your wedding with one of these exquisite planners. They have the creativity and expertise to make your wedding unforgettable. In fact, they are so good, your ideas will come to life right before your eyes.

When we see weddings and styled-shoots like these, it seems so easy to pull off, but wedding planners and designers — usually one in the same — are the glue that pull and keep everything together. To help you decide if a wedding planner is right for you, keep reading to find our list of five major things your planner does so you don’t have to.

Five Things Your Wedding Planner Does So You Don’t Have To

  1. Book and coordinate all vendors
  2. Maintain order and organization of all the moving parts
  3. Meticulously carry out logistics
  4. Creatively design and execute the details
  5. Make your dream a reality!

We want your wedding to be everything you imagine and more. With a variety of wedding planners in and around the Albuquerque and Santa Fe areas to help you plan your big day, you can be sure to have the wedding you have always dreamed of.

— Perfect Wedding Guide Team

Photos by Arielei Kinzer Photography

Meet the professionals who helped make this styled-shoot possible:

Venue: Falcon Ranch | Photography: Arielei Kinzer Photography | Wedding Planner: Magnolia Event Company | Flowers: Floriography | Dress: Borrowing Magnolia | Desserts: American Pie Bakery | Calligraphy: Ashley Rose Hamilton | Makeup Artist: Makeup Santa Fe | Hair: Mandy Salazar

From all of us at your local Perfect Wedding Guide, Happy Fourth!

For more on everything Wedding + Wedding Planning, visit us at: PerfectWeddingGuide.com

How to Survive Your First Bridal Appointment

It can be a daunting task. Choosing the perfect wedding gown, that is. After all, picking out your wedding dress is the second most important decision to picking out your fiancé! To help you survive this fun, but sometimes overwhelming task, we compiled a short list of tips to get you on your way.

Don’t worry, you can thank us later!

Photo by The Dressing Room West, Santa Fe

Tip #1

Don’t Get Frustrated with Your Consultant’s Nosiness

She’ll probably ask about your venue, the proposal, your theme, the colors you’ll be using and even your budget. Just keep your cool. Especially when it comes to your budget. They just want to make sure they’re on the same page as you. And they certainly don’t want you to waste 90 minutes of your precious planning time looking at gowns you hate.

Tip #2

Bring Photos

Your Pinterest wedding board (or boards, if you’re a crazy planner like we are) is quite handy! You can show your consultant gowns you like, or even gown silhouettes for a general idea. Photos will help your consultant see your vision and guide you to specific designers and dresses that will fit the bill!

Tip #3

Come Prepared

In this case, we’re not talking about your typical, “Make sure you bring a camera and a bottle of champagne!” No. What we’re talking about is underwear. Don’t get us wrong, going commando is a personal preference and we respect that. But if you don’t wear underwear, unfortunately, they can’t let you try on their gorgeous gowns.

Save yourself the headache and a trip to Victoria’s Secret. And just remember to wear full-coverage underwear to your first, second, third, fourth, and hundredth bridal appointment. We’re not joking about this.

Tip #3 1/2

Cover Up the Goods

Building on that thought, full-coverage underwear is always a very, very good idea. Consultants don’t necessarily mind what kind of underwear you wear, but they do want you to be comfortable. They will be in the dressing room with you to help you try on gowns and if you don’t want them to see you in anything revealing, take the necessary steps to cover up.

As always, you’re welcome to the disposable underwear they keep in store, though they aren’t very flattering! The upside, however, is that their disposable underwear option also saves yours from getting caught in the zipper, which tends to happen with lacy and stringy underwear. And they don’t want your expensive undies to get ripped any more than you do.

Tip #4

Leave the Entourage at Home

Because your wedding is going to be absolutely amazing, a lot of people will want to accompany you every step of the way. But it’s okay to say no! In fact, our tip number four is to actually limit the number of people you bring to your bridal appointment.

Not only can it get crowded in the store, but it can be really, really overwhelming for you as the bride (and your consultant!). Keeping your entourage to one or two trustworthy, honest and supportive peeps is the best thing to keep the experience fun and fruitful — as it should be.

Plus, if your loudly opinionated Aunt Betty insists on coming with you, simply make a separate appointment after you decide on a gown. That way, she’ll still get a sneak peak and feel included. You can even make 200 appointments just to try on the same gown, they don’t mind at all.

Tip #5

EAT BEFORE YOUR APPOINTMENT!

Our last tip probably should have been #1 because it is very, very important. And we get it, we really do. You don’t want to be bloated, or sluggish while you’re trying on gowns, but please trust us when we say you must eat. You’ll be in and out of heavy gowns very quickly and it can get pretty warm beneath all those layers of tulle. In fact, some consultants have actually had girls pass out mid-appointment, because all they had that day was a venti caramel macchiato. Don’t be that girl!

Photo by Bridal Elegance By Darlene, K. Mari Photography

To recap, here’s what you need for your appointment: food, underwear, your two best friends and an idea of what you want. Yes, that is in descending order of importance. In fact, if all you do is eat a full meal and wear underwear, you’ll probably have a pretty successful shopping trip.

Good luck! And make sure to try the amazing bridal shops we have right here in Albuquerque and Santa Fe!

For more on everything Wedding + Wedding Planning, visit us at: PerfectWeddingGuide.com