Carissa + Ben Photography: High Desert Wedding Photography

Photographing weddings is huge. It’s one of the biggest, most expensive, emotional, and meaningful days in most peoples’ lives. The intimacy of the day can be really intimidating, and that’s why we love it.

Carissa + Ben Moore, Carissa + Ben Photography

Must it be reiterated again, just how much we love our home state? We are elbows deep in our local wedding community, so by now it’s probably pretty obvious, but we’ll say it again: we love New Mexico.

Part of why we have so much respect and adoration for our state is because the lovely people who call it home make it really easy to do so. Whether you’re a born-and-raised New Mexican or recent convert, the Land of Enchantment doesn’t discriminate when it comes to capturing hearts. Then, in turn, those enchanted people reciprocate the love by supporting artistic endeavors in the city, collaborating together, and finding new ways to showcase the beauty of New Mexico.

On the forefront of reinvigorating the New Mexican landscape is a locally-loved husband and wife photography duo known as Carissa + Ben Photography. The two lovebirds first met in a photography class here in Albuquerque, and since then three things have persisted: their dedication to each other, photography, and New Mexico.

The couple is up for traveling to photograph weddings, elopements, engagements, and proposals in any corner of the world, though their photography often highlights the fantastical desert landscape for which New Mexico is famed. So you can imagine why we — and so many other couples around us — are obsessed with their impeccably balanced photographic style.

With photos that reach into your heart with their rich colors and clean contrasts, the two work in tandem together like a well-oiled machine. Propelled by a deep appreciation for their couples, those in front of Carissa + Ben‘s lenses relax into themselves and their unique love story, with their comfort and ease obvious in every shot.

While their hearts belong primarily to each other — and also craft beer, their dogs, the moon, and coffee — the two artists of Carissa + Ben Photography somehow manage to give so much of themselves to their couples too, through their medium of choice. To book Carissa + Ben Photography for your wedding day, proposal, engagement session, or pretty much any other special moment, you can contact them here.

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Carissa & Ben Photography

Carissa & Ben Photography

Carissa & Ben Photography

Carissa & Ben Photography

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12 Months of Giveaways: Free Stuff for Engaged Couples Only

Was it Winston Churchill who said, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give,” so many years ago? We’re sure it was, and we’re even more sure that he’s still absolutely right. Giving back to the community who supports our dreams has been and will always be the fuel and fire that keeps us doing what we do. (Which is fostering connections between engaged couples and the local wedding community, in case you forgot.)

But with such exciting things always happening in our little Perfect Wedding Guide world here in New Mexico — wedding shows, luncheons, the magazine, and much more — it would be very easy to hold this principle in abeyance, though. Which is why we created the 12 Months of Giveaways!

At first glance, the 12 Months of Giveaways is a totally free, totally local giveaway opportunity for engaged couples in New Mexico to win prizes from wedding businesses, valued at over $300, that happens every single month. (Yep, all twelve of ’em.) Digging a little deeper though, the 12 Months of Giveaways is also reminder for us to pause, reflect, and send some gratitude out into the world around us. This way, we have fun little monthly reminders to continue building the life we want to live.

This March, the contest resets for the year, and we have a fresh new batch of twelve incredible prizes for engaged couples to choose from! We’re lucky enough to also have twelve different wedding professionals providing their lovingly-crafted products and fine-tuned talents for the prizes, so every winner gets to choose the absolute best gift for their wedding.

So, without further adieu, let us give everyone a first look into the 2019 prize list! (And click here to enter the giveaway for yourself!)

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Lauren Cherie Photography

2019 12 Months of Giveaways Prize List

1. Complimentary boudoir session and 8×10 print – valued at $300, courtesy of Sheer Desire Boudoir. 

2. Day-of coordination and event management services – valued at $800, courtesy of Michelle Victoria Wedding & Event Planning. 

3. Complimentary three tier buttercream wedding cake with delivery in town serving 74 guests – valued at $325, courtesy of The Cake Boutique. 

4. Two for “Head to Toe Couples Package” includes a 90 minute couple’s treatment with Shea Butter wrap, scalp massage, and EcoFin for hands or feet. All day access to hot tub, sauna and relaxation lounge – valued at $330, courtesy of The Remedy Day Spa. 

5. Complimentary mini engagement session and mini boudoir session – valued at $500, courtesy of Lauren Cherie Photography. 

6. Complimentary two hour mirror photo booth package – valued at $700, courtesy of Magic Mirror. 

7. Complimentary boudoir photo session and 6×6 photo book – valued at $320, courtesy of Creative Portraits by Dolores.

8. “Bride To Be Package” includes an essential manicure, pedicure, signature body polish and facial. Totaling 4 1⁄2 hours of services – valued at $350 from Isleta Spa, courtesy of Isleta Resort & Casino.

9. Complimentary three tier classic wedding cake serving approximately 75 guests – valued at $300, courtesy of Smallcakes A Cupcakery.

10. Complimentary hair, makeup, and false lash services for the bride and one bridesmaid – valued at $300, courtesy of Bombshell Hair and Makeup.

11. Complimentary engagement session – valued at $375, courtesy of Coryn Kiefer Photography.

12. “The Lovers Delight Package” includes a private introductory couple’s horse lesson and photography session with the horses – valued at $300, courtesy of ABQ Horse Breaking + Training LLC.

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Smallcakes A Cupcakery 

First Day of Forever: New Mexico Love Story

As you probably well know by now, our Perfect Wedding Guide team is positioned between the local wedding professionals, and the engaged couples who work with them. So we’re often bouncing back and forth from brides to businesses — which, of course, we consider a lucky pendulum. But, every so often when the stars align, we’re lucky enough to have both our worlds collide!

Courtney is both one-half of a heartwarming love story — which we’ll get to, promise — and one of the lovely and dutiful members of the Nature Pointe team. For years now, we’ve had the opportunity to recommend and relish in the perfected beauty of the New Mexico wedding venue. So yeah, you could say we’re business buds!

Now, with something as delightful as a proposal, we’ve had the opportunity to interview Courtney as one of our featured love stories! Her other half, Joshua, planned a fantastic day that culminated with him popping the question, and we’re so happy to be able to share it here with you.

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When did you and Joshua first meet?

“We met in middle school during the 7th grade!”

When and how did he propose to you?

“He proposed to me with a culmination of all the ways he asked me to dances in high school. (We started dating during the summer before our junior year.) There was a scavenger hunt, a dozen roses, a line of Hershey’s Kisses, and chocolate melted down into letters asking if I’d marry him. Here’s the story: When I drove into the parking lot, I noticed his car and knew something was up.

I entered the office, and he was nowhere to be found. Instead, when I sat at my desk there was a note, the beginning of a scavenger hunt, and a single rose. Funnily enough, the note teased me about getting the scavenger hunt right this time. (I already messed up one in high school). I read the note and was immediately confused. I thought to myself “I guess I’m bound to mess this up too lol.” Instead of finding the next clue, I found the last clue that directed me out of the office and to a line of Hershey’s Kisses leading me to him.

When I got there, I asked if I had missed something and was turned around to go find the other clues. Back in the office, I found the second clue, another rose, and a note saying one reason why he loved me. Then, I went onto find 3 more clues, roses, and lovely notes. Finally, I was sure I found all of the clues and excitedly went out to see him. When I got there, he was down on one knee.”

How did you react to his proposal? Were you expecting it?

“I can’t even remember what he said, but I immediately said yes and gave him a big smooch! When we walked back into the office all of my co-workers cheered and congratulated us.

I had expected the proposal the next day seeing as it was our 7th dating anniversary. Joshua said that he had to do it the day before so that I’d be at least a little surprised. I was super excited and shaky the whole time. Emotional overload!”

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Smallcakes, Big Hearts {Vendor Spotlight!}

Here at Perfect Wedding Guide, we don’t pick favorites when it comes to the incredible local wedding professionals in New Mexico. When every business contributes, in its own way, to the eclectic wedding market here in Albuquerque + Santa Fe, providing engaged couples with so many options for their big day… well, how could we?!

Actually, never mind. We can do it just like this: Smallcakes is our favorite cupcakery in New Mexico. 

Whew! Feels good to get that out in the open and, no, it doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that Smallcakes is the only team of bakers and makers in New Mexico who have specifically dedicated their talents to becoming cupcake experts. Although, that is a pretty good reason to love them, too.

Smallcakes: A Cupcakery is our favorite cupcakery in New Mexico because they actually do so much more than just cupcakes. Whatever you’ve previously believed about bakeries, cupcakes, wedding cakes, and the like — throw it out the window, because Smallcakes transcends all the customary boundaries. We’re not just talking your typical customization options, either.

Custom, handmade cookies? Check. Bachelorette parties? You got it. If that’s not enough for you either, they also do groom cakes — which we haven’t seen anywhere else — smash cakes, and gluten-free cakes. The best part too, is they have over 120 flavor choices for you to taste, delight in, and choose from.

Oh, and get this. Did you know that if you order your sweet treats from Smallcakes for your wedding day, you’ll also receive a complimentary couple’s cake for your one year anniversary?! There. Your anniversary dinner is already taken care of for you.

The team at Smallcakes: A Cupcakery is ceaselessly working to improve and elevate the wedding community here in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, so yes. They are our favorite cupcakery. This might be controversial to some, but with the flavors, fun, and friendly faces, how could they not be?

To schedule a tasting for your custom wedding sweets, you can contact Smallcakes: A Cupcakery here.

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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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All The Pretty Flowers {Local Florist Spotlight}

Is it too much to ask of our local vendors to be, at once, professional, personable, committed, and creative in their craft? Maybe, but that’s what makes Albuquerque + Santa Fe wedding vendors unlike any others in the world — they juggle it all so well. In the case of All The Pretty Flowers though, it’s not enough to be the perfect blend of friend and expert. They’re exceedingly mindful in their practice, too.

For Amanda Schutz, of the famed Santa Fe floral company All The Pretty Flowers, having happy couples comes first. Directly behind this devotion, though, is a parallel dedication to mindfulness in her craft. For 5 years, Amanda has been working with flowers with respect by sourcing their blooms with careful consideration, recycling all product packaging, and prioritizing locally sourced flowers as often as possible.

Amanda’s degree, which focused on architecture, art history and interior decoration, complements her natural penchant for floral beauty perfectly, ensuring her arrangements are cultivated with care. When the process of creation is done with such meticulous deliberation, it’s no wonder the end result is of such a high caliber!

Of her methods, Amanda says:

Color, shape, size, smell, longevity and personality, among other things, must be considered, and I love that.  All of this is exciting and enticing and provides me with never-ending thoughts and ideas. The possibilities are endless! It’s truly wonderful, and there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.  When it comes to flowers, the skies the limit!

And we couldn’t agree more! How exceedingly fortunate are we to have a florist like All The Pretty Flowers in New Mexico, exploring possibilities and pushing boundaries to offer local engaged couples only the best for their wedding day?

There are no words to adequately express our gratitude, but we will say this: Thank you, All The Pretty Flowers. To book their team for your celebration of love, you can contact them here.

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Shawna Noel Photography
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Shawna Noel Photography

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Ringing in Spring with Ooh! Aah! Jewelry

Yes, we still have a few days before it’s officially spring… but the sun is shining and we’re ready to break out our sundresses! It seems only right that we take a moment now to talk about one of our new favorite, local vendors: Ooh! Aah! Jewelry. Their curated collection of vintage + modern gems is not only perfect for the spring-hearted bride, but for all jewelry-wearers who want one-of-a-kind accessories to compliment their warm weather wardrobe.

{We’re about one second away from spring-cleaning out our jewelry boxes to make room for a dozen of their sterling silver rings, topaz and diamond necklaces, and of course, at least one pair of 14K gold drop-bar earrings.}

Not to mention that for as long as we can remember, there has been a call for unique engagement and wedding rings from engaged couples who want them to reflect their individual style and love story. And for 30 years, Ooh! Aah! Jewelry has been answering that call. Now, I might be biased because their collection is totally aligned with my personal style, but I’m definitely not the only one!

Winning a plethora of awards from local couples and shoppers in general from “Best Casual Jewelry Store in Albuquerque,” “Best Jewelry Store in New Mexico,” to “Best Downtown Retail Store” it’s pretty clear that Albuquerque has a lot of love for Ooh! Aah! Jewelry. So do we! Which is why we’re honored to have them as a vital member of the Perfect Wedding Guide family of local vendors.

So fiancés — this one is for you! Your search for an unrivaled engagement ring, anniversary gift, or wedding band gets to end here. You don’t have to thank us though, just thank Ooh! Aah! Jewelry for working so hard to provide local engaged couples of all styles with jewelry to delight, surprise, and wear forever.

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Want more? Check out their collection + contact the shop here!

 

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The Groom’s Guide to Helping with Wedding Planning

Over the years, the responsibilities of today’s groom have definitely changed. Especially, when it comes to who pays for the wedding. Traditionally, the groom would only pay for his tuxedo, the wedding rings, the officiant and his bride’s bouquet. Other expenses may have included groomsmen’s gifts, corsages for his mother and hers and the honeymoon {or minimoon!}.

Meanwhile, his family would pay for the rehearsal dinner and the bride’s family the rest of the financial burden. But the average cost of today’s wedding has soared, with some estimates placing the cost of the “average” wedding at $20,000 or more. This has led to a change in attitudes among engaged couples and quite frankly, it just isn’t always practical to follow tradition.

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Briana Nicole Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nowadays, more couples pay for most of their wedding expenses and receive smaller contributions from their families. When families do help, a greater burden tends to fall on the groom’s family. In some cases, the groom’s family handles not only the traditional rehearsal dinner expenses, but they also cover the cost of wedding services including entertainment for the reception, transportation for the wedding party and photography or videography.

For most grooms, it’s no longer an option to show up to the church ready to wed. Although it’s still typical for brides to oversee wedding plans, more and more men dig into their wallets, handle a range of wedding-related responsibilities and make important decisions. After all, it only makes sense to have both of you involved in decisions like:

  • The budget
  • The ceremony and reception venue
  • The size of the guest list and who will be invited
  • The degree of formality for both the ceremony and reception
  • Which stores and specific items should be part of your gift registry
  • Where you will honeymoon and for how long
Elizabeth Wells Photography

Of course, these are just a few of the areas where your involvement could be helpful. You can and should tailor your involvement to match your interests and the needs of your bride. For example, if you’re interested in cars, handle the transportation arrangements. But remember, you have two very important responsibilities at your wedding ceremony that, if handled well, can make all the difference in the world:

  • Work closely with the best man and attendants to keep things moving smoothly, including assuring that guests are properly seated, the wedding rings are there and everyone understands the schedule of events and roles.
  • Collaborate with your vendors before the wedding. Your bride to be can only keep track of so many things! Let her handle the florist, while you straighten out details with the officiant, for example.

You should recognize that, despite the many distractions, you’re there to be married. The day belongs to you two, and mental and emotional preparation is key to its success.

Whatever expanded role you play in planning and holding your wedding, it will be memorable. And yet another reason for her to love you!

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Maura Jane Photography

 

Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico

Catherine & Mikael’s Rainy & Romantic Los Poblanos Wedding

From the first sign of sunshine peaking over the Sandias, the rain drizzled at a slow and steady pace throughout the day to grace their wedding with luck and good fortune. The air was crisp and the weather calm. Perfect for Catherine and Mikael’s wedding last fall.

With photos captured by Elizabeth Wells Photography and Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm for the venue, you know it’s bound to be magical — and magical it was. From the first rain drop to the final farewell, everything came together perfectly and seamlessly.

Unlike traditional weddings, Catherine and Mikael walked down the aisle side by side as a symbol of their unwavering commitment to each other. In honor of their new life together, they both took on a new last name, Ayele, which means, “becoming stronger.”

Although they say rain is a sign of good luck on your wedding day, it is obvious that the love between these two is much more lasting, binding and true. Their dreamy and romantic, yet completely unique wedding was simply a grand display of true love.

If rain at a wedding is a sign of good fortune, then consider us lucky! Despite waking up to dark clouds and the first wet weather of the season, we had nothing to worry about — not only because we were in the capable hands of Los Poblanos, but also because nothing could diminish the natural beauty and tranquility of this venue.

As most of our guests were attending from out of state or overseas, many visiting New Mexico for the first time, we wanted to offer an authentic, unique and memorable introduction to our beautiful state. Not only did Los Poblanos deliver, they exceeded our expectations with unparalleled cuisine, rich character and seamless coordination.

Even though it was the biggest party we’ve ever thrown, it was also the most intimate and romantic. Los Poblanos kept us warm and dry while accommodating our multicultural celebration in a way we never could have imagined and will never forget.

— Catherine, Bride

Photos by Elizabeth Wells Photography

Congratulations, Catherine and Mikael! May your love “become stronger” with each new year together!

Meet the professionals who helped make their dream a reality:

Venue: Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm | Photographer: Elizabeth Wells Photography | Hair + Makeup: Genica Lee | Cake: Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm | Photo Booth: Pink Mustache

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

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