What Local Engaged Couples Have to Say About Planning a Wedding in New Mexico

So, if we’re being honest with ourselves, most people in New Mexico know Perfect Wedding Guide for our wedding shows. Which makes sense, considering how many hundreds of engaged couples and local wedding professionals come together to make shows like the Diamond Dash, Bride’s Night Out, and the Wedding Gallery possible. We’re not really complaining, promise, but we actually have a lot of love and appreciation from some of our smaller events, like the Bridal Board + Vendor Mixer!

The 2019 edition of the Bridal Board + Vendor Mixer flew past us just this last week. (Of course months of planning, collaborating, and designing goes by in a dizzying but beautiful flash!) All we want to talk about is all the amazing nuggets of knowledge we learned, but wait…

What even is the Bridal Board + Vendor Mixer?!

Great question, reader! This particular event was conceptualized to fill the gap between local engaged couples and the wedding professionals who serve them. (Sound familiar?) Essentially, the Bridal Board + Vendor Mixer is oriented like a research or focus group. We invite around 10 engaged or recently married couples from the local community to come share their insights, triumphs, complaints, compliments, woes, worries, and wonders about the wedding planning process in New Mexico. 

Then, with bellies full of a complementary, gourmet dinner, the wedding professionals from all over New Mexico take note, adjust their practices, ask questions, and, hopefully, grow! It’s one of the few opportunities you have in any business-client relationship to truly hear and communicate with one another. It’s how we’re able to keep the eclectic New Mexico wedding market moving and evolving in the right direction.

Ready to learn what the engaged couples who have come before you have to say about the wedding planning process in New Mexico? Let’s jump in with our 3 main takeaways.

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1. Inclusivity is Key.

Another word for inclusivity here could be clarity. When we asked the couples, “What is the most important quality you are looking for when hiring a wedding professional?” the conclusion was the same across the board. Couples look for those who exude kindness and personality, and vendors who actually listen to their vision without imposing their own ideas on the couple. 

When we asked the couples what the vendors they choose did to earn their business, what we heard reaffirmed these values. They appreciated (and went on to book) the professionals who didn’t exclusively brag about themselves, whose websites were clear and communicative, and whose work accurately represented the couples they want to work with.

For example, if a wedding professional exclusively promotes straight couples on their website and social media channels, the chances of reaching LGBTQ couples are pretty much nil.

To sum: be clear, be kind, be inclusive, and listen well.

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2. Stick to Email, Folks.

Yes, the digital world is ever changing, and it’s so tempting to make texting your main form of communication. (You can do it from bed, from the gym, from the couch with Netflix playing in front of you, so we totally get it.)

But, because lots of couples create a specific email address for wedding planning, keeping all communications in one place is best. There’s higher visibility of conversations in email as well, so accountability comes much easier.

Also, hate is a strong word, but our couples felt strongly about this: they hate phone calls. Like, really and truly. Most couples are at work during a business’s hours of operations, or they’re at home with their partners and families.

Remember: stick to email.

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3. Yes, Social Media is Still Important.

Your website should still be the home of your business, but social media is where the vast majority of couples look for wedding inspiration. The two top contenders, which you might be able to guess already, are Instagram and Pinterest.

Instagram is a great platform to utilize, according to the local couples, because it’s easy to return to feed posts for references — though they love seeing stories, especially of behind-the-scenes previews for styled shoots and weddings. Pinterest is beneficial for businesses as well because it’s so visually-oriented. Then, there’s always the concept of pinfinity, too!

(Pinfinity = the fact your pins continue to be recirculated by pinners long after you post them, whereas Instagram posts are usually only seen within the first 48 hours of posting.)

Here’s your excuse to log on, friends, and show the world what you’re working with.

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A very special thank you to all the incredible local businesses who made this awesome, collaborative event possible: Embassy Suites, for generously hosting us and feeding all our guests a marvelous meal; De Novo Pastoral Services for being our informed and entertaining emcee; Beth Waldron Photography for capturing all the fun above; Estella Floral Design for our darling centerpieces; Funky Olive Designs for our pretty little invitations; Cello for Weddings for serenading all our guests with delightful live cello music; and Black Swan Events, for transforming the ballroom into a conducive, inspiring space.

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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 

Glory Ranch Films: Albuquerque Cinematographer

At the ceremony, [Glory Ranch Films] completely blended in and made the filming feel totally stress-free, not at all ‘in your face’, as I’ve experienced at some other weddings. The film is just beautiful and incorporated sweet thoughtful details as well as being incredibly high quality.

Julia, local bride

Is there anything sweeter than hearing kind and genuine words about one of your favorite local wedding professionals from a happy newlywed? Okay, maybe that’s a bit too specific, but for us, that truly is the pinnacle of sweetness. How could it not be, when we spend our days working hard to keep the dreams alive for both New Mexico’s engaged couples, and the local businesses who serve them?

It’s local businesses like Glory Ranch Films, especially, who fuel our wedding-loving, community-serving fire. Simply because the husband and wife duo have been doing the good work of filming, capturing, and creating beautiful moments for local couples to have for the rest of their lives. For over ten years Tom and Jenny, of Glory Ranch Films, have been working diligently for their couples, and the couple’s passion for storytelling hasn’t wavered a bit. And that is why we’re inspired by their team, and able to keep our spirits high while we try to support our community just as well.

With that in mind, it comes as no surprise, then, that all of Tom and Jenny’s couples have nothing but delightful things to say about their work. Their finely-tuned, documentary style of capturing moments keeps their work true to the heart of each couple. After years of collaborating and creating together, clean visuals and dynamic storytelling comes naturally to the couple. 

No shot-by-shot analysis of their creative wedding films could come close to recreating the experience of immersing yourself in their work, so we’ll take off from here, and let their artistry speak for itself. To book Glory Ranch Films for your wedding, you can contact Tom and Jenny here. 

We relish the process of partnering couples to bring their wedding day visions to life through film, capturing the beauty, honesty and magic within both the extravagant moments and the intricate details throughout the big day.

-Tom and Jenny, Glory Ranch Films

 

2018 Four Seasons Connection Luncheon Recap

Okay, so maybe we’re a bit nostalgic, but is that so wrong? Especially since we’re only a few days into 2019, and here in New Mexico, 2018 was one of Perfect Wedding Guide‘s best years yet. We had wedding shows, luncheons, and parties galore, plus relationship building, contest-throwing, giant giveaways, and more. The only way to rectify our desperate reminiscing is to start look eagerly toward our upcoming events, which we’re definitely doing, don’t get us wrong.

But before we jump ahead, we have to spend at least a moment discussing the experience of our Four Seasons Connection Luncheon that was in December of 2018. Because that’s exactly what it was — an experience. Four Season‘s unparalleled elegance, the crisp, clean air of Santa Fe, and Alena Bard LLC.‘s wisdom all combined to create a truly moving afternoon.

Lucky for us, Keara Lloyd Photography was there to capture every moment, too, from the first course to the last lingering conversation. The former being, if you can believe it, warm quail on a bed of roasted fennel salad, decorated with a complimentary beet puree, roasted almonds, and white balsamic glazed blueberries. Then came the duel entrees: slow braised short ribs with green chile mashed potato, and chorizo and macadamia roasted Chilean sea bass.

Accompanying every bite was a light and refreshing sparkling wine that prepared the palette for our team’s personal favorite, the dessert: strawberry trifle with sponge cake, vanilla and Chantilly cream. The only thing that rivaled the dessert’s sweetness was the absolute treat of hearing local wedding planner Alena Bard LLC. share her knowledge to the group of local business owners. She talked finding your purpose, holding onto it, and weaving passion and self-compassion into your business practices. We walked away feeling filled to the brim with inspiration and delectable cuisine.

The best part of being positioned between local engaged couples and the businesses who serve them is being able to spoil both parties. For our engaged couples, it’s through our giveaways, wedding shows, online tools, print guide, etc., etc., etc. And for the local wedding professionals, who work so hard to elevate and evolve Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s market, it’s through indulgent, invigorating, innovative days like this.

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Behind the Booth at Wedding Shows

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to attend one of Perfect Wedding Guide‘s several local wedding shows throughout the year, then you probably know they’re quite the production. Take our Diamond Dash show, for example, with it’s elaborate decor, fashion show, and signature cake-diving event. {Eep! The Diamond Dash on October 28th is right around the corner now, too!}

Our team can only take credit for a portion of the grandeur, because while it is a Perfect Wedding Guide event, the heart of the day comes from the local wedding professionals who fill up Hyatt Regency Albuquerque‘s ballroom with goodies, gifts, and great advice. Which isn’t always easy, and only comes to fruition with the hard work and dedication of these business owners. To make things a bit easier for our local wedding champions though, our team put together a few tips and tricks for local vendors to help their day run smoothly.

So hey there, wedding professionals, this one is for you! For our fellow wedding-lovers and engaged couples though, stick around and get a sneak peak into the love and determination from Albuquerque + Santa Fe wedding experts have cultivated in order to be there, for you, on your special day. {Plus you can check out some of our favorite booths from past shows too — it’s some serious, real-life wedding inspo!}

30709080_10156428120149114_414624056717869056_oBooth from Shayla Edenfield Photography

Getting an edge on your next wedding show


 

  1. Arrive early.  Wedding shows are automatically one of the best places to rekindle old friendships, start new collaborations, grab breakfast together, and showcase your products/services to the active movers and shakers in the wedding community.  
  1. Stay late.  Some of the most serious brides/grooms will linger through to the end of the show (as well as stay after to chat it up with their fave connections).  Don’t pack up early! 
  1. Be the expert.  Don’t just showcase YOUR products and services but show that you’re well connected and knowledgeable by asking about the bride’s other chosen vendors, venue, and decisions about her wedding.  Comment, engage, and show your enthusiasm for her choices.

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39543483_10156761868899114_6295161865286713344_oBliss Salon and Spa
  1. Have a strategy.  Not only do you want to have a follow up strategy for AFTER the show, but you want to have a good strategy for obtaining “hot” leads DURING the show.  Are you taking notes?  Are they filling out a short form with you? Instead of mass “it was nice to meet you” emails, try to personalize your follow up with special details you’ve noted about their wedding.  
  1. Share away.  Be sure to announce in the weeks leading up to the show that you’ll be there (via emails to your brides, announce it on your website, and share on your social platforms).  It’s a great way to encourage couples to stop by your booth…especially for any potential clients that haven’t solidified their contract with you. And, what a great way to show your potential and current clients that you specialize in weddings and are well-connected amongst the wedding community. 
  1. Be interested.  Ask questions, be engaging, and create memorable conversations. 
27982749_10156221234314114_7243046454168666338_oCasi Sueno Weddings + Events
  1. Set the stage.  Don’t sit down….stand and engage with clients at eye level.  Don’t put your table at the front of your booth…put it behind you to create a more inviting experience and less of a barrier for conversation. 
  1. Do contests.  Create fun social media tagging contests for all guests (not just the bride) to engage in with universal gifts as the reward for the winner (such as a Target gift card).  What a great way to elevate your social media experience and magnify your exposure to not just the bride’s friends, but to the bride’s guest’s friends too!   
 39589181_10156761868524114_6922236238783053824_oWilliam Sonoma
25299069_10156054267149114_6931178646239364789_nCasa Rondena Winery
27629271_10156221231669114_7818767282779275304_oElla Blu Bridal
27797504_10156221231239114_946640457785056628_o.jpgBlack Swan Events

 

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Get $500 Off Your Wedding at the Diamond Dash!

Ah yes, our most popular event of the year has come around again. It’s the Diamond Dash! Famed for the apex of the event — the actual diamond dash, where a lucky few engaged couples get the chance to dive into a giant wedding cake to hunt around for diamond jewelry that’s baked inside — this year, it’s the very last wedding show of 2018, on October 28th.

Typically, the opportunity to win diamond jewelry, tons of other prizes + giveaways, all while enjoying cocktails and conversations with Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s local wedding experts is enough to draw in all of New Mexico’s gorgeous engaged couples. But, there’s one more hidden little perk to doing your wedding planning in person at a Perfect Wedding Guide wedding show, and it only happens at the Diamond Dash

PWG Bucks.

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What are PWG bucks exactly? They’re essentially free wedding service coupons, except they’re totally customizable. So the power is totally in your hands and you get to choose what service to use them on. All participating vendors have special packages or services available that you can take up to $500 off of!

The best part is the PWG Bucks come in increments of $100. Which means you can spend five on five different wedding services, three on one big package, two on two, etc., etc. Big decisions, we know!

This next part is an important one though — how do you get the most bang for your PWG Buck?

Our advice is to start planning out your PWG Bucks budget the moment you register for the event. That way, you can come to the show already knowing which types of wedding professionals you still need to connect with. Then, when you walk in the door of the ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Downtown, you’ll already know which booths to spend your $500.

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Perusing through the myriad of wedding vendor booths with your $500 in hand, you can absorb some IRL (in real life) wedding inspiration, chat with local professionals, and even snag some snacks and freebies from all the experts. Each professional who is currently participating in the PWG Bucks deal will have an adorable little sign on there table that clearly indicates that they will accept your PWG Bucks as a form of payment. Some more advice: if you see the sign, don’t be shy!

Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s vendors are wonderfully talented, it’s true, but they’re actually not mind-readers, if you can believe it! If you’re connecting with a local professional and want to use some of your $500 of free money, just let them know and get the conversation started. They’ll be happy to direct you to the packages available to you and let you know how many hundreds of dollars you can save.

Essentially, the PWG Bucks are your icebreakers and your wallet-savers in one.

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Lastly, remember that PWG Bucks themselves expire at 4pm, when the wedding show finally begins winding down and reaching a close. Luckily, because the local wedding professionals are constantly so considerate, most of them will allow you to redeem them up to a week — or even a month! — after the show. It’s all about the communication, so if you feel a connection with a vendor, but maybe need to talk it over with your partner before you book, just let your vendor know!

Ready to get started? Grab your tickets and secure your $500 by registering for the event here.

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Coffee Culture for ABQ Brides

What does coffee have to do with wedding planning, you ask? Well, actually, it’s an integral part of the entire process. First, coffee calls us all into the living world. No great wedding was ever planned without some sort of caffeine to boost motivation and research skills. {Don’t fact check us on that one.}

Then there’s the meetings. Meetings with florists, officiants, DJs, oh my! Sure a lot of wedding professionals will have brick and mortar offices for you to come explore their services or products — a gown shop, for example — but many vendors operate on the fly, like some freelance makeup artists. What better place to meet and chat than one of Albuquerque’s several darling coffee shops?

{Not to mention, both local coffee shops below carry the Perfect Wedding Guide magazine. So, really, you can do all your wedding planning in one spot!}

And just to make things a little easier for you — ’cause wedding planning is genuinely hard work — we decided to visit a coffee shop or two and give you our honest opinion. Because we love our local engaged couples, and because we love coffee, of course. So stay tuned for more ratings and ravings on coffee and tea, and check out our critique of Breve and Trifecta Coffee below!

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Breve

I was instantly drawn to the fact that Breve had doddle notebooks and chalk on their tables for guests to use while they enjoyed their delicious coffee or crepes. The manager was super friendly and accommodating to my preference in iced chai tea, although it was not on the menu. It was the perfect space to gather for any planning, hang outs or to work on some homework. I will definitely be back!
Imyraly

Breve has a welcoming and open environment full of creative spaces such as doodle pads open to anyone. I enjoyed a Thai Tea, something that was new to me. This was a wonderful blend of spices and sweetness that did not disappoint!
Bellah

Teddy (the manager) took great care of us with quickly capturing our orders without affecting the quality…and my Vietnamese Coffee (coffee made with sweetened condensed milk poured over with ice) was the best way to start the day!  It’s rich, cold, sweet goodness didn’t need any added cream or sugar….was perfect the way it was.

Shauna


Breve has been set up for distribution for a while and are always so accommodating, friendly and kind! They just switched to a wire rack for distribution because they are such a popular place to pick up a guide. When we went there for coffee, I had the white mocha with coconut milk and no whip and it was amazing!!

Jennifer

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 Trifecta Coffee

I got their hot version of the White Cin. It was warm and delicious with the perfect touch of sweetness from the cinnamon! I never knew I loved cinnamon in my coffee so much until I had this coffee!

Jenna


Trifecta coffee served a delicious “White Cin” coffee — sweet, but not too sweet. The space was decorated with super cool paintings of all of the countries where there coffee beans were from; it was a great unique touch! The baristas there were nothing but sweet and welcoming!

Bellah


From the moment I walked into the coffee shop, I was warmly greeted and immediately noticed the yummy array of baked goods. One of the employees noticed me eyeing the scones and told me that all their baked goods were baked fresh daily. Of course, I was sold once she mentioned that! I had the lemon cake which was super moist! The icing had a strong lemony zest to it. I also ordered The White Cin, which you can order hot or cold. I ordered mine cold. It contained two shots of espresso, white mocha, milk and is topped with cinnamon. If you love strong coffee, this is your place! I was also able to try, The Reload which is blended with ice and hot, provided by the local personal trainers, espresso, coconut milk, banana, cocoa powder, egg white protein and vanilla. I will definitely be back for that one! I love supporting local shops because they are always so happy to greet their customers!
Imyraly
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So pick up a copy of the guide, grab a White Cin or iced chai, and get to wedding planning! Breve + Trifecta Coffee will both welcome you with open arms.
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