New Mexico History & Culture: Lucas Stein Designs

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.

Everything You Need to Know About Wedding Flowers

Everything You Need to Know About Wedding Flowers

With 2020 approaching and new wedding trends making their way into the spotlight, we are seeing a shift in traditions. More and more couples are choosing to find unconventional wedding venues, from coffee shops to their own backyards, and we dig it. The possibilities are truly endless! However, there are some wedding traditions that never seem to change, one of them being a fan favorite–wedding flowers.

Your wedding day is getting nearer and nearer and we get it, everything seems to be hitting you all at once. We’re here to help ease that tension and make wedding planning an enjoyable experience. When it comes to floral arrangements, planning is really easy. There are so many options for wedding flowers out there and sometimes it can be a little overwhelming–but it is actually a blessing in disguise. The Perfect Wedding Guide team has spent years working with the best florists in New Mexico, and in doing so, we’ve learned a lot of insider secrets to help out our local couples. Whether you are looking for a environmentally friendly option for your wedding day, or want to design your wedding venue to look like a floral wonderland, our local wedding florists can do it all.

We thought that we would give you a little guide to finding the right flower options for your wedding, because we are your guide to a perfect wedding after all. Plus, we have included some of our favorite local vendors for your convenience. Who knows, maybe today is the day that you book your new floral bestie!

Getting started + planning it all out

The first step in booking a florist is taking into consideration your color palette, the season, and the flower type. Here are some tips:

Colors | Think about your accessories and your bridesmaids! Are they wearing pastels? Or is it more of a moody wedding with maroons and navy blues? Choose colors that compliment your wardrobe and the decor, or choose colors that are complete opposite to create contrast. Be bold and have fun with this part!

A classic white rose bouquet to compliment the white gown. Bouquet by Albuquerque Florist || Briana Nicole Photography
An elegant + moody rose and succulent arrangement. Bouquet by Arranged Elegance || Fender Photography
Vibrant jewel tones + pops of contrasting colors that look incredible together. Bouquet by Estella Floral Design || via Estella Floral Design

Season | There are some flowers that are only available seasonally, so you want to make sure that the flowers you have your eye on are going to work with your wedding date. It is possible, though, to find a flower out of season, it might take a little more effort as a result. We want to help you make picking out your flowers as smooth as possible, so we suggest you take into consideration all of the options available to you ahead of time. Choose colors that compliment the season, from springtime pinks to winter blues.

Lovely pastel + succulent arrangement for the warmer seasons. Bouquet by Albuquerque Florist || Lauren Cherie Photography
A stunning bouquet with a focus on seasonal sunflowers. Bouquet by Estella Floral Design || via Estella Floral Design
The most charming holiday floral arrangement with an ornament. Arrangement by Bosque Flower Studio || via Bosque Flower Studio

Flower Type | We have a quite a few options now when it comes to preserving wedding day flowers. Everyone loves a good living flower that smells fresh and can be pressed and saved for years to come, but there is another option that we have been loving lately–silk flowers. We get to see plenty of real and artificial flowers in the wedding business and we’re gonna tell you a secret… we can’t tell the difference most of the time. They are all SO lovely.

Flawless silk floral arrangement with embellishments. Bouquet by Charlotte’s Flowers || T. Rayne Photography
A wide variety of gorgeous flowers. Arrangement by Flowers and Things || Via Flowers and Things
A centerpiece with just a pop of color and mostly focused on leaves and embellishments. Arrangement by Bosque Flower Studio || Kayla Kitts Photography

Perks of hiring a wedding florist

They are the experts. They have years of experience in this business and know just exactly what flowers compliment other flowers and embellishments. The styling and arranging is like second nature to these wedding professionals! When the big day comes, you don’t have to worry about anything going wrong because you chose someone who was dedicated specifically to making your perfect arrangements happen.

You can relax. All of the “doing” and “making” is done by the pros, so you get to focus on the other details of your wedding. Although it might be fun to gather up your gal and guy pals and create an assembly line of matching, cutting, and trimming, it’s not for everyone. Take some time for yourself and let a dedicated florist do what they do best. You won’t regret it!

You can be silly and make your wildest dreams come true. Like we said earlier, anything is possible. We mean it! The best thing about hiring a florist is that they are there to help you develop and carry out your vision–even if it means creating flower crowns for you, your bridesmaids, AND your furry friend.

A flower crown made specially for your best friend. Made by Charlotte’s Flowers || Maura Jane Photography

Want to see a list of our fave florists that take flower power to a whole new level? Check them out here!

5 Hidden Wedding Venue Gems in New Mexico

5 Hidden Wedding Venue Gems in New Mexico

The wonderful thing about our state is that it never ceases to amaze all of those who visit – particularly those who are planning a wedding and are looking for that special place to say “I do”. There is no doubt that every turn there is something exciting to be discovered, and we, your Wedding Collective team, are here to help you cultivate every element of your New Mexico wedding while you sit back, relax, and enjoy a warm cup of coffee.

It turns out that New Mexico is actually the place where history, landscape, and culture collide, which makes for the most stunning of weddings. Our fellow wedding planners picked the best spot to call their home base, and we did too. With such vast landscapes and the perfect weather year-round, the possibilities are endless. Want to plan an outdoor wedding in the winter? No problem. Want a private and beautiful spot to elope in the desert? No problem. Our wedding vendors know New Mexico and weddings like Taylor Swift knows heartbreak. Yeah, they’re that good.

As a group of “love” fangirls, we pretty much obsess over anything wedding related. But when it comes to hidden gems and unique venue locations, we can’t even begin to explain how thrilled we are – and we are even more thrilled that we get to share our fave spots with you. Ready to find and book your favorite hidden gem wedding venue? Keep reading below!

1. Casa Perea Art Space

Via Casa Perea Art Space
Maura Jane Photography

We adore this spot not only because of how picture perfect it is, but also because the space indulges all of the senses. From scenic gardens, to the smell of herbs and florals growing in the surrounding area… Everything. Is. Perfect.

2. Europa

Via Perfect Wedding Guide
Stills by Gerard

Nestled in the heart of Los Lunas, this venue takes farm-to-table to a new level. With acres of land and rustic farmhouse vibes, Europa is the most unique and charming little spot just outside of Albuquerque. There are both indoor and outdoor venue options so that you can enjoy what they have to offer year-round!

3. Hacienda Doña Andrea

Via Hacienda Doña Andrea
Lauren Cherie Photography

From these pictures alone, you can understand why we love this place so much. The adobe and architecture already feels like New Mexico, and to top it off, you could have the whole thing to yourself and your wedding party. You heard correctly, this romantic venue is a private estate where your wedding dreams come true.

4. Nature Pointe

Kevin’s Photography

We are a little biased because we happen to love the scenery of the outdoors here in New Mexico, so of course we would try to find a little gem that showcases Mother Nature. Aside from the natural beauty of Tijeras, New Mexico, this venue also offers a wide range of services to help make your day stress-free!

5. UNM Alumni Memorial Chapel

Maura Jane Photography
Chrisi K Photography

Some people might say this gem isn’t really hidden, but being tucked behind trees on the University of New Mexico campus, we think it deserves a little spotlight. This beautiful chapel was built in 1962 to honor alumni who lost their lives in line of duty has become the gathering place for renewals, memorials, and weddings.

Vendor Spotlight: Moon + Midnight Photo

Vendor Spotlight: Moon + Midnight Photo

You know that warm, inviting feeling you get when you think about the one that you love? The feeling that as if there is no one else in the world watching, you could melt into their arms and spend an eternity in their embrace? When it comes to capturing this feeling, you’re going to want to find a special kind of person who is just as passionate about your love story as you are – and with the help of a local wedding photographer – this is all possible.

Caroline of Moon + Midnight Photo should be your go-to gal for capturing pure romance. She incorporates an intimate and warm style with all of the classic elegance of wedding photography. We are obsessed with her editing style that plays with warm overlay tones and gives off a raw, cinematic vibe. Caroline is the perfect example of a strong and dedicated wedding professional through her determination and many years of experience. For the bride and groom on the search for a photographer who will bring out the best of you and your wedding day, look no further, Moon + Midnight Photo is your perfect fit.

We are so impressed by our wedding community because they work miracles when they do what they love, all while being so personable. We all know how exciting it is when we meet someone and they just straight up get us AND our vision. Finding a wedding vendor who you can trust is like meeting an unlikely friend who also happens to be working toward the same goal as you! Caroline from Moon + Midnight Photo is your new bestie when it comes to capturing your love story.

Want to see some of her stunning work? You’re in luck! Check out the gallery below and if you are eager to book a session, because I know I would be, click here.

Our Favorite 2020 Wedding Trends

Our Favorite 2020 Wedding Trends

Here at Perfect Wedding Guide, the end of the year means planning, preparing, and jumping for joy because we get to learn about all of the upcoming trends for next year! We would by lying if we told you that we aren’t a little sad to see 2019 go, though. This year was definitely one for the books, filled with the most beautiful weddings and exciting wedding shows & events. We loved hearing all of your perfect wedding stories and having the honor of sharing them with other brides and grooms that are looking for some inspiration.

As our pinky promise to you, we will continue to provide you with the most current and trendy tips and inspiration each and every year because we think you’re the best. We are so eager to share what is in store for next year that we are going to give you some insider knowledge right now that the Perfect Wedding Guide team picked up at this year’s Wedding MBA Conference in Las Vegas. Yesterday we hosted our annual Wedding MBA Recap Breakfast at The Event Center at Sandia Golf Club and got to hear some notable takeaways from our fellow local wedding professionals that also attended the conference.

We thought that we would have a little fun with this one and look back at some of the decade’s biggest wedding trends while introducing the future forecast for wedding trends in 2020.

First, the oldies, but goodies.

2019 | Private ceremony + elopement locations

Coryn Kiefer Photography

2019 | Animals in weddings

Coryn Kiefer Photography

2019 | White weddings

Briana Nicole Photography

2019 | Pastels, pinks, and blushes

Briana Nicole Photography

2019 | Pear-shaped rings

Maura Jane Photography

2019 | Romantic lighting rentals

Briana Nicole Photography

2019 | Unique venues

Lauren Cherie Photography

2019 | Specialty cakes

Maura Jane Photography

And now for the upcoming trends for 2020!

2020 | The “Roaring 20s” (of course)

Via todaysbride.com

2020 | Bright & bold pops of color

Al Gawlik Photography

2020 | Ceiling installations

Anna Jones Photography

2020 | Textures

Via HiMissPuff.com

2020 | Greens + grasses

Via Happywedd.com

2020 | Mirrored floors

Darin Images

2020 | Cake backdrops

Buffy Dekmar

2020 | Texture, minimalism, capes, and beyond

2020 | Donuts, mini cakes, & tall cakes

2020 | Sustainability

Via thegoodbeginning.com

So there you have it, a decade of trends and some new ones to welcome to the table. We’re ready for you, 2020!

How to Look & Feel Your Best on Your Wedding Day

How to Look & Feel Your Best on Your Wedding Day

Here at Perfect Wedding Guide, we totally understand that every bride wants to look her very best on the big day– and it’s important because not only are you the center of attention, but also the VIP guest who deserves to feel healthy, happy, and stress free. Looking good & feeling good are two very different things, but they don’t have to be mutually exclusive! We are here to tell you that you have nothing to worry about when it comes to showing off your shine, inside and out. All of our amazing beauty experts have your back, we promise.

We’ve gathered some of our personal favorite beauty tips that we’ve been so kindly given by our wedding experts to share with you, because let’s face it, sometimes we need a little help from our friends when wedding stress levels are at an all time high.

Tip #1 – Start Early

• Search online (and in the Perfect Wedding Guide magazine) to find a beauty expert that fits with your vibe!

• Book an early consultation with a beauty expert so that they can guide you in the right direction.

• Start a healthy skincare routine & focus on eating clean so you feel your best when the day arrives.

Tip #2 – Try on, sample, and explore

• Make sure to try out all of your beauty products ahead of time. We cannot stress this enough since you don’t want to have a bad reaction to a product or hate your hair accessories on the day of.

• Order free samples and book consultations to make sure that you make the best choices on products and styles.

• Explore new trends by looking online and talking to local wedding vendors to expand your horizons!

Tip #3 – Treat yo self

• Treat yourself to a yoga session, massage, wax, facial, and/or spa day before the day of the wedding.

• Take the pressure off your hands by letting a beauty expert guide you. Give yourself a mental break because a healthy mind is a healthy bride.

• Do what makes you feel happy, even if it means eating all of those delicious donuts.

Need some suggestions on who to reach out to? Let’s start with these faves: Paixão Nail and Beauty Bar, Waxing the City, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Skinny Secrets, Rodan and Fields, K and C Naturals, and Blo Blow Dry Bar. You can see more of our talented beauty vendors here.

So, that is our take on bride-to-be self-care, but sometimes it is nice to hear directly from the beauty gurus themselves! Here are some BONUS tips from the lovely ladies at Blo Blow Dry Bar:

BONUS TIPS FROM BLO BLOW DRY BAR

Patricia “Bar Boss”

Favorite hairstyle: “Red Carpet”

Favorite product: “Second day” | Texturizer paste that gives a very soft look

Janessa “Style Boss”

Favorite hairstyle: “Pillow Talk”

Favorite product: “Texturize It” | Volumizer to make hair feel lush and soft

The big day is approaching! Here are some tips:

  • Brides should come in 6 weeks before the day of the wedding
  • Bring all of the hair accessories you plan to wear (veil, clips, flowers, etc.)
  • Get your hair done on the day of your dress fitting

The big day is here! Here are some (more) tips:

  • Come in with clean and dry hair, no products should be in the hair
  • Be 5 minutes early
  • Relax & breathe

Blo Blow Dry Bar has the most exciting bridal hair + makeup menu yet filled with unique options for every bride or bridesmaid. We absolutely ADORE the way that Blo created their own booklet with charming illustrations of the hairstyles they have to offer. You can learn more about them here!

Header photo via Paixão Nail and Beauty Bar

7 of New Mexico’s Best Entertainment Experts

You know that classic saying, “it’s all about the music”? When it comes to your wedding, this statement couldn’t be more true. With the rise of technology, we have so many options when it comes to picking some tunes. Between customizable Spotify playlists and YouTube music stations, it’s so hard to say no to these easy and budget-friendly alternatives.

If you’re on the fence about which option is best, we’re going to help you out—you absolutely should book a local entertainment expert. Here’s why:

You’ll get a genuine and authentic experience. Not only are these local musicians and disc jockeys well seasoned in their craft, but they also know how to throw together one heck of a show. For the bride and groom looking for that authentic New Mexican experience—or even simply a classic, yet genuine, performance to make your wedding more elegant, you’ve come to the right place.

You won’t break the bank. With such a wide variety of vendors to showcase, you’re sure to find one that fits your wedding day budget. It is always good to remember that you are hiring an entertainment expert. These are folks who have been working in the industry for a long time and are sure to make your big day the most memorable day of your lives, and that itself is priceless!

Your wedding will be completely unique. From the gown to the venue, every bride and groom has their own personal touch to add to their wedding, and the music shouldn’t be the exception. By choosing a local entertainment expert you get to be in control of the look, the feel, and the mood of the day. You can work closely with the musician or DJ to make sure that all of your favorite songs and sounds will be implemented into the ceremony and reception. 

You don’t have to worry about anything. Seriously. Your job is to have a great time while the professionals handle everything. There’s no need to worry about that playlist glitching halfway through the ceremony because you’ll be in good hands. Now that should be music to your ears!

Whether you want a live accompaniment while you walk down the aisle or a reception DJ that makes your guests get up from their tables and dance, we can’t think of a better way to help those dreams come to life than to provide you with New Mexico’s greatest entertainment professionals.

1. Complete Weddings + Events

Working with Complete was as easy as you could possibly want when planning this stressful event. Justin sat down with us, heard our wants and requests, and paired us with a fantastic DJ and videographer who met our needs perfectly. Both David (our DJ) and Minh (our videographer) met with and developed a relationship with us beforehand to make sure they had an exact idea of our vision for our wedding day. We would definitely recommend Complete to anyone looking for a hassle free wedding experience!

– Sanae, Bride

2. Cutmaster Music

We chose Chris from Cutmaster Music to be our DJ at our reception. And I must say, he was worth every penny! Chris kept us on schedule and got all our guests hyped for our entrance! He then made our first dance extremely special by asking our guests to come stand around the dance floor. 

– Amanda, Local Bride

3. King Mobile Music

Brad King might very likely be the best DJ in Albuquerque, and you would be silly not to book him if you have the chance. My fiance and I met with Brad through a recommendation from our photographer because we had mentioned that our dream wedding reception was A LOT of fun and a had every guest dancing. Let me tell you, Brad delivered.

– Kayla, Local Bride

4. Cello for Weddings

Ryan’s talent, demeanor, and musical talent was the cherry on top of the most perfect day. My husband and I live in Seattle and had a destination wedding in Santa Fe, NM. Working with Ryan was the easiest part of the planning. By request, he played a beautiful cello compilation of my favorite Yanni song- a song which had deep meaning to both me and my dad. The song gave me absolute chills and caused my dad to burst into tears. I gave Ryan very little direction and trusted his experience and understanding. He showcased his talent and expertise in his field effortlessly.

– Briana, Bride

5. Absolute Entertainment

Soulstice was incredible, reliable, trustworthy, and in control. When our venue experienced a few hiccups during our wedding, Vicky grabbed the microphone and was to the rescue, improvising without anybody knowing. They are the best band in Santa Fe, by far, recommended everywhere.

– Heather, Local Bride

6. John P. Martinez, Guitarist Extrordinaire

John played for our daughter’s wedding. He is an amazing guitarist. Our outdoor wedding ended up with last minute rearrangements to indoor, very tight space. John had learned new music for the processional that ended up being the shortest processional ever and he had to sit in a tiny corner. None the less, the ceremony guitar music was beautiful and the cocktail hour music was great and fun.

– Dana, Mother of the Bride

7. Musicology DJ and Events

We booked Musicology for our wedding, after seeing them at a bridal show they put on (which was awesome in and of itself) and we couldn’t be happier that we did! Laura and Eliot were extremely helpful from the very beginning. We started talking about what we are looking at in terms of songs way ahead of the wedding. They’re really great at suggesting songs (their song library is huge, they have everything!)

– Kelly, Local Bride