White Sands Elopement with Matt Blasing Photography

While the white hot heat of a New Mexican summer might have some of your eyes trained on the impending autumn, we’re not quite finished with this season yet! With weddings every weekend, sunshine for days, and the occasional light afternoon rain, it’s no small wonder why summer weddings in New Mexico are such a hit — or why this is our favorite season at Perfect Wedding Guide.

So before we let the long days slip into fall, we have to pay homage to one of our state’s most famed landscapes. As certified New Mexico-obsessed residents, we can’t pick favorites, but we definitely were on the edge of our seats waiting for a White Sands wedding or styled shoot to get us through the rest of the year.

And, if you’ve been following along, you know we’ve had elopements on the brain more than usual. Who could we call on to fulfill our wishes, besides one of the most loved husband and wife duos in the wedding photographer community, Matt Blasing Photography?!

These guys are professionals. And they are pleasant, fun, and cool people to have along for the ride on a wedding day. I would hire them again and again except I only plan to get married once!

Sandy, newlywed

Joey and Sandy made the trek to New Mexico all the way from the pacific northwest for their elopement. And thank goodness they did! Sure there are beaches all across the coast, and sure most of them have vast expanses of sand. But none quite compare when it comes to the inexplicable electric energy of White Sands. For Joey and Sandy, this ethereal space perfectly paralleled the otherworldly foundation of friendship and love that unites them.

With not a soul around, save their photographers and officiant of course, Joey and Sandy commemorated their new chapter together with the desert sun above and their toes in the sand below. Matt Blasing Photography, a team of creatives renowned for their easygoing humor and disarming humbleness, captured all the smallest moments of magic as they mirrored the unending landscape around them.

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The whole time shooting felt comfortable and easy. I am somebody who does not like taking photos – they always seem to turn out bad, so I did have some fears and really appreciated every bit of direction [Matt Blasing Photography] provided. I found myself totally letting go and being myself on my wedding day.

Sandy, newlywed

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The 3 Main Benefits of Eloping

No, the New Mexico Perfect Wedding Guide team has not been kidnapped. It’s still us, the same love-obsessed locals whose entire lives revolve around weddings! We bet you never thought we’d be advocating against having a wedding, right? We didn’t either.

When it comes down to it though, we’re not choosing elopements over weddings, and we’re not saying either is better than the other. Elopements and weddings are two sides of the same lovey-dovey, romantic coin and plus, we have some introverts on the team who would be happy to avoid the crowd a traditional wedding can draw.

It helped too, that just when our wedding brains were steering toward elopement territory, a gorgeous gallery from T. Rayne Photography happened to come into view. Marisol & Charles, newlyweds and best friends, eloped in Santa Fe this past July, and Taylor, of T. Rayne Photography, was there to catch every smile and scintillation during the wonderfully intimate and incredibly happy occasion.

Their elopement session, full of laughter and love, was just the thing we needed to really get on board the elopement train. It also happens to be the session that’s most emblematic of all the benefits of choosing to elope instead of having a full traditional wedding. Wanna know why? Let’s jump into the 3 main benefits of eloping, then!

1. Your love is at the forefront

While the beating heart of weddings is love, too, the hustle and bustle of planning a wedding can sometime elbow its way to the forefront of your celebration. With vendors to book, cousins to invite, venues to tour, groomsmen to wrangle, gowns to be fitted, and more, the reality of planning a wedding isn’t always as pretty as the aftermath.

If you and your partner are working full-time, having children or dogs, are building a home together, or working through any other sort of life-stuff, you might not have the time to plan a full wedding. So your options then become either hire a wedding planner, or have an elopement. Both options suit different needs and personalities, so it all depends on what your love looks like.

And no one said you had to miss out on the party! More and more, we’re seeing local engaged couples opt for elopement ceremonies so that more focus can be put on the reception. Whether your reception is right after your elopement, later in the year, or for your 5 years anniversary, you can always celebrate your union with the people you love. (And avoid hurting your in-laws’ feelings if they don’t get invited to the elopement!)

2. You get what you really, actually want

Because, maybe you actually do want your in-laws there for the ceremony. Or maybe you want to wear photorealistic dinosaur head masks for part of the ceremony, because it’s hilarious and also surprisingly adorable. Or maybe you want to run away to the woods with the love of your life and secretly bind your futures together in the company of Ponderosa pine trees.

Whatever you want, you can have it.

It’s an elopement, not a wedding. There are no guests lists to work around, no great-aunts to please, no dresses and suits to coordinate around everyone’s aesthetic preferences and personal styles, it’s just about you and your soon-to-be spouse.

So yeah, get those dino heads on, it’s your day.

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3. You save money

Yeah, yeah, we know. One of the first things people think of when they hear elopement is the money they’d save if they chose to do that instead of having a traditional wedding. And sure, that money can go toward a home, your honeymoon, or a myriad of other things.

Or, you could use the money you save on skirting the venue to focus on what is really important for you and your partner to have while you forge your new life together. For Marisol & Charles, it was important to have gorgeous, intimate photos to revisit for the rest of their lifetime together — that’s where T. Rayne Photography came in, of course!

For you and your partner, it might be something different. But with the money you save by eloping, you can choose to have the photographer, dress, location, or florist of your absolute dreams. All the rest of that stuff? Well, you can save it for your vow renewal or killer reception.

There is no wrong decision though. Whether you choose to weather the storm of planning a full, traditional wedding or go for something quieter, smaller, and more intimate like the Santa Fe elopement T. Rayne Photography captured — it’s all for the sake of love. (And for our sake too, because you know we live vicariously through the local weddings and elopements around us, so either way we’ll be swooning.)

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How to Have a Country Wedding in New Mexico

For visitors or recent transplants to New Mexico, country might not be the first adjective you’d reach for to describe the state. For those of us who have had a chance to wander outside of the cities though, the farm and field influence obviously contributes to the eclectic blend of cultures that make New Mexico so magnificent.

Which is lucky for all of us, because it means there’s no limit to the kind of wedding you can have here. Especially when you take a look at the collective portfolio of our local wedding experts! From a Kate Spade inspired, modern urban pallet, to a wandering bohemian picnic celebration, to a royal banquet rich in traditional Spanish influences, New Mexico can house and support pretty much every theme, vibe, or aesthetic.

So it should come as no surprise that having a cowboy-country-down-home wedding here would be as easy as pie, too. From wide open desert mesas to rodeo style architecture, everything you need for a back country celebration starts and ends with one of our most loved local wedding venues.

The Southwest Event Center was originally built as a livestock auction house, but now stands in Los Lunas as a generous and venerable ranch-style wedding venue. With indoor and outdoor spaces available — because we all know how fickle that New Mexico weather can be — you don’t even need much decor to round out the beauty of the space.

This venue is absolutely the package deal. So much open space to use and take full advantsge of. The owner genuinly cares about the client experience and goes above and beyond to make sure her clients needs and wants are met. This venue has an original cowboy feel and most certainly can not be replicated or imitated.  

Sarah, local wedding photographer

It’s true. The small town vibe of the wedding venue extends past the mountains, crisp air, and sprawling landscape that envelops the Southwest Event Center. Their venue is owned and operated by a family of dedicated creatives, whose southern hospitality has lead them to be somewhat of local celebrities, and for good reason too.

To say good bye to the bustle and grind of city life, if only for a moment, you can book the Southwest Event Center for your wedding by contacting their team here.

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Jessica Ash Photography

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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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Blo: Albuquerque’s Fav Blow Dry Bar

When you hear the phrase blow dry bar, your mind might conjure up imagery of 1950’s ladies in pleats and patterns getting blow-outs and blow-drys all in a row. But with just a three letter distinction, the blow dry bar suddenly becomes Blo Blow Dry Bar, and everything changes. Gone are the days of mint green tile and hair as tall as the doorframe. Instead, here among our wedding professionals in Albuquerque, we have sleek edges and minimalist white space with lush, comfortable seating that makes your hair appointment feel more like an appointment in the clouds.

The Bloers, also known as your stylists, have dedicated their nimble fingers to elevating your hair. In height, maybe if that’s what you’re into, but definitely in quality. By using the best quality ingredients paired with their meticulous training, you’d be hard pressed to not feel like your best self coming out of there.

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Which, yes, the focus of your wedding day is love, love, and more love, as you know. But regardless of how deep your love for your partner runs, it’s difficult to focus on anything else when you don’t feel like yourself. With so much to worry about when it comes to planning your wedding day too, the last thing you want to be focus on is a misplaced hair or an updo that doesn’t match your personality. Not to mention the hundreds of photos from your photographer and guests that will memorialize your celebration of love forever.

But don’t worry, and don’t let anyone tell you its vanity. It’s a day you want to remember and revisit fondly, for the rest of your everlasting marriage, so place your beautiful face (and hair!) in the talented hands of beauty professionals you can trust with Blo Blow Dry Bar.

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Feeding New Mexico’s Weddings and Communities: Street Food Institute

As certified New Mexico wedding experts, we, the Perfect Wedding Guide team, spend a lot of time talking about what it is that makes each individual wedding so special. Often, we hone in on the little details in the decor, bouquets, vows, and such. We do so because with hundreds of thousands of weddings happening all over the world, it’s the minutia of the moment that reveals the hidden intricacies of a couple’s wedding. So you might ask yourself questions while planning your wedding that seem overly introspective, but are actually totally valid. The colors you choose for your wedding do reflect your identities. Your venue, be it chic and modern with clean edges, or industrial and rustic with an old-world charm, really does encapsulate your penchants and personalities. 

Not to mention, as the world continues to be tumultuous and ever-turning, the decision-making of choosing wedding professional to trust, which vendor to collaborate with, and which small business to support, becomes even bigger than just deciding whose vibe matches yours. If you’re anything like us, then you want to support the kinds of businesses who do good for your community, too. 

So when we first learned about the Street Food Institute here in New Mexico, our initial reaction was to jump for joy. Equal parts food truck catering and culinary education program, the Street Food Institute nourishes our community not only through their delicious food, but through their sustainable entrepreneur pathways, too. The former provides unique, experiential dining options for weddings and events here in New Mexico, and the latter, long-lasting and life-changing professional development for students from all backgrounds. 

With specific programs for those most vulnerable in our community — like their partnership with Crossroads for Women, an organization for formerly incarcerated women — the Street Food Institute empowers and educates while they feed and delight their customers and friends. You can choose from one of their many fine-tuned, carefully curated menus — brunch foods, taco bars, causal eats, vegetarian cuisine, and asian buffets — or you can take advantage of their professional chef expertise and have a custom menu created to perfectly compliment the other eats and treats at your wedding. With either option, you can move forward with the Street Food Institute knowing you’re supporting and celebrating a local business who strengthens our entire community. 

Plus, if we’re being honest here, we all know the food truck trend is the most adorable and convenient thing to ever hit the food scene here in New Mexico. By partnering with the Street Food Institute for your wedding, you can reflect your good taste both literally and metaphorically, and create an experience for your family and friends unlike any other. To contact the incredibly dedicated, incredibly kind team over at the Street Food Institute, you can contact them here. 

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Wedding Venue Hot Spots in New Mexico {Part Three!}

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If you’ve been on the edge of your seat waiting for part three, then please, feel free to sit back and relax because it’s here! We started out spring with a feature on New Mexico’s favorite wedding venues, simply because our whole reason for being is to reinvigorate our state, and show local engaged couples the magic that is possible here in the Land of Enchantment. Because we’re not biased either, we’re covering everything from crisp spaces with modern cityscape backdrops, to rolling green hills with luxurious greenery to frame the ceremony.

The one thing all these venues, in their varied vibes and values, have in common is their respective teams. All included local wedding venues have dedicated staff members who have gone above and beyond to prove to us, Perfect Wedding Guide, and our local community that they’re committed to their couples and weddings. So, without further adieu, let’s jump right back in to our running list of New Mexico’s best wedding venues!

(Pssst… You can check out Part One here, and Part Two here!)


Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort + Spa

Hyatt Tamaya Venue Wedding Maura Jane Photography Hot Spot

Nestled between the Sandia Mountains and the legendary Rio Grande River on the sacred lands of the Santa Ana Pueblo, Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa is an extraordinary southwest jewel steep in centuries of rich history and culture. Stunning outdoor venues feature breathtaking mountain, sunset, and mesa views. At Tamaya you can arrive at your ceremony in a horse drawn carriage from our on-site stables. And your guests will find relaxation and entertainment at our spa, championship golf course, and one-of-a-kind cultural activities. 

Inn + Spa at Loretto

Loretto Inn and Spa Venue Tony Gambino Photography Wedding Bride Flower Girl
Tony Gambino Photography

Located next door to the historic Loretto Chapel, the landmark Inn and Spa at Loretto is the ideal location for a wedding reception. For a truly extraordinary event, The Grand Zuni Ballroom can host up to 200 guests while the more intimateTesuque Ballroom includes a fireplace, stage and canaccommodate receptions of up to 150 guests. The Sculpture Garden, with its curated collection of Santa Fe artists, can be reserved for ceremonies and receptions. The Penthouse Suite,offering five terraces with outstanding views, is the premierlocation for a truly memorable and intimate event of 10 to 75 guests. The Inn and Spa at Loretto is well known for hosting unforgettable Santa Fe weddings.

Isleta Resort + Casino

Isleta Resort Venue Wedding Couple Newlyweds Bride Groom Hot Spot
Photographic Perspectives

Isleta Resort & Casino now features more than 100,000 square feet of meeting space, designed to accommodate groups of all sizes. The resort features 201 hotel rooms, including a posh Governor’s suite to celebrate the most romantic of wedding nights. Pamper your bridal party at The Spa at Isleta, indulging in the outdoor rain waterfall and luxurious pre and post wedding day treatments. Isleta Resort & Casino features a variety of entertainment for out of town guests, including a country western bar,
fine dining, a 27 hole golf course, three natural lakes for fishing, and muchmore. Award winning sales and banquet partners help customize every detail of your day, as part of our unwavering dedication to turn your dream into a reality.

La Fonda on the Plaza

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Blue Rose Photography

 

A wedding at La Fonda on the Plaza is steeped in tradition and timeless, romantic ambiance, marrying the elegance and style of yesteryear with contemporary luxury and the convenience of today. Our elegant architecture, authentic, hand-crafted interiors and original artwork will create an air of romance that will make your dream wedding a heartfelt occasion. With over 95+ years of experience hosting weddings, you can relax and enjoy your day, knowing that our wedding planners will guide and assist inevery detail to ensure a flawless day from start to finish. And withmultiple event rooms, we can host weddings of all sizes, each offering your guests a unique Southwestern experience.

La Mesita Ranch Estate

La Mesita Ranch Estate Wedding Venue Reception Setup Beautiful Gorgoues Hot Spot

An exclusive estate located just 17 minutes north of downtown Santa Fe, sitting amidst 140 acres of Native land, La Mesita can accommodate up to 22 guests in its five sophisticated, and beautifully appointed homes and host weddings of up to 500 guests. This gracious estate was recently featured on KOB news as “The Hidden Gem of New Mexico” for places to be married in New Mexico! Centered around a European fountain, a world class Equestrian center provides the backdrop for a wedding experience unparalleled by any other New Mexico location. If it’s magic you are looking for, call Deborah Newman to chat about “Everything La Mesita”!

 

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