In a World of Peace and Love: A Styled Shoot with Lillabella Photography

No matter how uncertain these times may be, there are two things that can bring us hope: peace and love. Since the beginning of time, peace and love are what united human beings to create the world we know today – and that’s something to celebrate!

For the talented Bella Black of Lillabella Photography and Darling Clementine Illustration, celebrating the two ideas came in the form of an adorable styled shoot inspired by John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Bed-Ins for Peace” during the Vietnam War. If you’re unfamiliar with the movement, it is worth all of the details. Just over 50 years ago and immediately following their marriage, Lennon and Ono invited visitors and the press into their hotel rooms to view their peaceful, one-week “in-bed” protest of the war. Surrounded by flowers and romance, this intimate act was both a strong testament to their love for each other and their love for a more peaceful world.

It’s now half of a century later, and the people of the world continue to find beautiful ways to drive out darkness, hatred, and fear. Right now, we turn to our community for inspiration as they continue to create art and meaningful collaborations that remind us of why we’re all here: to make connections and live a life full of love.

When it comes to marriage, connection and love are at the heart of the matter. For Lillabella Photography, capturing the concept of peace and love came easy because of the connection that the couple share – and after a quick glance at the gallery, you’ll see what we mean. The bright tones and vibrant colors, while still evoking a sense of warmth, are a breath of fresh air. The couple celebrating their love in bed reminds us here at Wedding Collective that staying home, and even in bed all day, can be a beautiful thing if we simply shift our perspective. Bring on all of the bedroom wedding ceremonies and honeymoons laying in bed watching Netflix! Did we just start a new trend?

We’re loving the sweet little illustrations that call back to Lennon and Ono, and are especially fond of how well the semi-modern elements are able to act as a portal between the past and the present. Just look at that flower wall! And the records used as decor?! It’s no secret the Bella has a gift for creating pieces that transcend time with a charming little twist!

We ask you to use this time to find peace and love with yourself, your partner, and the world. Your wedding may be postponed, or possibly turned into a bedroom ceremony, but no matter what, you have each other. We have the ability to fill the world with the good things, so let’s do it together!

Photography Lillabella Photography Designed by Darling Clementine Illustration Florals The Flower Company ABQ Sweet Treats Rude Boy Cookies, LLC Clay Vessels  McCollom Clay Hair Nicole Kuhlmann Makeup Make-Up by Jacqueline C

Vendor Spotlight: Ashleigh Olguin Ceremonies

It’s a beautiful Tuesday here in New Mexico – despite the moth apocalypse that’s nearly taken over the entire state. However, we’re loving the weather and all of the ways that the community continues to come together to create incredible things. We’re starting to finally see glimpses of upcoming intimate weddings and we couldn’t possibly be more excited.

Wedding Collective is so happy to have welcomed some fantastic new vendors over the past couple of months, including the lovely Ashleigh Olguin of Ashleigh Olguin Ceremonies! If there is one thing that EVERY wedding needs, it’s an officiant. If you’re in the beginning phases of planning your wedding, look no further, we’re about to make you fall in love with Ashleigh’s kind soul and bright spirit.

Ashleigh did such an amazing job! She wrote such a beautiful ceremony that fit us very well, even after just meeting us once. We did a unique whiskey unity pouring and once we told her about this she did a wonderful job of writing it up. She is so easy to work with, professional, and has a real knack for writing a ceremony that perfectly fits the couple. Thank you for everything!”

Mike & Courtney Bartholomew

How could you go wrong with an officiant whose slogan is “Ashleigh loves LOVE”? We LOVE that and kind of wish we could steal it for ourselves! With over 9 years of experience in officiating weddings, Ashleigh has all everything you need to have a jaw-dropping, tear-jerking, laughter-filled ceremony surrounded by family and friends.

We always encourage local couples to work with the wedding vendors that listen to their visions and treat you like both client and friend. Wedding vendors should be the guide that walks the wedding planning path alongside you, not ahead of you or shouting from the finish line. Ashleigh Olguin is the perfect example of a wedding vendor who values connection and understanding – ensuring that she is with you every step of the way.

Whether you’re planning a religious, non-religious, or non-traditional wedding, Ashleigh has her door open to a variety of services and ceremony types. Especially now, with all of the small, elopement style weddings being planned for the upcoming months, you can count on this officiant to be there to make your greatest memories happen!

If you’re looking for a wedding officiant, you’ve certainly come to the right place. Now is the perfect time to get in contact with your officiant to get to know each other and book for your wedding. If you think Ashleigh Olguin is your match, you can get in contact with her here to learn more and get planning!

Ghost Ranch: A Real Wedding with Carissa & Ben Photography

“Of Ghost Ranch, the great painter Georgia O’Keeffe said, “Out here, half your work is done for you.” We whole-heartedly agree.

Carissa & Ben Photography

These days we’re craving long drives through vast New Mexico landscapes that heal our souls and remind us of the massive amount of beauty that the world gifts us with. Plus, long drives allow us to find an abundance of hidden gems where local couples can celebrate their love stories and say their “I Dos”.

This mystical elopement between Alaina + Jack emphasizes this and so much more, hinting to us that you can find beauty all over New Mexico, if you’re willing to be adventurous! Their chosen location, Ghost Ranch, sits near the village of Abiquiú and has a rich history of art, culture, and education sweeping across the 21,000 acres of land. For many, it is known as the home of Georgia O’Keeffe. It’s no wonder this couple chose to travel from California to join hearts there!

“We’re from California, but we chose New Mexico for our elopement because of its gorgeous landscapes and laid back feel. We fell in love with the idea of a desert wedding and once we discovered Ghost Ranch we never looked back! We always say to each other that our wedding day was perfect and we wouldn’t do anything differently!” 

– Alaina + Jack, Bride and Groom

The couple chose decor that went with their desert theme – cow skulls decorated with native florals, warm blankets, vibrant bouquets, and a touch of modern with a unique geometric arch. It was important that the elopement focus on their love for each other and their love of the desert, so the simplicity in their wedding complimented this perfectly. Ghost Ranch speaks for itself with all of it’s mystery + natural wonder.

Ghost Ranch is one of our favorite places on the planet. And when Alaina and Jack got in touch with us and we learned that they were drawn to the New Mexico landscape because of its stark beauty, we knew we had found some like-minded friends. It was a joy to help them find and partner with some of our very favorite vendors here in New Mexico, and their elopement ended up being a testament to the beauty, uniqueness, and enchanting nature of our state, and the artists that work here.

Carissa & Ben Photography

Without seeing this sunny elopement for yourself, it might be hard to imagine. Thankfully, the adventurous photographer duo, Carissa & Ben Photography, captured the day perfectly. From arrival until sundown, the magic never seemed to cease. Check it out for yourself below!

If we could live on Ghost Ranch, we would! Ben’s grandparents visited often and painted scenes from it’s stunning landscape. Ben even wore his grandpa’s bolo tie that he got from the ranch in the 1960s as a little nod to the artists who have come before us to enjoy the beauty of this place. Alaina and Jack’s day was absolute magic, thanks especially to the incredible state we call home.”

Carissa & Ben Photography

Featured Photography: Carissa & Ben Photography Venue: Ghost Ranch Florals: Renegade Floral Officiant: De Novo Concierge Pastors Hair + Makeup Artist: Genica Lee Bride’s Ring: Erica Winters Bridal Gown: Lulus Groom’s Attire: Suit Supply + Allen Edmonds

Vendor Spotlight: De Novo Concierge Pastors

Pastor Paul was everything you want in a wedding officiant! He made everyone feel comfortable, had great advice for our vows, showed up on time, laughed with us, and made the day so perfect! His wife is also a gem!!! She helped with making the day run smoothly! From the bottom of my heart I want to say thank you Paul! You touched our hearts and made our special day even more special! 

– Gabrielle, Bride

When we think of wedding vendors that go the extra mile to ensure that their couples have the best treatment, our minds immediately go to De Novo Concierge Pastors. It can be hard to find an officiant that not only makes you feel important, but also like you were born to be friends. Dr. Paul Martinez and his team of Concierge Pastors are the kind of business that you’ll never forget.

Beyond their wildly friendly + professional service, De Novo provides a range of resources for local couples that are getting married. Unlike many other officiants, Paul offers pre-marriage counseling for couples who want to enter their marriage feeling like they have plenty of guidance and strength to get the most out of their relationship. Paul is a certified SYMBIS (“Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts”) facilitator, which is the foundation for his coaching methods. With SYMBIS, couples will take a short assessment that paves the path to understanding their relationship dynamics.

When it comes to officiating your wedding, Paul and the team of concierge pastors will work with you from start to finish, making sure that you have everything you need during the rehearsal and ceremony. They’re no strangers to beautiful love stories and great celebrations, so you can trust that they will handle everything perfectly. Wedding officiants are your guide toward your life together, so it is important that they bring out the best in you and your guests. There will be nothing but sweet smiles, laughter, and maybe quite a few happy-tears, during your ceremony – and that’s just how it should be.

We love seeing our vendors become famous within the wedding community, so check out this interview with Paul that has been posted up on the Wedding Report’s page! After viewing and eager to learn more, you can get connected with De Novo Concierge Pastors here.

Header image by Tyler Brooke Photography

Hello, Spring: An Intimate Elopement with Maura Jane Photography

We’ve been given a little blessing in disguise as we are forced to stay home to keep the world safe. We can spend time in our backyards enjoying the springtime blooms and ideal weather, catching some rays + planning weddings. Even though lovely 2020 springtime weddings are to be rescheduled, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them from the comfort of your jammies!

Thankfully, our wedding vendors are always providing us with the best inspirational content to share with all of you. When we need a pick-me-up, and we know you do too, an expert sends in a feature that fills us with positivity and happiness. When all of the chaos hit, our own lovely Maura Jane Photography did just this! We’re about to share with you one of our favorite springtime elopements that will make you feel the love of the season.

“Stacey and Manny met online, with Stacey immediately being attracted to Manny’s big, bright smile. As they dated, they began to realize more and more that they were simply made for each other. They even joked to us that they discovered they had complimentary OCD tendencies. On Valentine’s Day, he invited her to his house and then proposed after dinner. Of course, she was elated!…”

Maura jane photography

A breathtaking location, meaningful details, and true love set the stage for this marriage story. These are three ingredients that are guaranteed to make an awe-inspiring elopement. Really, these are the only things you DO need – but this couple took it even further. Stacey + Manny wanted to create memories that would last forever, so they manifested their best day yet. All of this came to life with the help of local vendors and was beautifully captured by Maura Jane Photography.

“…This couple traveled from Houston, having chosen the quaint and beautiful Santa Fe for their mountain-desert themed intimate wedding. A few members of friends and family joined them as well for a small ceremony, along with a close-knit dinner party in favor of a large reception. The wedding party consisted of her best friend, his brother, and most importantly to the couple, Manny’s lovely daughter…”

Like many couples tempted by our enchanting state, Stacy + Manny made the journey from Houston to Santa Fe to celebrate their love. They didn’t celebrate alone, either! The couple were surrounded by the people who mattered to them most and were able to take in all of the rich culture that welcomed them to the State Capitol. We’re loving the details of the wedding, but they’re best expressed through images. So, please, fall in love all over again and enjoy the gallery by Maura below!

“…We loved that Stacey chose to have mariachi serenade her down the aisle as she carried a bouquet of ranunculus, daffodils and roses. We also loved that Renegade Floral incorporated daffodils into her wedding flowers as it was such a nod towards spring being upon us and saying goodbye to winter.”

Venue:  Four Seasons Santa Fe Photography: Maura Jane Photography Invitations: Minted Planner: Stephan Miller Florist: Renegade Floral Hair and Makeup: Genica Lee, Makeup Artist Dress Store: Princess Bridal, Texas Dress and Designer: Leandra Blue by Enzoani Cake: Four Seasons Santa Fe

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

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

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

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.