3 Reasons the Wedding Gallery is Different from Other Wedding Shows in New Mexico

If you haven’t already noticed, weddings are kind of a big deal in our state. Which is lucky for us, whether we’re natives, transplants, or traveling from afar to have a destination wedding in New Mexico. With a venue to match every vibe, troves of dedicated local wedding professionals, and completely unparalleled landscapes to surround your ceremony, you really can’t go wrong with a southwestern wedding here.

But that can also make it bit harder to nail down the details. It’s much more difficult to choose between twenty talented and innovative local florists than it is to choose between five. Especially when almost all of planning a wedding happens online! You can always check the reviews a wedding professional has, but we don’t blame you if that’s not enough verification to book them. Plus, good photos can be deceiving and if you’re choosing between twenty florists, you don’t want to leave it up to a nice shot on Instagram.

Of course, when you find a local wedding professional, you can always sit down for a face to face consultation to really get to know their values and talents. For most of us though, trying to schedule meetings on top of our jobs, families, and other responsibilities isn’t a walk in the park.

You see where we’re going with this, right?

The obvious answer to the age-old dilemma is this: wedding shows! We’ve already discussed whether or not wedding shows are worth it (hint, they totally are), but with the Wedding Gallery show right around the corner on August 4th, the real question is — what makes this show different from the rest?

1. It’s curated.

Each year, we choose a super strong theme to be at the center of the Wedding Gallery show. Each wedding professional who chooses to be a part of the Wedding Gallery show brings their absolute A-game to showcase that theme. In doing so, engaged couples from all across the state can get lost in the collective cohesion from New Mexico’s best wedding businesses, check out what they’re truly capable of, and know that the professionals they book here will put just as much heart and soul into the them of their wedding.

 

2. There’s a couture fashion show.

Yes, it’s true, we also have a fashion show at the Diamond Dash wedding shows in the fall and spring. We love showcasing local bridal fashion, can you blame us?! At the Wedding Gallery show, however, the fashion show is couture and also, like the vendors and all other details of the show, highly curated. The fashion-forward, bold approaches to tradition that were previously reserved for coastal states and bustling cities is here, too.

3. And a VIP experience.

The couture fashion show isn’t just a free-for-all. Because the Wedding Gallery is catered to discerning, committed couples in the midst of wedding planning, each step of the way is created to mimic the high-end experience that New Mexico can offer. With swag bags upon entering, genuine attention and kindness from local wedding professionals throughout the morning, and front-row seats to the fashion show to round out the day, couples of New Mexico can expect to be pampered while they plan their wedding at the Wedding Gallery show.

 

VIP seats are limited, click here to reserve yours.

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Engaged Couples Dish About Wedding Planning in New Mexico

When it comes to planning a wedding in New Mexico, we think its safe to say that we might be getting pretty close to expert status. After all, we have been connecting engaged couples with the local wedding professionals who serve them for over 10 years! But even with a decade of living vicariously through wedding parties and planners, shows and stories doesn’t compare to the actual nitty gritty of planning a wedding as an engaged couple.

So we, Perfect Wedding Guide, look to the bonafide experts of wedding planning — New Mexico’s very own residents — for advice, adjustments to our approaches, and affirmations. DIY or otherwise, we invited several couples in the midst of planning their wedding in the Albuquerque + Santa Fe area to come and enjoy some delicious treats (courtesy of the Street Food Institute!) while revealing one of the industry’s most pondered questions: what’s it like to plan a wedding in New Mexico?

What followed was a no-holding-back, anything-goes, super honest conversation that revealed more about the wedding industry and our local community than any number of sideline observations could have. Which is why we’re such big proponents of genuinely engaging with our community,  instead of staying behind our computer screens making cold calls and creating content.

Because there’s a lot you can learn simply by listening to the people around you.

Of course, it wouldn’t be in PWG style to not share all we took away from our fabulous eat + dish group session with local engaged couples here, with you. So whether you’re a wedding professional looking to answer the needs of local couples, or a local couple yourself — scroll on, lover of love, and hear what your peers have to say about the New Mexico wedding community.

1. Digital Planning

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We’re sure you’re aware of this by now, but in case you aren’t: the internet has taken over the wedding planning process. We were stunned, and delighted of course, to hear that one of the more streamlined aspects of wedding planning was the online tools, like budget calculators and wedding websites.

The digital takeover, while inevitable, is also great for introverts, busy-bees, and business owners who might not have time to meet with every single vendor or every single couple. By putting reviews, high-quality photos of past work, and clear details on prices and packages, both the business and the couple get to pre-qualify each other before ever speaking.

(And yes, those three things are exactly what couples are looking for when vendor hunting. One couple even decided against booking one of New Mexico’s best wedding DJs, simply because there were no reviews for this company online, despite a stellar word-of-mouth reputation.)

As important as your website is, our couples stated that their preferred way to reach out to businesses and vendors is via social media — and we don’t blame them. Don’t worry shy brides and grooms, the age of phone calling is on its way out the door!

2. In-Person Planning

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We’ve already gone into some depth on why wedding shows are important for brides and businesses alike, but having that reaffirmed by actual engaged couples? Well, now, it doesn’t get much sweeter.

What New Mexico engaged couples appreciate about Perfect Wedding Guide shows here is the organization. You can meet and connect with officiants, DJs, bakers, florists, and pretty much every other service you need to book all in one place.

According to our couples they’re pretty fun, too, what with the giveaways and games and drinks and fashion shows and such.

So, yes, dear internet, we won’t be getting rid of you any time soon. But for when you need to look someone in the eye before handing over hundreds of dollars, wedding shows are the place to go.

On the radar for future events per these couples’ requests: a groom’s night out, perhaps?

3. Physical Planning

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Yes we’re aware that we started this round-up of takeaways praising the internet, and then proceeded to list all the alternatives to planning your wedding solely on the internet. It’s a nuanced thing, wedding planning!

Because, as magnificent as it is to be able to compare vendors price points and aesthetics from the comfort of your bathtub, the rapid evolution of the webscape has lead to quite a bit of digital clutter. How do we counteract this?

Good, ol’ fashioned print. Like the Perfect Wedding Guide magazine!

This collection of couples favored the PWG magazine for a couple reasons: it’s purse-sized, it’s tangible, and it’s local to our beautiful state. Oh, and that it’s free.

What they want more of (AKA, what you’re likely to see hitting the streets soon): more tips, tricks, and industry secrets, projected trends of wedding colors and aesthetics, and sample templates for toasts, vows, and speeches.

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What to Do in ABQ: Group Activities to Keep Your Guests Entertained

In a perfect world, every wedding would be drama-free, full of fun, and focused on the couple first and foremost. We can get you pretty close to perfect, too, by connecting engaged couples with local wedding professionals they can trust and collaborate with on all the most meticulous details. But, as much as we love them, you don’t have as much choice when it comes to — ahem — trusting and collaborating with the family, friends, and loved ones who attend your wedding. (Though don’t let that stop you from planning out your guest list and seating chart as far in advance as possible!)

Luckily, we’ve figured out the best way to work around the many personalities, tastes, values, and opinions that will surely surface throughout the days or week leading up to your wedding: keep them busy.

Whether you’ve lived here all your life, or you’re choosing New Mexico as your destination wedding locale, there are always little secrets about the cities that are waiting to be discovered. So if you’re racking your brain for something to do with your bridesmaids, cousins, and your in-laws, then look no further! We’ve got 5 adult-centered, fun-oriented, and peacemaking group activities that everyone can enjoy.

1. Albuquerque Tourism & Sightseeing Factory (AT&SF)

It simply wouldn’t do the famed Duke City Pedaler justice if we started out this fun-time round-up with anything else. The 10-person trolley bike can be seen, for us locals, zipping through downtown Albuquerque every weekend, making stops at all the best breweries and bars. And yes, okay, zipping might be a stretch as the speed of the half-bike, half-vehicle machine depends on the leg strength and relative sobriety of its operators, but it really does feel like you’re flying through the city. We can say this with confidence because we, the Perfect Wedding Guide team, have done the Duke City Pedaler! (Yes, we had a blast.)

To check out booking availability for your friends and fam to hop on and ride around in search of brews together, you can contact the AT&SF team here.

2. ABQ BioPark

Maura Jane Photography (right)

If your friends and family are a little less booze-inclined and more into the natural attractions that Albuquerque has to offer, then the ABQ BioPark is the place to start. (Though we have nature and wine enthusiasts on our team as well, so they’re definitely not mutually exclusive!)

For spring and summer weddings, the botanical gardens offer winding trails among blooms so beautiful they’re sure to calm any pre-wedding anxiety from you or your wedding party. If laying in the sun sounds better than walking around, there’s always the delightful Tingley Beach, too! Plus, winter and fall weddings need not worry about having nothing to do — the botanical gardens have an indoor section that perfectly supplements a visit to the zoo.

For ticket details and events happening at the ABQ BioPark, you can contact their team here.

3. Casa Rondeña Tasting Room

Blue Rose Photography (top left) and Matt Blasing Photography

As one of Albuquerque’s favorite places to get married, Casa Rondeña is already a little bit famous in the city. Which comes as no surprise after you’ve experienced the sweeping landscape and their artisanal approach to winery. Both together make stepping inside Casa Rondeña like stepping into another, more luxurious and curated dimension.

But, did you know that there’s no need to wait for someone’s wedding to finally jump in and explore the winery? From noon to 7pm everyday, the Casa Rondeña tasting room is completely open to the public, with enthusiastic and hospitable wine connoisseurs on staff to educate and serve you and your loved ones.

For tickets and information on just how otherworldly an afternoon at their tasting room can truly be, you can contact their team here.

4. Explora Adult Night

Bryan’s Photography

On paper, Explora is understood to be an interactive science museum for children that explores touchable experiments to create a hands-on educational experience. To locals, Explora is known as the dome-shaped, fantasy-land intersection of magic and science that we desperately wished was around when we were kids.

The team at Explora must have recognized the desperate longing on the faces of the adults who brought their kids to the museum for experimenting, because they started the Adult Night. Which, yes, is exactly what it sounds like. All the fun of the day-to-day museum, with its tinkering and toiling and mad-scientist-laboratory vibes, paired with the cool parts of being an adult: live music, beer & wine, and amazing food.

To reawaken the inner children hiding in the adult bodies of your wedding party, you can check out the Explora events page here, and look for an Adult Night on the horizon.

5. Isleta Resort & Casino‘s Spa + Pool

And finally, for when the bustling busyness of planning a wedding and entertaining your out-of-town family members just gets to be a bit much, rally up the team for some relaxation and recharging.

With daily pool and spa hours, The Spa at Isleta Resort & Casino is the perfect blend of casual relaxation and upscale resort services. Those less inclined to indulge in the spa and beauty side of the resort can enjoy the pool, hot tub, sauna, and amazing views of the Isleta Resort & Casino grounds. (Plus they can go home and brag about how they were able to swim and relax where they shot Jesse Pinkman’s rehab scene in Breaking Bad!)

And for those who do, indeed, need some additionally pampering the spa staff is happy to provide the highest quality professionals from massage therapists to facialists, to hair stylists and estheticians, all in one place.

To schedule spa services and check out the day passes for The Spa at Isleta Resort & Casino, you can contact their knowledgeable and kind staff here.

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Are Wedding Shows Really Worth It?

We’ll be real with you: yes we host several wedding shows in New Mexico throughout the year, so yes we are slightly biased in favor of the events. But we do have a few self-proclaimed introverts on the team, so we know that not every wedding show is the right vibe for every couple. The high energy, loud crowd, and bustling business of some, larger wedding shows can be exhilarating for some and overwhelming for others.

With our Bride’s Night Out wedding show happening in just a couple days — eep! — we thought we’d  offer a little insight in what to expect from a wedding show by answering the 3 questions we get the most. Because our wedding shows vary in size, time, venue, and vibe, though, we’re pretty confident that there’s at least one out there that’ll be perfect for you — it’s more just figuring which one that is. (Spoiler: if you are an introvert, or just like things a bit more low-key, Bride’s Night Out is the show for you.)

So scroll on to figure out which wedding show in New Mexico would best suit your personality, schedule, wedding date, etc., and grab your tickets while you can. The fashion show seats, VIP pre-parties, and swag bags attached to their respective wedding shows fill up pretty far in advance. (Plus, spoiler #2: there might be some hidden BOGO ticket codes below!)

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1. What kind of vendors/wedding professionals will be there?

Starting off with the easiest answer of them all: tons. For all our wedding shows we invite wedding professionals from all across the board to come and show off their talent.

Depending on the size of the show, we typically cap the category at about 5 wedding professionals each. So you never have to worry about buying a ticket for a room full of photographers — there will always be a wide range of wedding professionals available to connect with you, from officiants and DJs, to bakers and caterers.

2. What’s the difference between the wedding shows? What will the crowd be like?

These questions are smushed together because we hear them so frequently, and they’re intricately connected to each other.

To start with the largest and most energetic show, we have the Diamond Dash, which happens twice a year. With interactive games and giveaways throughout the entire show, it’s pretty hard not to have at least a little bit of fun, but that also means that occasionally people get a bit rowdy. Especially when the crowning event, a cake dive for $1,000 worth of diamond jewelry, comes around. The Diamond Dash also has the most wedding professionals, and the opportunity to spend $500 in PWG Bucks as well though, so the fun is fruitful, too.

Next is Wedding Gallery, which comes around every August. Because it’s our most carefully curated show, the energy of this crowd is quite a bit different, though it is our 2nd largest show as far as attendance goes. A larger emphasis is put on theme both through our efforts as Perfect Wedding Guide, and through the efforts of the wedding professionals who participate. It’s called the Wedding Gallery because it does truly become a gallery space for vendors to show off the absolute peak of their abilities through their booths and the couture fashion show.

And lastly, our Bride’s Night Out event. As our most intimate show of the year, the vibe is less wedding-show-weekend, and more swanky cocktail hour party. Complete still with dozens of wedding professionals to meet with, and plenty of giveaways and opportunities to win substantial prizes, the Bride’s Night Out definitely holds its own compared to the other wedding shows. The focus of this show is pampering, so come expecting cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, special treatments and goodies from each and every wedding professional, and a calm space to chat and connect with these vendors, too. See why it’s the most popular among our engaged introverts?

You can register for any of these wedding shows by clicking their names, or by visiting nm.pwg.com. When you get there, use code BOGOBLOG for buy one, get one free tickets for whichever wedding show sounds like the best time for you and your wedding party.

Matt Blasing Photography

3. Do you actually save any money?

Short answer to the most important question: yes.

Long answer: yes you do, but it manifests in different forms for different shows. For example, we offer $500 in PWG Bucks for the first 100 couples through the door at our Diamond Dash wedding show. So you automatically know that, as long as the vendor you love is participating in the PWG Bucks program, you can save anywhere from $100 to $500 off their packages and/or services.

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At other shows, like the Wedding Gallery and Bride’s Night Out, most wedding professionals offer substantial discounts on their products and services if you book at the show, or shortly after — like, within that same week.

At all of the wedding shows, we call door prizes and giveaways throughout the entire event, so your chances of winning an impressive gift or discount are actually pretty high. (They’re definitely higher than entering a random giveaway online — we can promise that! Unless it’s the 12 Months of Giveaways, since we pick those winners from our pool of local engaged couples, too.)

 

There you have it — a brief lowdown on New Mexico wedding shows. Ready to snag your tickets for the one that best matches your personality? Click here to do exactly that.

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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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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 

Rockin’ Piano Party: Live Wedding Performance

Whatever your vantage point may be, it’s no secret that today’s world has quite a bit of turmoil and tumult. Which, in our humble opinion, is probably why the current trend of experiential weddings has risen, and continues to evolve with each passing month. Couples want to create an experience for their guests, rather than just the typical Sunday-in-June, afternoon ceremony. Because, well, sometimes life is hard! Or boring, or stressful, or just plain ol’ exhausting.

But weddings shouldn’t be — they should be fun, inspiring, memorable, and a reminder of all the secret moments of happiness and love that the world has to offer. Luckily, with local wedding professionals like Jorge, of Rockin’ Piano Party, they can be all of those lovely things and none of those daily-life things. Yes, you might still spill coffee down the front of your dress, just like you would at work, but at least now it’ll be because you’re dancing.

The Rockin’ Piano Party first began as a nascent, but quickly growing, love of music from Jorge. Being raised in a musically inclined family definitely helped, and Jorge’s passion for innovation and fun carried the idea to fruition. His first drum set was a hand-built, lovingly crafted collection of five-gallon buckets!

Today, Rockin’ Piano Party‘s wedding packages don’t include any five-gallon buckets, unfortunately. No need to worry though, because they do include two baby grand pianos, an advanced sound system monitored by experts, specialized event lighting, and extra microphones, so guests can jump in on the action, if they feel so inclined. Which, of course they will! The Rockin’ Piano Party is high-energy and interactive, so it’s downright impossible to not want to participate.

With two available shows — dueling pianos, or a single player — every type of wedding vibe can be bolstered with the unparalleled sound of live piano. To see videos, get more information, and book Rockin’ Piano Party for your wedding, you can contact Jorge and his team here.

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