2018 Wedding Gallery Recap

Since our last wedding show of the year has, tragically, already come and gone, we think it’s only fair to spend a little bit of time reminiscing on one of our favorite shows of 2018. While all of our Albuquerque + Santa Fe wedding shows are things we celebrate and enjoy, my personal favorite of the year was the Wedding Gallery show at Sandia Resort and Casino.

On the sunny morning of August 5th this past year, our Perfect Wedding Guide team arrived bright and early at Sandia Resort to watch the magic unfold in one of their most grand ballrooms. And let us tell you, folks, it really did. We got to watch — and lend a helping hand, of course — as dozens of vendors filled the room, bringing their best decor, goodies, flyers, and free stuff to one space for you, our local couples.

The theme of this year’s Wedding Gallery show was jeweled elegance, and my gosh, was it rich. Bright golds and silvers complimented the deep maroons and greens, blues and mustards throughout the ballroom. Every vendor carefully coordinated their corner of the space to showcase and showoff all the enchanting things they can make possible, and it came together in the most cohesive, jewel-toned wonderland you can imagine.

After the mingling and connecting of local vendors to the hundreds of engaged couples who graced us with their presence, then came the fashion show. With styles from Suits Unlimited for the fellas, and Bridal Elegance by Darlene for the ladies, every couple got a New York worthy dose of in-real-life wedding fashion inspiration, that was also tied in with our overall theme for the event. Velvet, vintage couches headed the runway, and Brad with King Mobile Music lit the stage to perfectly illuminate the fine details on the gowns and tuxes.

Lastly, there were, of course, tons and tons of giveaways and prizes. With free goodies from venues, florists, officiants, and more, so many couples walked a way with a spring in their step after winning some serious discounts and freebies.

We couldn’t have done it without our incredible sponsors, or the amazing couples whose love stories are what make the whole day worthwhile. So, from the bottoms of our hearts, thank you!

(Especially to Sandra + her team at Photographic Perspectives, for capturing the glamour with her magical photography powers!)

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5 Rules For Choosing A Wedding Venue

Here at Perfect Wedding Guide, we get to work one-on-one with Albuquerque’s best florists, officiants, photographers, and the like, every single day. So it’s safe to assume that we might know a bit more about weddings than your average Joe or Joanne. While we like to think that we’re somewhat of experts though, we always turn to our local vendors for the real knowledge. When you need to know who the best wedding professionals are — turn to us. For the nitty gritty wedding planning details — we turn to them.

Like when our local officiants dropped some serious education on us about why hiring a professional is so important for your wedding. Or when Gypsy Trail Hair + Makeup gave us some incredible tips for your wedding day hair care, and Beth Waldron Photography told us why your photographer thinks you should hire a wedding planner. There’s such a wealth of knowledge in the Albuquerque + Santa Fe wedding community, and we’re just here to harness it!

Which is why we’re so happy to have this super helpful info from the delightful Embassy Suites, on the whats, whys, and hows, of choosing a venue for your wedding day. Of all the wedding professionals you hire for your ceremony, your venue is going to be up there in the top three most important. Because, well, it’s going to set the tone for the whole day! So it pays to know how to choose the venue that’s right for you, your future spouse, and your budget.

Without further adieu, we’ll let Jonathon, with Embassy Suites, tell you how to do that — he’s the real expert. (Photos by Alicia Lucia Photography.)

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1 | BACKTRACK.

 

A lot of times, it’s good to start things “backwards,” if you will. Start by putting a rough budget together. Guestimate how many guests you think will attend. The number doesn’t have to be exact, and details may change throughout the duration of your planning. But it’s good to have some kind of  number in mind before you even walk into a venue for pricing.

2 | EARLY BIRD GETS THE WORM.

If you can help it, try to start venue shopping at least a year out from your special day (or as early as you possibly can). Choosing a venue is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in planning a wedding. You want to give yourself enough time to explore your options and find the best fit for you.

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3 | ASK, ASK, ASK!

Any time a question pops into your head, ask away! Our motto here at Embassy is that it’s better to ask as many questions and obtain as many answers early on than to be stressed out and asking on your special day.

4 | KEEP IT IN WRITING.

Planning a wedding can be exciting, but it’s not without its difficulties. You’re going to have so many details in your head at any given time throughout the planning process that a detail may slip here or there. A best practice is to back up all your details in writing – either via e-mail, via handwritten notes, etc. Whenever you sit down with your coordinator in person, or even when you speak to him/her over the phone, have your notes in front of you.

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5 | LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!

 

Always keep the location of your venue in mind – even more so if many of your guests will be travelling from out of town. How accessible is your venue? Is it easy to find? Also, if you will be hosting your ceremony and your reception in two separate venues, just make sure to factor travel time into the equation. For venues that are farther apart, always plan ahead for unexpected hiccups. An accident on the highway one hour before your reception may lead to your guests frustrated and sitting in traffic.

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Nativo Lodge: New Mexican Wedding Venue Spotlight

You probably already know this, but at Perfect Wedding Guide, we get to work face-to-face with hundreds of local, small businesses at our networking events, wedding shows, Elite Awards, coffee meet ups, and a whole lot more. Although, despite this simple fact, it’s true we’ve been accused of favoring the members of our PWG family over others. And we think we know where this belief may be coming from…it’s because our vendors and members are the best in Albuquerque + Santa Fe!

When you work with the best local wedding businesses, it’s easy to seem a bit biased towards the hardest working, kindest teams and experts. But we can assure you, we love working with any and every small business in New Mexico, and we don’t discriminate. It just so happens to be that the wedding professionals we work with the most, also happen to be some of the highest ranking and most well-loved around.

Take Nativo Lodge, for example. When their team of wedding experts and event coordinators joined the Perfect Wedding Guide family, we were over the moon. Because, while we adore all wedding businesses, one very real, very obvious bias we have is for New Mexican vibes and venues. Every inch of Nativo Lodge is covered in our distinct southwestern charm, and the venue as a whole draws heavily on Native American influences to pay homage to indigenous people. And, each individual room in the spacious hotel + venue was designed and painted by local, Native American contemporary artists.

The bounteous and fertile culture of our home state is what sets us apart from the mainstream wedding community, what with their penchant for minimalism and all. Of course you can find perfectly beautiful blank canvas venues in New Mexico, but incorporating the history of your home into your wedding day? Well now, that’s how you get a truly memorable, personal, and intrinsically unique celebration.

Luckily for us, local photographers Loren X Chris captured the perfect example of a wedding day with unparalleled richness and love at the Nativo Lodge. Alex + Mike tied the knot with their dearest loved ones and southwestern opulence abound.

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King Mobile Music: King of Parties in Albuquerque

Here in Albuquerque, our Perfect Wedding Guide team is probably best known for the handful of wedding shows we throw throughout the year. The most popular one being, of course, the Diamond Dash. Though, on the day of the wedding show, our favorite part actually comes when the curtains close on another high-energy, super fun Sunday — when we get to see hundreds of couples leave the Hyatt Regency Downtown with bags full of free goodies and prizes, and giant smiles on their faces.

We can only take a small portion of the credit for those happy couples though, because most of the magic happens on stage. Yes, we’ve got the bridal fashion show, but more importantly, we’ve got Brad from King Mobile Music up on stage with a mic, and a slew of jokes and games to get everyone pumped up.

My fiancé 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. From the very beginning as the guests were arriving, he was mingling and chatting with everybody. And then as soon as it was time for the reception, he was ready to turn it into a great party! He was out on the dance floor with everybody and he kept the party going the whole night.

-Kayla, local newlywed

The team at King Mobile Music is so much more than a group of DJs, and they’ll tell you that themselves, too. As entertainment professionals and wedding experts, King Mobile Music offers couples things that they didn’t even know they wanted — like two DJs, instead of just one. With two experts there for each wedding, the King Mobile Music team ensures that one can keep the music flowing smoothly, while the other interacts with the audience to keep spirits high, and feet dancing.

Plus, with customizable lighting packages available for engaged couples, King Mobile Music is kind of a one-stop-shop for all your wedding entertainment. Their team is responsible for lighting the Dîner en Blanc the last several years — an event which typically has over 800 attendees — so you can feel confident in their lighting equipment and abilities. Because, if we’re being real, Dîner en Blanc is probably the most legit event in Albuquerque, which makes King Mobile Music pretty darn legit, too. (So legit we’re still using the word legit as an adjective because their team impresses us so much, we forgot it wasn’t 2014 anymore.)

From now until the end of the year, King Mobile Music is offering engaged couples six free uplights with their wedding music + lighting package. Which is a $300 value — as if they aren’t already doing so much for the local wedding community here! To book the King Mobile Music team  and ensure that your special day is the most fun wedding you’ll ever attend, you can contact them here.

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King Mobile Music made our wedding day so memorable. They were dressed professionally, handled themselves well and most of all made our wedding so much fun! We incorporated Jewish traditions into our reception which KMM had no problem leading. They handled the Hora dance better than any DJ’s on YouTube videos that I have seen. Honestly I think EVERYONE was on the dance floor. We did not have to worry about the timeline because they kept us on schedule. They even made sure guests gave us time to eat!!! We appreciate everything they did for us. We definitely recommend them for your wedding.  

-M, local newlywed

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Behind the Booth at Wedding Shows

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

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

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

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Getting an edge on your next wedding show


 

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

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  1. Have a strategy.  Not only do you want to have a follow up strategy for AFTER the show, but you want to have a good strategy for obtaining “hot” leads DURING the show.  Are you taking notes?  Are they filling out a short form with you? Instead of mass “it was nice to meet you” emails, try to personalize your follow up with special details you’ve noted about their wedding.  
  1. Share away.  Be sure to announce in the weeks leading up to the show that you’ll be there (via emails to your brides, announce it on your website, and share on your social platforms).  It’s a great way to encourage couples to stop by your booth…especially for any potential clients that haven’t solidified their contract with you. And, what a great way to show your potential and current clients that you specialize in weddings and are well-connected amongst the wedding community. 
  1. Be interested.  Ask questions, be engaging, and create memorable conversations. 
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  1. Set the stage.  Don’t sit down….stand and engage with clients at eye level.  Don’t put your table at the front of your booth…put it behind you to create a more inviting experience and less of a barrier for conversation. 
  1. Do contests.  Create fun social media tagging contests for all guests (not just the bride) to engage in with universal gifts as the reward for the winner (such as a Target gift card).  What a great way to elevate your social media experience and magnify your exposure to not just the bride’s friends, but to the bride’s guest’s friends too!   
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Get $500 Off Your Wedding at the Diamond Dash!

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

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

PWG Bucks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Announcing the 2018 PWG Elite Award Winners!

Ah yes, the morning after an incredible night. It seems like we spend all year long waiting for our favorite event, the Vendor Appreciation Party, and then suddenly it’s here and over far too quickly. Luckily our henna tattoos and memories of gold + glam will last a lifetime, even if the Bollywood-themed night couldn’t!

A very special thank you to The View Event Center by Simply Decor for truly tantalizing the senses with authentic chai, stunning performances, and a breathtaking space for us to celebrate and appreciate all of Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s best, local wedding professionals.

In the midst of all the glitz, we also awarded some particularly dedicated local wedding experts with well-deserved awards in categories like Best Floral Designer, Best Bridal Gown Shop, and Best Photographer. Don’t worry though, you don’t have to take our word for it that these vendors were worthy of awarding — they were chosen by local, engaged or recently married couples just like you!

So without further adieu, scroll on to get the scoop on the best wedding vendors Albuquerque + Santa Fe has to offer, as chosen by real local couples!

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2018 PWG Elite Award Winners:

Best Wedding Coordinator | Black Bow Events

Best Bridal Beauty Expert | Makeup by Kim Fisher

Best Spa or Place to Relax | Bliss Salon and Spa

Best Place to Order a Wedding Cake | Cake Fetish

Best Catering or Restaurant | Blue Plate Special

Best Place to Have a Bachelorette Party | Duke City Pedaler

Best Place to Have a Reception | The View Event Center by Simply Decor

Best Location to Have a Ceremony | Casa Rondena Winery

Best Wedding Officiant | Amor Ceremonies

Best Floral Designer | All The Pretty Flowers

Best Event Decor | Simply Decor & Events

Best Rental Company | Occasion Services & Events

Best Bridal Gown Shop | Bridal Elegance by Darlene

Best Men’s Formalwear Shop | Suits Unlimited

Best Place to Order Invitations | Funky Olive Design Invitations & Stationery

Best Disc Jockey | Dream Factory Productions

Best Live Ceremony Musician | Cello for Weddings

Best Local Band | Absolute Entertainment

Best Photographer | Matt Blasing Photography

Best Cinematographer | Southwest Wedding Films

Best Photo Booth Rental | Snapshot Selfies

Best Unique Wedding Service | Bombshell Fitness

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Our sincerest gratitude to the magnificent sponsors, who made our Vendor Appreciation Night the speculator party it was!

The View Event Center by Simply Decor | King Mobile Music | Tori Photography | Little Bear Media | Cafe Venture Catering | Funky Olive Invitations | The Acre Restaurant | Hacienda Del Rio | Jaz Catering | Magic Mirror NM Photo Booth | Tully’s Catering | Simply Decor

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