Hidden Gem Photographers in New Mexico

Yes, it’s true — we just said earlier this week that the fickle weather of spring had given way to steady sunshine and…..then it rained. So it goes in this beautiful, mercurial desert state! While we might not be able to rely on the weather for consistency, we can at least know that whatever rain comes to New Mexico won’t last very long. Plus, because temperamental weather is often on the horizon, local creatives have learned how to work with and around it, especially our wedding photographers.

We all know that rain on your wedding day is good luck — what with the symbolism of cleansing, renewal, and fertility and all — but what about the wind? Or the blazing New Mexican sun that occasionally becomes a bright and shining nuisance? Despite how perfectly you may plan your wedding, there are always a few uncontrollable weather variables. So, if you can’t control the weather, you’ll need a team of wedding professionals who aren’t afraid of a little Mother Nature.

Which is why we’ve put together a list of our 5 favorite hidden gem photographers. With years of experience in rain and shine, these local wedding photographers have been put to the test and come out on the other side with gorgeous visual art, a fine-tuned understanding of lighting, and a considerable dedication to their craft. So, if you maybe want someone you can count on to capture your wedding day — take a peak below.

1. Beth Waldron Photography

We’re starting out strong here with the creative known as Beth Waldron Photography. Like an amazingly talented fly on the wall, Beth photographed our Bridal Board + Vendor Mixer just a few weeks ago, and totally captured the essence, fun, and special moments of the event. (Not to mention, the photos were beautiful despite coming from a dimly-lit ballroom.) With an expressive edge that comes through in each shot, her wedding photography should be properly classified as works of art.

 

2. Jared Kellogg Photography

I feel life has a soul and there is nothing more beautiful than capturing it in a smile or in the twinkle in some one’s eye.

We couldn’t have described the creative driving force behind Jared Kellogg‘s photographic art any better than he does himself! With a unique blend of digital and film photography in his portfolio, Jared has come to understand the medium on a personal and artistic level, which shines through in his business. His clean and even approach to each couple makes his work feel comforting and familiar, with a kind of timelessness to last through each and every anniversary.

 

3. Chandelier Studio

It’s hard not to love Shannon, the creative powerhouse behind Chandelier Studio, from the first moment you meet her. All of her photographic work — weddings and boudoir — comes from a deeply artistic, deeply collaborative place, and it shows. The focus of her lens and creative practices is on making sure the women and couples in front of the camera feel beautiful, and know they’re beautiful. It’s no small wonder then, that each shot comes out looking comfortable, crisp, and perfectly balanced.

 

4. Rick Saul Photography

Rick Saul approaches each engaged couple in New Mexico with a keen awareness of the fact that his photos will long outlive the ceremony, reception, and even the honeymoon. It’s this knowledge that motivates his work, and ensures his talents are used to encapsulate all the most important moments of the day, whether they are precious and heartfelt, or silly and fun. His photographs are, essentially, his way of cementing your story in time forever, so that they may remind you of your unique love for decades to come.

 

5. Shutter Force Photography

To finish just as a strong as we started, we’re wrapping up here with Shutter Force Photography. Although we just did a special feature on the husband-and-wife photographer duo, it’s worth reiterating that their fun and loving approach to photography is totally unparalleled. Meagan and James, as they’re also called by, cultivate real, genuine relationships with their couples. It’s with this connection that they are able to express the inexpressible emotions, details, and depth of each love story within their photography.

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5 New Wedding Food + Catering Businesses in New Mexico

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It seems as though we’ve finally made it over the hump of wishy-washy spring weather here in New Mexico. At last, our days are filled with reliable sunshine, little desert flowers blooming in the sidewalk cracks, and that wide open sky for which we’re famed. As things start to warm up and settle into the season though, that also signals the crunch-time part of wedding planning for our engaged couples getting married in the summer and fall. For our lovely fall weddings — we’re already looking forward to your warm hues and undeniable coziness — you’re probably right around the 6 month mark on your countdown.  Which means the big things, like your caterer, need to be locked down like, right now. 

Luckily for the both of us, our Perfect Wedding Guide team has had the opportunity to connect with some local wedding professionals who dedicate their skills and love for weddings to food. We’ve put together a few of our new favorites — whether they’re new to New Mexico, new to us, or just doing something new that inspires us.

So, you might want to grab a snack for this particular New Mexico wedding vendor round-up, ’cause its a tasty one.

1. Celina’s Biscochitos

If we want to start with dessert, whose going to stop us?! Especially when up on the table are a dozen of Celina’s Biscochitos. For years, Celina has been perfecting the recipe which we all so love here in New Mexico. With new flavors that push the boundaries of tradition like red or green chile and café lattes, Celina combines all the comfort of a biscochito with innovative surprises.

2. UNM Food

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Then, to get a little bit savory up in here, let’s spend some time with another local treasure, UNM Food. Did you know the oh-so loved university was more than just a magical place to get married (or get a degree)? Everything from French-style service, high class Hors d’oeuvres, to home-style, traditional New Mexican food is possible. Engaged couples can choose from wedding menus, or collaborate on a custom menu with their team of chefs and creatives.

3. Les Blonde Bakery

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If you’re looking for a wedding food professional you can connect with, trust, and collaborate with the whole step of the way, then Les Blonde Bakery is the bakery for you. Crafting custom cakes of only the finest ingredients and designs, this one-woman run operation has been stealing the hearts of every engaged couple in New Mexico who works with her. Speciality desserts, delightful flavors, and unique tasting cakes mean that whatever your vision may be, Les Blonde can make it happen.

4. Chello Grill

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Ah, and then our dear Chello Grill. As mediterranean food lovers, we might be a bit biased toward their savory dishes, which are always, somehow, both bursting with flavor and melting in your mouth at the same time. Breaking away from what we think of as ‘traditional’ wedding food, their kabobs, fresh salads, and authentic Persian stews provide a delicious complement to your celebration of love.

5. Europa

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We simply had to include Europa here again, even though we just did a whole feature on the Los Lunas wedding venue slash floral farm slash organic catering business. If supporting local, farm-fresh food is important to you and your wedding guests, then look no further than Europa. You can grab some organic floral arrangements while you’re at it, too, and rest assured that neither your buffet or bouquet will have any creepy dyes or toxins — just pure, wholesome goodness.

What Local Engaged Couples Have to Say About Planning a Wedding in New Mexico

So, if we’re being honest with ourselves, most people in New Mexico know Perfect Wedding Guide for our wedding shows. Which makes sense, considering how many hundreds of engaged couples and local wedding professionals come together to make shows like the Diamond Dash, Bride’s Night Out, and the Wedding Gallery possible. We’re not really complaining, promise, but we actually have a lot of love and appreciation from some of our smaller events, like the Bridal Board + Vendor Mixer!

The 2019 edition of the Bridal Board + Vendor Mixer flew past us just this last week. (Of course months of planning, collaborating, and designing goes by in a dizzying but beautiful flash!) All we want to talk about is all the amazing nuggets of knowledge we learned, but wait…

What even is the Bridal Board + Vendor Mixer?!

Great question, reader! This particular event was conceptualized to fill the gap between local engaged couples and the wedding professionals who serve them. (Sound familiar?) Essentially, the Bridal Board + Vendor Mixer is oriented like a research or focus group. We invite around 10 engaged or recently married couples from the local community to come share their insights, triumphs, complaints, compliments, woes, worries, and wonders about the wedding planning process in New Mexico. 

Then, with bellies full of a complementary, gourmet dinner, the wedding professionals from all over New Mexico take note, adjust their practices, ask questions, and, hopefully, grow! It’s one of the few opportunities you have in any business-client relationship to truly hear and communicate with one another. It’s how we’re able to keep the eclectic New Mexico wedding market moving and evolving in the right direction.

Ready to learn what the engaged couples who have come before you have to say about the wedding planning process in New Mexico? Let’s jump in with our 3 main takeaways.

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Beth Waldron Photography

1. Inclusivity is Key.

Another word for inclusivity here could be clarity. When we asked the couples, “What is the most important quality you are looking for when hiring a wedding professional?” the conclusion was the same across the board. Couples look for those who exude kindness and personality, and vendors who actually listen to their vision without imposing their own ideas on the couple. 

When we asked the couples what the vendors they choose did to earn their business, what we heard reaffirmed these values. They appreciated (and went on to book) the professionals who didn’t exclusively brag about themselves, whose websites were clear and communicative, and whose work accurately represented the couples they want to work with.

For example, if a wedding professional exclusively promotes straight couples on their website and social media channels, the chances of reaching LGBTQ couples are pretty much nil.

To sum: be clear, be kind, be inclusive, and listen well.

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2. Stick to Email, Folks.

Yes, the digital world is ever changing, and it’s so tempting to make texting your main form of communication. (You can do it from bed, from the gym, from the couch with Netflix playing in front of you, so we totally get it.)

But, because lots of couples create a specific email address for wedding planning, keeping all communications in one place is best. There’s higher visibility of conversations in email as well, so accountability comes much easier.

Also, hate is a strong word, but our couples felt strongly about this: they hate phone calls. Like, really and truly. Most couples are at work during a business’s hours of operations, or they’re at home with their partners and families.

Remember: stick to email.

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3. Yes, Social Media is Still Important.

Your website should still be the home of your business, but social media is where the vast majority of couples look for wedding inspiration. The two top contenders, which you might be able to guess already, are Instagram and Pinterest.

Instagram is a great platform to utilize, according to the local couples, because it’s easy to return to feed posts for references — though they love seeing stories, especially of behind-the-scenes previews for styled shoots and weddings. Pinterest is beneficial for businesses as well because it’s so visually-oriented. Then, there’s always the concept of pinfinity, too!

(Pinfinity = the fact your pins continue to be recirculated by pinners long after you post them, whereas Instagram posts are usually only seen within the first 48 hours of posting.)

Here’s your excuse to log on, friends, and show the world what you’re working with.

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A very special thank you to all the incredible local businesses who made this awesome, collaborative event possible: Embassy Suites, for generously hosting us and feeding all our guests a marvelous meal; De Novo Pastoral Services for being our informed and entertaining emcee; Beth Waldron Photography for capturing all the fun above; Estella Floral Design for our darling centerpieces; Funky Olive Designs for our pretty little invitations; Cello for Weddings for serenading all our guests with delightful live cello music; and Black Swan Events, for transforming the ballroom into a conducive, inspiring space.

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Terese Rose Designs: Exclusively Designed Bridal Gowns

A wedding dress should do more than adorn its wearer. It should be a chapter itself in the love story it illustrates.

Terese Rose Designs

If there’s anything you know about our Perfect Wedding Guide team by now, it’s that the little details of weddings are what really make our hearts stir. Which makes sense, considering how many beautiful celebrations of love we’re blessed to be apart of — vicariously, of course — through our little family of local wedding businesses. Over the years, we’ve developed a finely-tuned, highly trained eye for the magnificently minuscule fragments of a love story, which coalesce to create an intrinsically unique experience.

Yet our love of delicate details doesn’t belong to us solely. In fact, we’re not nearly as talented at the tiny than one particular local, small business: Terese Rose Designs.

After taking a peak at some of the original, exclusively designed wedding gowns and whimsical lingerie pieces that Terese Rose Designs works diligently on, it’ll come as no surprise to learn her business launched on Valentine’s Day a few years ago, here in New Mexico. The perfectly apt holiday now marks each new anniversary of the designer’s operation of opulence, and each new season of designs made for love, and with love weaved into every stitch.

Inspired by natural elements from fireflies to florals, all Terese Rose Designs pieces are crafted slowly, and for one particular wearer at a time. By breathing new life into the tradition, and revitalizing Victorian essentials, the designer cultivates a magical new approach to wedding and intimate attire, elevating the way we see fashion here in New Mexico. Her designs are not misplaced in time, per se, but the avant-garde gowns and lingerie seem to transcend time, reaching past the boundaries of generations to touch on the core of something that remains intensely beautiful throughout the ever-shifting cultural, temporal, and social trends.

To collaborate with Terese Rose Designs on your wedding gown, see more of her awe-inspiring work, or contact the designer herself, you can reach out here.

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Elizabeth Wells Photography

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Maura Jane Photography

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Just West Photography

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Wedding Venue Hotspots in New Mexico {Part Two!}

Yep, it’s back already! If you missed our first round, you’ll definitely want to pop on over to the Wedding Venue Hotspots, Part One post. If you didn’t miss it, then we’re sure you’re on the edge of your seat for this post, just like we are! The variety of venues, vibes, and values available makes the New Mexico wedding-space scene one of our favorite sources of inspiration. From traditional adobe and colorful cathedrals, to modern farmhouses and rugged rail yards, the options are endless here.

Then, as you might imagine, trying to choose only 18 of our top wedding ceremony and reception venues seemed nearly impossible! Luckily, from our little perch here in the local wedding community, we’ve been able to cultivate awesome business friendships with the creative teams who run wedding venues in New Mexico. So it actually turned out to be pretty easy to choose, considering all of our favorites also have staffs who are dedicated to excellence, and stellar reputations to precede them.

Enough with the flattery though, let’s jump back into our curated list!

Hacienda Dona Andrea

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Shayla Edenfield Photography

Hacienda Dona Andrea is nestled in the hills 25 miles outside of Santa Fe and one of the hottest, and most private, spots to get married in New Mexico. The 13,000 square-foot old-world estate offers glowing mountain views, ceremony and reception spaces. Their nine deluxe bedrooms allow for up to 30 of your closest family and friends to stay with you while making lifelong memories during your special weekend. The hacienda is rented exclusively to one party at a time. Couples can plan their wedding their way with chairs, tables, and tableware rentals onsite and free choice of outside vendors. You get your wedding and the whole hacienda, too.

 

Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town

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Blue Rose Photography

Whether it’s a magnificent formal reception or an intimate outdoor event, Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town offers a flexible and elegant array of wedding and reception spaces that can fulfill your vision. The property has more than 62,000 sq. ft. of event space, including two state-of-the-art grand ballrooms and gracefully landscaped gardens with fountains, rose arbors, lawn courts, and a Victorian-style pavilion. The centerpiece of Hotel Albuquerque is the 19th-century style non-denominational chapel, San Isidro de Capilla, which seats 156 guests under a soaring vaulted beam ceiling. Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town’s memorable settings are the perfect backdrop for your dream wedding.

 

Hotel Chaco

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Emily Joanne Wedding Films & Photography 

Albuquerque’s newest luxury hotel, Hotel Chaco, offers spectacular panoramic views of the Sandia Mountains, downtown Albuquerque, and historic Old Town. Designed by the world renowned architectural firm, Gensler, the uniquely contemporary spaces are perfect for intimate and grand events. The Terrace Suite is ideal for a grand outdoor event and the serene courtyard and gardens are perfect for a quaint wedding ceremony, with additional ceremony space available at the adjacent Hotel Albuquerque at Old town. This exciting space is unlike any rooftop ceremony and reception venue in Albuquerque. 

 

Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces

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Lauren’s Photography

Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces has a Spanish and Mexican Colonial ambiance and offers couples sophisticated wedding venues. Up to 500 guests can be accommodated in the tasteful San Andreas Ballroom, while the smaller San Rafael Ballroom can fit up to 200. Weddings can also be held at one of the several beautiful outdoor spaces, with palm trees, fountains, and colorful flowers. The events lawn, adjacent to the elegant pool, the Jardín Sagrado Event Garden, and the stylish Azul Lounge patio are all perfect for receptions and ceremonies. The unique settings at Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces feature old world charm with modern amenities to make your special day perfect and memorable. 

 

Hyatt Regency Downtown Albuquerque

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Briana Nicole Photography

Hyatt Regency downtown Albuquerque is a historically urban venue for your wedding ceremony and reception. Our Whyte Room is a blank canvas to design your dream ceremony or reception. Experience our unique ABQ, city-vibe with a touch of contemporary, and a dash of elegance…all that’s left is your signature. 

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Los Poblanos Weddings Throughout the Seasons

Here in Albuquerque, when you think spring, you think Los Poblanos. It’s a cognitive connection that we simply can’t shake, what with the rows and rows of flowering lavender, the festival for the very plant for which they’re known, fresh and whimsical weddings, and so much more. But actually, as self-proclaimed groupies of the famed New Mexico wedding venue, we know a little secret…

Los Poblanos magically transforms with every equinox and solstice. It’s true! We’ve seen it ourselves — as summer drops into fall, as fall slips into winter, some sort of wizardry overcomes the rugged-glam organic farm. The heavenly scent of lavender in bloom and lush historic gardens is replaced with that of cozy wood-burning fireplaces, delicate candles, and unbelievably crisp air.

All that remains the same with each change of the season is the classic New Mexican architecture, sprawling natural landscape, and their dedicated staff. And, because it’s extremely difficult to not be obsessed with her, Maura Jane Photography is also a Los Poblanos staple! Her unparalleled eye for timelessly light and airy wedding photography perfectly complements the delicacies of the inn + farm.

If ever there were a wedding business collab from heaven that happened to occur in New Mexico, these two vendors would be at the helm. 

So we’re sharing our little discovery with you, our Perfect Wedding Guide friends and fam! Because we’re oh so lucky to have Maura Jane Photography weddings and styled shoots from each season to swoon over, and we simply couldn’t keep it to ourselves. Plus, if anyone deserves to take advantage of the New Mexican treasures that are Maura Jane Photography and Los Poblanos Historic Inn + Organic Farm, it’s you.

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1. WINTER

It’s no trick of the light! Though Maura Jane does have a way of making everything look warm + inviting, you real won’t have a problem keeping cozy, even on New Mexico’s chilliest days. Plus, did ya know that if you mention Perfect Wedding Guide, you’ll keep free, super exclusive winter wedding enhancements from Los Poblanos? Pretty neat if you ask us.

 

2. SPRING

This spectacular spring wedding was one of our favorite’s from Maura Jane Photography. We might be biased though, as some of us have a slight affection for anything as dreamy and rosy as these photos! Read more about this particular wedding in a feature here.

 

3. SUMMER

This timeless touches styled shoot was absolutely to die for! Blue, unbelievably underrated as far as wedding colors goes, was captured perfectly and truly popped against the neutral hues of Los Poblanos.

4. FALL

Ah, and finally, our dear autumn. Golden leaves shining through the towering, ancestral trees — there’s not much more that needs to be said here.

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Angie + Audra’s Backyard Wedding with Matt Blasing Photography

Luckily for our little Perfect Wedding Guide team, there are thousands of weddings here in New Mexico every year. Like, literal thousands of them. Which means we have a whole lot of color palettes, decor design, and unique ceremonies to be inspired by, and every single one ends up being very near and dear to our hearts. As a bride or groom or spouse-to-be, though, the thought of being one in thousands can be a little overwhelming, and maybe even a bit disheartening.

But have no fear — because of our slightly higher-than-average marriage rate here, we (you included!) get to watch as the wedding community evolves faster than ever before. Wedding professionals and engaged couples alike are pushing boundaries, thinking outside the box, and changing the way we honor and recognize love in its many forms. By incorporating new, intrinsically personal elements into each wedding, both sides of the equation are coming together to create celebrations of unity that truly are one in a million. (Or at least one in the several thousands here!)

For Angie and Audra, this concept was already second nature. The couple — smiling ear to ear with the dreamy sort of excitement we see ubiquitously when two people are truly in love — entwined their personalities and life’s stories into their wedding seamlessly, making it, at once, a comforting and familiar atmosphere, and a celebration of two souls so personal, we could never experience it the same way again. From the crafted wood arbor, made by Angie’s own hands, that framed the couple as they said their vows, to the tiniest detail of incorporating pine cones into the decor, there was no doubt that this wedding, of all of them, belong to Angie and Audra.

(The pine cones were collected during the couple’s adventures! They traveled all the way from Maine, Oregon, California, the UK, Tennessee, Hawaii, and more, to pay witness to the beginning of Audra and Angie’s new life together.)

Of course, without the unparalleled talent of one of New Mexico’s favorite wedding photography teams, Matt Blasing Photography, we would never be able to bask in the glory that is the heartfelt, totally consuming, and immensely inspiring details of Angie and Audra’s wedding. To book Matt Blasing Photography for your own celebration, you can contact Matt and Amy here

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DJ: Desert Sands Entertainment