There’s No Place Like Home: A Fall Wedding with Maura Jane Photography

The tall cottonwood trees arched all the way over the long paved Los Poblanos driveway as we made our way to Lauren and Andrews wedding. The leaves were already changing and several of the trees here and there were really showing off their colors. The couple had traveled all the way from New York City for their big day in the Land of Enchantment, and they were excited that fall was beginning to appear. 

– Maura Casados, Maura Jane Photography

As many New Mexicans know by now, it is hard not to return back home when you leave our lovely state. We hear stories all of the time about couples who move away for various reasons, but decide to have their wedding here in the Land of Enchantment because it truly stole their hearts. We totally get it. There is something so captivating about the landscape and the people – it really is a gem.

Lauren & Andrew seemed to both agree that New Mexico was the ideal place for their fall wedding, even though they live all the way on the East coast in New York City. When you live all the way on the other side of the country, sometimes you need to call the family back home to ask for a little wedding planning help, and that is just what Lauren did. Lauren’s mom knew just the location to celebrate the marriage between her daughter and to-be-son-in-law – Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm! The couple booked the venue without hesitation. And who wouldn’t after seeing the stunning backdrops of lavender fields and rustic farmhouse chic decor?

The couple chose different shades of burgundy and blush for their colors, which complimented the fall foliage perfectly. Lauren wore her hair low and side-swept in a perfect bun and donned a stunning lace dress that fell off her shoulders softly. Perhaps our favorite detail was her pointed Bella Belle heels that matched her dainty belt perfectly.

The Perfect Wedding Guide crew is swooning over the small details from this perfect autumnal wedding. The rose gold ring, the pastel invitations, the perfectly fitting gown, and their absolutely radiant love for each other are just a few of the things that have us struck with awe. Not to mention that this day was captured by the one and only Maura Jane Photography whose style fits seamlessly with the warm + pastel fall vibes.

They exited the ceremony with a dried rose petal toss before joining their guests for cocktail hour on the back lawn. White pumpkins, candles and eucalyptus decorated the tables as guest toasted the newlyweds and sipped lavender gin cocktails and champagne. We finished the evening with a quick photo in front of the old historic building that hosted their reception as the couple kissed while being surrounded by farolitos.

We are so honored to have been sent the gallery from Lauren & Andrew’s wedding day. Take a peek & let the feeling of pure bliss come over you as you immerse yourself in the beautiful photos taken by Maura and her team!

Congratulations Lauren and Andrew, we are so happy for you both!

Venue: Los Poblanos Inn and Historic Farm
Planner/Designer: Chelsea Martinez
Florist:  Bagel's Florals
Hair and Makeup: Mark Pardo Salon
Shoes: Bella Belle Shoes
Dress store: David's Bridal
Dress Designer: Melissa Sweet
Ties and Pocket Squares: The Tie Bar
Cake/Desserts: Los Poblanos
DJ: Cutmaster Music
Invitations: Minted
Bridesmaid Dresses: Azazie
Photography: Maura Jane Photography

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7 of New Mexico’s Best Entertainment Experts

You know that classic saying, “it’s all about the music”? When it comes to your wedding, this statement couldn’t be more true. With the rise of technology, we have so many options when it comes to picking some tunes. Between customizable Spotify playlists and YouTube music stations, it’s so hard to say no to these easy and budget-friendly alternatives.

If you’re on the fence about which option is best, we’re going to help you out—you absolutely should book a local entertainment expert. Here’s why:

You’ll get a genuine and authentic experience. Not only are these local musicians and disc jockeys well seasoned in their craft, but they also know how to throw together one heck of a show. For the bride and groom looking for that authentic New Mexican experience—or even simply a classic, yet genuine, performance to make your wedding more elegant, you’ve come to the right place.

You won’t break the bank. With such a wide variety of vendors to showcase, you’re sure to find one that fits your wedding day budget. It is always good to remember that you are hiring an entertainment expert. These are folks who have been working in the industry for a long time and are sure to make your big day the most memorable day of your lives, and that itself is priceless!

Your wedding will be completely unique. From the gown to the venue, every bride and groom has their own personal touch to add to their wedding, and the music shouldn’t be the exception. By choosing a local entertainment expert you get to be in control of the look, the feel, and the mood of the day. You can work closely with the musician or DJ to make sure that all of your favorite songs and sounds will be implemented into the ceremony and reception. 

You don’t have to worry about anything. Seriously. Your job is to have a great time while the professionals handle everything. There’s no need to worry about that playlist glitching halfway through the ceremony because you’ll be in good hands. Now that should be music to your ears!

Whether you want a live accompaniment while you walk down the aisle or a reception DJ that makes your guests get up from their tables and dance, we can’t think of a better way to help those dreams come to life than to provide you with New Mexico’s greatest entertainment professionals.

1. Complete Weddings + Events

Working with Complete was as easy as you could possibly want when planning this stressful event. Justin sat down with us, heard our wants and requests, and paired us with a fantastic DJ and videographer who met our needs perfectly. Both David (our DJ) and Minh (our videographer) met with and developed a relationship with us beforehand to make sure they had an exact idea of our vision for our wedding day. We would definitely recommend Complete to anyone looking for a hassle free wedding experience!

– Sanae, Bride

2. Cutmaster Music

We chose Chris from Cutmaster Music to be our DJ at our reception. And I must say, he was worth every penny! Chris kept us on schedule and got all our guests hyped for our entrance! He then made our first dance extremely special by asking our guests to come stand around the dance floor. 

– Amanda, Local Bride

3. King Mobile Music

Brad King might very likely be the best DJ in Albuquerque, and you would be silly not to book him if you have the chance. My fiance 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.

– Kayla, Local Bride

4. Cello for Weddings

Ryan’s talent, demeanor, and musical talent was the cherry on top of the most perfect day. My husband and I live in Seattle and had a destination wedding in Santa Fe, NM. Working with Ryan was the easiest part of the planning. By request, he played a beautiful cello compilation of my favorite Yanni song- a song which had deep meaning to both me and my dad. The song gave me absolute chills and caused my dad to burst into tears. I gave Ryan very little direction and trusted his experience and understanding. He showcased his talent and expertise in his field effortlessly.

– Briana, Bride

5. Absolute Entertainment

Soulstice was incredible, reliable, trustworthy, and in control. When our venue experienced a few hiccups during our wedding, Vicky grabbed the microphone and was to the rescue, improvising without anybody knowing. They are the best band in Santa Fe, by far, recommended everywhere.

– Heather, Local Bride

6. John P. Martinez, Guitarist Extrordinaire

John played for our daughter’s wedding. He is an amazing guitarist. Our outdoor wedding ended up with last minute rearrangements to indoor, very tight space. John had learned new music for the processional that ended up being the shortest processional ever and he had to sit in a tiny corner. None the less, the ceremony guitar music was beautiful and the cocktail hour music was great and fun.

– Dana, Mother of the Bride

7. Musicology DJ and Events

We booked Musicology for our wedding, after seeing them at a bridal show they put on (which was awesome in and of itself) and we couldn’t be happier that we did! Laura and Eliot were extremely helpful from the very beginning. We started talking about what we are looking at in terms of songs way ahead of the wedding. They’re really great at suggesting songs (their song library is huge, they have everything!)

– Kelly, Local Bride

Pink + Perfection: Real Wedding with Briana Nicole Photography

We tied the knot on the most perfect day! I chose the colors gold and “50 shades of pink” because what girl doesn’t love pink, and no girl likes just one shade of pink. I knew I wanted peonies, ranunculus, and roses with a touch of eucalyptus.

– Esmeralda, Bride

Peonies, roses, eucalyptus… oh my!

As wedding connoisseurs, we like to think that we know almost everything about love and all that mushy, heart-felt stuff– but every time we hear stories from our local newlyweds, we realize that we have barely scratched the surface. We seem to learn new things every day because our wedding vendors know exactly how to bring a couple’s visions to life, and every vision is magnificently unique! Briana Nicole Photography did just this when she captured Esmeralda and Miguel’s sweet and serene wedding.

We are simply swooning over recent wedding color palette trends that are filled with pastel pinks and muted greens. Esmeralda and Miguel chose the most ravishing floral combo for their wedding day, but the awe-inspiring details don’t stop there. From the dresses to the venues, the couple made it a point to embrace their bright personalities and the interconnection between their love story and the scenery.

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I really wanted our venue to be tied with the Sandia Mountains where Miguel proposed so we choose The View Event Center, since they are so close. We also really wanted an outdoor ceremony, where there would be lots of florals and greenery, so Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town was the perfect spot with the vines covering the pavilion and the chandeliers hanging from it. Everything was so gorgeous!

– Esmeralda, Bride

Here in the breathtaking state of New Mexico, we have been utterly rewarded with impressive scenery, from the golden mesa to the blushing Sandia Mountains. At every turn there is something that reminds us just why so many couples decide to get married in the Land of Enchantment.

We live in a photographer’s oasis, and Briana Nicole Photography captured the ceremony at the Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town like no other. The couple was beaming with joy and the fun never seemed to end! One could only hope for their wedding day to be bottled up without losing its integrity so that it could be experienced again and again, and Briana Nicole Photography does this flawlessly through her lens.

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Esmeralda and Miguel spent the evening celebrating their new life together and taking in the beauty of the city lights of Albuquerque at The View Event Center. Could there be any more “pink” and “perfect” in one day? I think not, but hey, we are always surprised by our local weddings and the vendors that make them happen, so we never know what will come next!

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Photographer: Briana Nicole Photography
Planner & Florist: A Beautiful Theme
Ceremony Venue: Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town
Reception Venue: The View Event Center
Cake: ABC Cake Shop & Bakery
DJ: Red Sapphire DJ Entertainment
Catering: Café Venture Catering
Bridal Makeup: Betty Rose by Alanna
Officiant: Amor Ceremonies
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Glory Ranch Wedding Films: Lights, Camera, Love Story

My husband and I cannot speak more highly of Tom Ragan…not only does he take great care to create a beautiful and personal video that perfectly captures the event, but he is professional and an absolute delight to work with – we felt so at ease having him film our wedding. The turnaround time on receiving our video was extremely fast and the look of the DVD was lovely – I can say without hesitation that if you are looking for someone to film your wedding, Tom is the way to go! 

– Eve, Bride

You know that special feeling you get when you grab some snacks, sit down with a comfy blanket and turn on your favorite movie? And even though you have watched it a thousand times and can quote just about every line, it still sends shivers down your spine? Just like the movies, we have our own stories that we cherish and share with the world– but unfortunately, we aren’t likely to have our story portrayed in grandiose by Meryl Streep or Johnny Depp.

As it turns out, you don’t have to be a celebrity to tell a good love story, because Tom and Jenny at Glory Ranch Wedding Films will make you the star of your own! The filmmakers specialize in documentary-style storytelling, which is not only unique, but also widely sought-after by brides and grooms everywhere. Each smile, laugh, tear, happy dance, and every moment in between will be there for you to watch over and over again for the rest of your life. You are seriously going to need those snacks, a comfy blanket, and a nice big box of tissues.

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Glory Ranch Wedding Films

Here at Perfect Wedding Guide, we adore our local wedding videographers because they all have their own special artistic flare. With a keen sense of composition and an eye for capturing intimate moments, Tom and Jenny are the cinematic dream team. It’s not everyday that you find a wedding videographer that is dedicated to telling your real life love story and allows you to incorporate your own vision for the wedding film. You would be the director of your own love story without attending years of film school, and Glory Ranch Wedding Films will bring it to life with their years of expertise! Your artistic vision is in good hands, and we can assure you, you will not be disappointed.

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Glory Ranch Wedding Films

What a great pleasure it was to have Tom film our wedding! He was so kind as to talk details and staging with us for the ceremony, helping us think things through at the last minute (we planned a bit on the fly). At the ceremony, he completely blended in and made the filming feel totally stress-free, not at all ‘in your face’, as I’ve experienced at some other weddings. The film is just beautiful and incorporated sweet thoughtful details as well as being incredibly high quality. Tom was also kind and flexible enough to make a requested edit to the film after production. Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t say what a lovely, laid back person Tom is. We couldn’t have asked for a nicer person to help us capture the day!

– Julia, Bride

With roots in both New Mexico and New York, the couple brings together two distinct cultures to create a dynamic and unique vision. They have a passion for creating and a passion for love, just like us! If you are looking for a wedding videographer that will tell your love story through your vision, then Tom and Jenny are your perfect match. You can learn more about Glory Ranch Wedding Films and how to chat with them here.

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4 of New Mexico’s Favorite Wedding Cake Shops

Your wedding day is going to be one of the most treasured days of your entire life – and with the help of our favorite local wedding cake shops, it’s also going to be the sweetest! When we think “wedding“, we think about some of the most anticipated moments during the special day: the bride walking down the aisle, the groom’s reaction and, last but not least, the cutting of the cake. Who doesn’t love to see the happy newly-weds smash their beautiful cake into each other’s beautiful faces?!

I think we can all agree that wedding cakes are a true work of art from the delicious ingredients on the inside, to the intricate details on the outside. Stylized color palettes and detailed personal touches make any wedding cake feel like it was made only for you – with love!

Between venue scouting, dress shopping and dozens of other necessary wedding planning tasks, picking out a wedding cake can seem like just another daunting challenge. However, these local sweet-tooth experts will make it a piece of cake (literally)!

1. The Cake Boutique

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Chrisi K. Photography
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We were invited to sample the cake. Birdie talked us through the different tier and flavour options, and we conferred so she could get an understanding of our colour/decoration needs. Birdie worked with our florist to ensure the arrangements were in place for the floral topper. The cake was delivered on time, it looked great and tasted delicious! We had a three-tiered round cake with colours and decorations chosen by us and a plain sheet cake, and we were able to have two different flavours (chocolate and vanilla). The cake was definitely the tastiest we had tried in Albuquerque.  

– Jamie, Local Bride

If you’re looking for a cake shop that offers pretty much everything, whether it be conventional or something completely out of the ordinary, then you’re in the right place! Locally owned and operated by Birdie, The Cake Boutique is conveniently located on the Westside of Albuquerque for you to stop in and explore all of their breathtaking options. You can learn more about the shop and how to get in contact with them here.

2. Maggie’s Cakes

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Kevin Guevara Photo + Film
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Alicia Lucia Photography

Zara has the perfect eye for creating stunning work. Her cake artistry is unparalleled… From cupcakes to 5 tiered masterpieces, she CAN create ANYTHING you can IMAGINE! From the moment you arrive in her artistic space until the moment your creation is presented, she is simply magical.

-Devonna, Local Bride

Here at Perfect Wedding Guide, we are clearly obsessed with our state – and Maggie’s Cakes so perfectly represents the southwest in all of its glory. From simple and chic Earth tones to vibrant blush bursts of color, this shop has everything you could dream of. You can find Zara, the artist behind the cakes, and your future delicious creation at her Santa Fe shop. You can find more information here!

2. Les Blonde Bakery

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Maura Jane Photography
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I had Les Blonde Bakery make my wedding cake and my daughters first birthday cake. They were better than I imagined! The frosting was my favorite (and I am not a frosting person!) Not only was the cake DELICIOUS, but Kerian was wonderful! I will absolutely be ordering more cakes!!

– Michelle, Local Bride

Wedding cakes, cupcakes, desserts galore! Les Blonde Bakery is well versed in the world of sweet things, and just looking at Kerian’s elegant baked goods makes our mouths water. Their unique displays and cake toppers are reason enough to stop by the bakery and see for yourself what makes Les Blonde Bakery so special! You can learn more about how to get in contact with them here.

4. SmallCakes: A Cupcakery

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Jasper K. Photography
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Briana Nicole Photography

I spent many weekends tasting cakes before I decided on SmallCakes. They have a great selection of flavors and we received so many compliments on our cake. I knew I could trust them with our cake and they proved themselves on the day of our wedding.

– Romilly

Last, but certainly not least, SmallCakes focuses on creating a diverse range of cakes that look almost too good to eat. Just look at those colors… and that texture! *Heart eyes* From cupcakes to wedding cakes, there are options for everyone. Stop by their shop in Northeast Albuquerque to take the next step in ordering your cake for your wedding day, or visit them here!

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7 Wedding Venues Outside the City

As much as we love the hustle and bustle of our vibrant city here in the southwest, we can’t lie… Taking a step back from the noise and enjoying New Mexico’s myriad of landscapes is one of our favorite parts of living in such a wild state. The mountains and mesas, rivers and roving fields, can all enliven even the most downtrodden spirit, honestly. So when we hear a local engaged couple wants to get away from the city for their wedding, we get it.

And luckily for couples in New Mexico, everyone else here seems to get it, too. Whether you’re ready to make the trek to the deeply restorative forests of Ruidoso, or just popping over to sunny and sprawling Los Lunas, there’s already a wedding venue there waiting for you and your loved ones.

So if your wedding guests, bridal parties, or partner-to-be are in need of some R&R, why not let your wedding be that gift to them? Not every horror story you’ve heard about wedding day chaos is true, and even if they were, there are steps you can take to ensure nothing unsavory transpires during celebration.

Step one — utilize all available wedding planning resources, like our print magazine and online tools.

Step two — book local wedding vendors who have dedicated their lives to ensuring weddings, like yours, are the happiest of all occasions.

And finally, step three — choose a beautiful venue surrounded by nothing but fresh air and a great view, like Prairie Star or Hacienda Doña Andrea, or one of the other 7 wedding venues listed below.

1. Prairie Star

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Maura Jane Photography

Prairie Star truly captures the gorgeous New Mexican culture with the best view of the Sandia Mountains. My wedding was everything I hoped for and I am very appreciate of the staff here. We had an hour rain delay and the staff helped keep the guests comfortable and calm. The coordinator, Rebecca, knows her stuff! She is very responsive and helpful.

The food here is AMAZING and the professionalism of the staff is impeccable. They even stayed 30 minutes later to let us continue the reception due to the rain delay. We rented an event tent for the lawn and had a plated dinner out there. The staff was great and timely about serving the guests. Prairie Star is a wonderful venue! I can’t say enough about it!  

Shelby, local newlywed

2. Hacienda Doña Andrea

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Shayla Edenfield Photography

We had a lovely and intimate wedding at the Hacienda – the venue is beautiful and had the perfect southwest ambiance that we were looking for for our New Mexican wedding. The day of the wedding had multiple mishaps (as weddings do) and the event staff on hand was SO accommodating and helpful.

We are so happy that we chose this venue and almost all of our guests asked where we found such an amazing and scenic place. The rooms were beautifully decorated and comfortable accommodations overall. Even when our guests were up far into the night, the rooms were quiet. We had everything we needed to stay over the weekend.

Tabitha, local newlywed

3. Europa

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I never write reviews, but let me tell you. I have lived in the area for a long time and have never come across anything that even comes remotely close to the experience you get here. You’d be hard pressed to find another place that’s close to this. I feel like it’s basically impossible to best it as well.

The workers do a fantastic job, the whole experience is so unique and amazing, that I almost feel guilty about it. This place is the absolute definition of a diamond in the rough. Such a hidden gem.

Jacob, local New Mexican

4. Sanctuary on the River

Sanctuary on the River

When looking for an outside venue for our wedding and something a little out of the way The Sanctuary on the River was by far the best. I made all arrangements over the phone so it was hard to tell exactly what I was getting. Two weeks before our wedding we visited the Sanctuary and was very impressed.

The staff and owner were very nice, extremely helpful and made sure our special day was spectacular. I would definitely recommend this venue for any kind of wedding. The decorations, the bridal suite and the gazebo were decorated perfectly. The bridal suite fit about 6 of us comfortably with our own private bathroom. There is no complaints all compliments here. Thank you to the staff of the Sanctuary for making this a day we will never forget.

Jennifer, local newlywed

5. Nature Pointe

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Matt Blasing Photography

Nature Pointe is one of the most beautiful spaces I have seen locally. It has an amazing natural fee with wood and stone and iron. Feels so New Mexico without being in Santa Fe or downtown. We love the mountains and this spacious venue has amazing views you can’t get in Albuquerque. We are super impressed with Courtney and her team and how communicative and helpful they have been, making us feel special and not just another wedding. We are excited about both the inside and the outside of Nature Pointe.

The kicker for me was just how much was included in the price. Tables, chairs, linens, centerpieces, vases, candles, cake cutting supplies, signage, etc. The list goes on and on. It was a bit more than we were planning to spend initially, but as soon as we drove up, we fell in love with Nature Pointe and are so excited for our special day. 

6. El Monte Sagrado

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Emily Joanne Wedding Films + Photography

Honestly, I didn’t know places like this still existed. Besides El Monte Sagrado being breathtakingly beautiful, the customer service was out of this world! I had my wedding here at the beginning of the year and everyone at the resort made sure that my family, friends, husband and I had everything we needed!

Rarely am I impressed by wedding food, but our filets were some of the best I have ever had – thank you to the chef, Cristina Martinez, and our wonderful dinner team, Madelyne, Matt, and Marge. Last, but not least, Melisha Romero planned and coordinated my wedding from beginning to end. I could go into the nitty, gritty detail, but the long and short of it is that when I had a problem or was not 100% happy with the proposed plan, Melisha came back to me with other suggestions and resolutions. I owe so much to this beautiful woman for easing my mind from over 1,200 miles away (we are in Birmingham).
My wedding was perfect and the week was an absolute dream. All of our guests said it was their favorite wedding they’ve ever been apart of and I believe them! I can’t wait to go back!

Jillian, local newlywed

7. Casa Perea Art Space

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Maura Jane Photography

This venue is a treasure both in its beauty and historical value to this community. From the office gals to the grounds keeper, the care and service over our wedding event was impeccable, professional and most importantly, personal. Their flexibility is a blessing during sometimes stressful decisions.

The included tables, chairs, linens and parking shuttle are all blessings which freed us up to handle the more pleasant details of food, music and florals. The beauty of this adobe garden home made the need for further decorations minimal. Our wedding at Casa Perea was both intimate, grand and simply lovely. Many thanks to the owner and staff at Casa Perea for sharing this historical treasure with us!  

Helene, local newlywed

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White Sands Elopement with Matt Blasing Photography

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

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

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

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

Sandy, newlywed

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

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

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

Sandy, newlywed

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