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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The 3 Main Benefits of Eloping

No, the New Mexico Perfect Wedding Guide team has not been kidnapped. It’s still us, the same love-obsessed locals whose entire lives revolve around weddings! We bet you never thought we’d be advocating against having a wedding, right? We didn’t either.

When it comes down to it though, we’re not choosing elopements over weddings, and we’re not saying either is better than the other. Elopements and weddings are two sides of the same lovey-dovey, romantic coin and plus, we have some introverts on the team who would be happy to avoid the crowd a traditional wedding can draw.

It helped too, that just when our wedding brains were steering toward elopement territory, a gorgeous gallery from T. Rayne Photography happened to come into view. Marisol & Charles, newlyweds and best friends, eloped in Santa Fe this past July, and Taylor, of T. Rayne Photography, was there to catch every smile and scintillation during the wonderfully intimate and incredibly happy occasion.

Their elopement session, full of laughter and love, was just the thing we needed to really get on board the elopement train. It also happens to be the session that’s most emblematic of all the benefits of choosing to elope instead of having a full traditional wedding. Wanna know why? Let’s jump into the 3 main benefits of eloping, then!

1. Your love is at the forefront

While the beating heart of weddings is love, too, the hustle and bustle of planning a wedding can sometime elbow its way to the forefront of your celebration. With vendors to book, cousins to invite, venues to tour, groomsmen to wrangle, gowns to be fitted, and more, the reality of planning a wedding isn’t always as pretty as the aftermath.

If you and your partner are working full-time, having children or dogs, are building a home together, or working through any other sort of life-stuff, you might not have the time to plan a full wedding. So your options then become either hire a wedding planner, or have an elopement. Both options suit different needs and personalities, so it all depends on what your love looks like.

And no one said you had to miss out on the party! More and more, we’re seeing local engaged couples opt for elopement ceremonies so that more focus can be put on the reception. Whether your reception is right after your elopement, later in the year, or for your 5 years anniversary, you can always celebrate your union with the people you love. (And avoid hurting your in-laws’ feelings if they don’t get invited to the elopement!)

2. You get what you really, actually want

Because, maybe you actually do want your in-laws there for the ceremony. Or maybe you want to wear photorealistic dinosaur head masks for part of the ceremony, because it’s hilarious and also surprisingly adorable. Or maybe you want to run away to the woods with the love of your life and secretly bind your futures together in the company of Ponderosa pine trees.

Whatever you want, you can have it.

It’s an elopement, not a wedding. There are no guests lists to work around, no great-aunts to please, no dresses and suits to coordinate around everyone’s aesthetic preferences and personal styles, it’s just about you and your soon-to-be spouse.

So yeah, get those dino heads on, it’s your day.

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3. You save money

Yeah, yeah, we know. One of the first things people think of when they hear elopement is the money they’d save if they chose to do that instead of having a traditional wedding. And sure, that money can go toward a home, your honeymoon, or a myriad of other things.

Or, you could use the money you save on skirting the venue to focus on what is really important for you and your partner to have while you forge your new life together. For Marisol & Charles, it was important to have gorgeous, intimate photos to revisit for the rest of their lifetime together — that’s where T. Rayne Photography came in, of course!

For you and your partner, it might be something different. But with the money you save by eloping, you can choose to have the photographer, dress, location, or florist of your absolute dreams. All the rest of that stuff? Well, you can save it for your vow renewal or killer reception.

There is no wrong decision though. Whether you choose to weather the storm of planning a full, traditional wedding or go for something quieter, smaller, and more intimate like the Santa Fe elopement T. Rayne Photography captured — it’s all for the sake of love. (And for our sake too, because you know we live vicariously through the local weddings and elopements around us, so either way we’ll be swooning.)

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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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