Hot Air Balloon Styled Shoot with Tori Photography

The pre-spring winds here in New Mexico aren’t the only thing blowing us away today! Mimicking the buoyancy and uninhibited joy that is riding in a hot air balloon, this inspired shoot by Tori Photography has swept us off our feet. {Puns always intended.}

We have always been impressed with Tori, the creative behind Tori Photography of course, and her attention to detail… But this shoot has us stuck in a summer daydream! Splashes of vibrant primary colors contrasts energetically with the serene landscape of Tanoan Country Club, and the bursting bouquet frames the lighthearted couple perfectly.

Red, blue, and yellow pop off Tori Photography‘s stunning photos, Differently Designed‘s invitations, and Black Bow Event‘s tablescape. You can practically smell the honeysuckle that was surely blooming just out of frame, and feel the gentle summer breeze. Pairing Tori’s keen eye and innate ability to make her models comfortable, this shoot proves something we’ve known all along: Albuquerque + Santa Fe‘s creative collaborations always result in magic.

That, and that there is no wrong way to do a wedding! Straying from the traditional muted hues, lace edges, and sprigs of baby’s breath, this shoot stands out with it’s unapologetic vivaciousness and vitality. Now, there’s no need to throw out the lace entirely yet — because, c’mon, it’s beautiful — but let this out-of-the-box shoot change the way you think about your own future wedding. You can have anything your heart desires, no matter the theme, color palette, or style, and know that there are wedding professionals here in New Mexico who will make your dreams come true with elegance and perseverance.


Photography: Tori Photography
Video: Avid Pictures
Planner: Black Bow Events, LLC
Location: Tanoan Country Club
Flowers: Lavish Floral Boutique
HMU: C. Johnson Makeup
Invitations: Differently Designed
Couches: Darling Details Vintage Decor Rental Co.
Crown: Wild Grace Boutique
Cupcakes: Amanda J Moore & Smallcakes: A Cupcakery ABQ


Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico


Ringing in Spring with Ooh! Aah! Jewelry

Yes, we still have a few days before it’s officially spring… but the sun is shining and we’re ready to break out our sundresses! It seems only right that we take a moment now to talk about one of our new favorite, local vendors: Ooh! Aah! Jewelry. Their curated collection of vintage + modern gems is not only perfect for the spring-hearted bride, but for all jewelry-wearers who want one-of-a-kind accessories to compliment their warm weather wardrobe.

{We’re about one second away from spring-cleaning out our jewelry boxes to make room for a dozen of their sterling silver rings, topaz and diamond necklaces, and of course, at least one pair of 14K gold drop-bar earrings.}

Not to mention that for as long as we can remember, there has been a call for unique engagement and wedding rings from engaged couples who want them to reflect their individual style and love story. And for 30 years, Ooh! Aah! Jewelry has been answering that call. Now, I might be biased because their collection is totally aligned with my personal style, but I’m definitely not the only one!

Winning a plethora of awards from local couples and shoppers in general from “Best Casual Jewelry Store in Albuquerque,” “Best Jewelry Store in New Mexico,” to “Best Downtown Retail Store” it’s pretty clear that Albuquerque has a lot of love for Ooh! Aah! Jewelry. So do we! Which is why we’re honored to have them as a vital member of the Perfect Wedding Guide family of local vendors.

So fiancés — this one is for you! Your search for an unrivaled engagement ring, anniversary gift, or wedding band gets to end here. You don’t have to thank us though, just thank Ooh! Aah! Jewelry for working so hard to provide local engaged couples of all styles with jewelry to delight, surprise, and wear forever.






Want more? Check out their collection + contact the shop here!


Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico



2018 Wedding Trend: Live Music

Have you heard, bride-to-be? Tides are shifting in the world of weddings! The budget-friendly option of preset playlists and iPods on shuffle for reception music were all the rage for a little while there, but it’s time to hang up the aux cord. Live, professional music is back in style! {Though in our opinion, it never really left.}

It’s no wonder either, especially here in New Mexico, where there are so many options for brides who want a genuine, authentic experience for their wedding day. Luckily too, the variety of choices available mean you don’t have to break the bank to switch out your brother-in-law’s Spotify playlist for the ever-romantic option of a live musician.

No need to feel overwhelmed by the smorgasbord of individuals that are here to make your celebration unforgettable this wedding season. We picked three amazing musicians that are local and ready for you to book for your wedding, because we love you.

From guitar, to harp, to full band, it’s hard to choose our favorite live musicians from Albuquerque + Santa Fe, but luckily we don’t have to. The reputation of these talented artists speaks for themselves. {It’s no surprise they all have 5-star reviews on Perfect Wedding Guide!}


Ryan Smith, of Cello for Weddings

is the perfect fit if you’re looking to add an unparalleled touch of elegance to your ceremony or reception. Not only does he offer traditional wedding music, but also pop, rock, acoustic, soundtrack/classical, country, folk, motown, and oldies! Even custom arrangements, if your heart should so desire. Does it get better than that?

Book him here!

Absolute Entertainment

Absolute Entertainment‘s own band Soulstice,

has been voted as Santa Fe’s leading event band by brides. And of course they have! Graceful or groovy, the band plays everything from cross-generational classics to today’s hits. Whatever vibe {or vibes!} you choose, Soulstice delivers above and beyond expectations every time.

Book Soulstice here!

Last, but very certainly not least,


Sandi Ludescher, Albuquerque’s favorite Harpist

has graced couples with her delightful music, and several of our events too, since 2005. With a broad range of available compositions, there’s a spot in every celebration for her harp! {Highly customizable as well, Sandi once played my favorite Simon & Garfunkel song for me on her harp — it was unforgettable!}

Book Sandi here!


Want more?

You can find local musicians, bands, and DJs available for your wedding here!

Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico


Jenna + Nestor’s Sweet + Classic Celebration

Now, we love all couples indiscriminately, it’s true. But there’s something particularly heart-warming about two best friends falling in love and committing their lives to one another. In this case, we’re so lucky to have had Nicole Bradshaw Photography there to capture all the sweetest moments in Jenna + Nestor’s big day!

The warm + caring couple married at Prairie Star here in Albuquerque, but had been best friends since their Freshman year in high school. With a deep friendship as the foundation for their love, the kindness they have toward one another is apparent at first sight. Nicole herself says, “They almost seemed to orbit around one another!”

Little pops of red scattered throughout Jenna’s bouquet and their wedding party’s attire made for a classic vibe for the day. An elegant sort of simplicity allowed for their love to truly be the focal point of the ceremony too. Not without their little details though, there were a few hidden things, making their day all the more meaningful and personal. {Like the tiny portrait charm of Jenna’s grandparents, which was fastened to the stem of her bridal bouquet.}

Thank you again to the ever-talented Nicole Bradshaw Photography for sharing this beautiful day with us! Somehow, we’re always stunned by her photographic eye, and the attention to composition and detail she shows her couples.



Thank you to all the hardworking vendors who made Jenna + Nestor’s day possible!

Photography | Nicole Bradshaw Photography

Ceremony Venue + Catering | Prairie Star 

Cake Designer | Christiana Romero {Jenna’s sister}

DJ | ICY Jams

Dress | Ann Mathews Bridal

Bridesmaid Dresses | David’s Bridal

Groom’s Suit |Men’s Warehouse

Groomsmen’s Suits | Men’s Warehouse

Rings | Kay Jewelers


Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico


Inside Scoop on PWG Buck {$500!}

If you’ve had the opportunity to attend one of our PWG Wedding Shows, then you’ve probably heard the term PWG Bucks tossed around a few times. Sometimes we do little giveaways on our Snapchat {pwgnm} or Instagram too, but typically the $500 is reserved for the beautiful engaged couples who attend our Diamond Dash shows.

But wait… What are PWG Bucks exactly?

They’re basically like free wedding service coupons except — get this — you choose what service to use them on. Each participating vendor will have a special package or service available to you that you can take up to $500 off!

But how do you make sure you’re getting the most out of your $500 in PWG Bucks?

Our first tip is to start thinking about PWG Bucks when you register for the event. Come to the show already knowing which vendors you still need to connect with. That way, when you one of our lovely team members checks off your name with a smile and hands over your $500 in PWG Bucks, you’ll know where you’re going to use them.

The Bucks come in $100 increments, which means you can spend 5 on 5 different vendors, or 3 on 1 vendor, etc., etc. Big decisions, we know. After you’re all checked in for the event though, you’re ready to jump into the ballroom that’s packed full of local photographers, officiants, invitation companies, and everything else you need to plan a wedding. {Not to mention, snacks, champagne, a couture fashion show, and door prizes given away ever 30 minutes but, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.}


With your $500 in hand, you can peruse the incredible display booths, chat with vendors, and fill up on little freebies from the local wedding professionals. Each vendor who is participating in the PWG Bucks program will have a little sign on their booth clearly indicating that they will accept the Bucks as a form of payment. So here’s our next tip: if you see the sign, don’t be shy! 

Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s vendors are incredible, it’s true, but unfortunately they’re not mind-readers. If you think you might like to spend a few of your PWG Bucks on one of their services, let them know! They’ll direct you to whichever packages are available to you, how much you can save with the PWG Bucks, and really, it’s just a great way to get the conversation going. Essentially, the PWG Bucks are your icebreakers and your wallet-savers in one.

Lastly, don’t forget to ask when they expire. PWG Bucks themselves expire at 4pm, when the wedding show comes to a close. But luckily, because the local wedding professionals are ever so kind, most of them will allow you to redeem them up to a week — or even 6 weeks! — after the show. 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! It’s all about communication.


So there you have it, the briefest of rundowns on how to get the most out of your $500 in PWG Bucks. Because not ever budget is limitless, and not every bride is going to splurge or save on the same services. Use this cash however you’d like, so long as it’s going toward creating the wedding day of your dreams.


Questions? Leave your comment below!

Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico


Heritage Hotels {Vendor Spotlight}

For years now, Heritage Hotels has been offering local and out-of-state brides an incredible variety of spaces to choose from for their celebration. With each venue being unique in its own right, yet still intricately related to the culture that makes New Mexico so special, it’s no wonder they’ve hosted so many beautiful weddings. It’s also no surprise that we’re so very, very excited to welcome them to the Perfect Wedding Guide family!

Of the eleven incredible resorts and hotels — yes, you read that right, eleven! — it’s hard to pick our favorites. The Inn and Spa at Loretto showcases carefully curated art from local galleries, and even hosts artist residencies within it’s distinctly Santa Fean adobe walls. While the custom architecture of Hotel Albuquerque‘s grand lobby quite literally makes our jaws drop every time we have the pleasure of entering their doors. El Monte Sagrado, too, is impossible to not fall in love with — the high mountain retreat space has everything needed for a luxurious and unforgettable reprieve outside the city.

In fact, we almost feel badly for you darling brides, how could you pick one to get married in?! Can we make having 11+ different ceremonies for one wedding the new 2018 trend?

Though, your guests probably don’t have 11 different wedding outfits, so you’ll have to choose just one. If it helps, scroll on to get a quick taste of a few of their venues, and read what their guests have to say about each space. {If it doesn’t help, well, we understand. It’s like choosing a favorite child! The bright side is, every hotel + resort is impossibly beautiful and carefully staffed with kind people, so you really can’t go wrong.}



We were over the moon with our choice to have our wedding at the Eldorado hotel. Dan Liss and his staff were amazing and helped make our special day flawless and unforgettable. The La Capilla de oro chapel took everyone’s breath away! It is so beautiful and special, our guests were in awe. Our cocktail hour, reception and dinner also took place at the hotel. Everything was so elegant. I promise the Eldorado does not disappoint!!

Jessica, bride

Hotel Albuquerque


It was hands down the best place in Albuquerque to have a wedding. The hotel is beautiful, the outside garderns incredible and the wedding chapel romantic. The food was delicious and the service impeccable!

Samantha S., bride

El Monte Sagrado


My wife and I wanted to get married at El Monte for years. Their Intimate Wedding package included a ceremony in the Sacred Circle, the officiant, florist, and photographer. It included one night stay in the Taos Mountain rooms and a 4 course dinner with wedding cake. They created the perfect wedding for us. The location was beautiful, the dinner delicious and the officiant, florist and photographer made us feel special. They tailored their services to our wishes. I would do it all over again.

Lillian, bride

Inn and Spa at Loretto

Tony Gambino Photography

The Loretto was GORGEOUS! Perfect setting for our wedding! The staff was excellent and Vickie, Jen, Ludwig and Josephine were wonderful! It was a beautiful hotel and I’m so glad that our wedding was there! I loved it!

Lisa, bride

Thank you so much for joining our PWG family, Heritage Hotels!

Click the names of any venue for contact and booking information. To see even more of Heritage Hotel’s stunning spaces, you can visit them here.


Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico


Pro-Tip: Wedding Day Hair Care

We know wedding planning is not always a walk in the park. Sure, it’s magical and wonderful and leading you toward the day you say I do! to the love of your life. But sometimes all the details, vendors, prices, fabrics, taste-testings, dress-fittings start to pile up, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

Lucky for you, we’re about to add one more thing to your yard-long to-do list! Yes, you read that right, but here’s the thing: it’s fun.

{Surely you’ve read the title of this post by now and, with your super-sleuth skills, have figured out we’re talking about hair care with pro-tips from one of the loveliest of Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s Hair + Makeup Artists.}

But we’re also talking about self care in general, because you probably have a lot on your plate right now. It’s easy to get caught up in planning your wedding day and accidentally put yourself on the back burner. A little self-care in the weeks or months leading up to your wedding can go a long way for your mental health, and if you pair it with these pro-tips too, also your physical health! Well, your hair’s physical health. Same thing, right?

So scroll on for the wisest of words from Macey, Gypsy Trail Hair + Makeup‘s magnificent owner, and be keeping in mind how you can incorporate these little hair-care rituals into your own life. They’re simple, little ways you can bring your hair to its fullest potential, and also carve out some me-time in your busy schedule.

Arielei Kinzer Photography {full shoot here!}

1. Get a good hair oil!

One of the easiest + most life saving tips. After every wash apply hair oil from mid hair down.

2. Deep condition hair once a month.

Remember those self-care rituals we mentioned? Here’s the perfect one! Wrap those locks up in a deeply moisturizing conditioner, pop on a re-run of Friends, and maybe even do a face mask too. If anyone asks: you’re planning your wedding!

3. Get rid of those split ends.

Remember the vigor with which you cut people from your guest list to save on catering? Do that to your split ends. And — keep up the trimming every 6 weeks, says our beauty expert Macey. Sounds like a perfect excuse to grab some coffee and vent to your stylist if you ask me, and that is truly the epitome of modern-day self care.

a4a06bd4-9f92-47ac-8887-e7af42be64d2Hair + MU by Gypsy Trail Makeup + Hair {more here!}

4. Avoid washing hair daily.

Now this one might raise some eyebrows, but Macey swears by it. Your hair loves its natural oils! Stripping them with your shampoo every day is pretty harsh, so try washing every other day to start. For those prone to greasy hair, try using dry shampoo between washes, says Macey. Your hair will thank you, and if you shower in the morning like I do, you can use that extra time to lay in bed with your fiancé before work. Who doesn’t want that?

5. Avoid using hot tools daily.

Now, after your wedding, you’re absolutely welcome to do whatever pleases you with your hair. I’m emotionally attached to my blow dryer, I could never give it up cold-turkey, so I get it. But in the months leading up to your wedding, it’s a good idea to cut back. Opt for a cute braid or messy bun, Macey suggests, and if you’re going to use heat, always use a heat protectant first. And again, less time spent on your hair in the morning = more time snuggling and/or eating breakfast with your love.

Briana Nicole PhotographyHair + MU by Gypsy Trail Makeup + Hair {full shoot here!}

One last note:

If coloring or highlighting your hair for your wedding, go to your regular stylist you trust. Schedule your appointment one to two weeks prior to your wedding. This will give you time to ‘live in’ your color and time for any touch ups.

Macey Robinson, Gypsy Trail Makeup + Hair 

A very, very special thank you to Macey for allowing us to share her expertise! We hope these easy-peasy tips inspired you to indulge in a little self-care hair maintenance. To book Macey’s sweet + talented self for your own big day, you can contact her here.

Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico

{Psst… Got a useful or unique hair tip of your own? Comment below!}