Trending: The Gift Lounge

Favors and gifts for guests are one of my favorite things about weddings. They give you the perfect opportunity to share your love and gratitude with all your friends and family. With so many options and ideas, however, it can be hard to narrow it down to one item. Thankfully, that’s where the gift lounge comes in! You no longer have to limit your gifts to one item. You can dedicate a whole area, or room (depending on your venue), to gifts for your guests. Best of all, they have the freedom to pick and choose the things they like most.

Similar to bars beyond cocktails, gift lounges are simply a “gift bar” — and the sky is the limit when it comes to assembling your perfect gift lounge. For instance, you can have gourmet sodas and candy, local goods, handmade or personalized items and even fresh local fruit. With so many local vendors in the area, planning a fun and gorgeous gift lounge couldn’t be easier. Some of our favorites include Chocolate Maven, Thirty-One Gifts, Pennysmiths Paper and American Pie Company, just to name a few.

Take a look at some of their amazing favors and treats!

American Pie Bakery
American Pie Bakery
Brandon Kidd Photography
Chocolate Maven, Photo by Alicia Lucia Photography

Gift lounges may sound extravagant and intimidating, but if you think about it, we’ve been doing gift lounges for years — with gift bags! Whether you would like the help of a local professional or a completely DIY gift lounge, you can keep it simple, affordable and best of all, creative. Simply allow your guests to assemble their own gift bag, and — voilà — you have a gift lounge!

For more on everything Wedding + Wedding Planning, visit us at: PerfectWeddingGuide.com

Make History at the UNM Alumni Memorial Chapel

As you and so many other college students get ready for back-to-school, you may be trying to figure out how you’re going to manage your homework and plan your wedding all at the same time. In case you didn’t know, the UNM Alumni Memorial Chapel is a charming wedding ceremony venue for any student, staff member or alumni of the University of New Mexico.

Adorned with traditional retablos and rustic iron candelabras, the UNM Alumni Memorial Chapel will take your guests back in time as you exchange vows. With such a rich history, the UNM Chapel is not only beautiful, but it is also affordable. It’s true ladies and gents, you can have the traditional New Mexico ceremony you’ve always dreamed of, without breaking the bank!

Several years ago, I had the great honor of standing in a friend’s wedding that took place at the chapel and it was absolutely gorgeous. Another wedding that truly captured the old-world charm of the UNM Chapel was that of Paige and Nathan, last winter. Captured by Maura Jane Photography, these photos are truly an inspiration for anyone planning a wedding at the chapel.

From the quaint dressing room decorated with elegant, antique furniture to the carved altar pieces and wooden pews, every detail of the UNM Chapel is the perfect backdrop for any wedding ceremony. Not to mention, the outdoor areas surrounding the chapel are just as gorgeous for memorable photos. At the UNM Alumni Memorial Chapel, your wedding will be a part of history.

Built in 1962 as a memorial to alumni killed in the nation’s wars, the UNM Alumni Memorial Chapel has served the campus community in joyful and trying times… Thousands of weddings and numerous memorials have taken place within its walls.

— UNM Alumni Memorial Chapel (Website)

Photos by Maura Jane Photography

For more on everything Wedding + Wedding Planning, visit us at: PerfectWeddingGuide.com

Basic Invite: Your Colors, Your Style, Instantly

At Perfect Wedding Guide, we are all about local. We love to promote our local professionals and hook them up with brides and grooms to-be. Every once in a while, however, we come across a hidden gem that we can’t help but share with all of you! Located in Saint George, Utah, we are so excited to show some love to our Four Corners neighbors at Basic Invite.

Basic Invite offers a wide range of invitation and stationery options, unlike any other online invitation or stationery store. Basic Invite is truly a professional, high-quality and, of course, trendy online stationery boutique. And best of all, you can have custom invitations delivered right to your door!

Seriously! I perused through their wedding stationery and they offer everything from cool save the dates, invites and programs to menus and table place cards — you name it, they have it! And if your maid of honor is planning your bridal shower, they also carry cheap bridal shower invitations.

Not to mention, they also carry Pinterest worthy invitation styles including gold, rose gold and silver foil, real wood (yes, I said real wood) and their newest addition, clear! With countless customization options, you can be certain your invitation will truly be as unique as you! Take a look at some of their darling designs and custom options.

Almost Unlimited Colors

Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers almost unlimited color options. Once you select a design you can change the color of each element on the card with over 180 mix and match color options. You can make sure your card is exactly how you want it — down to the smallest detail.

Instant Preview & Custom Samples

Basic Invite also allows customers the ability to instantly preview and order a printed sample of their actual invitation so they can see exactly how their unique design will look before they ever place their order. Once you receive your sample, you can make any changes to order exactly what you want.

Modern + Fine Script Fonts

Basic Invite has developed new technology to preview complex script fonts with all of the swirls and swashes you love. They offer high-quality fonts like those we see all over Pinterest (for a fraction of the price). And you can preview the text on your invite in any font instantly.

Over 40 Different Colors of Envelopes

Basic Invite is just as colorful with their envelopes as they are with their invitations. Customers can choose from over 40 different colors so that they can make their invites stand out before they are ever opened. All envelopes are peel and seal so your envelopes can be quickly and easily secured.

Over 200 Wedding Invitation Sets

For your convenience, each of their wedding invitations are part of a set. You can find everything from save the dates to wedding invitations and enclosure cards, wedding menus, wedding programs and even matching thank you cards! You can easily design a cohesive look throughout your entire wedding stationery.

Free Address Collection Service

What’s worse than ordering beautiful invitations, only to have the presentation ruined by placing your recipients names and addresses on the envelopes with ugly labels or sloppy handwriting? Thankfully, Basic Invite offers free address collection service with just three simple steps: share a link, collect addresses and get free envelope printing!

Keepsake Guest Books

Perfectly personalized wedding guest books are the perfect addition to your wedding day stationery. Don’t settle for a mass-produced guest book from your local craft store. With a sophisticated cover and well-designed pages, it’s the perfect opportunity for your guests to leave sweet words and well-wishes with style in a custom wedding guest book.

Start designing your custom wedding invitations at Basic Invite today. You can quickly and easily create a beautiful, one-of-a-kind invitation at your convenience and from the comfort of your own home.

Did I mention? Basic Invite also has lots of freebies! Under printables, you can find gift tags, place cards and so much more. All for FREE!

For all your wedding stationery needs, be sure to visit Basic Invite!

For more on everything Wedding + Wedding Planning, visit us at: PerfectWeddingGuide.com

Six Reasons You Should Hire a Professional Officiant

Recently, the team at Perfect Wedding Guide met with a group of local wedding professionals in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The meeting turned out to be quite fruitful and one of the topics that came from the meeting was the importance of hiring a professional officiant.

Unfortunately, the officiant isn’t always a big deal to the bride and groom so this very essential part of the wedding is often overlooked. After discussing this important topic, however, this inspiring group came up with a list of major reasons you definitely want to hire a professional.

De Novo Pastoral Services, Photo by Think Harris Photography

Six Reasons You Should Hire a Professional Officiant

  1. Hiring a professional officiant to create a ceremony for you, as opposed to asking your uncle Jim (who just got his reverend certificate on the internet), will prove to be a good investment. Professionals offer a guiding hand through this transitional time in your life. Essentially, they are the compass at the start of your new journey together.
  2. If you wouldn’t want uncle Jim holding your hand while you give birth to Junior (or some other significant life event), you probably don’t want him to officiate the wedding because this event is just as important.
  3. Almost every wedding officiant is going to be over the moon to create a custom ceremony for you and your fiancé. Incorporating pieces of your love story, sense of humor, religion and personalities into a beautiful ceremony is what they do best.
  4. The officiant’s energy sets the tone for the entire ceremony and you want one who makes your guests feel inspired and full of joy — sans awkward moments and embarrassing stories from uncle Jim.
  5. Most officiants will want to meet with you a handful of times before the wedding in order to craft the perfect ceremony. Establishing a relationship of trust and friendship with your officiant ensures that you will be comfortable for your wedding. Not to mention, many offer premarital counseling including De Novo Pastoral Services, to ensure you get off on the right start.
  6. Professional officiants not only know how to coordinate the ceremony but also to collaborate with photographers and wedding planners to ensure every moment is smooth and perfect.
Awakening JOY Ministries

Professional officiants know to step away when the big kiss happens so they don’t accidentally photobomb the special moment.

— Arielei, Arielei Kinzer Photography

De Novo Pastoral Services, Photo by Maura Jane Photography

For more on everything Wedding + Wedding Planning, visit us at: PerfectWeddingGuide.com

Celebrate Freedom! Five Benefits of Hiring a Wedding Planner

Wedding planners and designers don’t always get the credit they deserve. I suppose it comes with the territory when providing a service that is predominantly behind-the-scenes, so we want to show some love to our amazing planners and designers right here in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

As you get inspo from this elegant Americana styled-shoot, celebrate freedom from planning your wedding with one of these exquisite planners. They have the creativity and expertise to make your wedding unforgettable. In fact, they are so good, your ideas will come to life right before your eyes.

When we see weddings and styled-shoots like these, it seems so easy to pull off, but wedding planners and designers — usually one in the same — are the glue that pull and keep everything together. To help you decide if a wedding planner is right for you, keep reading to find our list of five major things your planner does so you don’t have to.

Five Things Your Wedding Planner Does So You Don’t Have To

  1. Book and coordinate all vendors
  2. Maintain order and organization of all the moving parts
  3. Meticulously carry out logistics
  4. Creatively design and execute the details
  5. Make your dream a reality!

We want your wedding to be everything you imagine and more. With a variety of wedding planners in and around the Albuquerque and Santa Fe areas to help you plan your big day, you can be sure to have the wedding you have always dreamed of.

— Perfect Wedding Guide Team

Photos by Arielei Kinzer Photography

Meet the professionals who helped make this styled-shoot possible:

Venue: Falcon Ranch | Photography: Arielei Kinzer Photography | Wedding Planner: Magnolia Event Company | Flowers: Floriography | Dress: Borrowing Magnolia | Desserts: American Pie Bakery | Calligraphy: Ashley Rose Hamilton | Makeup Artist: Makeup Santa Fe | Hair: Mandy Salazar

From all of us at your local Perfect Wedding Guide, Happy Fourth!

For more on everything Wedding + Wedding Planning, visit us at: PerfectWeddingGuide.com

Trending: Cake Designs to Take Your Breath Away

Most of us usually don’t think of the amount of skill and work it takes to create one these beautiful masterpieces when we think of wedding cakes. And yet, that’s exactly what they are — a masterpiece. Creating one of these modern marvels is like creating an edible work of art. Especially with the endless styles and designs people dream up, wedding cakes are no longer limited to the buttercream frosting and fake pearls of old.

Cakes have only become more intricate with modern trends including metallics, ruffles and polka dots, sprinkles, fruit and edible flowers and one of my favorites, hand-painted. Wherever you draw your inspiration, however, we have the best local wedding cakes artists who are always up for a challenge. To help you decide on a cake for your wedding, here are some of the trending masterpieces sweeping bakeries around the world.

I. Dripping & Metallic Cakes

Metallic and mouthwatering dripping cakes are perfect for brides and grooms who are trendy and all about modern design. These cakes are classy and edgy all wrapped into one delicious concoction!

Cake by Hansel & Gretel Cakes. Photo by Tennille Fink
Cake by Chocolate Maven, Photo by Alicia Lucia Photography

II. Ruffled & Polka Dot Cakes

For a softer touch, ruffles and polka dots are perfect for a romantic wedding with soft colors. No matter what trends come and go, these classic styles are always a beautiful option.

Cake by Chocolate Maven
Cake by Savory Fare, Photo by Maura Jane Photography

III. Fruit Topped & Edible Flower Cakes

Coinciding with the farm-to-table movement, cakes mounded with fresh fruit and edible flowers are perfect for those of us who prefer an organic-style cake inspired by nature.

Photo by We Are All Stardust
Cake by Chocolate Maven

IV. Sprinkle Cakes

You can never go wrong with sprinkles! With a modern twist on sprinkles these days, they are sophisticated and fun. Give your inner child the option to have sprinkles or not and you will always choose sprinkles!

Cake by Bespoke Bride
Cake by Style Sweet CA

V. Hand Painted Cakes

As an artist, it’s only natural for me to love hand-painted cakes. If Leonardo da Vinci were still alive, I’m certain his inbox would be flooded with requests for one of these original works of art!

Photo by Cake Ink
Cake by Bobbette & Belle, Photo by Vicki Bartel Photography
Cake by Olofson Design, Photo by Anneli Marinovich Wedding & Lifestyle Photography

As you can see, many of these cakes are a combination of modern trends and styles. Have fun and play with different styles to create your own original wedding cake masterpiece!

For more on everything Wedding + Wedding Planning, visit us at: PerfectWeddingGuide.com

Thank Heaven for The Chocolate Maven!

Don’t be fooled by its name. While they are experts in the field of chocolate, their expertise goes well beyond the realm of cocoa into a realm all its own. Located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, this charming bakery and cafe known as The Chocolate Maven serves up savory eats and sweet treats that are absolutely heavenly. With a wide variety of options to choose from, they literally have something for everyone – including gluten-free! – I can’t wait to try their blue corn blueberry pancakes.

Whether you want a hardy breakfast, a quick lunch or simply want to treat yourself to a coffee and pastry, you will fall in love with The Chocolate Maven. For one, the staff is just as warm and inviting as a batch of their famous cinnamon rolls fresh out of the oven! Aside from the amazing team of mavens, however, it’s all about their delicious food and desserts. One look at their menu and I am certain you will find something that is sure to satisfy. A traditional and personal favorite of mine… the chilaquiles, of course!

Not to mention, they make the most beautiful wedding cakes the Queen of England would be proud to eat! And trust me, they taste as divine as they look! If you want something a little different for your wedding, not to worry. At The Chocolate Maven, you are not limited to cake. You can have pie, pastries, cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, cookies, brownies or just about anything you can dream of. Whatever you decide, you can be confident that every confection will be done with excellence. Take a look at these delectable treats!

Photo by Alicia Lucia Photography
Photo by Alicia Lucia Photography
Photo by Alicia Lucia Photography

Quality is never compromised at The Maven. Ingredients are never skimped on. Everything is done with an eye to integrity and excellence.

– Chocolate Maven

Drop by The Chocolate Maven or give them a call to get your wedding on the schedule. At The Chocolate Maven, not a single sprinkle is ever out of place!

For more on everything Wedding + Wedding Planning, visit us at: PerfectWeddingGuide.com