We’re always filled with excitement when we see the sweetest emails pop up in our inbox from local couples that want to share their special day with us. It really is one of the best things about being part of Perfect Wedding Guide! The incredible thing about weddings is that no matter how small or how big, there is always a unique and beautiful love story to go along with it. We live for these stories.
For Kirsten + Justin, their story began a lot like many other love stories–love at first sight. Kirsten had just started a new job at Safelite Autoglass in March of 2014. She was introduced to everyone in the office, but there was one particular employee that caught her eye: Justin Bowie. She was only working there for two weeks when Kirsten was offered an internship at Sandia National Laboratories. We can imagine it would be hard to pass up that opportunity, so she put in her two weeks. Despite her excitement to start a new job, Justin was still on her mind. They had talked a few times during her short time at Safelite, and she felt like they had a spark. On her last day, April 25, she emailed Justin her phone number (he wasn’t around when she was leaving for the day to give it to him in person). He sent her a text later that night, and exactly a month later on May 25, he asked her to be his girlfriend. Four years later, on May 25, 2018, Justin asked Kirsten to marry him and the rest is history. Yup, it’s the perfect love story and they’re pretty much adorable.
Kirsten + Justin are big fans of DIY projects and spending time together, and this didn’t change when it came to their wedding. They handmade all of the decor themselves in order to put as much of their personalities as possible into their wedding day. Between working on the decor together and planning, the whole process helped them bond even more than they could have ever imagined. Justin does home construction for a living and Kirsten has a DIY & Home Decor blog (A Bowie Project), so creating the beautiful decor that they shared with family and friends on their wedding day made them even more excited to see what they could do with future projects as husband and wife. And we can’t wait to see what they do, as well!
We were so thrilled to see that their day was captured flawlessly by the incredible Arielei Kinzer Photography. Check out the gallery below!
Congratulations to Kirsten + Justin! The Perfect Wedding Guide team sends our best wishes to you both and cheers to your new life together.
Bride and Groom: Kirsten and Justin Bowie Photographer: Arielei Kinzer Ceremony Venue: Our Lady of the Assumption Church Reception Venue: El Nido Farm Florist: Agave Florist Tables, chairs, tent & dance floor: American Tent Rentals Bar & Connect Four Game: My Beloved Vintage Rentals Groom & Groomsmen Tuxes: Mr. Tux Bridesmaids dresses: David’s Bridal My dresses: ballgown is Justin Alexander and mermaid is Grace Loves Lace Decor: Mostly DIY Couples IG handles: @kirstenmbowie and @justin.bowie.562
We, your Perfect Wedding Guide team, adore stories. Stories are what make us who we are from start to finish, and they live on beyond our years on this Earth through the gift of family and friends. We are especially fond of the stories that are about love, of course, because they are passed on from generation to generation. This is why whenever we receive a new wedding story from a bride, we grab a box of tissues and anxiously wait to share it with all of you.
Elena and Antonio Garcia just got married in October of 2019, and have quite the story to share. Before you keep reading, we just want to warn you–it’s a bit of a tear-jerker (in all of the best ways). The way Elena tells her story is so eloquent, so we are going to let her take center stage for this feature:
“Tony and I met in 7th grade pre-algebra, but it wasn’t until the summer before Junior year of college that we went on our first date. We were friends, of course, for the 7 or so years before we started dating, but this guy was ALWAYS in a serious relationship. (If you asked him he’d say the same about me, haha). He asked me to go to breakfast with him sometime in April of 2014, and the night before, actually like 10 hours before, he texted me to cancel. So, I took matters into my own hands and text him later in the week asking if we could make it up another time. We scheduled for May and this time he showed! We went to the Tea House in Santa Fe and afterward he waited the appropriate amount of time…5.5 hours… to call me and ask if we could do it again (lol). Then 3.5 years later, Christmas Eve on the Canyon Road Gallery Walk at that very same little cafe table, he got down on one knee. At the time I was living in PHX finishing my doctorate and he was in ABQ. We had spent the last 2 years fumbling, and I do mean FUMBLING, through long distance. However, as hard as it was Tony never gave up on me, drove 6 hours one way 2-3x/month, and loved me harder than I ever knew was possible. The second he reached for that ring in his pocket, and even way before the considerable shock and awe wore off, I knew my answer was: yes.
It took us a while to begin planning our wedding as I was set to move back and finish my clinical rotations in May of that same year. But once we did, I was immediately in love with all of it. I had no idea how much fun it would be to coordinate, plan and truly create a whole day centered around this incredible love I had found in Tony. We truly were a team throughout the whole planning process, in fact, he is the one who found and booked our venue, baker and DJ and he and his groomsmen created all our woodworking DIY items. We went to Bridal Expos and open houses together, he would bring home the latest copy of the Perfect Wedding Guide, we watched wedding shows on TV and followed wedding videographers near and far to get inspiration. We painted signs together, built custom monogram cornhole sets, made an escort card board and set visions for our head table displays and for months I was amazed to find how much my right brain loved being able to create, plan and enjoy the whole process. We elected to have a kind of “week-long” celebration in that our bridal party arrived 2 days early and we stayed all-together in bride and grooms suites. Which led me to wonderful insight. The day goes by so fast that you will likely not even have time to think. I would 200% recommend having your close loved ones around in advance. My girls and I got to hot tub, we bonded with the boys, we stayed up and ironed robes and talked about the excitement and butterflies, we enjoyed a few adult beverages together and truly I could not imagine anything more calming two days before the wedding than that. It was absolutely wonderful and necessary.
Then, the day arrived. Which, of course, everyone says its the “best day of your life” but no one can prepare for how truly magical it feels to see your loved ones all in one place there for no other reason than to support this incredible love and life you have created. Tony and I are both criers so we, and just about everyone there, sobbed the entire day. But in between that we laughed, we danced, we took tons of photos and most importantly we stayed present and enjoyed every second. As with every wedding, or event in life really, there were a few game-day challenges. For starters my dress came in..in the wrong size, twice, months beforehand. The second too small dress I actually tore trying to get off in the bridal store…that was horrifying. But still beyond worth it the day of to see my husband’s face as he saw me for the first time walking down the aisle. Next, I ordered a veil online that was apparently not proper veil material because when I took it in to get steamed on the Monday before the wedding, yes, as in 4 days before, it burned. But my dress consultant was kind and generous enough to actually give me one that was truly WAY more beautiful and matched my dress to a T.
And then….the weather. Beginning the week before, we found that our wedding day was being called an “Impact Weather Day,” and supposedly bringing not only a chill, but 40-45MPH wind gusts. That forecast seemed to be getting worse and worse all week until that morning while in hair and make-up, our wonderful coordinator Shaunna came to ask me what we would most like our back-up plan to be. I found out later that not only was the wind gusting…it had been raining and somehow my amazing friends had kept me away from the windows enough to keep that a secret. In all her wisdom, Shaunna decided to keep our original planned ceremony spot and drop the two back-ups seconds before the wedding, so we were a go. Then, at exactly 4:00pm, just as the weatherman had projected…the wind came. Set to begin at exactly 4, I was wondering slightly what the hold-up was but at this point knew better than to ask. Turns out, our officiant, after walking down the aisle and getting everyone ready to go had been victimized by one of those “Impact Day” gusts, and his paperwork, our vows, and our ceremony script were riddled along the dirt path behind the ceremony site blowing away and being chased down by guests. So, at 4:15pm, completely unaware, the paperwork finally collected and the guests back in their seats, I was finally walking down the aisle. When I first looked outside I was terrified. I literally thought some of those trees may blow over, and I realized the ground was somewhat damp. For a second as I looked down at everyone in their places I thought, “is it too late to use our back-up ceremony room” but realized as I saw my husband standing there with tears in his eyes (no telling if from the wind or from emotion) that it certainly was too late. But then, something amazing happened. The wind blew the clouds away, the sun came out, and the gusts settled (probably to 20MPH or so) and we got married, exactly as we had planned to. My gorgeous new veil blew in the wind the whole time, and although my head was a touch sore, it made for some BEAUTIFUL photos.
The rest of our day was gorgeous and perfect. Tony made everyone laugh with his “dance lessons,” our friends and family made gorgeous toasts, our reception space was exactly as we had dreamed it to be and I have never laughed so whole-heartedly in my life. The one thing that we got complimented on most had nothing to do with our planning or preparation. It turned out, Tony and I began our vows in the exact same way, completely unknowingly. It was a sweet, unexpected surprise for us, but more than that our guests loved to hear the same story in each of our perspectives and I learned quickly throughout the day that it was simple personal touches that made the most impact. After all the hustle and bustle of the most perfect and wonderful day I have ever experienced I was left with three main pieces of advice that I collected and came up with throughout the nearly two years of our engagement.
1. Rain is good luck.
2. The best weddings are the ones where something totally unexpected happens, you can’t plan for everything, nor would you want to.
3. Don’t forget the day is about you and your significant other. Spend time together and alone, laugh with one-another, take time to meditate beforehand, notice not only your guest reactions and facial expressions, but more importantly your partners, and be present.
If you truly plan the day together you will learn more about each other than you ever thought you could, so don’t forget to enjoy every second.”
You know that warm, inviting feeling you get when you think about the one that you love? The feeling that as if there is no one else in the world watching, you could melt into their arms and spend an eternity in their embrace? When it comes to capturing this feeling, you’re going to want to find a special kind of person who is just as passionate about your love story as you are – and with the help of a local wedding photographer – this is all possible.
Caroline of Moon + Midnight Photo should be your go-to gal for capturing pure romance. She incorporates an intimate and warm style with all of the classic elegance of wedding photography. We are obsessed with her editing style that plays with warm overlay tones and gives off a raw, cinematic vibe. Caroline is the perfect example of a strong and dedicated wedding professional through her determination and many years of experience. For the bride and groom on the search for a photographer who will bring out the best of you and your wedding day, look no further, Moon + Midnight Photo is your perfect fit.
We are so impressed by our wedding community because they work miracles when they do what they love, all while being so personable. We all know how exciting it is when we meet someone and they just straight up get us AND our vision. Finding a wedding vendor who you can trust is like meeting an unlikely friend who also happens to be working toward the same goal as you! Caroline from Moon + Midnight Photo is your new bestie when it comes to capturing your love story.
Want to see some of her stunning work? You’re in luck! Check out the gallery below and if you are eager to book a session, because I know I would be, click here.
Here at Perfect Wedding Guide, the end of the year means planning, preparing, and jumping for joy because we get to learn about all of the upcoming trends for next year! We would by lying if we told you that we aren’t a little sad to see 2019 go, though. This year was definitely one for the books, filled with the most beautiful weddings and exciting wedding shows & events. We loved hearing all of your perfect wedding stories and having the honor of sharing them with other brides and grooms that are looking for some inspiration.
As our pinky promise to you, we will continue to provide you with the most current and trendy tips and inspiration each and every year because we think you’re the best. We are so eager to share what is in store for next year that we are going to give you some insider knowledge right now that the Perfect Wedding Guide team picked up at this year’s Wedding MBA Conference in Las Vegas. Yesterday we hosted our annual Wedding MBA Recap Breakfast at The Event Center at Sandia Golf Club and got to hear some notable takeaways from our fellow local wedding professionals that also attended the conference.
We thought that we would have a little fun with this one and look back at some of the decade’s biggest wedding trends while introducing the future forecast for wedding trends in 2020.
First, the oldies, but goodies.
2019 | Private ceremony + elopement locations
2019 | Animals in weddings
2019 | White weddings
2019 | Pastels, pinks, and blushes
2019 | Pear-shaped rings
2019 | Romantic lighting rentals
2019 | Unique venues
2019 | Specialty cakes
And now for the upcoming trends for 2020!
2020 | The “Roaring 20s” (of course)
2020 | Bright & bold pops of color
2020 | Ceiling installations
2020 | Textures
2020 | Greens + grasses
2020 | Mirrored floors
2020 | Cake backdrops
2020 | Texture, minimalism, capes, and beyond
2020 | Donuts, mini cakes, & tall cakes
2020 | Sustainability
So there you have it, a decade of trends and some new ones to welcome to the table. We’re ready for you, 2020!
It’s no secret that we’re spoiled here in New Mexico when it comes to wedding venues. From the quiet mountain gems like Nature Pointe, to urban-chic modern chapels at the Hyatt Regency Downtown, our home state has a venue for pretty much any aesthetic or preference.
Not to mention the fact that competitive price points, multiple ceremony spot options, and unbelievably accommodating event staff are all common features of wedding venues in New Mexico, too. So when it comes to choosing just one for your wedding, well, we understand how the overwhelm of options can inundate during the beginning stages of the wedding planning process.
Victoria and Sean’s wedding at Casa Rondeña Winery proves, though, that no compromise is necessary when it comes to finding the perfect wedding venue for your celebration. Sean first proposed to Tori on the historic garden grounds of Los Poblanos. After getting down on one knee surrounded by the beauty of the organic farm + inn, the couple stayed in one of the rooms to celebrate.
So when their wedding day came around, incorporating Los Poblanos into the festivities was a must. Tori, elegance embodied wrapped up in lace, got ready in the very same room where the couple first commemorated their new engagement.
We loved the farmhouse room with its tall ceilings and beautiful canopy bed. It was the perfect place for Tori to get ready.
The couple then had an intimate ceremony, with their closest family and friends, just up the street at the well-loved winery, Casa Rondeña. With Maura Jane Photography there to capture all the hidden moments and treasured details though, the celebration never really stops — Tori and Sean can relive their happiest day through her lens endlessly.
Tori’s step dad officiated after her brother walked her down the aisle. Sean’s daughter helped the couple light their unity candle, and other family members presented readings. After the ceremony guests followed the couple to cocktail hour, while the planner rearranged the ceremony space into a gorgeous and personal dinner party. A long farm table was dressed with beautiful lush garland and candles with touches of gold and navy. It was exactly as Tori had envisioned. The night ended with a beautiful sparkler send off as everyone hugged and wished the couple years of happiness.
Photographing weddings is huge. It’s one of the biggest, most expensive, emotional, and meaningful days in most peoples’ lives. The intimacy of the day can be really intimidating, and that’s why we love it.
Must it be reiterated again, just how much we love our home state? We are elbows deep in our local wedding community, so by now it’s probably pretty obvious, but we’ll say it again: we love New Mexico.
Part of why we have so much respect and adoration for our state is because the lovely people who call it home make it really easy to do so. Whether you’re a born-and-raised New Mexican or recent convert, the Land of Enchantment doesn’t discriminate when it comes to capturing hearts. Then, in turn, those enchanted people reciprocate the love by supporting artistic endeavors in the city, collaborating together, and finding new ways to showcase the beauty of New Mexico.
On the forefront of reinvigorating the New Mexican landscape is a locally-loved husband and wife photography duo known as Carissa + Ben Photography. The two lovebirds first met in a photography class here in Albuquerque, and since then three things have persisted: their dedication to each other, photography, and New Mexico.
The couple is up for traveling to photograph weddings, elopements, engagements, and proposals in any corner of the world, though their photography often highlights the fantastical desert landscape for which New Mexico is famed. So you can imagine why we — and so many other couples around us — are obsessed with their impeccably balanced photographic style.
With photos that reach into your heart with their rich colors and clean contrasts, the two work in tandem together like a well-oiled machine. Propelled by a deep appreciation for their couples, those in front of Carissa + Ben‘s lenses relax into themselves and their unique love story, with their comfort and ease obvious in every shot.
While their hearts belong primarily to each other — and also craft beer, their dogs, the moon, and coffee — the two artists of Carissa + Ben Photography somehow manage to give so much of themselves to their couples too, through their medium of choice. To book Carissa + Ben Photography for your wedding day, proposal, engagement session, or pretty much any other special moment, you can contact them here.
If you know anything about your New Mexico Perfect Wedding Guide team, then you know we love two things. One, New Mexico; two, weddings. Which seems pretty obvious, but it really is as simple as that.
Only, our love for New Mexico transcends an affection for the rich cultures, venerable mesas and mountains, and traditional architecture that surrounds us. There’s a foundation of respect for our home that supports the love we feel for all of those beautiful and inspiring New Mexican features. So, in our small ways, we try very hard to preserve the perfection of our wild state.
Whether it be through recycling, supporting local, or educating our community, each little step culminates to make a powerful act of love for New Mexico. Though of course, we adore weddings as much as we do our state, so combining values to create a zero-waste wedding that uplifts our local community, creates a killer party, and offers some kindness back to the land — does it get much better than that?
Chances are, if you’re reading about how to incorporate zero-waste principles into your wedding, then you know it really doesn’t get better than that. Before we jump in though, give your self a little pat on the back for taking extra steps to support your community by booking local vendors and reducing the waste your wedding creates. Every little thing counts!
So — after consulting with the local wedding professionals who are experts in their respective crafts — we’ve pulled together 5 simple tips to reduce waste at your wedding in New Mexico! Because we all get to enjoy the landscapes around us, let’s do our best to make sure the generations after us get to enjoy them, too.
1. All reusable, all the time.
Whether you’re having a small, intimate elopement, or inviting every single cousin, people will come expecting to eat at your wedding. Eating as a group, as lovely and communal as it can be, also offers up a lot of waste if you use single-use materials.
Luckily, with local and environmentally-conscious catering companies like Cafe Venture or Blue Plate Catering, you can have all reusable serving ware! Think cloth napkins, silverware, ceramic plates, and the like. Not only will this give your wedding a higher-end vibe, but all these things can be washed and reused after your wedding, instead of sitting in a landfill for the next several hundred years.
If the local catering company you’re working with doesn’t offer reusable serving ware, linens, and china like these guys do, then don’t fret! Thrift stores can still be your best friend. Grab vintage, reusable silverware and dishes, and pull it all off with an eclectic, artistic vibe. Then afterwards, you can give away the thrifted materials, or just donate them right back!
If you go this route, be sure to communicate with your caterer ahead of time, so no wires get crossed on the day of your wedding.
2. Power in the Flowers
When it comes to floral arrangements, the best advice we have is to go silk! Does that seem counterintuitive?
While its true that flowers are compostable, you’ll want to pause before tossing them in your garden or local composting center. A majority of live flowers are treated with preservatives to ensure their long-lasting scent and beauty makes it through your ceremony. So before you bury them, be sure your florist sources from an organic farm like Europa, otherwise all those preservatives end up in your soil and, subsequently, the groundwater.
With silk arrangements — like the gorgeous, can’t-believe-it’s-not-alive bouquets from Charlotte’s Flowers — you have a bit more wiggle room for reusing. The immortal bouquets can be rearranged into home decor after the wedding, used in future craft projects, or gifted to a friend.
Whether you go with organic live flowers, or silk arrangements, or just a bundle of chamomile from Trader Joe’s, you can always reuse the flowers from your ceremony for your reception. Chances are you and your bridal party aren’t going to be carrying your bouquets all night long, so repurpose them! It’ll save you money and reduce your floral carbon footprint.
3. Something old, nothing new.
It’s true — the thought of buying a wedding dress from a thrift store sounds a bit horrifying to some. After all, this is the gown you’ll be wearing in hundreds of photographs, videos, and memories, is it worth it to risk it?
Thankfully, we have amazing local wedding professionals who can make a less-new dress totally risk-free. With shops like Bridal Elegance by Darlene, you can buy a gown ‘off the rack.’ Which, for those who don’t live and breathe bridal, just means it’s a sample of the gown, not one that was ordered, manufactured, and shipped just for you. With in-store seamstresses available for your wildest alteration dreams, too, there’s hardly a worry about making sure it fits in all the right places.
Or you can opt for a second-hand gown from specialty shops like The Dressing Room West in Santa Fe. This local shop carries off the rack gowns as well, but they come as excess directly from designers who need to make space in their warehouses. Or sit down with Terese Rose Designs, a local custom bridal gown designer, and have a chat about sourcing fabrics and potential choices for your gown.
Last option, and a favorite for your wallet, is to haunt thrift stores and vintage shops. With seamstresses across the state, there’s some serious magic that can happen with a secondhand gown. It’s worth it to give new life to an old gown that might have just gone into the trash, if not for the power of a trained eye and tuned sewing machine.
4. Make things easy for your guests.
As someone who personally composts, I’ll be honest: I don’t always compost when I’m out and about. Mostly because compost bins aren’t readily available around our state yet, and holding on to my food waste until I’m able to get home is smelly, messy, and not super convenient when I’m running around the town.
So you can expect a similar response at your wedding, even from your greenest of green friends. But luckily, you can mitigate this with a little bit of foresight during your wedding planning process.
Chat with your venue coordinator! When booking a venue, ask the coordinator ahead of time if they have enough trash cans to have one for landfill trash, recyclables, and compostables, all separated and labeled clearly. If not, bring your own!
Plus, if you’ve decided to book a local invitation and stationery company like Funky Olive Design or Pennysmith’s Paper, you can have your trash labels custom made. Then, there’s no sacrificing aesthetics for environmental-consciousness. Take it a step further by reusing the signs in your own home too, to make it easier for guests and kids that might be around to throw things away.
5. Favors in your favor
As much as your friends and family love you, they might not love your favors. Which is okay! A lot of personalities are coming together in one space to celebrate you and your partner, so trying to please all of them is virtually impossible.
Keep this in mind when choosing your favors. If 1, 10, or 100 guests don’t take home their favors, what will happen to them?
You can go with an adorable little plant like Aja and Johnny did for their wedding — so in the off chances these get tossed outside, at least they’ll compost. (Or root and grow right there!) Plus the metal tins are reusable in a million different ways, so if the succulent gets replanted, the tin hopefully won’t go to waste. And anyways, how cute are they?!
Or be like Lynsey and Kent, who had one of our very favorite apple orchard weddings.
Arielei Kinzer Photography
Their apple-themed favors were not only delicious and charming, but super earth-friendly! For those who opted not to take their little jars home, the couple got some extra homemade apple butter for their own family. For those who did decide to enjoy the treat, they got a reusable jar and a delectable spread to remember the wedding by.
So, whether it’s through your dress, venue, or favors — whatever steps you decide to take to preserve all the beauty of New Mexico, we thank you. We’d like to keep loving this state and the weddings in it for many more generations to come, and a few choices on your part help to ensure that’s possible.