Southwestern Dreams: A Real Wedding with Alicia Lucia Photography

Southwestern Dreams: A Real Wedding with Alicia Lucia Photography

Jason and Natalie met about four years ago and even though Natalie cancelled their first date, Jason was persistent and the two of them finally met. After an eight hour date walking around Lake Michigan, these babes knew they were meant for one another…

Alicia Lucia Photography

During these times of uncertainty and chaos, there is one thing that remains strong and mighty in the face of fear: love. No matter how many bridges we must build to cross wild waters or stores we must visit to find toilet paper, we still have beautiful love stories that deserve to be heard. That’s right, it’s that time of year again where we share our favorite “Real Weddings” with all of you!

Love is our universal language. No matter where in the world you might be, we all have this in common. Here in the great Land of Enchantment, love is buried deep within the dirt we stand on and can be seen in our beautiful sunsets. It makes sense that many couples want to travel from far and wide to celebrate their wedding day amongst their loved ones in such a special place.

For Jason + Natalie, this couldn’t be any more true. The stunning couple live in Chicago with their black lab/collie mix, Bartlet, but knew that their hearts were meant to join as one in the southwest. We love when couples choose to have a destination wedding in our charming state because we get to meet new people with the most incredible + unique personalities.

On a very lovely Santa Fe day, Jason and Natalie said “I do” with the most spectacular, southwestern-boho wedding ever! These lovers came all the way from Chicago to celebrate the start of forever and they pulled out all the stops.

Alicia Lucia Photography

We’re loving the details of these lovebirds’ boho Santa Fe wedding. Hand-painted florals, a cake with pink watercolor cacti, and the most charming save-the-dates + invites from Funky Olive Invitations + Stationery simply stole the show. And that’s not all. Natalie + Jason chose the dreamiest venue imaginable – La Fonda on the Plaza. If this doesn’t inspire you to start planning your perfect southwestern wedding, I don’t know what will.

If you want to see all of the beauty for yourself, check out the lovely gallery from Alicia Lucia Photography below with sneak peeks from Jason + Natalie’s dreamy day.

Featured Photography: Ashley + Breanna of Alicia Lucia Photography Venue: La Fonda on the Plaza Planning: For the Love Events Rentals: Rust Vintage Florals: Renegade Floral Invitations + Paper Goods: Funky Olive Invitations + Stationery Hair: Jewel Hair Design Makeup Artist: Kata Baron Bridal Gown: Ines di Santo Bridesmaid Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids Grooms Attire: ESQ Clothing Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux Cake: Maggie’s Wedding Cakes Music: Absolute Entertainment

The Bowie Wedding

The Bowie Wedding

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

Going Garcia: Elena + Antonio’s Wedding Story

Going Garcia: Elena + Antonio’s Wedding Story

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.

Haley Lupinski Photography

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.

Haley Lupinski Photography

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.

Haley Lupinski Photography

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.

Haley Lupinski Photography

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.”

Vendor Spotlight: Moon + Midnight Photo

Vendor Spotlight: Moon + Midnight Photo

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.

Our Favorite 2020 Wedding Trends

Our Favorite 2020 Wedding Trends

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

Coryn Kiefer Photography

2019 | Animals in weddings

Coryn Kiefer Photography

2019 | White weddings

Briana Nicole Photography

2019 | Pastels, pinks, and blushes

Briana Nicole Photography

2019 | Pear-shaped rings

Maura Jane Photography

2019 | Romantic lighting rentals

Briana Nicole Photography

2019 | Unique venues

Lauren Cherie Photography

2019 | Specialty cakes

Maura Jane Photography

And now for the upcoming trends for 2020!

2020 | The “Roaring 20s” (of course)

Via todaysbride.com

2020 | Bright & bold pops of color

Al Gawlik Photography

2020 | Ceiling installations

Anna Jones Photography

2020 | Textures

Via HiMissPuff.com

2020 | Greens + grasses

Via Happywedd.com

2020 | Mirrored floors

Darin Images

2020 | Cake backdrops

Buffy Dekmar

2020 | Texture, minimalism, capes, and beyond

2020 | Donuts, mini cakes, & tall cakes

2020 | Sustainability

Via thegoodbeginning.com

So there you have it, a decade of trends and some new ones to welcome to the table. We’re ready for you, 2020!

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

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

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

– Maura Casados, Maura Jane Photography

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Embracing the Beauty of Change: Meghan’s Rainy Day Wedding Story

Embracing the Beauty of Change: Meghan’s Rainy Day Wedding Story

When everything is falling apart, or at least it feels like it is, sometimes it’s so hard to keep spirits high–especially when it comes to your wedding day. Months, and sometimes even years, go into careful searching, planning, and preparing to celebrate the first day of the rest of your lives together. To be honest, it really never all goes completely according to plan. And that’s just life.

Here at Perfect Wedding Guide, we see just about every perfect wedding out there, because every wedding is perfect in our eyes with the help of local New Mexico vendors. However, perfection is subjective and it isn’t necessarily measured by how successful we are in meeting our goals. It is truly measured by how we adapt and react to change.

For our sweet, kind, and radiant bride Meghan, her meticulously planned Santa Fe wedding didn’t go quite according to plan, but she embraced it like a queen. Aside from holes in Meghan’s wedding gown, their venue had to make some quick adjustments when the moody New Mexico skies decided to rain all over the outdoor ceremony space at the Museum of International Folk Art. Luckily for the couple, the museum has a spacious and artistic interior where they were able to pronounce their love for each other in front of friends and family without everyone getting soaking wet.

Meghan sent us the most incredible testimonial after she was able to process all of the chaos that ensued, and we would be crazy not to share something so powerful for the rest of our brides who fear the rain on their wedding day. Read her statement below:

Everyone hopes that it doesn’t rain at their outdoor wedding, but that’s not what the clouds had in store for us. A classic New Mexico monsoon was in full throttle right as we were taking our photos (outside) and everyone just started running. Having a full panic attack in front of all 160 of your guests isn’t ideal… but my husband held me, helped me breathe, and I looked at him, like really looked at him, and realized all of this didn’t matter: it’s me and him and it’s that simple. Then the power went out! In the moment, I was wrecked. I spent this entire year meticulously planning every detail to reflect my husband and me, researching vendors who aligned with both our values and budget, and all I could do was fake smile through the rest of the photos (and cry in-between every snap… my makeup didn’t budge a bit thanks to the amazing work of Genica). With time and perspective, I realized that while I was having my meltdown every single one of our guests mobilized. With our amazing day-of-coordinator (Symone of Simply Done Events) at the helm, cousins moved chairs, family friends brought wads of paper towels from the bathroom to wipe the floor, aunties arranged florals inside… all to make sure that Ryan and I had our day. I still some sometimes feel sad that this wasn’t the “best day ever” and it’s easy to be consumed with the negatives. And I think it’s important to share with couples that however you feel, even if it’s sad, that’s okay. But then I remember all the overwhelmingly beautiful things: my sweet husband’s vows promising to feed me forever, the hundreds of biscochitos Ryan’s cousins baked for us, our family and friends spanning continents and countries to celebrate with us namely my grandmother and uncle flying from the Philippines, the magical elote and amazing pies (Street Food Institute and Emerald Pie Bar), a friend composing a beautiful processional song, our DJ (Too Hot to Stop) throwing Burger King crowns during “Dancing Queen”, our parents’ love and support, oh, and of course the llamas passing out White Claw. There was so much of that day that was good. There was so much of that day that was us. So it wasn’t the best day, but it was our day, and that’s what makes a perfect wedding.

– Meghan Montelibano-Gorman, Bride

We are so grateful to Meghan and all of the amazing vendors who were able to tell such a wonderful love story. And that is what it is all about–the love.

Photos by Kady McKeehan Photography

Catering: Street Food Institute
Florals: Barton's Flowers
Venue: Museum of International Folk Art
Photographer: Kady McKeehan Photography
DJ: Too Hot to Stop
Pies: Emerald Pie Bar
Day of Planner: Simply Done Events
Rentals: American Tent Rentals
Booze/Bar: Kelly's Liquors
Llamas: Lllamas Del Sol
Hair/Makeup: Genica Lee MUA
Videography: Clay Carlson Films
Photo booth: Wedding Crashers
Groomsmen attire: Men's Wearhouse
Bridesmaids attire: Lulu's
Suit: Suit Supply
Wedding gown: Altar Bridal
Emergency alterations: Bella Tailor
Mariachi Mestizo: Absolute Entertainment
Heels: Nine West
Tennies: Kate Spade for Keds