Real Wedding at The Event Center at Sandia Golf Club

The venue had everything we were hoping for: gorgeous scenery (the best we saw and we looked at more than seven venues), a diverse menu to choose from, the perfect amount of privacy for our intimate evening, and the staff was untouchable when it came to accommodations and service. While searching for our venue we didn’t have any “must haves,” but the second we stepped foot inside The Event Center we both knew “this was the place!!” One of the most memorable parts of the evening was when the doors opened for me to walk down the aisle, seeing my soon-to-be husband’s face light up against the most breathtaking backdrop of the Sandia Mountains. It was a moment I had always dreamt of. Words cannot describe the feeling I had.

-Shelbi, Bride

We, as Perfect Wedding Guide, have a unique position in the wedding community here in Albuquerque + Santa Fe. Forging the bridge between local engaged couples and the small businesses who diligently serve them, we truly have the best of both worlds. We get to see the elbow grease and unparalleled passion of the wedding professionals, and the perpetually inspiring love stories from couples — how could we ask for anymore?!

So it’s easy to stay inspired in what we do, but hearing such happy, happy words from Shelbi, a New Mexican bride, truly makes our hearts soar. Because, well, we know The Event Center at Sandia Club is one of the best venues in our gorgeous states, but seeing its breathtaking landscape become the backdrop for a real, local couple’s love story? It doesn’t get much better than that.

Not to mention, this wedding in particular was perfectly paired with the couple’s venue choice. Punctuated by deep maroons, the delightfully rich vibes of Shelbi + Michael’s special day mirrored the mountainous view, with its red-tinted glow from which the Sandias are named. Plus, the happy couple’s faces are so aglow, they shine through the photos and rival the shimmering gold details of their decor.

Scroll on to get lost in their love story, just as we did, and read what Lauren, The Event Center at Sandia Golf Club‘s Director of Catering, had to say about Shelbi + Michael’s fun-filled, spectacular wedding day.

{Or get a free copy of our printed magazine to see the love in three dimensions!}

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It’s always such an honor to share in a couple’s wedding day and we were especially grateful when Shelbi and Michael selected The Event Center at Sandia Golf Club for their big day! When describing Shelbi and Michael’s wedding, the first word that comes to mind is fun! Shelbi and Michael are such a fun couple and you could see that in everything they were planning. If nothing else, they wanted to ensure their guests had a blast! Not only did they have all the typical elements to make for a fun wedding, but they added their own touch of an ice luge for shots, photo booth and yard games to really make it a unique and fun experience for their guests! There are definitely a lot of favorite moments from their wedding, but I have to say my favorite was seeing their love come full circle on that day with their sweet little boy standing by their side.

-Lauren, Director of Catering at The Event Center at Sandia Golf Club

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Venue| The Event Center at Sandia Golf Club

Photographer| Taken by Tamara

Officiant| Geoff Romero

Cake| Simply Sweet by Darci

Decor| Occasion Services and Events

Makeup| Katlin Green

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Why Your Photographer Thinks You Should Hire a Wedding Planner {Guest Post!}

A very special thank you to Beth Waldron Photography, a New Mexico photographer based in Corrales, for sharing her wedding expertise with us + allowing us to pass it on to our local engaged couples in this guest post!

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4 Reasons to Hire a Planner — from a Photographer’s Perspective

Planning your wedding can be really fun. It can also be a source of stress in what should otherwise be a joyful time. If you have room in your budget for a wedding planner, then here are four reasons to hire one, from a photographer’s perspective. 

1.

Your decor – This might be the first thing you think of when you hear “wedding planner.” A well dressed person running around with material swatches and flower arrangements.

They do so much more than this, but the gorgeous decor part is definitely true.

When you want your wedding decorations to be on point and everything to look amazing, hiring a planner is a great way to do that. They’ll get to know you and take everything you hope and dream about your wedding and make magic with your ideas to turn them into reality. It’s what they do. Especially if you have a vision of a wedding that is uniquely you. They work tirelessly behind the scenes and at all hours…building and crafting and designing and ironing. They create magic.

Truthfully, all weddings can be photographed beautifully. But if you read wedding magazines and blogs and you love how beautiful and styled everything is in the articles, and want your wedding to be like that … that wedding styling is generally the genius of a wedding planner. They make everything, including photographers, look good.

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2.

Your timeline – Your wedding day needs a timeline. And your wedding planning needs a timeline too. The reasons for this could fill another blog post. There are a lot of details to get done for your day to happen and run smoothly. Wedding planners know when things have to happen in order to get everything done in time for your wedding day. When do you need to have all of your ideas finalized so everything can be ordered or made in time? When do you need to order everything? When do you start making decor items you can’t buy somewhere? Anyone can be organized, so while the organization is great, it’s the experience and knowledge of a planner that makes them worth the expense.
A planner will help you build a realistic timeline for your wedding day. How much time do you need for getting ready? How much time will your wedding party need? Will you really have enough time to get from location A to location B? What will your guests do while you’re taking portraits with the photographer? Who will decide when to do toasts and cake cutting?

It’s true that your vendors can help you with your timeline. Your photographer can suggest you pad certain areas with more time and estimate how much time you’ll need for portraits. Your DJ can suggest when to have your toasts and when to cut the cake. Your hair and makeup team can estimate how long it will take to get everyone ready. But a wedding planner will have a vision for the day, pull all of the pieces together, and keep everyone to it as well as they can, while also handling any crisis that comes their way.

If you contract a wedding planner for day of services, then they’ll be there setting things up and keeping things running all day and you get to relax and be present. And then they clean up, which is awesome. Some wedding planners have a day of only service as well.

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3.

Your budget – Your planner will keep you on budget. A good planner evaluates what details  are most meaningful to you in your ideas. They’ll see where you can spend and where you should think about being more thrifty. And they keep you on track in your contracts and payments with vendors.

Your planner will have the hard discussions with you and manage your expectations. If your dreams don’t align with your budget, then your planner can help you find areas to spend less for more or where things can be made instead of purchased.

Wedding planners keep everything in one place. There’s a list of vendors working on the wedding with a timeline for when they get payment for their services.

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4.

Your vendors – Planners can recommend vendors to work with, which is a great thing. But even when you choose your own vendors, a planner keeps them informed about everything. Who’s doing what? Where do they go? When are they supposed to be there? What’s happening when? Who to talk to about what details? Are they delivering what they promised? Are they where they’re supposed to be? They might feel like they herd cats.

A planner is also a single point of contact for all of your vendors, and they defuse any situations that may arise, vendor and personal. And for any of you thinking, “It’s a wedding, what situations could there be?” Oh, it happens. It could be anything from “the bus arrived late to get the bride from the cabin where she’s getting ready with her bridesmaids and the bride will be at least 45 minutes late to the ceremony” (yes…this one is real) to a disagreement between vendors or an overly rowdy guest/family member.

As a vendor, it’s very helpful to have a point of contact for the entire wedding. Planners keep you informed and send you information you don’t even know you need until you need it. Amazing. If you want this level of detail, definitely hire a wedding planner and let your friends and family relax with you on your wedding day while someone else takes care of everything.

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If you’ve ever had the thought, “Do I really need a wedding planner? What do they do anyway?” or wished that someone who isn’t a wedding planner give you some real talk for why you should spend your money on a wedding planner, there it is. A good wedding planner is going to make sure your wedding is gorgeous and everything goes smoothly for you and your wedding vendors. Worth every penny.

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First Photoshoot of Fall: Black Bow Events

The season’s turn is a few weeks behind us now, but let’s be real. In our desert landscape, it takes a little while for summer to fully wane and for autumn to settle in. (Yes, it’s chilly this fine fall morning, but unfortunately, we’ll probably be regretting these cozy outfits when it goes back to being 80 degrees this afternoon!) Luckily for us though, we’re getting all the sweater-weather vibes from the shimmering golds, deep maroons and warm rose tones from one of Black Bow Events signature styled shoots.

If you’ve worked with Danessa, Black Bow Events founder, owner, and wedding expert,  then it’s no wonder she won our 2018 PWG Elite award for best wedding coordinator in Albuquerque + Santa Fe. Her vibrant passion for love and buoyant personality combine to make her not only a dedicated wedding planner, but a wonderful person to have on your team in general.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to  work with Black Bow Events just yet, then… It’s still no wonder! Because Danessa’s penchant for the divinely particular shine through in all her styled shoots.

Northern New Mexico is best known for its Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, mountainous landscapes, and countless art influencers. These are just a few of the reasons why I love New Mexico and everything it offers! Georgia O’Keefe said, “I found that I could see things with color and shapes that I couldn’t see any other way-things I had no words for.” —which describes perfectly why I choose to design and create such visions for my couples.

-Danessa, Black Bow Events

And Georgia O’Keefe would be proud, because Danessa has totally mastered the art of bringing unique shapes into her collaborative shoots. Reminiscent of New Mexico’s famed mountainous landscape, Danessa and her team of local wedding vendors incorporated the sacred geometry of triangles into the deeply contrasted shoot in a way we’ve never seen before.

While we’re always inspired by Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s local wedding professionals, we’re especially touched by this teamwork from Black Bow Events, Jasper K Photography, Bridal Elegance by Darlene, Mr. Tux and more, to elevate the artistic efforts in New Mexico. So, brides-to-be, without further adieu, come and bask in the real-life inspo that is this incredible styled shoot. You can contact Danessa with Black Bow Events here, and bring some unparalleled magic into your wedding day too!

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Coordination + Design: Black Bow Events

Photographer: Jasper K Photography

Dresses: Bridal Elegance by Darlene

Men’s Attire: Mr. Tux Formalwear

Flowers: The Flower Company

Makeup: Marisa Lux Makeup & Viva Grace

Desserts: Frank’s Eats & Sweets

Cake: Smallcakes

Jewelry: Lilly Barrack

Invitations: Cordially Invited Events

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One Last Sweet Summer Wedding from Kayla Kitts Photography

Happy Fall, wedding-lovers! Are you ready for crisp mornings, warm wedding colors, and the changing of leaves? We definitely thought we were. Seems like we’ve been waiting all summer for the temperatures to finally drop, and now that the solstice is just behind us, we’re already missing the long, sunny days!

In honor of the bountiful summer months — or as wedding experts know it as, wedding season — we’re swooning over this shimmering gold wedding from Kayla Kitts Photography. Monica + Andrew’s beautiful day is the perfect testament to New Mexican summers: baked in the celebration of love, laughter shining through the air, and a rich history of friendship and triumph that paved the way to this union.

Andrew and Monica are high school sweethearts, and a couple who are filled to the brim with fun, laughter, and a whole lotta awesomeness. Something about them makes you feel so comfortable, so happy – like you could chit-chat and hang with them all day.

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An array of pinks and peaches, ranging from dusty to delicate, adorned Monica’s bridesmaids, framing her in the familiar hues of an early desert sunrise. Eucalyptus, fresh as always and reminiscent of summer nights, sprouted out from their bouquets offering little slivers of greenery between the roses.

No metaphor truly encapsulates the jovial vitality of Monica + Andrew’s June wedding, though. Luckily, not many are needed as Kayla Kitts Photography‘s dedicated documentation of the day transcends your typical photographs. We can practically smell the ephemeral summer rain, which graced their Albuquerque venue briefly, and feel the love between the couple.

To book Kayla Kitts Photography + her keen creative eye for your wedding, you can contact her here. Book the local wedding professionals who manifested Monica + Andrew’s dream wedding in to a reality below.

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Their special day was full of excitement, support…and, a little bit of a road bump; the forecast predicted rain throughout the entire day. But, as I knew they would – Andrew and Monica rolled with it. They took deep breaths, crossed fingers hard, and hoped for the best. And the best is what we got! The clouds parted at just the right moment – and gave us the most perfect portrait time until it started sprinkling and A + M snuggled under the umbrella, and all was absolutely dreamy.

Kayla, Kayla Kitts Photography

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This wedding’s magic-makers:

Photographer: Kayla Kitts Photography 

Ceremony: San Felipe de Neri 

Reception: Hyatt Regency Downtown Albuquerque

Dress: Bridal Elegance by Darlene 

Hair & Makeup: Lucy Garcia with Honeycomb 

Florist: Enchanted Garden 

Invitations: Pennysmiths 

Shoes: Dillards 

Jewelry & Rings: Enchanted Jewelers 

Men’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse 

Officiant: Andy Pavlak 

Cake: Bizzy B Cakes 

DJ: Cutmaster Music

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The Sweetest Day: Dennis + Michelle’s Real Wedding

Just a few months ago, as spring was beginning it’s transition into yet another sunny New Mexican summer, a parallel transition was happening at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Albuquerque. Michelle + Dennis, whose love began a long time ago, ushered in the evolution of their relationship from fiancées to newlyweds, while framed by the pristine, white chapel at the Hyatt Regency.

There to capture the once-in-a-lifetime moment was Albuquerque’s very own, Bryan’s Photography, and we’re so glad. Michelle + Dennis have a love story that matches their wedding — timeless, exuberant, elegantly celebratory — and with Bryan’s Photography there to preserve each special moment in time, we’re able to relive the joyous occasion as if we were there with the couple.

Though the details of the wedding — splashes of gold, luxurious white bouquets, full-bellied laughter, undeniable fun — jump out from the photos, perhaps the most endearing and inspiring part of Dennis + Michelle’s story is exactly that: their story. Which, luckily for us, Michelle wrote about for our Fall/Winter edition of the Perfect Wedding Guide magazine, and now, we get to share with you!

Scroll on to read about how Dennis + Michelle came to be husband and wife {spoiler, it’s incredible} and to contact the local wedding professionals who made their celebration possible. {Spoiler, they’re also incredible.}

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Dennis and I dated 14 years ago, and when we realized that fate had brought us back together after a long journey of searching for that happiness that people so rarely find, we knew it had to be special. We wanted to host an evening of fun and elegance for our friends and family to celebrate our reunion and our love. The Hyatt Regency Downtown was the perfect venue for our ceremony and reception, providing a backdrop of modern elegance. Nothing spoke to our dream wedding more than the classics like the black tux with bow tie and stunning décor. We kept it modern and trendy by incorporating items like ahi poke (a tribute to our favorite place Kauai), champagne Jello squares studded with flecks of 14k gold and a casino night, making the evening uniquely us! It was very important to me to bring on my very own “dream team” of wedding professionals that I have had the pleasure of working with for several years. The evening was exactly how I imagined, it was full of love, laughter and the beginning of my life with the man that I know I am meant to be with.

-Michelle, Bride

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Venue: Hyatt Regency Albuquerque

Photographer: Bryan’s Photography

Bridal Gown: Suzanne’s Bridal

Bridesmaids Dresses: Bridal Elegance by Darlene

Men’s Attire: Mr. Tux Formalwear

Jewelry: Shelton Jewelers

Flowers: Something Special with Flowers

Décor: Occasion Services and Events

Wedding Cake: Casey Trent

DJ: Complete Weddings + Events

Photobooth: ABQ Amusements

Lighting: Heritage Audio Visual

Casino Night Vendor: On the Go Casino

Reception Place Cards: Differently Designed

 

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Pili + Sienna’s Albuquerque Engagement Session {Chrisi K Photography}

If you’ll recall, we recently posted our thoughts on the time-old debate: Should you have an urban or natural setting for your engagement photos? With New Mexico’s impressive and historically rich architecture on one hand, and the unrivaled mesas, mountains, deserts, rivers, and forests on the other, it’s a nearly impossible choice for local engaged couples.

But what if you didn’t have to choose? 

Yes, it’s true. We’re here with delightful information for the cosmopolitan mountain-fanatics and city-loving forest dwellers alike… You can have both! Or at least you can according to Albuquerque’s new favorite engaged couple, Pili + Sienna. Instead of compromising, the fiancées opted to have a two-part engagement session with Chrisi K Photography — one of New Mexico’s leading wedding photographers.

Starting in Zendo, Chrisi K Photography and the gorgeous couple graced the whitewashed coffee shop walls with their unbridled laughter and love. Using the industrial-chic interior as their backdrop, Pili + Sienna sipped coffee from matching mugs and stole kisses in front of the exposed brick, which always features local art. Complete with polaroids and shots of their tattoos, the first half of their engagement session with Chrisi K Photography is everything we could hope for in an urban love story.

Then, traversing up to the more northern parts of our lovely state, Chrisi K Photography shot the couple’s happy news in the mountainous desert landscape for which New Mexico is famed. Dancing in the open air, blowing bubbles, and just enjoying each other’s presence, Pili + Sienna’s devotion nearly jumps off the photos here.

We feel extremely spoiled to have the best of both worlds in this one, gorgeous engagement session. So hey, thank you Chrisi K Photography, for capturing Pili + Sienna’s pronouncement of love in all its wonder and glory! And to all other engaged couples, feel free to follow in suit Pili + Sienna — if you want urban and natural landscapes for your photos, don’t settle. Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s wedding experts are here to make sure you can have it all.

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Timeless Touches: A Styled Shoot

As a wedding photographer, I strive to create images and memories for my clients that they can look back on years from now and still love. This was the main motivation behind this photoshoot. Creating something that we can still appreciate 10, 20, 30 years from today.

-Maura, Maura Jane Photography

 

We’re total wedding-trend groupies, and honestly, we’re not afraid to admit it. Following along the perpetual evolution of decor, floral arrangements, and gowns while each facet of the wedding world grows and adapts to fit the needs of current trends is ceaselessly inspiring. Especially when we get to watch up-close as Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s local wedding professionals match — and even exceed! — trends from New York and L.A. without charging New York or L.A. prices.

But there is one downside to the ephemerality of wedding trends, and it’s simply that: they’re ephemeral! Think of your parents’ wedding photos — what with their sepia tones and overabundance of taffeta. The endlessly evolving trends are exciting to keep up with, it’s true, but it also means certain styles and details can carbon-date your wedding photos, and might warrant teasing from your future grandchildren.

So there’s something to be said for choosing to work with what is classic, like Maura Jane Photography did with this shoot at Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Lavender Farm. Rather than limiting the creative possibilities by skirting around current trends, the restriction offers talented local professionals — like A Beautiful Theme, who designed this shoot — the opportunity to showcase their innovative problem-solving skills.

Together, this team of Albuquerque’s best wedding experts manifested a dusty-blue dream and we’re willing to place bets on the fact we’ll still love this shoot in 10 years time. How could we not?!

{Check out the vendors, details, and more from Maura Jane Photography below!}

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Wedding trends have always come and gone, from mason jars and burlap, to dresses with puffed sleeves, and cakes with fountains. However, a wedding that is timeless can always be appreciated. We wanted to create an inspiration photoshoot with a classic and elegant theme. A wedding with timeless touches that also incorporates certain trends that are popular now with some of the most beautiful and stylish weddings of today. We used the popular color of dusty blue throughout the shoot, from the yummy macaroons on the dessert table to beautiful earrings that graced the bride’s ears and the pumps on her feet. She wore her hair in a classic chignon while the groom looked equally as dashing in a navy suit. Exquisite peonies and eucalyptus hung from the mint blue classic getaway car and down the long wooden tables. Ornate mirrored signs with effortless calligraphy decorated the entrance to the reception area and the dessert table.

-Maura, Maura Jane Photography

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Design + Decor + Planning | A Beautiful Theme
Jewelry | Ooh Aah Jewelry
Invitations | Funky Olive Design
Bouquet Ribbons | Desert Garden Silk
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