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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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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Rick Saul Photography {Professional Spotlight}

We’re sure you’ve gleaned this from our endless scroll of real wedding and styled shoot content, but in case you haven’t: we. love. wedding. inspiration. But as far-reaching and all-encomapssing as our love is for heartwarming, tear-jerking love stories, our adoration for local wedding professionals is twice as intense. Why is it that so?

Because wedding experts are the ones who make the inspiration come to life. 

Might sound simple, but when you consider the years of training, amount of equipment, late nights and the blood, sweat, and tears that go into creating a small business from the ground up, it really is no small feat.  Which is why we’re endlessly impressed with Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s local wedding professionals. There’s a lot of hard work and community support needed to venture out into the business world, but key ingredient needed for a successful small business, especially a creative one like photography, is passion. 

Which, thankfully, Rick Saul Photography has plenty of. Rick, the creative behind the business name, first began dabbling in photography when he was 8 years old. Lucky for us wedding lovers in New Mexico, someone gifted Rick a box camera at the young age, and the curiosity and love for the craft continued with him throughout his life. 

Now, years after that first photo with his first box camera, Rick has bolstered his natural talent with a healthy knowledge of the creative pursuit that only comes with decades of practice. {He even took intel photographs while serving in the Navy, and crime scene photos while working with NCIS. Talk about a range of experience!}

Rick Saul Photography uses this unparalleled expertise to ensure every couple their team works with is not only comfortable and happy on their wedding day, but that they also have classic, tangible reminders of this happiness for lifetimes to come. By using two shooters, male and female, they avoid any discomfort and are able to capture special moments as the groom and bride get ready for their vows, as the photographic storytellers they are. With a documentary-style aesthetic approach that utilizes natural light, the Rick Saul Photography team captures moments that won’t reveal their age as the ephemeral trends of photography come and go. 

With all this in mind, we’re honored to have Rick Saul Photography here in New Mexico, serving well-deserved couples the best wedding photography this state has to offer. Simply put though, we love their team because they also create the wedding inspo that drives our work and warms our hearts. {Like the goodies below, courtesy of their team! Scroll on!}

To book Rick Saul Photography for your wedding, you can contact their team here. 

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Airy + Alluring Apple Orchard {Real} Wedding

Well, pack it all up folks, our work here is done. We’ve officially found the most appealing New Mexican wedding, and it took place at the apple orchard, Rancho Manzana. {Get it? Appealing, apple orchard, peeling apples? Cheap shot, we know, and usually we don’t go for low-hanging fruit, but we’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth for food puns and couldn’t resist. It stems from a place of deep admiration, we promise.}

Though there’s still a few weeks before the official start of autumn — three to be exact, but we’re not anxiously counting the days or anything like that — it seems all of New Mexico is ready to release the summer heat in favor of fall’s freshness. Green chile roasting has already begun filling the air with savory, mouthwatering memories, earlier this year than ever before. At least as far as we can remember!

So there’s no better wedding to share for some unrivaled wedding planning inspiration at this particular moment in time. Captured by the dutiful and darling, Arielei Kinzer Photography, this celebration is exactly what we need to tide us over until the leaves finally start to turn. Wrapped up in a warm, cinnamon-y type of love, Lynsey + Kent married last October in Chimayó, New Mexico at, yes, a stunning apple orchard.

I loved getting to photograph this wedding for Lynsey and Kent! They blew me away with how kind and genuine they were, and their friends and family were all so wonderful. Their wedding was heartfelt, simple, and filled with personal touches — it really was serene and beautiful. Definitely one for the record books!

The wedding took place at an apple orchard in Chimayó, and Lynsey spent the week beforehand picking apples. She used these apples for homemade apple butter, which she then packaged into little jars to give away as wedding favors! How awesome (and adorable!) is that?

-Arielei, Arielei Kinzer Photography

Our suggestion for scoping out this exceedingly serene wedding for inspiration is to do as follows: blast your air conditioner, draw the shades, and make a cup of tea. Only then should you wrap up in your favorite sweater and/or blanket, and scroll on to live vicariously through Lynsey + Kent’s celebration that’s as sweet and warm as Lynsey’s apple butter. When real life calls again and you simply must step out into the beating sun again, remember — only three more weeks until we can all get married under golden leaves and sweet fruits.

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Venue: Rancho Manzana || Dress: Shareen, L.A. || Flowers: Renegade Floral || Officiant: Naomi Fiske || Cake: Whole Foods || Makeup: Sally from Santa Fe Lash and Beauty Bar || Hair: Ana Claudia from Diva Salon || Favors + Invitations: Bride DIY || Music: Absolute Entertainment ||

 

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Alissa + Clint’s Splendid Celebration at the Four Seasons Santa Fe

Yes, it’s true, we did just feature the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado in a post recently. But when there’s a wedding this stunning, this vivacious in Albuquerque or Santa Fe, we simply have to give our two cents. {Plus, there’s no such thing as too much love for the incredible New Mexican wedding venue.} The verdict on this delightfully bright celebration of love and marriage? Five stars! 10/10, would recommend you fawn over the deep colors and lighthearted jamboree for wedding inspiration and life goals.

It helps too, that Maura Jane Photography was there to capture the brilliance. Which, if you’re in New Mexico, you’ve probably heard of the famed local photographer and her wonderfully airy style — but she truly outdid herself this time. Collaborating with a few of our absolute favorite wedding professionals in Albuquerque + Santa Fe, Maura Jane Photography encapsulated the splendor of the day that was made possible by the hard work of incredible experts.

For their wedding, Alissa + Clint wanted bright beautiful colors that encompassed the diversity of their guests and matched the sunsets that Santa fe is known for. Rich deep pinks and bright vibrant oranges were used from their invitations to the shoes that Alissa wore on her feet. In lieu of a veil, Alissa wore a beautiful flowy Vivian Reed scarf that matched her personality perfectly.

Guests enjoyed a beautiful Santa fe sky during the ceremony that teased us with rain but quickly blew past resulting in a breathtaking sunset. They made their way to the outdoor cocktail hour on the Four Season‘s patio and sipped signature drinks that Alissa + Clint came up with themselves along with  a little help of a mixologist. Handblown glass vases graced the reception tables, a nod to Santa fe’s rich artistic culture.

-Maura, Maura Jane Photography

It’s no secret how deeply appreciative we are of New Mexico’s venerable history and landscapes. So a wedding, pouring over with bold colors and full-bellied laughter, that pays homage to our state’s culture, and was brought to life by the hardworking hands of dedicated local professionals? We’re starting to wonder if Alissa + Clint intentionally set out to have a wedding that would make our entire team cry. {Or we would be, if the unparalleled adoration and devotion between the couple weren’t so obvious. We can thank Maura Jane Photography again for catching those loving looks on camera so spectacularly.}

Congratulations on making us tear up from unbridled joy and admiration, Alissa + Clint! Oh, and on your newly-wed status, of course. Thank you to you both, as well as Maura Jane Photography, and all the extremely talented wedding professionals {listed below!} who made this day possible.

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Photographer | Maura Jane Photography

Venue | Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe

Planner + Designer | Maria Socha, Sealed With a Kiss 

Florist | Floral Fetish

Hair + MUA | Carmella Conway with Chrome

Shoes | Stuart Weitzman + Monolo Blahnik

Dress | Ann Matthews

Dress Designer | Da Vinci 

Tuxedos + Suits | Men’s Wearhouse

Cake + Desserts | Chocolate Maven

DJ | Paul Feathericci

Officiant | Dr. Paul Martinez with De Novo Pastoral Services 

Invitations | Funky Olive Design

 

 

Where Are They Now? Genevieve + Ricky’s Post-Wedding Perfection

Beginnings are always so beautiful, aren’t they? And what are weddings, except for a celebration of a new life beginning together? Yes, it’s easy to get lost in the tulle and sparkle of a wedding day, but in our opinion, what comes after is massively underrated. We’re not talking about the honeymoon, though those deserve more recognition too, but it’s the heart of true love that we really adore — the middle part that comes in between the sparkler send-off and the ’til death do us part.’

Which is why we’ve been catching up with some darling local couples whose weddings and relationships really touched our hearts. Genevieve + Ricky are one of those couples — their wedding was captured by one of our favorite photographers in Albuquerque + Santa Fe, Briana Nicole Photography, but we were already well acquainted with Genevieve before her gorgeous celebration came to fruition. {She was one of our 12 Months of Giveaways winners, and one of the engaged-experts on our Bridal Board!}

Genevieve was one of the loveliest brides we’ve had the chance to work with, so hearing about her wedding firsthand was such a treat. Though the day wasn’t without its hiccups, as one would expect, their love preserved and the clouds dissipated to reveal the sun — warm and familiar, like the love that emanates from this couple.  We simply had to share!

Genevieve + RIcky

We were married on September 23, 2017 at Paa-ko Ridge Golf Course. That morning was extremely emotional for me as I was watching a storm pass through a tiny window in my bridal suite. Chairs were flipping over, glasses were breaking and tablecloths were soaked – every bride’s nightmare. About 20 minutes before our ceremony was supposed to start the rain eased up, the clouds parted and the sun shined through.

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The amazing Paa-ko staff went into beast mode and had everything perfectly set up as guests were arriving. The rain held off through the bulk of our ceremony but started to lightly sprinkle as we kissed and made our way down the aisle as Mr. + Mrs. By the time our reception started, the sky was clear and weather was perfect. The weather certainly made for some amazing photos too! Our wedding day ended up perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing!

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We waited a couple of months to go on our honeymoon, but we spent a very relaxing weekend in Los Cabos. We rang in the New Year sipping margaritas on the beach and watching fireworks over the ocean. It was the perfect way to wrap up our wedding story. And now, we are anxiously awaiting our little honeymoon souvenir — due in October! It certainly has been a magical year for us.

Genevieve, bride

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Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado: A Santa Fe Treasure

We have a lot of love in our hearts for local wedding professionals, and that’s definitely no secret. Though, every once in a blue moon, one comes along that really steals our hearts. Whether it’s a dedicated florist, an open-hearted wedding officiant, or a venue that treats every guest with the utmost respect, there are a few wedding professionals in New Mexico who truly stand out. Which is, of course, the case with Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado.

While Santa Fe is inherently luxurious, the resort is genuinely the pinnacle of splendor. Nestled on 60 acres of secluded land, and with views of the Jemez Mountains, the entire space welcomes in couples with the familiar scent of piñon woodsmoke. Though, surrounded by the rugged, mountainous beauty of the Santa Fe wilderness, the inside of the resort is quite the opposite.

Beautifully manicured grounds and luxurious accommodations await. Located near the beautiful groves of old cottonwood trees that cast their ancient shadows over Tesuque. Serene and exclusive.

-Carl, guest

With several space choices for your wedding, each different setting offers flexible seating options to ensure every wedding party is comfortably provided for. Plus, Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado is revered for its culinary expertise, and even offers locally engaged couples the option of having a completely custom menu cultivated by their top-notch team, just for them.

Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado specializes in bringing cherished wedding dreams to life, which is what makes their venue stand out from all the rest. It’s not the unparalleled beauty of the resort, or their team of wedding experts who are there to help you from planning to execution, or the fact their space is intimately secluded while only being 10 minutes from downtown Santa Fe’s shops and galleries, or even the pool or opulent spa. What places Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado above all else is their dedication to manifesting the wedding fantasies of engaged couples, and how they treat each person who walks through their doors with kindness and respect.

{But some gorgeous inspo from a breathtaking venue never hurts, right?!}

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