Zero-Waste Wedding: 5 Ways to Get There

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.

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Matt Blasing Photography

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.

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Matt Blasing Photography

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

Tori Photography

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.

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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.

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Coryn Kiefer Photography

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.

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Coryn Kiefer Photography

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.

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Kayla Kitts Photography

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.

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5. Favors in your favor

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Chrisi K Photography

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.

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Feeding New Mexico’s Weddings and Communities: Street Food Institute

As certified New Mexico wedding experts, we, the Perfect Wedding Guide team, spend a lot of time talking about what it is that makes each individual wedding so special. Often, we hone in on the little details in the decor, bouquets, vows, and such. We do so because with hundreds of thousands of weddings happening all over the world, it’s the minutia of the moment that reveals the hidden intricacies of a couple’s wedding. So you might ask yourself questions while planning your wedding that seem overly introspective, but are actually totally valid. The colors you choose for your wedding do reflect your identities. Your venue, be it chic and modern with clean edges, or industrial and rustic with an old-world charm, really does encapsulate your penchants and personalities. 

Not to mention, as the world continues to be tumultuous and ever-turning, the decision-making of choosing wedding professional to trust, which vendor to collaborate with, and which small business to support, becomes even bigger than just deciding whose vibe matches yours. If you’re anything like us, then you want to support the kinds of businesses who do good for your community, too. 

So when we first learned about the Street Food Institute here in New Mexico, our initial reaction was to jump for joy. Equal parts food truck catering and culinary education program, the Street Food Institute nourishes our community not only through their delicious food, but through their sustainable entrepreneur pathways, too. The former provides unique, experiential dining options for weddings and events here in New Mexico, and the latter, long-lasting and life-changing professional development for students from all backgrounds. 

With specific programs for those most vulnerable in our community — like their partnership with Crossroads for Women, an organization for formerly incarcerated women — the Street Food Institute empowers and educates while they feed and delight their customers and friends. You can choose from one of their many fine-tuned, carefully curated menus — brunch foods, taco bars, causal eats, vegetarian cuisine, and asian buffets — or you can take advantage of their professional chef expertise and have a custom menu created to perfectly compliment the other eats and treats at your wedding. With either option, you can move forward with the Street Food Institute knowing you’re supporting and celebrating a local business who strengthens our entire community. 

Plus, if we’re being honest here, we all know the food truck trend is the most adorable and convenient thing to ever hit the food scene here in New Mexico. By partnering with the Street Food Institute for your wedding, you can reflect your good taste both literally and metaphorically, and create an experience for your family and friends unlike any other. To contact the incredibly dedicated, incredibly kind team over at the Street Food Institute, you can contact them here. 

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5 New Wedding Food + Catering Businesses in New Mexico

Caterers UNM Food Wedding Event Planning Caterer New Mexico Albuquerque Santa Fe

It seems as though we’ve finally made it over the hump of wishy-washy spring weather here in New Mexico. At last, our days are filled with reliable sunshine, little desert flowers blooming in the sidewalk cracks, and that wide open sky for which we’re famed. As things start to warm up and settle into the season though, that also signals the crunch-time part of wedding planning for our engaged couples getting married in the summer and fall. For our lovely fall weddings — we’re already looking forward to your warm hues and undeniable coziness — you’re probably right around the 6 month mark on your countdown.  Which means the big things, like your caterer, need to be locked down like, right now. 

Luckily for the both of us, our Perfect Wedding Guide team has had the opportunity to connect with some local wedding professionals who dedicate their skills and love for weddings to food. We’ve put together a few of our new favorites — whether they’re new to New Mexico, new to us, or just doing something new that inspires us.

So, you might want to grab a snack for this particular New Mexico wedding vendor round-up, ’cause its a tasty one.

1. Celina’s Biscochitos

If we want to start with dessert, whose going to stop us?! Especially when up on the table are a dozen of Celina’s Biscochitos. For years, Celina has been perfecting the recipe which we all so love here in New Mexico. With new flavors that push the boundaries of tradition like red or green chile and café lattes, Celina combines all the comfort of a biscochito with innovative surprises.

2. UNM Food

Caterers UNM Food Wedding Event Planning Caterer New Mexico Albuquerque Santa Fe

Then, to get a little bit savory up in here, let’s spend some time with another local treasure, UNM Food. Did you know the oh-so loved university was more than just a magical place to get married (or get a degree)? Everything from French-style service, high class Hors d’oeuvres, to home-style, traditional New Mexican food is possible. Engaged couples can choose from wedding menus, or collaborate on a custom menu with their team of chefs and creatives.

3. Les Blonde Bakery

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If you’re looking for a wedding food professional you can connect with, trust, and collaborate with the whole step of the way, then Les Blonde Bakery is the bakery for you. Crafting custom cakes of only the finest ingredients and designs, this one-woman run operation has been stealing the hearts of every engaged couple in New Mexico who works with her. Speciality desserts, delightful flavors, and unique tasting cakes mean that whatever your vision may be, Les Blonde can make it happen.

4. Chello Grill

Caterers Catering Caterer Food Wedding Events Entrees

Ah, and then our dear Chello Grill. As mediterranean food lovers, we might be a bit biased toward their savory dishes, which are always, somehow, both bursting with flavor and melting in your mouth at the same time. Breaking away from what we think of as ‘traditional’ wedding food, their kabobs, fresh salads, and authentic Persian stews provide a delicious complement to your celebration of love.

5. Europa

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We simply had to include Europa here again, even though we just did a whole feature on the Los Lunas wedding venue slash floral farm slash organic catering business. If supporting local, farm-fresh food is important to you and your wedding guests, then look no further than Europa. You can grab some organic floral arrangements while you’re at it, too, and rest assured that neither your buffet or bouquet will have any creepy dyes or toxins — just pure, wholesome goodness.

Europa: New Mexico’s New Favorite Contemporary Wedding Venue

In our modern world of digital spaces, instant gratification, and an overwhelmingly vast number of options to choose from when it comes to buying almost anything, the monotony and speed can become, well, a bit overwhelming sometimes. We, New Mexico’s Perfect Wedding Guide team, are lucky enough that we get to slow down, spend time with small, local businesses, and really get to know our community. Frankly, that’s one of the most remarkable and fulfilling parts of being here at our home base in Albuquerque.

It comes as no surprise too, that the desire for local, handcrafted, made-with-love goods and services continues to grow outside of our team as well. There’s an undeniable richness of feeling like you belong somewhere, having a community, and knowing the people who make your food and grow your flowers. The quotidian nature of this relationship transcends your everyday decisions and quality of life though, especially when it comes to events of particular importance, like your wedding day.

Having a foundation of trust with the people and businesses you choose to work with makes the months, weeks, and days approaching your wedding full of excitement, not apprehension. So when we found Europa, a new bakery slash wedding venue slash floral farm slash fantastical fairy farm wonderland in Los Lunas, we were over the moon. Founded on the principles of European communities — tight-knit, rich with culture, and deeply supportive — Europa is the homegrown, local, operated-with-love wedding businesses of our dreams.

Enveloped in open fields more akin to an Irish countryside than just a few minutes outside of Albuquerque’s bustling noise, coming to Europa is like taking a breath of fresh air — literally and figuratively. Organic crops and blooming wildflowers polka-dot the delicate landscape and contribute to Europa’s overall charm and services. With three venue spaces to choose from, farm-fresh food available daily and for wedding catering, and those wildflowers easily made into unforgettable, perfectly balanced bouquets and arrangements — having Europa on your wedding-day team is like having Cinderella’s enchanted field mice as your support system, fluttering about and making magic from thin air. (Only much more sanitary, of course.)

The creative forces behind Europa are doing, quite simply, what they love to do. We, and now you too, just happen to be lucky enough to enjoy the outcome of their passion-driven dedication to experiential dining and living. To book Europa for your wedding, you can contact their team here.

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Marriott Pyramid North: Upscale in Albuquerque

If you’ve been anywhere near the heart of Albuquerque, you’ve probably noticed the captivating and strange skyline, shaped by the city’s architecture. (If you haven’t been to heart of Albuquerque, well, what are you waiting for!?) Of them all though, Marriott Pyramid North absolutely wins the award for being the most eye-catching. As their name would suggest, the outline of the hotel + venue mimics that of the pyramids, alluding to both Egypt’s constructions and its luxurious culture.

With such an impressive exterior, you’d be inclined to believe the interior would match. And you’d be absolutely right. From the moment you step in to their grand atrium-foyer, you’ll forget you’re in the land-of-mañana and casual attire. That is, until you catch a glimpse of the venue’s incredible views — the Sandia Mountains only slightly beating out the hotel when it comes to grandeur.

For engaged couples, the magic only begins when you enter the venue. With wedding specialists on staff, the Marriott Pyramid North creates something new and unique for every new and unique couple that comes through their doors. Covered outdoor ceremony space, indoor ballrooms, custom catering and AV options, an on-site restaurant, indoor + outdoor pool, and plenty of space for your bridal party to get ready… There really isn’t much that you don’t get with the Marriott Pyramid North!

Ashley + Phillip, local newly-weds, knew this had to be their space when they got engaged. Luckily for us, Tori Photography, one of Albuquerque’s favorite wedding photographers, was there to capture every moment.

Ashley and Philip are truly perfect for each other, they compliment each other fabulously. If you were to ask them why they love one another they can go on and on for hours. They have a bond that will just keep growing. They were married in the courtyard of the Marriot Pyramid on September 15th 2018, surrounded by family and friends who loved and supported them. We then enjoyed a fantastic reception in one of the hotel’s grand ballrooms. Filled with dancing, cake, a clown and even a lap dance…. they ended the night as man and wife, and began their happily ever after.

-Tori, Tori Photography

Here’s your chance to start mentally planning your wedding at the Marriott Pyramid North with this gorgeous wedding as a template. Or to book your own in-real-life tour of the magnificence, contact the venue’s event manager, Sara, here.

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Real Wedding with Floriography + Los Poblanos

If you’ve been keeping up with our Perfect Wedding Guide team on our socials, you’ll know most of us are currently in the grown up version of Disneyworld: Las Vegas, Nevada. Although for us, it’s less roller coaster rides, and more learning about creative branding at the Wedding MBA Conference. Which, for those obsessed with weddings and marketing, is way more fun than an amusement park. Just sayin’.

As a close second though, the warm, sunny weather here is up pretty high on our list of favorite things about Las Vegas. Recalling the bright sunshine and clean desert air of our home state, New Mexico, isn’t so hard here, though it does have us reminiscing on our favorite summer weddings. So for our fellow New Mexicans, and all other places with less amicable weather currently, let’s cozy up to one of summer 2018’s best Albuquerque + Santa weddings, and pretend it’s not so windy outside. Shall we?

Floriography and Los Poblanos Historic Inn + Organic Farm combined creative forces to cultivate this garden fairytale wedding for the adorable Paige + Brian. The colors and details of the day were delicate, but perfectly coordinated: Paige’s ivory-cream gown with its simple lines and flattering framing, and Brian’s subtle, but very complimentary, baby pink bowtie. Delicate, but not be confused with fragile. An air of familiarity drew guests in — they even opted out of formal table seating for their reception — and encouraged fun and lightheartedness.

Floriography‘s arrangements, incredibly modern and yet timelessly clean as always, supported Paige + Brian’s comfortably fanciful vibes. While Los Poblanos, in all its rustic glamour, did the same by simply staying true to the venue’s famed aesthetics.

Whimsy and romance intersected in the most delightful way at Paige and Brian’s summer wedding. The always enchanting Los Poblanos acted as the perfect backdrop for the afternoon soiree at the La Quinta event center. Paige wore an elegant gown that vibed perfectly with the garden party feel of the celebration. The color palette was inspired by the lavender fields of the venue and the soft romantic tones of summer. The bride carried a garden-inspired bouquet of white tree peonies and a lush collection of blooms grown on a farm less than a mile from the property. These local blooms by The Bloomist Farm included lisianthus, sweet peas, and larkspur.

-Emily, Floriography

All in all, Paige + Brian’s day inspires a visceral response, akin to smelling something from long ago that suddenly brings you back to your childhood tea parties. Though the farmhouse elegance and balanced details place this gorgeous wedding far away from anything childish, the day was both lively and buoyant, quaint and idyllic.

 

Married: Paige + Brian

Married: Paige + Brian

Married: Paige + Brian

Married: Paige + Brian

Married: Paige + Brian

Married: Paige + Brian

Married: Paige + Brian

Married: Paige + Brian

Venue & Catering: Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm // Photographer: Sarah Ellefson Photography // Florals: Floriography // Rentals: Rust Vintage // Music: Shane Wallin // Hair: Mesh Hair Studio // Makeup: Betty Rose by Alanna // Groom’s Attire: Suit Supply // Bride’s Attire: BHLDN

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Elōisa Catering: Santa Fe’s Finest

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It’s no secret that hiring wedding vendors can be tricky business. While Albuquerque + Santa Fe have a wealth of incredible business owners who are dedicated to making your wedding special as can be, finding the right vendors who understand your vision isn’t always the easiest step. Which is why we’re here! Bridging the gap between local engaged couples, and the vendors — or friendors, as we like to call them — is the lifeblood of Perfect Wedding Guide.

So when our team first connected with Elōisa Catering, we were over the moon. Not only is their food delectable and their team delightfully devoted to their craft, but the flexibility and professionalism that exudes from Elōisa Catering is absolutely unparalleled. It’s no wonder they were nominated for James Beard’s Best New Restaurant in 2016 and are overflowing with happy reviews from local couples and foodies alike.

Elōisa Catering earned its name from Chef John Rivera Sedlar’s extremely talented grandmother, Elōisa Rivera. Elōisa was the first person who taught him to cook, and we’re so grateful she did! By passing on her traditional knowledge and culinary expertise, she paved the way for engaged couples to enjoy her recipes years later.

Paying homage to her, and New Mexico’s heritage, Chef Sedlar creates and cultivates each dish with a deep respect for the women who came before him and refined these incredible recipes. Sedlar describes his approach, and New Mexican cooking in general, as elemental. “Fiery chiles. Earthy beans. Ethereal corn. Celestial water from the acequias that irrigate the rancho.”

Simply put, we adore the Elōisa Catering team, and just know you will too. Stop in the restaurant for a special Mother’s Day meal, or even just to treat yourself after a long work week — you won’t regret it.

To book Elōisa Catering + ensure your wedding day lives on in delicious memory, contact their team here.

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Chef John Rivera Sedlar

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chef catering food wedding planning tips inspiration inspo New Mexico Santa Fe Albuquerque Perfect Wedding Guide delicious beautiful appetizer fancy yum

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To book Elōisa Catering for your wedding, you can contact their team here.

 

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