7 Wedding Venues Outside the City

As much as we love the hustle and bustle of our vibrant city here in the southwest, we can’t lie… Taking a step back from the noise and enjoying New Mexico’s myriad of landscapes is one of our favorite parts of living in such a wild state. The mountains and mesas, rivers and roving fields, can all enliven even the most downtrodden spirit, honestly. So when we hear a local engaged couple wants to get away from the city for their wedding, we get it.

And luckily for couples in New Mexico, everyone else here seems to get it, too. Whether you’re ready to make the trek to the deeply restorative forests of Ruidoso, or just popping over to sunny and sprawling Los Lunas, there’s already a wedding venue there waiting for you and your loved ones.

So if your wedding guests, bridal parties, or partner-to-be are in need of some R&R, why not let your wedding be that gift to them? Not every horror story you’ve heard about wedding day chaos is true, and even if they were, there are steps you can take to ensure nothing unsavory transpires during celebration.

Step one — utilize all available wedding planning resources, like our print magazine and online tools.

Step two — book local wedding vendors who have dedicated their lives to ensuring weddings, like yours, are the happiest of all occasions.

And finally, step three — choose a beautiful venue surrounded by nothing but fresh air and a great view, like Prairie Star or Hacienda Doña Andrea, or one of the other 7 wedding venues listed below.

1. Prairie Star

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Maura Jane Photography

Prairie Star truly captures the gorgeous New Mexican culture with the best view of the Sandia Mountains. My wedding was everything I hoped for and I am very appreciate of the staff here. We had an hour rain delay and the staff helped keep the guests comfortable and calm. The coordinator, Rebecca, knows her stuff! She is very responsive and helpful.

The food here is AMAZING and the professionalism of the staff is impeccable. They even stayed 30 minutes later to let us continue the reception due to the rain delay. We rented an event tent for the lawn and had a plated dinner out there. The staff was great and timely about serving the guests. Prairie Star is a wonderful venue! I can’t say enough about it!  

Shelby, local newlywed

2. Hacienda Doña Andrea

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Shayla Edenfield Photography

We had a lovely and intimate wedding at the Hacienda – the venue is beautiful and had the perfect southwest ambiance that we were looking for for our New Mexican wedding. The day of the wedding had multiple mishaps (as weddings do) and the event staff on hand was SO accommodating and helpful.

We are so happy that we chose this venue and almost all of our guests asked where we found such an amazing and scenic place. The rooms were beautifully decorated and comfortable accommodations overall. Even when our guests were up far into the night, the rooms were quiet. We had everything we needed to stay over the weekend.

Tabitha, local newlywed

3. Europa

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I never write reviews, but let me tell you. I have lived in the area for a long time and have never come across anything that even comes remotely close to the experience you get here. You’d be hard pressed to find another place that’s close to this. I feel like it’s basically impossible to best it as well.

The workers do a fantastic job, the whole experience is so unique and amazing, that I almost feel guilty about it. This place is the absolute definition of a diamond in the rough. Such a hidden gem.

Jacob, local New Mexican

4. Sanctuary on the River

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When looking for an outside venue for our wedding and something a little out of the way The Sanctuary on the River was by far the best. I made all arrangements over the phone so it was hard to tell exactly what I was getting. Two weeks before our wedding we visited the Sanctuary and was very impressed.

The staff and owner were very nice, extremely helpful and made sure our special day was spectacular. I would definitely recommend this venue for any kind of wedding. The decorations, the bridal suite and the gazebo were decorated perfectly. The bridal suite fit about 6 of us comfortably with our own private bathroom. There is no complaints all compliments here. Thank you to the staff of the Sanctuary for making this a day we will never forget.

Jennifer, local newlywed

5. Nature Pointe

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Matt Blasing Photography

Nature Pointe is one of the most beautiful spaces I have seen locally. It has an amazing natural fee with wood and stone and iron. Feels so New Mexico without being in Santa Fe or downtown. We love the mountains and this spacious venue has amazing views you can’t get in Albuquerque. We are super impressed with Courtney and her team and how communicative and helpful they have been, making us feel special and not just another wedding. We are excited about both the inside and the outside of Nature Pointe.

The kicker for me was just how much was included in the price. Tables, chairs, linens, centerpieces, vases, candles, cake cutting supplies, signage, etc. The list goes on and on. It was a bit more than we were planning to spend initially, but as soon as we drove up, we fell in love with Nature Pointe and are so excited for our special day. 

6. El Monte Sagrado

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Emily Joanne Wedding Films + Photography

Honestly, I didn’t know places like this still existed. Besides El Monte Sagrado being breathtakingly beautiful, the customer service was out of this world! I had my wedding here at the beginning of the year and everyone at the resort made sure that my family, friends, husband and I had everything we needed!

Rarely am I impressed by wedding food, but our filets were some of the best I have ever had – thank you to the chef, Cristina Martinez, and our wonderful dinner team, Madelyne, Matt, and Marge. Last, but not least, Melisha Romero planned and coordinated my wedding from beginning to end. I could go into the nitty, gritty detail, but the long and short of it is that when I had a problem or was not 100% happy with the proposed plan, Melisha came back to me with other suggestions and resolutions. I owe so much to this beautiful woman for easing my mind from over 1,200 miles away (we are in Birmingham).
My wedding was perfect and the week was an absolute dream. All of our guests said it was their favorite wedding they’ve ever been apart of and I believe them! I can’t wait to go back!

Jillian, local newlywed

7. Casa Perea Art Space

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Maura Jane Photography

This venue is a treasure both in its beauty and historical value to this community. From the office gals to the grounds keeper, the care and service over our wedding event was impeccable, professional and most importantly, personal. Their flexibility is a blessing during sometimes stressful decisions.

The included tables, chairs, linens and parking shuttle are all blessings which freed us up to handle the more pleasant details of food, music and florals. The beauty of this adobe garden home made the need for further decorations minimal. Our wedding at Casa Perea was both intimate, grand and simply lovely. Many thanks to the owner and staff at Casa Perea for sharing this historical treasure with us!  

Helene, local newlywed

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White Sands Elopement with Matt Blasing Photography

While the white hot heat of a New Mexican summer might have some of your eyes trained on the impending autumn, we’re not quite finished with this season yet! With weddings every weekend, sunshine for days, and the occasional light afternoon rain, it’s no small wonder why summer weddings in New Mexico are such a hit — or why this is our favorite season at Perfect Wedding Guide.

So before we let the long days slip into fall, we have to pay homage to one of our state’s most famed landscapes. As certified New Mexico-obsessed residents, we can’t pick favorites, but we definitely were on the edge of our seats waiting for a White Sands wedding or styled shoot to get us through the rest of the year.

And, if you’ve been following along, you know we’ve had elopements on the brain more than usual. Who could we call on to fulfill our wishes, besides one of the most loved husband and wife duos in the wedding photographer community, Matt Blasing Photography?!

These guys are professionals. And they are pleasant, fun, and cool people to have along for the ride on a wedding day. I would hire them again and again except I only plan to get married once!

Sandy, newlywed

Joey and Sandy made the trek to New Mexico all the way from the pacific northwest for their elopement. And thank goodness they did! Sure there are beaches all across the coast, and sure most of them have vast expanses of sand. But none quite compare when it comes to the inexplicable electric energy of White Sands. For Joey and Sandy, this ethereal space perfectly paralleled the otherworldly foundation of friendship and love that unites them.

With not a soul around, save their photographers and officiant of course, Joey and Sandy commemorated their new chapter together with the desert sun above and their toes in the sand below. Matt Blasing Photography, a team of creatives renowned for their easygoing humor and disarming humbleness, captured all the smallest moments of magic as they mirrored the unending landscape around them.

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The whole time shooting felt comfortable and easy. I am somebody who does not like taking photos – they always seem to turn out bad, so I did have some fears and really appreciated every bit of direction [Matt Blasing Photography] provided. I found myself totally letting go and being myself on my wedding day.

Sandy, newlywed

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3 Reasons the Wedding Gallery is Different from Other Wedding Shows in New Mexico

If you haven’t already noticed, weddings are kind of a big deal in our state. Which is lucky for us, whether we’re natives, transplants, or traveling from afar to have a destination wedding in New Mexico. With a venue to match every vibe, troves of dedicated local wedding professionals, and completely unparalleled landscapes to surround your ceremony, you really can’t go wrong with a southwestern wedding here.

But that can also make it bit harder to nail down the details. It’s much more difficult to choose between twenty talented and innovative local florists than it is to choose between five. Especially when almost all of planning a wedding happens online! You can always check the reviews a wedding professional has, but we don’t blame you if that’s not enough verification to book them. Plus, good photos can be deceiving and if you’re choosing between twenty florists, you don’t want to leave it up to a nice shot on Instagram.

Of course, when you find a local wedding professional, you can always sit down for a face to face consultation to really get to know their values and talents. For most of us though, trying to schedule meetings on top of our jobs, families, and other responsibilities isn’t a walk in the park.

You see where we’re going with this, right?

The obvious answer to the age-old dilemma is this: wedding shows! We’ve already discussed whether or not wedding shows are worth it (hint, they totally are), but with the Wedding Gallery show right around the corner on August 4th, the real question is — what makes this show different from the rest?

1. It’s curated.

Each year, we choose a super strong theme to be at the center of the Wedding Gallery show. Each wedding professional who chooses to be a part of the Wedding Gallery show brings their absolute A-game to showcase that theme. In doing so, engaged couples from all across the state can get lost in the collective cohesion from New Mexico’s best wedding businesses, check out what they’re truly capable of, and know that the professionals they book here will put just as much heart and soul into the them of their wedding.

 

2. There’s a couture fashion show.

Yes, it’s true, we also have a fashion show at the Diamond Dash wedding shows in the fall and spring. We love showcasing local bridal fashion, can you blame us?! At the Wedding Gallery show, however, the fashion show is couture and also, like the vendors and all other details of the show, highly curated. The fashion-forward, bold approaches to tradition that were previously reserved for coastal states and bustling cities is here, too.

3. And a VIP experience.

The couture fashion show isn’t just a free-for-all. Because the Wedding Gallery is catered to discerning, committed couples in the midst of wedding planning, each step of the way is created to mimic the high-end experience that New Mexico can offer. With swag bags upon entering, genuine attention and kindness from local wedding professionals throughout the morning, and front-row seats to the fashion show to round out the day, couples of New Mexico can expect to be pampered while they plan their wedding at the Wedding Gallery show.

 

VIP seats are limited, click here to reserve yours.

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Santa Fe’s 5 Best Wedding Venues

We don’t know if you’ve noticed by now but…Planning a wedding can be quite a bit of work! With every detail under your purview from floral arrangements to wrangling bridesmaids for gown fittings, the small decisions can easily pile up. And if hiring a wedding planner isn’t in the cards for you, then everything remains on your plate — along with the rites and responsibilities of daily life, families, jobs, and so much more.

Fear not, though. After living vicariously through hundreds of New Mexico weddings — we are New Mexico’s Perfect Wedding Guide, after all — we’ve intentionally partnered with only the local wedding professionals who make the planning process easier, not harder.

So when the decisions start to teeter and sway with the height of them all on just your shoulders, and you need to knock a big one off your to do list — it’s time to choose your wedding venue. More specifically, it’s time to choose a wedding venue with a dedicated event staff, gorgeous features to minimize decor needs, and the right aesthetic for your celebration. These 5 Santa Fe wedding venues check all the boxes!

And whether you’re a native New Mexican born and raised, or recent transplant, or distant admirer, Santa Fe caters to all. With it’s winding streets and undeniable air of whimsy, it’s no wonder the historic city has captured the hearts of so many devotees. These venues serve as microcosms of the larger culture of Santa Fe, which is one rich with traditional architecture, an emphasis on the arts, and a surrounding landscape that wraps its people up in natural beauty.

While they are listed 1 to 5 for viewing convenience, there’s no going wrong with any of these Santa Fe wedding venues.

 

1. Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe

The perfectly manicured Four Seasons Resort in Santa Fe is known for its opulence, but its reputation misses one key aspect that makes the venue so special. Welcoming in each and every guest and wedding party, the space is carefully curated and well-loved, so the moment you step inside, you can experience a deep sense of comfort.

See more of this Santa Fe wedding from Elizabeth Wells Photography here: Emily + Michael’s Vibrant Vibes 

2. La Fonda on the Plaza

If you’ve heard of Santa Fe, New Mexico, then you’ve probably heard of La Fonda on the Plaza — and for good reason, too! The venerable space stands proudly as an integral piece of New Mexico’s history. With each corner and crevice of the venue lovingly cared for over the last 400 years, the sense of cultural, temporal, and historical transcendence ushers in travelers and engaged couples from all across the world.

See more of this Santa Fe wedding from Maura Jane Photography here: Ginny + Kolton’s Laid Back Celebration

 

3. Cities of Gold Hotel & Conference Center

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In Santa Fe, grandeur is something to be celebrated, not shied away from. With large, accommodating spaces, the Cities of Gold Hotel truly is a gold mine for elaborate celebrations in the city. On-site catering, an advanced audio-visual team, and a tended-to stage area all come together to round out the venue space, making it a dream come true for the busy engaged couple.

 

4. Eldorado Hotel and Spa

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Speaking of gold, Eldorado Hotel and Spa, with it’s well-known and dearly loved ceremony backdrop, also rings in as a hidden treasure in Santa Fe. Wrapping up the history and culture of our southwestern state in a veil of impeccable elegance, Eldorado blends the two aesthetics together seamlessly. A fine eye for detail and dedication to their couples as a baseline requirement for being part of of the Eldorado team makes it no small mystery that some of New Mexico’s most fantastic weddings have taken place here.

 

5. Inn and Spa at Loretto

Tony Gambino Photography

For the Inn and Spa at Loretto, the first priority for weddings is flawless execution. So while you’re enveloped in the beauty of its architectural features, getting lost in its meticulous detail, and dancing through its inspirational structure, their event team is working endlessly to ensure you can relax, be present for your celebration, and just keep dancing. What more could you possibly ask for?

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Smitten Ceremony: Real Wedding in Albuquerque with Kayla Kitts Photography

They’re smitten, adorable, and officially Mr. + Mrs.!

Kayla Kitts Photography

Since we, Perfect Wedding Guide, exist in a liminal space between engaged couples and local wedding pros, we have quite the vantage point over the love stories that begin, and begin again, here in New Mexico. With so many weddings, each intricate and impossible to replicate, you’d think it’d be the details that really set apart certain weddings for us. But to burst your bubble, it’s actually quite the opposite — the common threads of love which weave in and out of every individual story, that’s what really makes our hearts beat in overtime.

After all these years, we’ve come to learn a few things about those common threads which unite every love story together in pure, unadulterated experiences of life. Nikki and Bobby, happy newlyweds married last year at Hotel Albuquerque, remind us so clearly of one of those lessons in particular.

When you look back, every tiny decision made was actually an enormous leap in the direction of your fate.

Like when Nikki and Bobby both happened to join the same softball team. Minimal in the moment, maybe, but that choice brought them close enough together so that love, mysterious and mercurial as it can be, could do the rest of the work. Which, of course, it did in no short time.

Thankfully, Kayla and Dominic of Kayla Kitts Photography also made a series of choices that brought them into collaboration with Nikki and Bobby for their wedding. Knowing the Kitts‘ romantic, fun, and impossibly sweet personalities, we can’t imagine a better photographer in Albuquerque to capture the all the smiles and scintillations of their wedding day.

{Pssst… This wedding + more will be featured in the 2019 Spring/Summer edition of the Perfect Wedding Guide magazine. Preorder your free copy here!}

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Photographer: Kayla Kitts Photography Venue: Hotel Albuquerque Florals: Shannon Loves Flowers Dress: Ann Matthews Bridal Officiant: Randy Joslin Makeup: Chelsea LeMendola Hair: Ashlee Mendoza with Amp’d Up Salon DJ: Cutmaster Music Shoes: Dillard’s Jewelry: JC Penny Rings: Ben Bridge Jeweler and Zales Men’s Attire: Mens Wearhouse Cake: BitterSweets Bakery

 

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Cello for Weddings: Vendor Spotlight

When the day finally arrives — yes, you know which day we’re referring to — the whole rest of the world melts away. Or at least it does when your wedding is coordinated by local professionals who have dedicated their talents to making dreams come true. The details, the timing, everything is handled. So, really, all you have to do is be there, be yourself, and marry the love of your life. 

With Cello for Weddings, releasing the stress of planning a wedding comes as an easy, full exhale. Ryan Smith, the musical talent behind the name, has cultivated an appreciation and understanding of sound for many years, so that every wedding may have the opportunity to be elevated by live cello. Whether it is accompanied by other instruments to round out the harmonies, or solo, amplified acoustic cello, you have a guarantee that the music will reach the ears and hearts of all of your guests. 

We’ve all watched movies, seen plays, and even some well-executed commercials whose carefully timed use of music creates an emotional vitality that forces us to be present and acknowledge our tenderness. Incorporating live music into your wedding ceremony or reception produces this kind of  experience for your guests, which is not one that will leave their minds for long after. 

From sweeping, classic ballads to modern love songs, Cello for Weddings has a range of tonal talent that ensures your personality can shine through. Lustrous and heroic in Beethoven and John Mayer alike, Ryan is proud to approach his playing with a collaborative spirit so your wedding feels and sounds like your wedding. As Cello for Weddings, Ryan even offers to learn a new song for each couple, should his vast library of available songs be missing your favorite one. 

Spend some time visiting with Cello for Wedding’s transcendentally vibrant music with the samples available below, and contact Ryan here to have it present for your wedding day.  

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Real Love in a Real Albuquerque Wedding with Briana Nicole Photography

Photographing people in love is what I do but it is an extra joy when the couple has a best friend connection.

Briana Nicole Photography

That’s what fuels our wedding fire — the best friend connection that so obviously shines through when two puzzle pieces fall inline together. We’re lucky to have a myriad of incredible photographers in New Mexico, too, to ensure that moment of coalescence is always captured forever. Today, we’re especially grateful for Briana Nicole Photography, whose crisp and modern photography style records the romance and personality of all her couples.

Sherah + Greg’s unique personalities were at the forefront of their wedding ceremony, and Briana Nicole Photography told their love story in exquisite detail. The muted and regal tones of their wedding colors enveloped the couple throughout their day at the Hyatt Regency Downtown, and complimented the all-white ballroom perfectly. Pops of purple in the bouquets from Albuquerque Florist and in the detailing of the decor showcased the couple’s humor and friendship, and rounded out the day into a full on celebration of their love.

The couple’s gifts to one another made them both cry, and proved just how deeply and truly they are connected. For Greg, Sherah surprised him with two thoughtful and heartwarming cards, detailing the unique facets of their love. To accompany her eloquent words, too, was a set of cufflinks featuring the faces of their fur babies. The second card was, of course, from the aforementioned puppies, thanking Greg for being the best dad ever.

It’s the precious, incomparable moments and details like this that accumulate to tell one, beautiful story of love and friendship. Briana Nicole Photography, who is a self-proclaimed romantic at heart, knows this so clearly and allows it to shape her work. Thank you, Briana, for allowing us a sneak peak into this celebration, so we might be touched by Sherah + Greg’s love in the same way.

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