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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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

 

 

Turquoise Tenderness: Southwestern Styled Shoot

Turquoise, ristras, and adobe — does it get any more New Mexican than that!? We’ve been sending so much love to our home place recently, what with the venue features and      wedding spotlights. But it seems like we aren’t the only ones who have caught the bug and are showing more and more appreciation to this beautiful state! Briana Nicole Photography, one of Albuquerque’s finest wedding professionals, channeled her inherent creativity into a gorgeous, Southwestern-vibe styled shoot that we are absolutely swooning over.

Yes, we would have adored this shoot because of its New Mexican vibes and the heart behind the process, but what makes is it that makes this shoot so special to us? Briana Nicole Photography collaborated entirely with local, wedding experts to bring this styled shoot to life. Each facet of the shoot was cultivated lovingly by our local pros, and that reveals something very special about New Mexico, besides the turquoise, ristras, and adobe: community.

It’s not the first Southwestern-inspired work of art to exist, and it surely won’t be the last, but Briana Nicole Photography and her team of hardworking, dedicated vendors made something new and beautiful from the vein of inspiration that has been touching hearts for centuries. So, if you want to pay homage to our stunning landscapes and rich culture, these are the wedding professionals to call! You can rest assured in their ability to incorporate New Mexican style into your wedding in new, fresh, and deeply appreciative ways.

Scroll on to contact these vendors, get lost in some incredible Southwestern wedding inspo, and hear what Briana Nicole has to say about the shoot.

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I love this beautiful state we live in — we have some of the most spectacular views and amazing culture surrounding us daily. With this shoot we really wanted a Southwestern vibe, but more importantly a New Mexico vibe, too. The Hyatt Regency Tamaya was a perfect location because their resort has an amazing view of our Sandia Mountains and their entire resort is covered in Navajo art and pottery. Black Bow Events styled our tables with chile ristras and turquoise accents, and Maggie’s Wedding Cakes provided a perfect tribal designed cake that tied the whole look together. Our beautiful bride wore handmade turquoise jewelry from Larry Martinez Jeweler, and we took their portraits with the open desert as our background. I’m so thankful for the amazing team of vendors who contributed!

Briana Nicole Photography

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Planner | Black Bow Events
Photographer | Briana Nicole Photography
Linens | Simply Decor + Events
Venue | Hyatt Regency Tamaya 
Cake | Maggie’s Wedding Cakes
MUA + Hairstylist | C. Johnson Makeup
Dress | Bridal Elegance by Darlene
Tuxedo | Suits Unlimited
Bride | @__katrina__anne
Jewelry | Larry Martinez Jewelry

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Venue Spotlight: Casa Perea Art Space

If you didn’t know by now, there are three things that our Perfect Wedding Guide team loves the most: weddings, New Mexico, and weddings in New Mexico. Which is why we feature historic venues, Southwestern inspired styled shoots, and New Mexico’s rich lineage so frequently — they combine our three favorite things!

So, when Casa Perea Art Space joined our Perfect Wedding Guide family, we were over the moon. Fondly described as “an excellently preserved example of New Mexico territorial architecture,” the home-turned-venue was built by a family of landowners and vintners in the 1800’s. Now, centuries later, the venue still stands proudly on the bank of the Rio Grande, fully restored and ready to host the most gorgeous celebrations New Mexico has to offer.

Looking for a stunning space for your wedding that also has historical character that would be impossible to replicate elsewhere? Yep, you just hit the jackpot. Newly refurbished, the venerable adobe now features whitewashed walls, wooden beams, mullioned windows, exposed vigas, and so many fireplaces, each member of your wedding party can have one to themselves.

Plus, of course, there’s a full kitchen, plenty of bathrooms, three brick patios, a small vineyard, generous parking space, and handicap access waiting for you at Casa Perea, too. We don’t know about you, but that just checked all of our boxes for a perfect venue — even a few boxes we didn’t know we had until just now!

{Oh, and how could we forget? There’s also a hundred foot long pergola crawling gracefully with wisteria, climbing roses, and trumpet flower vines. Seriously.}

If Casa Perea Art Space sounds lovely on paper, just wait until you see it for yourself. To tide you over until then, feel free to drool wholeheartedly over this perfectly fantastical styled shoot at the venue. Courtesy of the ever-talented Maura Jane Photography, you can practically smell the roses growing on that hundred foot long pergola now.

{To actually smell the roses in real life, you can contact Casa Perea Art Space here.}

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Picante Passion: A {Super Local} Styled Shoot

When you consider how vastly rich New Mexico is in scenic backdrops, it comes as no surprise that many couples choose this state for their wedding. We’ve got mountains, mesas, deserts, cities…Pretty much anything you need, regardless of your vibe! But what makes New Mexico, and the incredible local vendors who work here, truly stand out is how deeply appreciative we are of our cultures here.

Tiffany Burke Events, wedding planner extraordinaire, tapped into one of these cultures for her most recent styled shoot. Following the vein of Spanish heritage that’s so thoroughly integrated into the architecture, art, and sights of New Mexico, Tiffany and her team of local wedding professionals revived this history. With Tiffany Burke Events at the head of the creative helm for the styled shoot, and Tori Photography capturing every detail, together they manifested this Spanish fantasy into a gorgeous, lively reality.

And, of course, what better place to cultivate this styled shoot than at Hotel Andaluz? The historic venue is renowned in Albuquerque for being the pinnacle of luxury, but not the kind of corporate-luxury you can find anywhere else. Traditional Spanish architecture is one of Hotel Andaluz‘s many selling points… Tiffany, you picked the perfect spot!

Really though, first thing you’ll notice about this styled shoot is the colors, which nearly jump off the screen at you. Pulling you in further are the Southwestern details which compliment one another so well — from the cow skull and giant ristras, to the perfectly-peach cake that’s so clearly reminiscent of the famed adobe walls which punctuate our New Mexican cities. It’s easy to see that not one inch of their shoot went untouched, and that a lot of care and consideration went into the shoot. Which, as an engaged couple, is exactly what you want from the wedding professionals who create your day!

Scroll on to lose yourself in the vibrancy, see what Tiffany Burke Events has to say about the aesthetics, and book the Albuquerque wedding professionals who collaborated on this styled shoot!

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My vision for this styled shoot was to showcase the rich and romantic passion that flows through Spanish culture. The rich colors are meant to catch the eye and get your heart pumping. A creative twist that I wanted to incorporate was chilies, to not only pay tribute to New Mexico, but also to the flavor that activates all senses.

My goal as an event planner is to combine the personalities and visions of couples and create an atmosphere that astonishes them and those who will share these memories.

Tiffany, Tiffany Burke Events

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Décor + Planning: Tiffany Burke Events

Hair + MU : Christopher James Hair + Skin

Venue: Hotel Andaluz

Photography: Tori Photography

Music: Cello for Weddings

Bouquet and Boutonniere: The Flower Company

Cake: The Cake Boutique

Dress: Bridal Elegance by Darlene

Tux: Mr. Tux

Bride and Groom: Fawn Vivar and Gabe Atler

Invitations + Stationery: Differently Designed

 

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