Trending: The Gift Lounge

Favors and gifts for guests are one of my favorite things about weddings. They give you the perfect opportunity to share your love and gratitude with all your friends and family. With so many options and ideas, however, it can be hard to narrow it down to one item. Thankfully, that’s where the gift lounge comes in! You no longer have to limit your gifts to one item. You can dedicate a whole area, or room (depending on your venue), to gifts for your guests. Best of all, they have the freedom to pick and choose the things they like most.

Similar to bars beyond cocktails, gift lounges are simply a “gift bar” — and the sky is the limit when it comes to assembling your perfect gift lounge. For instance, you can have gourmet sodas and candy, local goods, handmade or personalized items and even fresh local fruit. With so many local vendors in the area, planning a fun and gorgeous gift lounge couldn’t be easier. Some of our favorites include Chocolate Maven, Thirty-One Gifts, Pennysmiths Paper and American Pie Company, just to name a few.

Take a look at some of their amazing favors and treats!

American Pie Bakery
American Pie Bakery
Brandon Kidd Photography
Chocolate Maven, Photo by Alicia Lucia Photography

Gift lounges may sound extravagant and intimidating, but if you think about it, we’ve been doing gift lounges for years — with gift bags! Whether you would like the help of a local professional or a completely DIY gift lounge, you can keep it simple, affordable and best of all, creative. Simply allow your guests to assemble their own gift bag, and — voilà — you have a gift lounge!

For more on everything Wedding + Wedding Planning, visit us at: PerfectWeddingGuide.com

Make History at the UNM Alumni Memorial Chapel

As you and so many other college students get ready for back-to-school, you may be trying to figure out how you’re going to manage your homework and plan your wedding all at the same time. In case you didn’t know, the UNM Alumni Memorial Chapel is a charming wedding ceremony venue for any student, staff member or alumni of the University of New Mexico.

Adorned with traditional retablos and rustic iron candelabras, the UNM Alumni Memorial Chapel will take your guests back in time as you exchange vows. With such a rich history, the UNM Chapel is not only beautiful, but it is also affordable. It’s true ladies and gents, you can have the traditional New Mexico ceremony you’ve always dreamed of, without breaking the bank!

Several years ago, I had the great honor of standing in a friend’s wedding that took place at the chapel and it was absolutely gorgeous. Another wedding that truly captured the old-world charm of the UNM Chapel was that of Paige and Nathan, last winter. Captured by Maura Jane Photography, these photos are truly an inspiration for anyone planning a wedding at the chapel.

From the quaint dressing room decorated with elegant, antique furniture to the carved altar pieces and wooden pews, every detail of the UNM Chapel is the perfect backdrop for any wedding ceremony. Not to mention, the outdoor areas surrounding the chapel are just as gorgeous for memorable photos. At the UNM Alumni Memorial Chapel, your wedding will be a part of history.

Built in 1962 as a memorial to alumni killed in the nation’s wars, the UNM Alumni Memorial Chapel has served the campus community in joyful and trying times… Thousands of weddings and numerous memorials have taken place within its walls.

— UNM Alumni Memorial Chapel (Website)

Photos by Maura Jane Photography

For more on everything Wedding + Wedding Planning, visit us at: PerfectWeddingGuide.com

You’re Invited to Perfect Wedding Guide’s Annual Wedding Gallery!

Get in touch with your personal wedding style with the expertise of the best professionals in the business. Plan your perfect wedding in one amazing, colorful afternoon at Sandia Resort & Casino. Celebrate love with meaningful connections and memories with other brides and grooms just like you!

SUNDAY, AUGUST 6 | 1-4 PM

Sandia Resort & Casino | 30 Rainbow Rd NE

Planned with impeccable detail and handpicked wedding professionals, the Wedding Gallery is a curated event for the perceptive bride + groom.

General Admission | $15

VIP Runway Reservation + Swag Bag | $30

Due to the nature of this event, all ticket sales are final.

Join us this weekend to plan your wedding in a gorgeous setting while enjoying delicious food stations, couture fashions, endless wedding inspiration + giveaways.

Photos by Photographic Perspectives

Hope to see you there!

For more on everything Wedding + Wedding Planning, visit us at: PerfectWeddingGuide.com

Romance in the Rain: Lauren Cherie Photography

Last month we introduced you to one of our favorite photographers with our post: Cherish Your Memories: Lauren Cherie Photography. Recently, Lauren and a talented gang of wedding professionals got together for a beautiful styled shoot in the quaint Village of Corrales. This lovely group of gals found a stunning bank along the Rio Grande that was simply perfect.

With a good balance of bright New Mexico sunshine and dark rain clouds rolling in, the lighting was just right and the natural setting couldn’t have been more gorgeous. Once their models were pampered by Lavender + Rose Hair & Makeup Studio, Lauren and the team set off for their secret spot hidden among the majestic cottonwood trees of the bosque (forest).

Like an enchanting fairy tale, the desert creatures were happy to bear witness to their beautiful styled shoot creation. Along with the elegant iron bed and accent table they used as props, the ladies from Floral Fetish and She’s Got Cake added the final touches with their beautiful flower arrangements and mouthwatering wedding cake.

We had so much fun with this photo shoot! We knew we wanted to do something in the bosque with the big beautiful trees. And this Corrales, NM location did not disappoint. We had some golden sunlight at the beginning and then some light rain at the end.

We wanted something pretty and romantic, but also fun and different. Along with a pretty cake and gorgeous florals, we decided to bring a bed to the bosque — talk about different! We captured some beautiful, romantic moments and also super fun, silly moments.

— Lauren, Lauren Cherie Photography

Photos by Lauren Cherie Photography

Meet the professionals who helped make this styled shoot possible:

Photographer: Lauren Cherie Photography | Florist: Floral Fetish | Hair + Makeup: Lavender + Rose Hair & Makeup Studio | Cake: She’s Got Cake | Models: Ryan and Ashlie Bustamante

Behind the scenes with Lauren Cherie Photography:

For more on everything Wedding + Wedding Planning, visit us at: PerfectWeddingGuide.com

Historic Farmhouse Wedding: Alex + Carlos

On the National Register of Historic Places, the Robert Dietz Farmhouse was quite the exception when it came to this early October wedding last fall. Located off of Rio Grande Boulevard, just north of Griegos, this historic landmark was the perfect choice for Alex and Carlos, who visited all the way from Panama to celebrate this momentous occasion.

As a north valley resident, I have passed by this beautiful Victorian residence in admiration many times. To my delight, I actually remember driving by with my husband the night of this gorgeous wedding as I looked on in curiosity. Though I never dreamed in a million years I’d get to see first hand what had taken place that calm October night at the historic Robert Dietz Farmhouse.

Like archaeologists with a new discovery, you and I get to partake in this special occasion with a personal tour by Ashley Joyce Photography. She did a tremendous job capturing this love story that sprouted in Panama and came to full bloom in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Renting this beautiful vacation home to get married was like returning to a childhood home for the holidays.

On the day of the wedding, all the preparations and festivities came together perfectly. The experts at Orange September made the happy couple’s vision come to life. From the elegant floral arrangements to the hidden mementos that take you back in time, every detail of this farmhouse wedding was a stunning combination of modern style and historic ambiance.

Welcome to the Historic Robert Dietz Farmhouse Wedding, North Valley, Albuquerque

It was a Saturday in the beginning of October — the perfect time to celebrate a New Mexico wedding. Carlos and I had met a year before in Panama, when we least expected to meet our better-half. From the start, we recognized in each other “lifetime material.” It was only after a few months of dating that Carlos handmade our wedding rings out of silver-quarters. We couldn’t imagine an indoor wedding or a catalog wedding. We wanted the trees and the sky to stand witness to our love and we wanted the complete freedom to design our wedding day.

For these reasons, we chose the historic Robert Dietz Farmhouse. The Robert Dietz Farmhouse, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was the perfect backdrop. Grand open spaces surrounded by large old cottonwoods, pine trees lining the property and a beautiful Victorian farmhouse. Although it is not an official wedding venue, but a vacation rental that can host private parties, our decision to rent the historic farmhouse allowed for our large Panamanian family to stay in the nine-bedroom house. We rented the house a week before the wedding, which gave us time to prepare for the big day and host many early festivities.

— Alex, Bride

We planned our wedding with the help of Orange September, an event company. They provided us with invaluable guidance and support through the months prior. We crafted and grew the floral designs ourselves. The centerpieces were succulents that we planted and nurtured for months before the wedding. The colors of autumn were slowly creeping through the leaves of the cottonwoods and the pine trees were darkening their needles.

We were fortunate: big family, many friends, life-lasting memories. Carlos and I had written our vows together and in unison we joined our voices to promise a lifetime of loyalty, patience and unhesitating love. We held hands and exchanged our silver-quarter rings surrounded by our dearest family and friends in a circular ceremony. I know it was perfect because Carlos and I danced the night through — and I hardly dance!

— Alex, Bride

Photos by Ashley Joyce Photography

Congratulations, Alex and Carlos!

Meet the professionals who helped make their dream a reality:

Photographer: Ashley Joyce Photography | Venue: Robert Dietz Farmhouse | Planner + Designer: Orange September | Caterer: Crimson Catering by Jordan Ruiz

For more on everything Wedding + Wedding Planning, visit us at: PerfectWeddingGuide.com

South Valley Wedding: Chaniece + Isaac

Just about this time last year, Chaniece and Isaac made it official under the soaring branches of cottonwoods in the south valley. Skillfully captured by Matt Blasing Photography, we are so excited to share these gorgeous photos of their wedding in celebration of the Doyle’s one year anniversary.

Taking place at his parents’ residence, it was the perfect location to show off the beautiful landscape of New Mexico and snap some gorgeous photos of this adorable pair on their big day. The vast fields and surrounding forest provided the perfect backdrop for their rustic inspired wedding.

Starting out with a beautiful backyard ceremony, Chaniece walked down the aisle in the same dress her grandmother wore for her wedding. The elegant vintage lace fit her perfectly. And to top it off, the bride and groom said “I do” beneath the arch Isaac lovingly built for his wife-to-be.

As the evening progressed, they celebrated well into the night with family and friends at their backyard reception along the Rio Grande. With a final dance beneath the twinkle lights and desert stars, Issac and Chaniece began their new life together as Mr. and Mrs. Doyle.

The wedding colors were mint and grey with accents of blush and cream. Their rustic theme was perfect for their private venue as it included quaint gardens, sweeping fields, an antique truck and even farm animals. Isaac and his father not only hand built the altar this couple was married under, but they also custom built a deck complete with a ramp so family members with mobility limitations would have easy access and a great view of the ceremony.

The importance of family was evident throughout the day. Chaniece’s dress was originally her grandmother’s and her wedding band was originally her other grandmother’s. Isaac’s uncle served as the officiant and Chaniece’s brother provided live music during the ceremony. Details and decor were meticulously planned by the bride and this wedding was a wonderful example that it is possible to have a gorgeous event with many DIY features.

— Matt and Amy, Matt Blasing Photography

Photos by Matt Blasing Photography

Congratulations, Chaniece and Isaac! — and Happy Anniversary!

Meet the professionals who helped make their dream a reality:

Venue: Private Residence | Photographer: Matt Blasing Photography | Videographer: Ethan Hinkley | Makeup: Jess Trujillo | Officiant: Ernie Chavez | DJ: Styles DJ Services | Floral + Decor: Bride, Family and Friends

For more on everything Wedding + Wedding Planning, visit us at: PerfectWeddingGuide.com

Haute Pink Wedding: Brooke + Mitch

If you follow our Blissful Bridal Blog, I’m sure most of you had a peek of Brooke and Mitch’s Haute Downtown Engagement. In case you haven’t, be sure to take a look at this stunning shoot! For the rest of us anticipating the theme of their gorgeous wedding, however, here’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for…

Kate Spade New York!

Their Kate Spade inspired wedding was so chic, it might as well be a spread in the next Vogue! Everything worked so well together from the black and white stripes and the grooms polka dot tie to the hot pink flowers and golden accents. It was classy meets edgy with a dash of sparkle and a whole lotta haute!

Taking place at the elegant NOAH’S Event Venue, Brooke and her crew started out by getting pampered in the luxurious bridal suite. And what better way to get dolled up with all your BFFs, than by watching the hilarious Bridesmaids movie? Aside from it’s keen accuracy on comedic bridesmaid drama, a lighthearted film like this does well to set the tone and ease the nerves.

Once they were ready for their close up, the couple met outside for their first look and gorgeous photos before making it official at the LDS Temple. And later on at their reception, the biggest surprise of the night came when Brooke’s brother serenaded the couple and then surprised his sis with a mariachi band!

Brooke couldn’t be happier with this unforgettable moment, but more importantly, the couple couldn’t be happier about their new life together. To bring the night to a close, their friends and family showered them with a sea of sparklers — certainly a symbol of their bright future together.

Since Brooke’s family is in the land of enchantment, the wedding took place at the LDS temple here in Albuquerque with the reception at NOAH’S Event Venue. Brooke, who is quite the fashionista, loves all things Kate Spade and knew she had to incorporate it into her wedding. From the darling black and white Kate Spade heels with accent bows that graced her feet to the striped table clothes that hung on the tables, every detail was executed perfectly.
Brooke wore a stunning long sleeve lace dress from Alta Moda Bridal and held beautiful bright pink peonies in her hand. Aubrey, of Aubrey’s Petals filled the ballroom full of gold candles, orange roses and, of course, the bright colored peonies flown in from Israel. Guests were served some of Brooke’s favorite New Mexican dishes while they sipped yummy and unique sodas created especially for the couple and devoured the delicious cupcakes brought in by Smallcakes.
Perhaps our most favorite part of the evening is when Brooke’s brother sang a traditional Mexican song and surprised the couple with a Mariachi Band who joined in. The expression on Brooke’s face was priceless! This unique wedding was definitely one to be remembered and we wish the newlyweds nothing but the very best!

— Maura, Maura Jane Photography

Photos by Maura Jane Photography

Congratulations, Brooke and Mitch!

Meet the professionals who helped make their dream a reality:

Venue: NOAH’S Event Venue | Dress: Alta Moda Bridal | Dress Designer: Jean & Jewel | Shoes: Kate Spade New York | Cake: Smallcakes | Bridesmaids: New York & Company | Florist: Aubrey’s Petals | Hair + Makeup: Monica Gallegos | Photography: Maura Jane Photography | Entertainment: Mariachi Nuevo Sonido | Video: Jordee Arvin Pictures

And a special shout out to Brooke’s bridesmaids!

For more on everything Wedding + Wedding Planning, visit us at: PerfectWeddingGuide.com