You're Engaged, Now What? A Comprehensive Guide on Planning Your Wedding

Your partner popped the big question and you said yes–congratulations! Although the excitement of your engagement has your stomach filled with butterflies and you wish you could hold onto these perfect and stress-free moments forever, you are probably starting to wonder when the chaos of wedding planning is going to begin. More importantly, you’re probably wondering where to start, and that is where we come in! Before we go any further, we want to tell you that planning your wedding is meant to be filled with personality, joy, laughter, and bonding. It can truly be an amazing experience for you AND your loved ones, and we encourage you to have some fun!

The First Steps

Let’s take a deep breath. Sit down. Close your eyes. Imagine your ideal wedding. What do you see? What does your dress look like? What does your suit look like? Is your wedding inside or outside? Do you see trees? What about a chapel? How many people do you want surrounding you while you say ‘I do’? These thoughts can quickly become overwhelming and we know that money and time are the first things that come to mind. For just a moment, imagine that these concepts don’t exist and then open your mind to the possibilities! Instead of seeing them as negative thoughts, turn them into opportunities. This is the moment where you let your personality and imagination take control. After you’ve designed your ideal wedding, now you can take it to the drawing board and decide on the details.

However, we know that some people enjoy having a professional to guide them in their first steps, and that is why wedding + event planners exist! One of our own lovely wedding planners, Danielle of D Events and Weddings, is an expert in her craft and offers full service event planning just for you from beginning to end. Remember that wedding you just imagined, the one that seemed impossible? She’s here to make it possible–and she’s done it countless times before. Yup, you can breathe easy now.

Jasper K Photography | Black Bow Events

Local Wedding Vendors

So you’ve reached out to your wedding planner, or maybe you’ve decided to DIY, but either way you’re ready to start building your team of love experts. Find your venue, caterer and get all of the high priority planning squared away. Your wedding planner will be right by your side during this process for smooth sailing and emotional support (it’s not in their job description, but we know that they must be pretty good at it). After that, it’s time to grab your gals or your bros and have some fun. Dress and suit shopping, creating ‘save the dates‘, florals–local wedding vendors will have everything you need without the hassle of ordering online and waiting to see your product. We do love a good Etsy shopping spree, but we also encourage you to support your community because they’re kind of flippin’ awesome.

You can also get discounts on local vendors when you have a wedding planner like Black Bow Events, another local business who has years of experience planning amazing weddings. We love that event planners are there every step of the way and have cultivated connections with the wedding community so that planning your wedding can be stress-free and budget friendly.

Brandon Harwell Photography | D Events and Weddings

Just Months and Even Days Away

The wedding is months away, and everything is pretty much settled. Well, as settled as it can be–we get it. Now it’s time for all of the final preparations, like teeth whitenings, spa days, gym memberships, guest accommodations, etc. A wedding planner can help you get set up with all of these things if you’ve lost the energy! But beyond all of this, it’s your time to rest and focus on the love between you and your honey. These moments before the big day are unique and exciting, they should be embraced. So put down your notebook filled with wedding planning notes, go grab the love of your life, and remember why you’re doing it all–for the love.

Feel like you need more wedding planning help + inspiration? You can check out our own website here where you can find upcoming wedding shows, local vendors, discounts, and giveaways. We would be honored to be a part of your planning process and we’re here for you every step of the way.

Lavel Marie Photography | D Events and Weddings + Black Bow Events

Header photo: Lavel Marie Photography

2019 Diamond Dash Wedding Show: The Recap

The time has finally come! The photos from our November Diamond Dash Wedding Show at the Hyatt Regency are in and we just can’t wait to share them with all of you. This year we were so fortunate to have so many bright and beautiful faces at the show. The decor was dazzling, the laughter echoed throughout the ballroom, and the energy was incredible! We love a good wedding show, and this year’s Diamond Dash was one for the books.

If you don’t know what Diamond Dash is and want to know more about it, keep on reading because you’re in for a treat. This recap is going to go into a little bit more detail on what the event is all about, how the whole day plays out, and how the show can benefit a soon-to-be-married bride and/or groom like you!

What is Diamond Dash?

Well, the name comes from the cake dive for diamond jewelry that happens later during the wedding show–but we will cover that bit later. The show itself is put on by yours truly, the local Perfect Wedding Guide team. This show is an opportunity for local couples to get out and have some fun with wedding planning. When the couples arrive, our team will give you a bag of goodies and $500 of PWG Bucks to spend on participating vendors inside the ballroom. Get there early and enjoy the VIP Pre-Party, which we will tell you more about right now.

VIP Pre-Party

The VIP Pre-Party is an exclusive gathering that happens just before the wedding show begins. Join other couples while sipping mimosa’s and getting pampered by local wedding professionals. This year, we had an amazing DJ, Dream Factory Productions, and a top-notch expert wedding panel. Bridal Elegance by Darlene provided a veil try-on station, Blo Blow Dry Bar provided a braid bar, Photo Booth Rentals of New Mexico provided a photo booth, Charlotte’s Flowers brought some gorgeous flower stems, and The Cake Boutique set up a DIY dessert station. How fun is that?! Make sure to get your ticket as an add-on to the main show for next year’s Diamond Dash if you want to be part of the excitement!

Fashion Show + Giveaways

Another unique and truly entertaining aspect of the Diamond Dash Wedding Show is the fashion show that, literally, takes center stage for the majority of the event. The latest trends and styles are modeled by local models of every gender and age for you to find inspiration. And guess what? This year, all of the styling was done locally by Bridal Elegance by Darlene, Suits Unlimited, and Blo Blow Dry Bar! Throughout the show, our fave wedding show MC, Brad King of King Mobile Music, announces the winners of our unique door prizes provided by local wedding vendors.

Vendors

This is really what the show is all about–providing you with all of the best resources to plan your perfect wedding. We invite the best of the best local wedding vendors to set up a booth and meet with prospective brides and grooms. This provides you with a wide variety of wedding photographers, stylists, cake shops, venues, and beyond! We would be lying if we said it will be easy to pick out a vendor, so come with an open heart and be ready to note your best conversations and options.

The Diamond Dash Cake Dive

And finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for–the reason for the name! Toward the end of every Diamond Dash Wedding Show, all of the guests and vendors gather around the stage to watch as 5 lucky brides/grooms are chosen to put on a cute apron, tie back their hair, and prepare to get a little messy. These lucky folks have been selected to dig into a cake all at once for the chance to find the box with diamond jewelry inside. Everyone will win a prize, but only 1 of the 5 will walk away with brand new diamond jewelry! This year’s stunning cake was hand-crafted by Honey & Salt Cake Co. and we were absolutely in love with it–even after it was smashed into pieces by eager brides.

This past Diamond Dash was one of our favorites, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication and talent of our sponsors. The Perfect Wedding Guide gals are so grateful for those who participated and came out to enjoy all of the vendors and the fun! We want to give a special thank you to our videographers, Journey Home Media, and our photographers that provided all of the amazing photos in this recap, Photographic Perspectives!

Photographic Perspectives
Journey Home Media

EVENT SPONSORS | Blo Blow Dry Bar, Bridal Elegance by Darlene, Charlotte’s Flowers, Enchanted Events, Honey & Salt Cake Co., Hyatt Regency, King Mobile Music, NMWP, Photographic Perspectives, Skinny Secrets, and Suits Unlimited

Our Favorite 2020 Wedding Trends

Here at Perfect Wedding Guide, the end of the year means planning, preparing, and jumping for joy because we get to learn about all of the upcoming trends for next year! We would by lying if we told you that we aren’t a little sad to see 2019 go, though. This year was definitely one for the books, filled with the most beautiful weddings and exciting wedding shows & events. We loved hearing all of your perfect wedding stories and having the honor of sharing them with other brides and grooms that are looking for some inspiration.

As our pinky promise to you, we will continue to provide you with the most current and trendy tips and inspiration each and every year because we think you’re the best. We are so eager to share what is in store for next year that we are going to give you some insider knowledge right now that the Perfect Wedding Guide team picked up at this year’s Wedding MBA Conference in Las Vegas. Yesterday we hosted our annual Wedding MBA Recap Breakfast at The Event Center at Sandia Golf Club and got to hear some notable takeaways from our fellow local wedding professionals that also attended the conference.

We thought that we would have a little fun with this one and look back at some of the decade’s biggest wedding trends while introducing the future forecast for wedding trends in 2020.

First, the oldies, but goodies.

2019 | Private ceremony + elopement locations

Coryn Kiefer Photography

2019 | Animals in weddings

Coryn Kiefer Photography

2019 | White weddings

Briana Nicole Photography

2019 | Pastels, pinks, and blushes

Briana Nicole Photography

2019 | Pear-shaped rings

Maura Jane Photography

2019 | Romantic lighting rentals

Briana Nicole Photography

2019 | Unique venues

Lauren Cherie Photography

2019 | Specialty cakes

Maura Jane Photography

And now for the upcoming trends for 2020!

2020 | The “Roaring 20s” (of course)

Via todaysbride.com

2020 | Bright & bold pops of color

Al Gawlik Photography

2020 | Ceiling installations

Anna Jones Photography

2020 | Textures

Via HiMissPuff.com

2020 | Greens + grasses

Via Happywedd.com

2020 | Mirrored floors

Darin Images

2020 | Cake backdrops

Buffy Dekmar

2020 | Texture, minimalism, capes, and beyond

2020 | Donuts, mini cakes, & tall cakes

2020 | Sustainability

Via thegoodbeginning.com

So there you have it, a decade of trends and some new ones to welcome to the table. We’re ready for you, 2020!

There’s No Place Like Home: A Fall Wedding with Maura Jane Photography

The tall cottonwood trees arched all the way over the long paved Los Poblanos driveway as we made our way to Lauren and Andrews wedding. The leaves were already changing and several of the trees here and there were really showing off their colors. The couple had traveled all the way from New York City for their big day in the Land of Enchantment, and they were excited that fall was beginning to appear. 

– Maura Casados, Maura Jane Photography

As many New Mexicans know by now, it is hard not to return back home when you leave our lovely state. We hear stories all of the time about couples who move away for various reasons, but decide to have their wedding here in the Land of Enchantment because it truly stole their hearts. We totally get it. There is something so captivating about the landscape and the people – it really is a gem.

Lauren & Andrew seemed to both agree that New Mexico was the ideal place for their fall wedding, even though they live all the way on the East coast in New York City. When you live all the way on the other side of the country, sometimes you need to call the family back home to ask for a little wedding planning help, and that is just what Lauren did. Lauren’s mom knew just the location to celebrate the marriage between her daughter and to-be-son-in-law – Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm! The couple booked the venue without hesitation. And who wouldn’t after seeing the stunning backdrops of lavender fields and rustic farmhouse chic decor?

The couple chose different shades of burgundy and blush for their colors, which complimented the fall foliage perfectly. Lauren wore her hair low and side-swept in a perfect bun and donned a stunning lace dress that fell off her shoulders softly. Perhaps our favorite detail was her pointed Bella Belle heels that matched her dainty belt perfectly.

The Perfect Wedding Guide crew is swooning over the small details from this perfect autumnal wedding. The rose gold ring, the pastel invitations, the perfectly fitting gown, and their absolutely radiant love for each other are just a few of the things that have us struck with awe. Not to mention that this day was captured by the one and only Maura Jane Photography whose style fits seamlessly with the warm + pastel fall vibes.

They exited the ceremony with a dried rose petal toss before joining their guests for cocktail hour on the back lawn. White pumpkins, candles and eucalyptus decorated the tables as guest toasted the newlyweds and sipped lavender gin cocktails and champagne. We finished the evening with a quick photo in front of the old historic building that hosted their reception as the couple kissed while being surrounded by farolitos.

We are so honored to have been sent the gallery from Lauren & Andrew’s wedding day. Take a peek & let the feeling of pure bliss come over you as you immerse yourself in the beautiful photos taken by Maura and her team!

Congratulations Lauren and Andrew, we are so happy for you both!

Venue: Los Poblanos Inn and Historic Farm
Planner/Designer: Chelsea Martinez
Florist:  Bagel's Florals
Hair and Makeup: Mark Pardo Salon
Shoes: Bella Belle Shoes
Dress store: David's Bridal
Dress Designer: Melissa Sweet
Ties and Pocket Squares: The Tie Bar
Cake/Desserts: Los Poblanos
DJ: Cutmaster Music
Invitations: Minted
Bridesmaid Dresses: Azazie
Photography: Maura Jane Photography

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Embracing the Beauty of Change: Meghan’s Rainy Day Wedding Story

When everything is falling apart, or at least it feels like it is, sometimes it’s so hard to keep spirits high–especially when it comes to your wedding day. Months, and sometimes even years, go into careful searching, planning, and preparing to celebrate the first day of the rest of your lives together. To be honest, it really never all goes completely according to plan. And that’s just life.

Here at Perfect Wedding Guide, we see just about every perfect wedding out there, because every wedding is perfect in our eyes with the help of local New Mexico vendors. However, perfection is subjective and it isn’t necessarily measured by how successful we are in meeting our goals. It is truly measured by how we adapt and react to change.

For our sweet, kind, and radiant bride Meghan, her meticulously planned Santa Fe wedding didn’t go quite according to plan, but she embraced it like a queen. Aside from holes in Meghan’s wedding gown, their venue had to make some quick adjustments when the moody New Mexico skies decided to rain all over the outdoor ceremony space at the Museum of International Folk Art. Luckily for the couple, the museum has a spacious and artistic interior where they were able to pronounce their love for each other in front of friends and family without everyone getting soaking wet.

Meghan sent us the most incredible testimonial after she was able to process all of the chaos that ensued, and we would be crazy not to share something so powerful for the rest of our brides who fear the rain on their wedding day. Read her statement below:

Everyone hopes that it doesn’t rain at their outdoor wedding, but that’s not what the clouds had in store for us. A classic New Mexico monsoon was in full throttle right as we were taking our photos (outside) and everyone just started running. Having a full panic attack in front of all 160 of your guests isn’t ideal… but my husband held me, helped me breathe, and I looked at him, like really looked at him, and realized all of this didn’t matter: it’s me and him and it’s that simple. Then the power went out! In the moment, I was wrecked. I spent this entire year meticulously planning every detail to reflect my husband and me, researching vendors who aligned with both our values and budget, and all I could do was fake smile through the rest of the photos (and cry in-between every snap… my makeup didn’t budge a bit thanks to the amazing work of Genica). With time and perspective, I realized that while I was having my meltdown every single one of our guests mobilized. With our amazing day-of-coordinator (Symone of Simply Done Events) at the helm, cousins moved chairs, family friends brought wads of paper towels from the bathroom to wipe the floor, aunties arranged florals inside… all to make sure that Ryan and I had our day. I still some sometimes feel sad that this wasn’t the “best day ever” and it’s easy to be consumed with the negatives. And I think it’s important to share with couples that however you feel, even if it’s sad, that’s okay. But then I remember all the overwhelmingly beautiful things: my sweet husband’s vows promising to feed me forever, the hundreds of biscochitos Ryan’s cousins baked for us, our family and friends spanning continents and countries to celebrate with us namely my grandmother and uncle flying from the Philippines, the magical elote and amazing pies (Street Food Institute and Emerald Pie Bar), a friend composing a beautiful processional song, our DJ (Too Hot to Stop) throwing Burger King crowns during “Dancing Queen”, our parents’ love and support, oh, and of course the llamas passing out White Claw. There was so much of that day that was good. There was so much of that day that was us. So it wasn’t the best day, but it was our day, and that’s what makes a perfect wedding.

– Meghan Montelibano-Gorman, Bride

We are so grateful to Meghan and all of the amazing vendors who were able to tell such a wonderful love story. And that is what it is all about–the love.

Photos by Kady McKeehan Photography

Catering: Street Food Institute
Florals: Barton's Flowers
Venue: Museum of International Folk Art
Photographer: Kady McKeehan Photography
DJ: Too Hot to Stop
Pies: Emerald Pie Bar
Day of Planner: Simply Done Events
Rentals: American Tent Rentals
Booze/Bar: Kelly's Liquors
Llamas: Lllamas Del Sol
Hair/Makeup: Genica Lee MUA
Videography: Clay Carlson Films
Photo booth: Wedding Crashers
Groomsmen attire: Men's Wearhouse
Bridesmaids attire: Lulu's
Suit: Suit Supply
Wedding gown: Altar Bridal
Emergency alterations: Bella Tailor
Mariachi Mestizo: Absolute Entertainment
Heels: Nine West
Tennies: Kate Spade for Keds

Desert Vibes: A Styled Shoot with Briana Nicole Photography

The southwest is as diverse as it comes between the melting pot of cultures and geography, but that only means that you can use our gorgeous desert landscape to set the stage for your bright and vibrant color palette. 

It is officially time to say “hasta la vista” to the warm New Mexico weather, and welcome in the thrills and chills of late October. Even though we love a good fall breeze, it’s hard not to look back at sunnier days and feel a little bit wistful. Luckily for us, Briana Nicole Photography submitted this absolutely charming styled shoot conceptualized by Just Lovely Weddings so that we may indulge in our summertime cravings. The incredible images are the cherry on top!

The New Mexican desert is home to spectacular wildflowers, abounding sagebrush, and various cacti plants. It’s no wonder people gravitate to our state for photo opportunities galore. For this styled shoot, the designers used bright pinks, rich teals, and shimmering golds set against the neutral tones of the desert to create an astonishing performance of color contrast. Talk about photogenic!

Lauren with Just Lovely Weddings rounded up an amazing vendor team to share these pops of color, teal accents, geometric shapes, and desert vibes along with the creative usage of a hexagon arch as your romantic backdrop.

Just when we think we’ve seen it all, something new pops its head around the corner and surprises us. Our vendors really know how to put on a show, and we want front row tickets. The bespoke invitations from Funky Olive, the combo of colors in the florals, the macarons in the cake (can you spot ’em?), the gorgeous wedding ring from Ooh! Aah! Jewelry, the breathtaking gown from Bridal Elegance by Darlene… we’re speechless.

Styled shoots are aways a group effort that showcase the talents of so many wonderful local wedding vendors and it really is a community effort, that’s why we love them so very much. We can’t seem to get enough of styled shoots, so keep them coming our way all of you beautiful people!

This shoot came to life with the help of Briana Nicole Photography and her magical camera-eye. Check out the gallery below!

Photography: Briana Nicole Photography
Concept + Planning: Just Lovely Weddings
Décor: Darling Details Rentals
Florals: A Beautiful Theme
Cake: Sweet Grace Cake Co.
Hair & Makeup: Fancy Faces by Gina
Stationery: Funky Olive Invitation + Stationery
Jewelry: Ooh! Ahh! Jewelry
Bridal Gown: Bridal Elegance by Darlene
Menswear: Ted Baker
Models: Jenna Doddridge and JC Ciddio

Create & Cultivate: 2019 Speed Connecting Event at Four Seasons in Santa Fe

We, your Perfect Wedding Guide team, want to give our vendors every opportunity possible to make connections with local couples. It’s our mission! However, we realize that the first step to any successful wedding business starts with a strong presence in the wedding community, which is why we host our speed connecting events. Speed connecting events allow local wedding businesses to have face-to-face conversations with other local wedding businesses– because the best connections are made when you’re willing to open up and share your story. Especially when scenic views, delicious eats, and good tunes are involved!

The event itself is different from other networking events because you won’t be waiting around for someone to come talk to you. Instead, we have carefully designed speed sessions where you are allotted a certain amount of time to introduce yourself and your business, share a brief history, and exchange business cards and contacts. The atmosphere is meant to be laid back and, we promise you, there’s no pressure involved. It’s simply your opportunity to spend some time with wedding professionals and watch the magic unfold in front of your eyes.

We hosted our annual Create & Cultivate: Speed Connecting Event at Los Poblanos over the summer, but we wanted to give our Santa Fe vendors an opportunity to meet each other as well, so we planned an October event at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado. The more events the merrier! The New Mexico wedding community joined us at the venue and everyone got to chat over drinks and great food, such as Aji Chile Shrimp Ceviche and a piece of Candied Bacon from the Candied Bacon Wall– doesn’t that sound amazing?! The atmosphere was incredible and laughter filled the air as the soft evening light draped everything in gold. This event is not only about networking, but also about making lasting memories and friendships. We can’t emphasize this enough.

All of this would not be possible if it weren’t for our amazing venue and our sponsors! We would like to express our gratitude to Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado for being our generous venue host, because everything was so welcoming and just drop dead gorgeous. The centerpieces by Bosque Flower Studio were radiant and the music from Absolute Entertainment had everyone in the dancing mood. Thank you to Funky Olive, PSAV, and Colorado Party Rentals for your help bringing it all together.

Finally, we would like to give a huge shoutout to our lovely photographer for the event, Kayla Kitts Photography. We couldn’t have captured the beauty, the blossoming friendships, and all around good vibes radiating from the event without her incredible eye. For those of you who missed out this go round, Kayla’s photos will give you a sneak peak into what you missed! And no need to fret, we host the event every year in Albuquerque, so we will see ya next time.