Flowers & Things: New Mexico’s Go-To Wedding Florist

If you’re into weddings as much as we are — and you probably are, considering you’re on a wedding blog right now — then you probably keep up with local and national trends. If you keep up with local and national trends, then you’ve definitely seen the newest craze with wedding bouquets: moody succulents. Yes, moody has taken over the previously bright-and-airy vibe of weddings, and yes succulents have splattered everyone’s Pinterest boards and Instagram grids for quite some time now.

But moody succulents? Now that’s something fresh, and not easy to accomplish. Especially when you’re in New Mexico, which is usually a beat or two behind the costal trends that shape this year’s wedding aesthetic. (It’s the Land of Mañana, we’ll get there when we feel like it!) Of course, there was one local team of florists who beat us all to the punch: Flowers & Things.

Flowers & Things handcrafted a custom bouquet of spiraling succulents juxtaposed by dazzlingly white hydrangeas last year that, yes a year later, we are still obsessed with. (Don’t worry — here’s a pic, so you can drool along with us.)

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Since this magical arrangement first graced our eyes, we’ve seen it replicated a few dozen times from florists across the state and we love it just the same. We love that it sparked a new take on the bridal bouquet, but most of all we love how well it encapsulated the talents and values of the creative team at Flowers & Things.

At first glance, Flowers & Things seems to be your standard, high-quality floral shop. Bouquets, boutonnieres, and bursting blooms adorn their shelves, but alongside the traditional ribbon and basket that supplement their arrangements, they also have a myriad of customization options that make their flowers next level. Succulents of course, but also berries, butterflies, pearls, rhinestones, feathers, and so much more.

Lavel Marie Photography

That’s why the moody succulent bouquet represented Flowers & Things so well. Their craft is rooted in tradition and their florists are expertly trained, yet they have so much passion for what they create that they’re constantly innovating. When their team incorporates modern trends into their customized arrangements, it’s with a finely tuned eye and careful consideration. So you never have to worry about ending up with a bouquet that, 20 years from now, will make your wedding look very, ahem, 2019.

You don’t have to take our word for it though — feel free to do your research with their 300+ reviews of happy, local people who collaborated with Flowers & Things on the floral arrangement of their dreams, starting with a free consultation. In the meantime, we’ll be here dreaming of propagating succulents and throwing peony petals after a wedding ceremony.

Tony Gambino Photography
Matt Blasing Photography

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Pizza in Santa Fe AKA The Best Engagement Session Ever

In September of this year, Meghan and Ryan will be married at the Folk Art Museum in Santa Fe. There will be llamas. Llamas, people!

Quite frankly, these facts and the photos from their engagement session below are all you really need to know in order to make you fall in love with Meghan and Ryan. But of course, the story doesn’t end there, and it gets even better with every turn.

We first met Meghan digitally, via email, when she reached out to thank Perfect Wedding Guide for being Perfect Wedding Guide. (So yeah, we liked her right off the bat!) Meghan had been using some PWG-exclusive resources to plan their wedding and engagement session from afar, which would have tickled us either way, but then she told us she was an event planner, too. An expert in our midst!

Which means she was able to, and is proud of, the creative ways she’s conserved their wedding budget and found vendors. She lamented over how much of the New Mexico wedding community thrives on just word-of-mouth, and how often styled shoots are beautiful, inspirational, magical, and completely impossible to accomplish for a real wedding, and we totally agreed.

(Except for Perfect Wedding Guide styled shoots, of course, because we only feature local vendors who could, if you want, literally recreate the exact shoot for your wedding with all the other wedding professionals they collaborated with originally.)

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Kady McKeehan Photography

I love when bridal resources feature real weddings — and none of that Martha Stewart Real Weddings because we all know that’s not really real!

So, despite the wall of exclusivity created by non-digital, word-of-mouth businesses, despite the fact they were planning a wedding and engagement from afar, and despite the fact Meghan and Ryan have impeccable style and couldn’t settle for just any wedding business, they have done it. They have planned a perfect fall wedding in Santa Fe.

Meghan’s parents are immigrants from the Philippines, and Ryan’s family is old-school New Mexican — back to the Don Victor Ortega days. So, as Meghan says, this September wedding will be an explosion of culture, family, and joy! Plus, remember the llamas? There are going to be llamas. Not to mention, most of the couple’s wedding vendors are non-profits, or give back to the local wedding community in some way, too.

An engagement session full of pizza, impenetrable love, and laughter, paired with a wedding rich in color and culture and kindness and llamas, booked solely with wedding businesses who work to make our state better…Well, we warned you that you’d fall in love with these two!

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Kady McKeehan Photography

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8 Local Wedding Businesses Run by Husband + Wife Teams

We can’t lie. As New Mexico’s Perfect Wedding Guide team, we get to be on the forefront of a whole lot of magic coming from our community. From whimsical winter weddings, to sensational spring styled shoots, to first-time collaborations between wedding professionals, to proposal stories that would make anyone tear up — it’s almost too much love for us to handle! 

While all our wedding professionals are the source of unending inspiration and buckets of love, there is one particular category of businesses, specifically, that warms our hearts and keeps us committed to our local wedding community. That is, of course, the local wedding businesses run by husband and wife teams. 

We’re not alone in this particular penchant either. As much as we like to suggest local couples approach their wedding planning process in a methodical, step-by-step process, we’ve found that they often flock toward these wedding businesses too. Booking them first based on instinct, and then hoping all the other factors — budget, dates, etc. — fall into place.

Which comes as no surprise. Especially as a soon-to-be-wed couple, the comforting familiarity of working with a team that is both partnered in business and in life is totally unparalleled. A lot of these boss-babe, business couples were actually married in New Mexico too, so knowing they were once in the very same shoes as you — well, how much more reassuring can it get? Their wedding was so great they decided to not only stick with this partnership of love, but to jump in on the wedding industry themselves.

So we couldn’t let another day pass without sending some love back to these amazing couples, who give so much of their time and heart to our community. We couldn’t possibly highlight every married duo whose killing the game in the wedding community of New Mexico, but we can pick out a few of our favorites! Plus, we, Perfect Wedding Guide, have had the pleasure of working one-on-one with these businesses, and are totally confident in recommending their magical talents to you.


1. Matt Blasing Photography

The best part of being in business with my wife Amy is that she brings an administrative business balance to my creative side (she’s a Hospital CEO by day), and she seems to quickly connect with just about anyone, so our couples always love her. Working with your spouse is such an advantage when you know you work well together. After being married for years (and after photographing over a hundred weddings together), you start to learn to read each other’s minds.

At weddings where every minute matters and the schedule can be rushed, being able to anticipate what we need to do, often without even speaking, really helps us not only stay on task regardless of the hurdles that might occur on a wedding day, but do so seamlessly and without stress.

Matt, Matt Blasing Photography


2. Absolute Entertainment

Working together as a couple we discovered we were able to divide up the tasks  serving both of our strengths. We had very successful careers before moving to New Mexico so started out as a well rounded team. Chris & I, Vicky, have successfully worked together for 22 years.
As with anything in a relationship you have to come to workable agreements and this actually becomes a powerful exercise in personal growth.  You always need to nurture your relationship. With communication, kindness and staying out of your Ego you can resolve anything.

3. Shutter Force Photography

The biggest challenge we had to overcome as married business partners was determining how we would build a photography studio with two photographers who have incredibly different styles and “eyes” for photography.
We are both very different people, different artists, different photographers. We learned that this is something our couples like about our style, and we finally let go of the fear that we’re “too different.” After embracing the idea of keeping our independence while blending our styles to tell a story in an exciting way, we learned this is something that truly sets us apart. It took a long time for us to see that the only way we’d find success is to stay true to who we are and to walk a different path than other vendors in the industry.

4. Orange September + Casa Roñdena Winery

Vicki and Jerry are known as the powerhouse duo behind both the well-loved wedding venue, Casa Roñdena Wineryand the esteemed event planning company Orange September. Somehow, they manage to balance being business-oriented creatives as well as life partners, while always keeping the focus on their couples and their special day.


5. Photographic Perspectives

So John & I were married in Villanueva, NM (near Pecos) in the same church that my parents were married in and my grand-parents; and it’s in this tradition and roots in New Mexico that reinforces our role as story tellers.  Our families’ roots in New Mexico has taught us to appreciate the traditions passed down in other families, and we always strive to keep these traditions alive in the photos and videos so that they are not lost for the generations that are yet to come.

If we could get married again, I would have loved to have Lupe from Genesis to help me.  Her creativity and knowledge in lighting & décor can transform any location!

Sandra, Photographic Perspectives


6. The View Event Center by Simply Decor & Events

Akshay and Payal, the married couple whose glowing personalities match that of their stunning venue, The View Event Center, do more than just host weddings and events. They first began working together as Simply Decor, and still continue to fabulously furnish the weddings at their modern and metropolitan wedding venue and beyond. With an unmatched eye for beauty, Akshay and Payal not only continuously support each other, but the couples they work with, too.


7. Kayla Kitts Photography

Anyone who’s ever met Dominic know he has the biggest heart – and it definitely shines through on wedding days!  Things can be hectic – but our job is to stay calm and keep others calm, and it never fails that Dominic comes to the rescue with whatever that couple, that family, or that day needs.  Grandma needs help with the door?  He’s on it.  Kiddo needs a funny dance to smile?  Done.  Groom needs a place for all the things before he walks into the ceremony?  You betcha.  Someone needs the shirt off his back?  Sure thing.  He’s a man of his word, a jack of all trades, and absolutely the guy you want by your side on a special day because he’s for sure gonna be there for ya.

We’re so thankful to call this our job!  It’s a dream, with days filled with love and celebration and so many memories – and we’re so honored to be a part of it all!


8. King Mobile Music

Last but certainly not least, a married duo who we rely on several times a year, Brad and Heather King of King Mobile Music. As the emcees and certified fun-masters who make our wedding shows as successful as they are, we can’t recommend them as a team enough. With a smile and a laugh readily available to anyone and everyone who needs it, their levity balances the weight of a busy wedding day or event.


 

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Toby + Dan’s Intimate Santa Fe Wedding [with Kayla Kitts Photography!]

I’d like to say that fate put these two in the same place at the right time.  They met in St Louis, half a world away from Toby’s home.  And there in that city was Dan – and they say they knew right away that it was something special.

Kayla, Kayla Kitts Photography

If you didn’t know already, our little perch in the New Mexico wedding community happens to be right in between local engaged couples and the wedding professionals who serve them. So, luckily for us, we’ve been able to watch some serious magic happen in our desert state. Which, you might be thinking something along the lines of: come on, it’s weddings, love, and celebrations, so of course incredible, heartwarming, and tear-jerking stories come to Perfect Wedding Guide pretty much every day.

But what we want to chat about today is a more subtle kind of magic — like whatever unidentifiable force brought Toby and Dan together, and then together again with Kayla Kitts Photography. Because this trend of somehow managing to find the exact vendors who vibe with a couple’s personality happens all the stinking time here. Is it something in the air, in our Land of Enchantment? Maybe.

Or is it because engaged couples actually have a surprising amount of resources to make connecting with local small businesses who have dedicated their talents to weddings a bit easier? Also maybe. Or perhaps it’s a combination of both, or something else entirely. What matters, and what keeps our heart here in the wedding world of New Mexico, is that it happens so frequently.

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Kayla and her hubby Dominic, of Kayla Kitts Photography, are self-proclaimed belly laughers and people persons, and world renowned rays of sunshine. It’s a simple fact that we’ve all come to know as their photography craft has grown and evolved throughout the years of creative practice. Toby and Dan, two sides of the same coin, have a love grounded in a deep friendship and balanced with a sense of levity and humor. Their beaming smiles and bursts of laughter jump off their wedding photos and it’s not hard to imagine the giggles coming from behind the camera, too.

The collaborative and comfortable way Kayla and Dominic interact with couples and their wedding guests was the perfect approach for Toby and Dan’s intimate celebration in Santa Fe. As a couple of people who feel like your close friends even upon first meeting, we’re sure Toby and Dan’s actual close friends and family welcomed Kayla and Dominic’s presence with open arms. We just feel lucky enough to have lived vicariously through it!

To connect with Kayla Kitts Photography for your wedding or engagement, you can contact Kayla and Dominic here.

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They laughed hard as they told me about Dan “super cheesily” proposing on Valentine’s Day, and looked at each other sweetly as they told me about their special day.  As we sat and sipped coffee and cracked up over and over again, I knew that photographing their wedding was going to be awesome – and it was!

Kayla, Kayla Kitts Photography

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Venue  |  Neptune Gallery and Studio Event Space + Dinner at The Compound Restaurant
Florist  |  Bloomstream Floral
Attire  |  Mr. Tux
Officiant  |  Erin Whitcomb
Cake  |  American Pie Bakery
Ceremony Musician  |  Cello for Weddings
Caterer  |  Walter Burke Catering
Coordinator  |  Lauren Mestas with Just Lovely Wedding + Event Planning

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Blo: Albuquerque’s Fav Blow Dry Bar

When you hear the phrase blow dry bar, your mind might conjure up imagery of 1950’s ladies in pleats and patterns getting blow-outs and blow-drys all in a row. But with just a three letter distinction, the blow dry bar suddenly becomes Blo Blow Dry Bar, and everything changes. Gone are the days of mint green tile and hair as tall as the doorframe. Instead, here among our wedding professionals in Albuquerque, we have sleek edges and minimalist white space with lush, comfortable seating that makes your hair appointment feel more like an appointment in the clouds.

The Bloers, also known as your stylists, have dedicated their nimble fingers to elevating your hair. In height, maybe if that’s what you’re into, but definitely in quality. By using the best quality ingredients paired with their meticulous training, you’d be hard pressed to not feel like your best self coming out of there.

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Which, yes, the focus of your wedding day is love, love, and more love, as you know. But regardless of how deep your love for your partner runs, it’s difficult to focus on anything else when you don’t feel like yourself. With so much to worry about when it comes to planning your wedding day too, the last thing you want to be focus on is a misplaced hair or an updo that doesn’t match your personality. Not to mention the hundreds of photos from your photographer and guests that will memorialize your celebration of love forever.

But don’t worry, and don’t let anyone tell you its vanity. It’s a day you want to remember and revisit fondly, for the rest of your everlasting marriage, so place your beautiful face (and hair!) in the talented hands of beauty professionals you can trust with Blo Blow Dry Bar.

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New Mexico’s Most Loved Bridal Gown Shop

From my first visit, Darlene and her team have been absolutely amazing when it came to helping my find the perfect wedding dress. Not only are they incredibly professional, but they genuinely care about helping you find your dream dress. This has been an amazing experience and I recommend everyone come here, you won’t be disappointed! 

Britney, local bride

Now, despite the fact we, the Perfect Wedding Guide team here in New Mexico, have been working with local engaged couples and the wedding professionals in our state for a long time now, it’s still quite the assumptive leap for us to claim one bridal gown shop as New Mexico’s most loved. Or at least it would be, if we weren’t talking about Bridal Elegance by Darlene. See, with over 30 years of experience, Darlene and her team have the miles of positive reviews, community love, and name recognition needed to qualify as New Mexico’s most loved. It’s really no wonder that they do, either.

Rather than it being a fluke, or stroke of luck, or popularity contest, Bridal Elegance by Darlene has won over the hearts of brides and bridesmaids alike by being exceedingly kind and qualified, and having impeccable gowns. It really is that simple! Because, despite what the fairytales and Hollywood movies might have whispered in your prepubescent ears, choosing a wedding gown isn’t the easiest thing in the world. There’s sizing charts, measurements, fingers getting caught in zippers, giant mirrors for meticulous examinations, sequins in — ahem — interesting places, and more we don’t need to mention because you get the picture, right?

With all that confusion, the kind of people you want by your side teaching you how to bustle and tying up your corset back are the kind of people who really get it. And at Bridal Elegance, they get it. They know the wedding industry, they know their gowns, and they know the process of making this big decision can be overwhelming. With attention and care, the team at Bridal Elegance by Darlene act from this place of knowing, and create an environment for their brides that is so calm and conducive, you do actually get a bit of that fairytale magic. Especially when you find the one.

So yes, these masters of tulle, taffeta, and human kindness have made so many brides, so many bridesmaids, and so many flower girls feel beautiful and comfortable in their own skin that they have been granted the title of New Mexico’s most loved. To commemorate this and the fact we’ve been working with Bridal Elegance by Darlene for over 15 years now — holy moly! — we’ve recapped some of our favorite styled shoots and weddings featuring their gowns below.

Once you’ve been swept up in this local wedding magic, you’ll have no trouble loving Bridal Elegance by Darlene as much as we, and all these local photographers, wedding planners, and decor specialists, do too. You can contact the Bridal Elegance team here to get started on finding your perfect gown.

Picante Passion: A {Super Local} Styled Shoot

Tiffany Burke Events + Tori Photography

 

Sweet Summer Wedding with Kayla Kitts Photography

Kayla Kitts Photography

Bridal elegance by Darlene is by far the best place to find your dreams dress. They’re super professional, they listen to what you’re looking for and find you the most beautiful dress that you can imagine. Every single member of this shop is Extremely knowledgeable and just make it happen for you.

Guadalupe, local bride


Romantic Desert Wedding Inspiration

Briana Nicole Photography

 

From Albuquerque to Iceland: Real Winter Wedding

Maura Jane Photography

Darlene at Bridal Elegance is the best person to see if you want to look and feel your best in your wedding gown. She gives you that personal touch that you won’t get at a chain store. With something for every budget. She listens to what you are imagining for your big day and makes it come to life. Plus, she’s locally owned which is amazing!

Racheal, local bride


Red: A Storybook Styled Shoot

Maura Jane Photography

 

Dramatic New Mexican Skies with Local Wedding Professionals

Photographic Perspectives

 

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5 Venue Shopping Tips From a Venue {Guest Post}

There’s always so much talk of venues in the wedding world, including here with Perfect Wedding Guide. But when it comes to your celebration of love, your venue really is one of the most important items on your planning list — without one, there’s no wedding! Which is why we have Courtney, with Nature Pointe, here to make your venue shopping experience as smooth as can be with some time-tested tips.


5 Venue Shopping Tips

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Hi guys! I hope that you’re day so far has been wonderful. If we haven’t had the pleasure, my name is Courtney Brooks, and I’m the Venue Director at Nature Pointe Weddings and Events. It’s my job to make sure that your wedding planning process is as stress free as possible. 

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T. Rayne Photography

In my opinion, there’s nothing better at combating stress than knowledge. As a Venue Director, I’m here today to share my experiences with you and instill a sense of calm. Here are my 5 venue shopping tips:

1. Wedding Sales Representatives are Not Used Car Salesmen

Please do not let the sales portion of our title scare you. Every Wedding Sales Representative that I’ve worked with in New Mexico has the same goal, and guess what, that goal is not making a sale! Our goal is to make sure that you book the venue that best suits your vision and budget.

What does this mean for you? Be honest with us, talk about your budget, and ask questions even if you think they are silly. Yes, of course we’d love to work with you, but if we aren’t the venue for you, we’ll be honest too.

 

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Nicole Bradshaw Photography

2. Bring a Camera

Most likely you’ll be touring many different wedding venues over several days or even weeks. After all is said and done, it can be hard to recall which venue featured what services. Bringing along a camera will be a tremendous help in recalling the finer details.

 

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3. If Possible, Ask to Walk Around the Venue On Your Own

The first time you walk through a venue it will often be a guided tour. During this time, certain features will be pointed out and you’ll be encouraged to see the building in a particular light. Walking around again gives you the chance to see it for yourself. Ask yourself, “is this where I see myself getting married?”

 

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Matt Blasing Photography

4. Bring Along Your Inspiration

If you have a Pinterest page, saved Google images, or cutouts in bridal magazines bring them along for the tour. Many venues, like Nature Pointe Weddings and Events, can provide or rent centerpieces and décor. Having your inspiration there allows you to ask the representative if they have similar décor on hand and if you can see it.

 

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Nicole Bradshaw Photography

5. Follow Up

This is true of any wedding vendor that you contact. Follow up with them and let them know where you are in the decision making process. We hate to be annoying, but truly don’t know if you are receiving our correspondences and so we reach out several times out of necessity.

 

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Thanks for lending your ear (or in this case your eye) to me for a moment. Keep these tips in mind while shopping around and save yourself some stress!

 

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