New Mexican Elopement with Chrisi K Photography

It’s that time of year in the Perfect Wedding Guide world — at least our corner of it — when the excitement of the holidays has passed, and the ethereality of spring hasn’t yet come. The magic never really subsides here though, because tiding us over between these two time markers is the new edition of our magazine finally coming to fruition! If you followed along for the thrill and apprehension of our Front Cover Contest on Instagram, then you know, too, that this spring’s print guide is going to be more beautiful, more inspirational, and more serviceable than ever before.

We spent some time a couple weeks ago falling in love with Caitlin + Justin, the stunning couple whose photo was in our top three finalists for the Front Cover Contest. We’d be absolutely remiss if we didn’t give a little TLC to our other finalists, Abby + Tyler, and their New Mexican elopement that warmed our hearts so much, it was a health hazard. Which, of course, comes as no surprise, considering Chrisi K Photography was there to work her camera mastery for every step of the day.

Opening up the celebration at the Inn of the Turquoise Bear, Abby + Tyler got oh so pretty in preparation for the next step of their lives together. It was there that they shared their first look, spinning around and marveling at one another, before heading to the destination of their elopement ceremony: Jemez Springs.

Now, Abby + Tyler are actually from Ohio. They flew in all the way from the midwest to our little slice of southwestern heaven to commemorate the beginning of their life as husband and wife here, in New Mexico. But against the backdrop of Jemez’s signature red clay, Abby + Tyler glowed with such obvious joy, it was as if they had been here and with one another for many lifetimes.

There, they shared their vows with one another, framed by the natural beauty of our desert, and stepped into their next chapter together.

It was beautiful, raw, and emotional. I’m so honored I got to document it all. My heart is full!

-Chrisi, Chrisi K Photography

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Albuquerque Wedding Planner Spotlight: NJR Event Planning

Whether you’ve been carefully crafting a collection of Pinterest boards (plural) dedicated to your upcoming wedding, or you’re hoping to leave the details of the day up to fate — every newlywed-to-be could use a hand with the whole process. Though we are lucky to be living in the digital age, so a healthy portion of your research, planning, and booking can happen from the comfort of your couch, if you so prefer. But that approach only works if you have the gaps of free time in your schedule to whip out your binders, highlighters, and snacks, to truly settle into the grind of planning a wedding all by your lonesome.

And if you’re like basically anyone in the year of 2019, though, you probably don’t have the luxurious option of scheduling a few days a week to calling and meeting DJs, florists, invitation companies, and the like. But you do have other options, and we’re sure you know where we’re going with this. Hire a local wedding planner!

(Specifically, NJR Event Planning.)

For nearly 3 decades, Naomi — the creative powerhouse behind NJR Event Planning — has been taking the inklings of dreams, and turning them into realities for New Mexico engaged couples. Her design expertise has weathered the storm through many a trend: cupcake-ballgowns, burlap + lace, bolero tops (Google it), puffed sleeves, etc…. Classic and modern though, the inherent talent of the NJR Event Planning team continues to evolve, meeting the needs of our generations respective trends like it’s second nature.

Luckily, as always, you don’t just have to take our word for it. It’s true we love NJR Event Planning because we’ve had the opportunity to work with Naomi for years, and can happily vouch for her expertise. But just to instill some additional confidence in our recommendation, come swoon with us over this perfectly articulated wedding shot by Alicia Lucia Photography.

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ABQ BioPark: Outdoor Engagement Session in New Mexico

Because we, your entirely devoted Perfect Wedding Guide team in New Mexico, have uniquely positioned ourselves between the local wedding community, and Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s beautiful engaged couples, we kinda get the best of both worlds. We get to support small businesses, and keep the state’s eclectic market thriving through all our dutifully tended-to platforms. And, we get to offer relief, not resistance, for couples in the midst of wedding planning — humbly gifting them everything from online tools and contact info for local professionals, to extravagant, IRL (in real life) wedding shows, to our adorable, purse-sized print magazine.

Not gonna lie, we LOVE doing it, especially that last part. Our magazine, which we build by hand and print locally twice a year, is chock full of tips, tricks, coupons, goodies, and giveaways. The best part of all of it, though, are the love stories and inspiring photos that fill the pages with — yes, eye candy — but most importantly, local inspiration from real people.

And real couples like Meriah + Daniel! We’re eternally grateful that the local couple decided to go with Matt Blasing Photography for their engagement session, or we might not be here falling in love with their photos right now. Matt Blasing Photography has won our PWG Elite Award for Best Photographer for like, the last thousand years, and it’s no wonder why. Matt + Amy‘s vivid and authentic photography style never strays from excellence, and the warm hearts of the husband-wife duo win over everyone who meets them. (Just read their reviews, if you don’t believe us.)

Shooting at the ABQ BioPark, too, the forever adventurous and outdoorsy couple perfectly mirrored the natural vibes of the local treasure. Rugged, and intrinsically New Mexican, the couple’s personalities and love story emanate from their session, and we can’t get enough.

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Santa Fe Celebration: Real Wedding with Maura Jane Photography

Well, well, well, another successful Front Cover Contest has come and gone yet again! Hopefully you’ve been keeping up with the competition via our Instagram, but if not, then have no fear. We offer local wedding professionals the opportunity to have their image featured on over 12,000 copies of our print magazine every year, twice a year. ‘Cause we love y’all like that.

This year was, by far, one of the most difficult go-arounds of the contest yet. Local photographers, wedding planners, videographers, and more sent in their strongest image, and we were totally blown away. With so many different styles and preferences on our team, nailing down our 3 finalists took longer than we’d like to admit. When we saw the gorgeous submission from Maura Jane Photography, though, we all nodded in solidarity. The ethereal, yet timeless photograph checked all our boxes: super unique, super New Mexican, and super, duper, unbelievably dreamy.

Caitlin + Justin, the newlyweds that we mistakenly took for models at first, grabbed our intrigue with the obvious love they have for one another. It nearly jumps off their wedding photos, and Maura Jane Photography captured the essence of their celebration to a stunning degree of accuracy. When Maura shared the details of their love story with us, too, we were absolutely sold, and knew we had to pass on the madly-in-love vibes to our fellow wedding nerds.

Without further adieu, Caitlin + Justin, as captured by one of Albuquerque’s favorite wedding photographers, Maura Jane Photography.

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Caitlin and Justin met within their first month of medical school. It wasn’t that hard to find the time to fall for each other as they shared classes, tutoring groups, and studied together. Years later, Justin planned a weekend trip for Caitlin at a vineyard.  During their walk they ‘”found” a large heart on the ground made of flower petals, (Arranged by his family in advance.) and this is where Justin got down on one knee.  They started medical school by finding each other, and they were going to end it by getting married.

Maura, Maura Jane Photography

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Caitlin and Justin chose to mix a classic and elegant style with a nod to hispanic culture. Since their wedding day landed on Cinco De Mayo, they made sure to add accents of bright warm florals, have a piñata for the kids, and serve margaritas and tacos. Inspired by the history of New Mexico, they gifted their bridal party beautiful turquoise cufflinks and necklaces, in homage to The City Different.

Maura, Maura Jane Photography

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The bouquets by Bloomstream matched the coral bridesmaid dresses perfectly. Caitlin wore her late grandmother’s Tiffany necklace, and earrings gifted to her by Justin’s mother, as she stunned everyone walking down the aisle in her elegant lace gown. Later guests enjoyed themselves to a traditional New Mexico dinner while sipping champagne and wishing the couple well wishes.

Maura, Maura Jane Photography

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Venue: Gerald Peters Gallery
Planner:  Just Lovely Weddings
Hair and Make Up: Madeline McCue Makeup
Dress Store: Julian Gold
Dress Designer: Christos Bridal
Tuxes: The Black Tux
Cake: ABC Cakes

Casa Perea Art Space: Historic Adobe Abode Spotlight

Let’s take a moment on this lovely morning to stop, breathe, and flex our brain’s inherent storytelling abilities. You are hereby given permission to pause whatever work you’re doing to indulge in the following: Imagine your wedding guests, many of whom will have traveled far and wide for your celebration, being greeted by your venue with a bubbling fountain, the comforting sight of traditional adobe, and a luscious garden of fruit trees, sweet-smelling herbs, and wildflowers. Sounds lovely, right? It gets better.

Casa Perea Art Space, established in the 19th century by the Perea family, is so excellently preserved, the State Register of Cultural Properties describes the wedding venue as an apt example of New Mexico Territorial Architecture. Beyond its fountain and wrought iron gates lies a 100-foot-long pergola, crawling with trumpet vines, climbing roses, and the ever-fantastical wisteria.

Within the adobe abode, the Casa Perea team describes the space as “New Mexican and Spanish Colonial antiques that evoke historic New Mexico architecture and style.” Which, if you know anything about the Perfect Wedding Guide team, then you know we go absolutely nuts for everything traditional New Mexico. Casa Perea Art Space might be the most historical New Mexican venue too, considering the fact it served as the Sandoval County Courthouse following our home’s statehood in 1912. We only freaked out a little bit when we found that out. Or maybe a lot.

There’s nothing to fear for engaged couples though, the venue is used only for romantic courting now. With every inch of the space already carefully cultivated by hand, minimal additional decor is required, especially if your desires are centered around incorporating your home state’s rich cultural history into your celebration — which we highly recommend.

To book Casa Perea Art Space for your wedding celebration, you can contact their team here. In the meantime, feel free to extend the dream and swoon over this styled shoot from Tiffany Burke Events + Carissa and Ben Photography at the historical venue.

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Pastel Perfection: Real Wedding with Chrisi K Photography

Perhaps we use the adjective perfect a little bit too frequently…But we are the Perfect Wedding Guide, after all! Plus, every wedding that graces our pages, both print and digital, was conceptualized and executed to perfection. But don’t let that fact dilute the word, because Aja + Johnny’s celebration of love was — yes we’re going to use it again — absolutely perfect.

When we say perfect, we don’t necessarily mean without hitch or hiccup as the traditional definition would suggest. Anyone whose been to a wedding, whether attending as a guest or collaborating as a vendor, knows that no celebration so large, so detailed happens without a few little bumps. Especially when a healthy number of family members are gathered in one place, if you know what we mean. What makes weddings like Aja + Johnny’s perfect is their persistence.

Despite the hours of calling, researching, and booking local wedding professionals, despite New Mexican weather that stays finicky all year long, despite all the budgeting, the love persists. Because the love between Aja + Johnny is bigger than any wedding-related trial or triumph — it steadfastly remains the focal point of their celebration, no matter the circumstance. We’re lucky Chrisi K Photography was there to capture this facet of their love, and ensure every detail was solidified in memory for their lifetime. Because, well, their life together as husband and wife began on this glorious and bright summer day, but the love that brought them there had already been existing and persisting all the while.

And, as if this simple truth didn’t make their wedding day perfect enough already, the couple truly slayed the summer wedding palette, and incorporated some of the most darling details we’ve seen to date. From the paper parasols to shade their guests from the New Mexican sun, to the adorable and surprisingly realistic succulent cupcakes, to the buoyantly cheerful bouquets of rose that complimented the bridesmaids donned in ethereal pastel. Aja + Johnny cared for every detail of their wedding day, and Chrisi K Photography cared for every moment.

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2018 Four Seasons Connection Luncheon Recap

Okay, so maybe we’re a bit nostalgic, but is that so wrong? Especially since we’re only a few days into 2019, and here in New Mexico, 2018 was one of Perfect Wedding Guide‘s best years yet. We had wedding shows, luncheons, and parties galore, plus relationship building, contest-throwing, giant giveaways, and more. The only way to rectify our desperate reminiscing is to start look eagerly toward our upcoming events, which we’re definitely doing, don’t get us wrong.

But before we jump ahead, we have to spend at least a moment discussing the experience of our Four Seasons Connection Luncheon that was in December of 2018. Because that’s exactly what it was — an experience. Four Season‘s unparalleled elegance, the crisp, clean air of Santa Fe, and Alena Bard LLC.‘s wisdom all combined to create a truly moving afternoon.

Lucky for us, Keara Lloyd Photography was there to capture every moment, too, from the first course to the last lingering conversation. The former being, if you can believe it, warm quail on a bed of roasted fennel salad, decorated with a complimentary beet puree, roasted almonds, and white balsamic glazed blueberries. Then came the duel entrees: slow braised short ribs with green chile mashed potato, and chorizo and macadamia roasted Chilean sea bass.

Accompanying every bite was a light and refreshing sparkling wine that prepared the palette for our team’s personal favorite, the dessert: strawberry trifle with sponge cake, vanilla and Chantilly cream. The only thing that rivaled the dessert’s sweetness was the absolute treat of hearing local wedding planner Alena Bard LLC. share her knowledge to the group of local business owners. She talked finding your purpose, holding onto it, and weaving passion and self-compassion into your business practices. We walked away feeling filled to the brim with inspiration and delectable cuisine.

The best part of being positioned between local engaged couples and the businesses who serve them is being able to spoil both parties. For our engaged couples, it’s through our giveaways, wedding shows, online tools, print guide, etc., etc., etc. And for the local wedding professionals, who work so hard to elevate and evolve Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s market, it’s through indulgent, invigorating, innovative days like this.

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