5 Hidden Wedding Venue Gems in New Mexico

The wonderful thing about our state is that it never ceases to amaze all of those who visit – particularly those who are planning a wedding and are looking for that special place to say “I do”. There is no doubt that every turn there is something exciting to be discovered, and we, your Perfect Wedding Guide team, are here to help you cultivate every element of your New Mexico wedding while you sit back, relax, and enjoy a warm cup of coffee.

It turns out that New Mexico is actually the place where history, landscape, and culture collide, which makes for the most stunning of weddings. Our fellow wedding planners picked the best spot to call their home base, and we did too. With such vast landscapes and the perfect weather year-round, the possibilities are endless. Want to plan an outdoor wedding in the winter? No problem. Want a private and beautiful spot to elope in the desert? No problem. Our wedding vendors know New Mexico and weddings like Taylor Swift knows heartbreak. Yeah, they’re that good.

As a group of “love” fangirls, we pretty much obsess over anything wedding related. But when it comes to hidden gems and unique venue locations, we can’t even begin to explain how thrilled we are – and we are even more thrilled that we get to share our fave spots with you. Ready to find and book your favorite hidden gem wedding venue? Keep reading below!

1. Casa Perea Art Space

Via Casa Perea Art Space
Maura Jane Photography

We adore this spot not only because of how picture perfect it is, but also because the space indulges all of the senses. From scenic gardens, to the smell of herbs and florals growing in the surrounding area… Everything. Is. Perfect.

2. Europa

Via Perfect Wedding Guide
Stills by Gerard

Nestled in the heart of Los Lunas, this venue takes farm-to-table to a new level. With acres of land and rustic farmhouse vibes, Europa is the most unique and charming little spot just outside of Albuquerque. There are both indoor and outdoor venue options so that you can enjoy what they have to offer year-round!

3. Hacienda Doña Andrea

Via Hacienda Doña Andrea
Lauren Cherie Photography

From these pictures alone, you can understand why we love this place so much. The adobe and architecture already feels like New Mexico, and to top it off, you could have the whole thing to yourself and your wedding party. You heard correctly, this romantic venue is a private estate where your wedding dreams come true.

4. Nature Pointe

Kevin’s Photography

We are a little biased because we happen to love the scenery of the outdoors here in New Mexico, so of course we would try to find a little gem that showcases Mother Nature. Aside from the natural beauty of Tijeras, New Mexico, this venue also offers a wide range of services to help make your day stress-free!

5. UNM Alumni Memorial Chapel

Maura Jane Photography
Chrisi K Photography

Some people might say this gem isn’t really hidden, but being tucked behind trees on the University of New Mexico campus, we think it deserves a little spotlight. This beautiful chapel was built in 1962 to honor alumni who lost their lives in line of duty has become the gathering place for renewals, memorials, and weddings.

7 of New Mexico’s Best Entertainment Experts

You know that classic saying, “it’s all about the music”? When it comes to your wedding, this statement couldn’t be more true. With the rise of technology, we have so many options when it comes to picking some tunes. Between customizable Spotify playlists and YouTube music stations, it’s so hard to say no to these easy and budget-friendly alternatives.

If you’re on the fence about which option is best, we’re going to help you out—you absolutely should book a local entertainment expert. Here’s why:

You’ll get a genuine and authentic experience. Not only are these local musicians and disc jockeys well seasoned in their craft, but they also know how to throw together one heck of a show. For the bride and groom looking for that authentic New Mexican experience—or even simply a classic, yet genuine, performance to make your wedding more elegant, you’ve come to the right place.

You won’t break the bank. With such a wide variety of vendors to showcase, you’re sure to find one that fits your wedding day budget. It is always good to remember that you are hiring an entertainment expert. These are folks who have been working in the industry for a long time and are sure to make your big day the most memorable day of your lives, and that itself is priceless!

Your wedding will be completely unique. From the gown to the venue, every bride and groom has their own personal touch to add to their wedding, and the music shouldn’t be the exception. By choosing a local entertainment expert you get to be in control of the look, the feel, and the mood of the day. You can work closely with the musician or DJ to make sure that all of your favorite songs and sounds will be implemented into the ceremony and reception. 

You don’t have to worry about anything. Seriously. Your job is to have a great time while the professionals handle everything. There’s no need to worry about that playlist glitching halfway through the ceremony because you’ll be in good hands. Now that should be music to your ears!

Whether you want a live accompaniment while you walk down the aisle or a reception DJ that makes your guests get up from their tables and dance, we can’t think of a better way to help those dreams come to life than to provide you with New Mexico’s greatest entertainment professionals.

1. Complete Weddings + Events

Working with Complete was as easy as you could possibly want when planning this stressful event. Justin sat down with us, heard our wants and requests, and paired us with a fantastic DJ and videographer who met our needs perfectly. Both David (our DJ) and Minh (our videographer) met with and developed a relationship with us beforehand to make sure they had an exact idea of our vision for our wedding day. We would definitely recommend Complete to anyone looking for a hassle free wedding experience!

– Sanae, Bride

2. Cutmaster Music

We chose Chris from Cutmaster Music to be our DJ at our reception. And I must say, he was worth every penny! Chris kept us on schedule and got all our guests hyped for our entrance! He then made our first dance extremely special by asking our guests to come stand around the dance floor. 

– Amanda, Local Bride

3. King Mobile Music

Brad King might very likely be the best DJ in Albuquerque, and you would be silly not to book him if you have the chance. My fiance and I met with Brad through a recommendation from our photographer because we had mentioned that our dream wedding reception was A LOT of fun and a had every guest dancing. Let me tell you, Brad delivered.

– Kayla, Local Bride

4. Cello for Weddings

Ryan’s talent, demeanor, and musical talent was the cherry on top of the most perfect day. My husband and I live in Seattle and had a destination wedding in Santa Fe, NM. Working with Ryan was the easiest part of the planning. By request, he played a beautiful cello compilation of my favorite Yanni song- a song which had deep meaning to both me and my dad. The song gave me absolute chills and caused my dad to burst into tears. I gave Ryan very little direction and trusted his experience and understanding. He showcased his talent and expertise in his field effortlessly.

– Briana, Bride

5. Absolute Entertainment

Soulstice was incredible, reliable, trustworthy, and in control. When our venue experienced a few hiccups during our wedding, Vicky grabbed the microphone and was to the rescue, improvising without anybody knowing. They are the best band in Santa Fe, by far, recommended everywhere.

– Heather, Local Bride

6. John P. Martinez, Guitarist Extrordinaire

John played for our daughter’s wedding. He is an amazing guitarist. Our outdoor wedding ended up with last minute rearrangements to indoor, very tight space. John had learned new music for the processional that ended up being the shortest processional ever and he had to sit in a tiny corner. None the less, the ceremony guitar music was beautiful and the cocktail hour music was great and fun.

– Dana, Mother of the Bride

7. Musicology DJ and Events

We booked Musicology for our wedding, after seeing them at a bridal show they put on (which was awesome in and of itself) and we couldn’t be happier that we did! Laura and Eliot were extremely helpful from the very beginning. We started talking about what we are looking at in terms of songs way ahead of the wedding. They’re really great at suggesting songs (their song library is huge, they have everything!)

– Kelly, Local Bride

The Big Fake Wedding

It’s no secret that when small businesses in New Mexico come together magic happens. We, your dutiful Perfect Wedding Guide team, have seen it with our own eyes time and time again. From local styled shoots straight from heaven, to real weddings that make large-scale celebrations seem effortless, to the all-out fantastical displays resurrected from dust in mere minutes at our wedding shows – you don’t have to sell us on New Mexico wedding professionals. We’re already straight up fangirls.

So when we caught wind that The Big Fake Wedding would be venturing out to our southwestern state, it came as no surprise. The traveling wedding show has been garnering popularity since they first got their start in 2008, and the landscapes alone make New Mexico an easy sell. Not to mention, The Big Fake Wedding is an alternative to the wedding shows we know and love, which offers our community something new to reinvigorate the wedding planning process.

By arranging their event to mimic an actual wedding, the attendees – who were local engaged couples – got to sit in on The Big Fake Wedding as if they were actual wedding guests. With a stunning stand-in bridal party and every detail planned meticulously, the engaged couples who participated got to sit back and watch the magic happen in real time.

https://www.perfectweddingguide.com/listing/cloak-photography-178247/
Cloak Photography

As time drew nearer for the event to take place, it became clear that it was going to be something truly special. Each local business that decided to commit to collaborating on this project had already proved themselves as dedicated and creative wedding professionals. Knowing that businesses like The Cake Boutique –who would be crafting up something spectacular to look at and eat – and For the Love of Flowers with their renowned floral artistry, would be there? And it was going to be at one of our absolute favorite venues, Nature Pointe? Well, we were nearly bursting at the seams with excitement by the time the day arrived.

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Bri-lliancy Photography

We’d like to say the day was exactly as wonderful as we’d imagine it would be, but we have to be honest. No matter the prep, no matter the insider knowledge we had about the event, and no matter the counting down the days, nothing could have properly prepared us for how lovely The Big Fake Wedding actually was.

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Alysha Lee Photography
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Cloak Photography
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Cloak Photography

And of course, now that the time has passed, words fail us as well. Only photos from local wedding photographers like Cloak Photography, Bri-lliancy Photography, and Alysha Lee Photography could capture the magic that we knew was coming, but still exceeded our expectations. We are still officially in awe.

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Bri-lliancy Photography
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Bri-lliancy Photography
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Bri-lliancy Photography
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Cloak Photography
Venue: Nature Pointe
Music: Cello for weddings/Ryan Smith Cello Music
Cake: The Cake Boutique
Floral: For the Love of Flowers
Floral Wall: Wall of Enchantment
Balloon Décor: On the Rise Balloon Shop
Hair & Makeup: Genica Lee, MUA
Bridesmaids Dresses: Azazie
Rings: Hitched (Groom) & Ooh! Aah! Jewelry (Bride)
Design: Casi Sueno Weddings & Events, My Beloved Vintage Rentals
Photography: Cloak Photography, Bri-lliancy Photography, Alysha Lee Photography
Photo Booth: Magic Mirror
Event Coordination: Black Bow Events
Décor+Signage: Letters & Such
Bar + Mixology: ABQ Barkeeps
Bridal Gown: Renee’s Bridal

Featured header photo is by Cloak Photography

All other lovely vendors can be found here.

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Albuquerque’s 6 Best Ballrooms

When outdoor weddings first started gaining popularity several years ago, no one in New Mexico was surprised. Why wouldn’t we, especially here in our home state, have outdoor weddings?! With a myriad of differing landscapes — all responsible for inspiring countless artists — and a mild, predictable desert climate, there’s not much else you need for a fantastic al fresco celebration here.

Even with all the perks and predictability though, New Mexico isn’t immune to the forces of nature. It’s true our springs are a bit windy, and yes, temperatures do drop in the evenings and during the winter months. So while barnyard, fresh field, and riverside weddings stayed in vogue, the quiet and classic champion of weddings — ballrooms! — persisted.

And thank goodness they did! The timeless elegance of a grand ballroom has come back en vogue, and the indoor spaces across Albuquerque still stand proudly. Hosting receptions, ceremonies, and celebrations of all kinds, the ballrooms in our city easily make all who enter forget about the world outside their doors. With the comfort and ease of an indoor space with dedicated event staff, a hefty amount of wedding-day jitters and stress can be relieved as well.

So for the winter weddings, urban vibes, and modern brides alike, we’ve compiled 6 of Albuquerque’s most loved indoor ballroom spaces. While varying decor and aesthetics differentiate these local wedding venues, the uniting factor between all 6 is their impeccable attention to detail and on-staff wedding experts available for each celebration. You can’t go wrong!

1. Isleta Resort & Casino

Alicia Lucia Photography

See more of what Isleta Resort has to offer for engaged couples here!

 

2. Albuquerque Sheraton Uptown

The Youngrens Photography

See more of what Sheraton Uptown has to offer for engaged couples here!

 

3. Embassy Suites

Photography by Patti Cooke and Francisco Roybal

See more of what Embassy Suites has to offer for engaged couples here!

 

4. Sandia Casino and Resort

Matt Blasing Photography

See more of what Sandia Casino & Resort has to offer for engaged couples here!

 

5. Hyatt Regency Downtown 

Briana Nicole Photography

See more of what Hyatt Regency Downtown has to offer for engaged couples here!

 

6. Hotel Andaluz

Tori Photography 

See more of what Hotel Andaluz has to offer for engaged couples here!

 

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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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Wedding Venue Hotspots in New Mexico {Part Two!}

Yep, it’s back already! If you missed our first round, you’ll definitely want to pop on over to the Wedding Venue Hotspots, Part One post. If you didn’t miss it, then we’re sure you’re on the edge of your seat for this post, just like we are! The variety of venues, vibes, and values available makes the New Mexico wedding-space scene one of our favorite sources of inspiration. From traditional adobe and colorful cathedrals, to modern farmhouses and rugged rail yards, the options are endless here.

Then, as you might imagine, trying to choose only 18 of our top wedding ceremony and reception venues seemed nearly impossible! Luckily, from our little perch here in the local wedding community, we’ve been able to cultivate awesome business friendships with the creative teams who run wedding venues in New Mexico. So it actually turned out to be pretty easy to choose, considering all of our favorites also have staffs who are dedicated to excellence, and stellar reputations to precede them.

Enough with the flattery though, let’s jump back into our curated list!

Hacienda Dona Andrea

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Shayla Edenfield Photography

Hacienda Dona Andrea is nestled in the hills 25 miles outside of Santa Fe and one of the hottest, and most private, spots to get married in New Mexico. The 13,000 square-foot old-world estate offers glowing mountain views, ceremony and reception spaces. Their nine deluxe bedrooms allow for up to 30 of your closest family and friends to stay with you while making lifelong memories during your special weekend. The hacienda is rented exclusively to one party at a time. Couples can plan their wedding their way with chairs, tables, and tableware rentals onsite and free choice of outside vendors. You get your wedding and the whole hacienda, too.

 

Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town

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Blue Rose Photography

Whether it’s a magnificent formal reception or an intimate outdoor event, Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town offers a flexible and elegant array of wedding and reception spaces that can fulfill your vision. The property has more than 62,000 sq. ft. of event space, including two state-of-the-art grand ballrooms and gracefully landscaped gardens with fountains, rose arbors, lawn courts, and a Victorian-style pavilion. The centerpiece of Hotel Albuquerque is the 19th-century style non-denominational chapel, San Isidro de Capilla, which seats 156 guests under a soaring vaulted beam ceiling. Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town’s memorable settings are the perfect backdrop for your dream wedding.

 

Hotel Chaco

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Emily Joanne Wedding Films & Photography 

Albuquerque’s newest luxury hotel, Hotel Chaco, offers spectacular panoramic views of the Sandia Mountains, downtown Albuquerque, and historic Old Town. Designed by the world renowned architectural firm, Gensler, the uniquely contemporary spaces are perfect for intimate and grand events. The Terrace Suite is ideal for a grand outdoor event and the serene courtyard and gardens are perfect for a quaint wedding ceremony, with additional ceremony space available at the adjacent Hotel Albuquerque at Old town. This exciting space is unlike any rooftop ceremony and reception venue in Albuquerque. 

 

Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces

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Lauren’s Photography

Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces has a Spanish and Mexican Colonial ambiance and offers couples sophisticated wedding venues. Up to 500 guests can be accommodated in the tasteful San Andreas Ballroom, while the smaller San Rafael Ballroom can fit up to 200. Weddings can also be held at one of the several beautiful outdoor spaces, with palm trees, fountains, and colorful flowers. The events lawn, adjacent to the elegant pool, the Jardín Sagrado Event Garden, and the stylish Azul Lounge patio are all perfect for receptions and ceremonies. The unique settings at Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces feature old world charm with modern amenities to make your special day perfect and memorable. 

 

Hyatt Regency Downtown Albuquerque

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Briana Nicole Photography

Hyatt Regency downtown Albuquerque is a historically urban venue for your wedding ceremony and reception. Our Whyte Room is a blank canvas to design your dream ceremony or reception. Experience our unique ABQ, city-vibe with a touch of contemporary, and a dash of elegance…all that’s left is your signature. 

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Dramatic New Mexican Skies with Local Wedding Professionals

Like all our favorite things — wine, cheese, Golden Girls reruns — the Perfect Wedding Guide Diamond Dash just continues to get better with age. Which, if you happened to catch any of our stories or posts from Sunday on social media, you’ll know it was one for the books! The energy and liveliness of the wedding show paralleled no other, and left us feeling inspired, reinvigorated, and so grateful to be a part of the local wedding community here in Albuquerque + Santa Fe.

With another round of wedding shows down for the entire year as well, we can’t help but to reflect on what made 2018 so spectacular. For us, it was undoubtedly the wedding professionals, like the ones who brought their A-game to the Diamond Dash, who we have the chance to support and be supported by. Being members of the New Mexico Wedding Professionals, or NMWP for short, is just one of the ways we get to do so, by working with and for the small businesses owners who make up the group of experts.

And when we say experts, we mean it. Florists, officiants, venues, photographers — if you can name it, there’s a dedicated member of NMWP who can do it. So when this styled shoot came to fruition from their wedding-obsessed minds, we were absolutely swooning.

With the stage set at The View Event Center — whose booth at the Diamond Dash was gorgeous, by the way — Kevin’s Photography captured the urban magic of the venue perfectly. Charlotte’s Flowers, one of the many talented wedding veterans of Albuquerque + Santa Fe, arranged the gorgeous modern bouquets, while Bridal Elegance by Darlene and Suits Unlimited outfitted the couple.

We had a wonderful time capturing the essence of a wedding day at this beautiful venue! The eclectic decor was a perfect setting for the elegant styles of the bridal outfits and flowers, each working together for a unique photo shoot every bride dreams of. The dramatic New Mexico skies presented a perfect background for this couple from the wrap around balcony overlooking the picturesque city of Albuquerque! Appreciation to all who participated in sharing their time and talents.

Kevin, Kevin’s Photography

We second that Kevin! So much appreciation to all who participated in the styled shoot, and continue to serve local, engaged couples with their wedding expertise and industry knowledge.

 

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Concept: New Mexico Wedding Professionals

Venue: The View Event Center

Photographer: Kevin’s Photography

Florals: Charlotte’s Flowers

Decor: Simply Decor & Events

Bridal Gown: Bridal Elegance by Darlene

Men’s Attire: Suits Unlimited

Officiant: Amor Ceremonies

Hair + Makeup: Bliss Salon & Spa

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