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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The Sweetest Day: Dennis + Michelle’s Real Wedding

Just a few months ago, as spring was beginning it’s transition into yet another sunny New Mexican summer, a parallel transition was happening at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Albuquerque. Michelle + Dennis, whose love began a long time ago, ushered in the evolution of their relationship from fiancées to newlyweds, while framed by the pristine, white chapel at the Hyatt Regency.

There to capture the once-in-a-lifetime moment was Albuquerque’s very own, Bryan’s Photography, and we’re so glad. Michelle + Dennis have a love story that matches their wedding — timeless, exuberant, elegantly celebratory — and with Bryan’s Photography there to preserve each special moment in time, we’re able to relive the joyous occasion as if we were there with the couple.

Though the details of the wedding — splashes of gold, luxurious white bouquets, full-bellied laughter, undeniable fun — jump out from the photos, perhaps the most endearing and inspiring part of Dennis + Michelle’s story is exactly that: their story. Which, luckily for us, Michelle wrote about for our Fall/Winter edition of the Perfect Wedding Guide magazine, and now, we get to share with you!

Scroll on to read about how Dennis + Michelle came to be husband and wife {spoiler, it’s incredible} and to contact the local wedding professionals who made their celebration possible. {Spoiler, they’re also incredible.}

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Dennis and I dated 14 years ago, and when we realized that fate had brought us back together after a long journey of searching for that happiness that people so rarely find, we knew it had to be special. We wanted to host an evening of fun and elegance for our friends and family to celebrate our reunion and our love. The Hyatt Regency Downtown was the perfect venue for our ceremony and reception, providing a backdrop of modern elegance. Nothing spoke to our dream wedding more than the classics like the black tux with bow tie and stunning décor. We kept it modern and trendy by incorporating items like ahi poke (a tribute to our favorite place Kauai), champagne Jello squares studded with flecks of 14k gold and a casino night, making the evening uniquely us! It was very important to me to bring on my very own “dream team” of wedding professionals that I have had the pleasure of working with for several years. The evening was exactly how I imagined, it was full of love, laughter and the beginning of my life with the man that I know I am meant to be with.

-Michelle, Bride

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Venue: Hyatt Regency Albuquerque

Photographer: Bryan’s Photography

Bridal Gown: Suzanne’s Bridal

Bridesmaids Dresses: Bridal Elegance by Darlene

Men’s Attire: Mr. Tux Formalwear

Jewelry: Shelton Jewelers

Flowers: Something Special with Flowers

Décor: Occasion Services and Events

Wedding Cake: Casey Trent

DJ: Complete Weddings + Events

Photobooth: ABQ Amusements

Lighting: Heritage Audio Visual

Casino Night Vendor: On the Go Casino

Reception Place Cards: Differently Designed

 

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Best Outdoor Venues in Albuquerque

Here’s the thing about New Mexico: it’s very easy to forget how lucky we are living in this state, especially when it comes to the weather. {Yes, we know it’s been pretty toasty lately, but take a trip somewhere a little closer to sea level and you’ll be missing the dry heat, we promise.}

It’s true that our lovely desert climate — minus the windy spring season — is relatively mild all year long.  Even when it rains, seasoned New Mexicans rest assured knowing it’ll only last 5 minutes, 10 maximum. Which, obviously, makes this state one of the best places for an outdoor wedding! If we had to guess, that’s probably why we’re blessed with so many options for outdoor ceremony and reception venues.

How do you choose though, when they’re all so lovely? Well, research of course. But even then, sometimes a venue seems perfect on screen, but might not measure up in person. Which is why we took the liberty of choosing five of our favorites to showcase here, for you. While there are many more incredible venues in New Mexico aside from these five, these are venues we’ve visited, spent time in, and even hosted events in some! So we can say, with the utmost confidence, that these venues will not disappoint.

{Plus we thew in some of the always invaluable reviews + opinions from local brides too, just in case you need a little extra assurance.}


Casa Rondeña

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Casa Rondeña, a gorgeous and fully-functional winery in the heart of the South Valley, has more charm than you’d think even possible for just one venue. With indoor spaces available as well, the possibilities for indoor-outdoor receptions and ceremonies are {almost} endless!

The venue is absolutely gorgeous, and though we don’t have our professional pictures back, even the pictures our guests took are breathtaking. They went on Facebook where everyone just oohed and aahed over how gorgeous the lawn of the 1629 Club is, and how beautifully everything reflects off the water there.

-Heather, bride

For availability at Casa Rondeña, you can book the venue here.


Prairie Star

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Maura Jane Photography

Prairie Star, you beautiful venue, you! The serenity at this venue is very much unrivaled, as the space is nestled in the quiet of the Santa Ana Pueblo and is surrounded by rolling hills of lush greenery. Punctuating the property is the proud adobe mansion, whose regality is also unparalleled.

I choose this venue mostly for the scenery. When I found it, I fell in love. Even better, it’s so reasonably priced compared to other venues. I received so many compliments on the location, it was beautiful. […] I am so incredibly glad I found this place and got to have my ceremony and reception here. Also, it’s very convenient to have a place where you can have the ceremony outside and reception inside!

-Alexandria, bride

For availability at Prairie Star, you can book the venue here.


Hacienda Dona Andrea

Ashley Davis Photography
Ashley Davis Photography

Honestly, of all the venues in all the world, Hacienda Dona Andrea just might be the most romantic. With old-world vibes, hand-crafted details, and stunning views, this venue is a perfectly secluded escape from reality for you and your soon-to-be spouse.

The place decorates itself – the architecture is southwestern and unique. the views are gorgeous and the place is perfectly secluded, yet there is still access to the funky little town of Madrid close by. We couldn’t have picked a better spot for our intimate family wedding. The team at the Hacienda made planning from a distance very easy for us and we were well taken care of. We are truly so happy with our choice to get married at Hacienda Dona Andrea!

-Alexis, bride

For availability at Hacienda Dona Andrea, you can book the venue here.


El Monte Sagrado

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Chrisi K Photography

Oh, El Monte Sagrado, where to even begin? Photos of the property showcase quite clearly how venerable and awe-inspiring the trees and scenery of the property truly are, but trust us when we say, it’s even better in person. See more from this darling real wedding here.

Honestly, I didn’t know places like this still existed. Besides El Monte Sagrado being breathtakingly beautiful, the customer service was out of this world. I had my wedding here at the beginning of the year and everyone at the resort made sure that my family, friends, husband and I had everything we needed!

-Jillian L., bride

For availability at El Monte Sagrado, you can book the venue here.


Los Poblanos Historic Inn + Organic Farm

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Lauren Cherie Photography

Of course, no list of New Mexico venues would be complete without Albuquerque’s golden child, Los Poblanos Historic Inn + Organic Farm. But the space is famous for good reason — it truly is one of the most magnificent places in our city. With rolling fields of lavender, chic farmhouse architecture, and several different options for ceremony space, there’s no facet of Los Poblanos that doesn’t live up to its reputation.

What an amazing venue!! I fell in love with this place from the first time I set foot on the property. It feels like you are out of town even though you are in the middle of the city. The architecture of the buildings and the surrounding gardens are gorgeous! It is definitely a venue that requires very little in the way of providing your own decor; the venue speaks for itself.

-Catie, bride

For availability at Los Poblanos, you can book the venue here.


 

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Wedding Balloons Done Right

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Forget everything you know about balloons. Well, not everything… They’re still the same helium-filled delights we all used to make silly voices, but they’ve matured. No longer are they reserved for high school reunions, quinceañeras, or the side of used car lots. Wedding decor professionals are bringing balloons into the current era of elegant, timeless wedding celebrations.

But you don’t have to take our word for it. Vendors are proving to us time and again how you can avoid the nylon look and use balloons to add an element of fancy and fun to your big day. From backdrops to chair accessories, we’ve picked out our five favorite ways to incorporate balloons into your wedding decor — and as a bonus, we have Albuquerque + Santa Fe‘s own Urban Balloons by Dawn to make all your custom balloon dreams come true!

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First up is perhaps my personal favorite balloon design inspiration — alter framing.

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Does it get more whimsical than that?! {Spoiler alert: it does.} Sticking with one color ensures your balloons don’t steal the show, but instead frame you and your future partner with little bursts of happiness.

via Max & Friends

 

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Reception decor! A budget-friendly alternative to hundreds of mason jars filled with baby’s breath, and just as fairytale-esque.

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Pull in a few more colors to accent your wedding palette. By emulating clouds and pairing them with delicate greenery, you can add an element of the great outdoors to your indoor reception. {Plus, are you and your lover high school sweethearts? Rig up a balloon drop as a throwback to prom — it’s all the fun of being young without any of the teenage angst.}

via All You Need is Love Events

 

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Nylon lettering — a little more oomph than your traditional wedding signage.

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Balloon letters aren’t reserved for your 21st birthday! Plugging in custom letters to your wedding ceremony or reception makes any desert table, photo op, or dance floor truly pop. And, by the end of the night, when you’re still riding the high of marrying the love of your life, you can pop those babies and use the helium to say your vows again. In sickness and in health, but in a Mickey Mouse voice.

{Not the helium type? No worries. These particular balloons are amazingly long-lasting, and can serve as home or party decor for months to come!}

via Oh to be Happy

 

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Modern twist on the timeless trend — balloon garland!

wedding planning design decor unique ceremony reception venue balloons fun love bride groom engagement vows alter tradition married greenery tablescape small balloons reception decor industrial unique vibesvia Foxes Events

wedding planning design decor unique ceremony reception venue balloons fun love bride groom engagement vows alter tradition married bright colors fun tablescape reception table

If the size of balloons isn’t quite your style, and you’re looking for something a little daintier — look no further. These teensy balloons all wrapped together make the most unique and amusing garland details for your tablescapes. We can’t promise your wedding guests won’t eventually pop a couple, but we can promise they’ll be blown away by this innovative design hack. {Puns always intended}

via Urban Balloons by Dawn

 

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Last but most certainly not least: wedding photo shoots!

wedding planning design decor unique ceremony reception venue balloons fun love bride groom engagement vows alter tradition married photoshoot photography boudoir romantic honeymoon shoot ideas inspirationvia Urban Balloons by Dawn

I take back what I said before — this is my personal favorite way to utilize balloons in your wedding planning! From the creative geniuses over at Urban Balloons by Dawn comes balloon frames like this beauty here. There really isn’t a more perfect way to make your engagement, wedding, bridal shower, or reception photos stand out from the vast milieu of wedding shoots.

If these amazing balloon designs haven’t got you feeling inspired by now, try sucking in some helium and reading this post again but out loud this time. Did that work? Great.

To book a local balloon expert for your big day, you can contact the team at Urban Balloons by Dawn here!

 

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