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

Perfect Wedding Guide local vendors Albuquerque Santa Fe New Mexico planning inspo inspiration ceremony tips real wedding couple photography PWG Elite Awards contest competition vote now venue marriage Prairie Star ceremony
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

wedding planning design decor unique ceremony reception venue balloons fun love bride groom engagement vows alter tradition married lettering sign desert bar nylon letters photography photo op

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

 

2.

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

 

3.

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

wedding planning design decor unique ceremony reception venue balloons fun love bride groom engagement vows alter tradition married lettering sign desert bar nylon letters photography photo op

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

 

4.

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

 

5.

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!

 

Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico

 

 

Grandeur + Magic: A Refined Real Wedding

New Mexico wedding Santa Fe planning La Fonda gown suit inspiration design floral bouquet lace photography romantic styled local perfect wedding guide couple natural light celebration event ceremony lilies greenery

Seems like we’ve been feeling particularly affectionate towards Santa Fe this week, but how could we not? Not only is spring finally reaching it’s delicate tendrils up to our Northern counterpart, but locals and visitors are slowly realizing how perfect the city is for weddings. From our last feature’s vibrant vibes, to the stunningly tranquil and exquisite celebration below, both remind us just why we love Santa Fe so!

Grace + Jack were married at La Fonda on the Plaza on September of this past year, and we still aren’t over how gorgeous and welcoming the couple + their special day was. Captured by the ever-talented Blue Rose Photography, Grace’s delicate lace gown, muted bouquet, and Jack’s sky-blue accents completely encapsulate the couple’s favorite things about Santa Fe. As the bride says,

There is something healing, therapeutic and uniquely romantic about the city and we wanted all of our closest friends and family members to witness it’s grandeur and magic as well.

Though they aren’t New Mexico natives, Grace + Jack are very familiar with the state, and we love hearing that their affinity for the historic city parallels our own. Hailing from Memphis originally, both parts of the duo visited Santa Fe frequently as children and Grace even toured the entire state as a singer songwriter!

The coolest part about that? Grace wrote a song for Jack and serenaded her new hubby with an electric guitar borrowed from the live band at the bar their party ended up at. In her wedding dress. To the entire bar.

And the coolest couple award for 2017 goes to….. Just kidding! We love all weddings too dang much to pick favorites. But you can, if you’d like. Scope out these gorgeous photographs from Blue Rose Photography and tell us: On a scale from 10 to 10, how much do you love this wedding?

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Featured Venue: La Fonda on the Plaza | IG: @lafondasantafe

Photographer: Blue Rose Photography | IG: @bluerosestudiosnm

Cake: Chocolate Maven | IG: @chocolatemaven

Floral: Margaret Bost Floral

Officiant: Naomi Fiske

Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico

 

 

 

Trend Alert! Snow in Spring with Cutmaster Music

Happy spring equinox, you beautiful brides-to-be! This winter was pretty mild here in New Mexico, but we can still celebrate the warmer weather coming, right? Right. Unfortunately though, with such a pleasant holiday season behind us, our chances for seeing one of the most magnificent natural occurrences is behind us now.

{Snow!}

It’s true! Even if you’re not a fan of the cold, like me, you have to admit that snow, with all its delicate glistening glory, is unlike anything else. Nothing beats watching your whole city wake up softened and calmed by a blanket of powder, all from the haven of your toasty warm bed. Plus, if you’re living in the desert like we are, it’s rare presence is all the more special.

{Getting a little carried away here, can you tell we’ve been feeling very snow deprived?}

So thank goodness for Cutmaster Music! As if their team wasn’t already known for the unparalleled fun they bring to every wedding, party, and event, now they’re offering falling snow. Yes, you read that right — falling snow for your wedding!

No matter the time of year now, with the help of Cutmaster Music, you can beckon the ephemeral elegance of a gentle winter snow to celebrate your union of love. Does it get anymore romantic than that?

{But wait — is it messy? That was my first thought too. Well, second thought — my first was “That’s amazing, can I hire them to just make it snow outside my bedroom window?” But the answer is no — it’s not even a little messy! Instead of pieces of plastic, paper, or anything else that might leave a trace, this snow evaporates before it even hits the floor. No cleaning, just dreamy.}

Cutmaster Music team, thank you so much for this. The Albuquerque + Santa Fe wedding community had no idea we what we were missing.

Contact Cutmaster Music for your wedding or celebration here, and get a little taste of the snowflakes below! Videography by Emily Joanne.

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Talitha Tarro Photography

Venue: Nature Pointe Weddings

Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico

Devoted Love at Prairie Star {Video Feature}

Yes, yes, we did just feature a gorgeous wedding at Prairie Star. But what can we say? We’re suckers for the quiet serenity of the venue. Nestled in the Santa Ana Pueblo, the traditional adobe mansion is only a few minutes from downtown Albuquerque, and one of our favorite places to visit in New Mexico.

Prairie Star‘s stunning views and amazing team make every wedding + celebration there one for the books. If you really want to take advantage of the little slice of heaven though, the only way to make it even better is to pull in an equally incredible, just as local, entertainment company like COMPLETE Weddings + Events. Which Tara + Kevin did! {Not to mention, the other local vendors who came together as the cherry on top of a perfect day. Listed below!}

We’re so thankful that Luminance Wedding Films was there to capture their heartfelt + tastefully vintage wedding day. Cementing in memory the unparalleled way in which Prairie Star + COMPLETE collaborated to make Tara + Kevin’s day undeniably elegant and insanely fun — we’re just dying to share this Luminance wedding film with you all.

Turn up your volume, or pop in some headphones for this one. Maybe grab some tissues too, because Tara + Kevin’s radiating love and devotion is giving us — well, me, at least — some serious wedding fever.

Love You More….Tara {+} Kevin Wedding Short Film~Prairie Star from Luminance Wedding Films on Vimeo.

 

Cinematography | Luminance Wedding Films
Editing/Color Grading | Sarah Kanafani of Luminance Wedding Films
Venue | Prairie Star
Bridal Consultant | Vicki Newsom of Orange September
Photographer | Jones Photo Art
D.J. | Justin with COMPLETE Weddings + Events
Floral Design | Say Something Special With Flowers
Cake | Cake Fetish

 

Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico

 

Heritage Hotels {Vendor Spotlight}

For years now, Heritage Hotels has been offering local and out-of-state brides an incredible variety of spaces to choose from for their celebration. With each venue being unique in its own right, yet still intricately related to the culture that makes New Mexico so special, it’s no wonder they’ve hosted so many beautiful weddings. It’s also no surprise that we’re so very, very excited to welcome them to the Perfect Wedding Guide family!

Of the eleven incredible resorts and hotels — yes, you read that right, eleven! — it’s hard to pick our favorites. The Inn and Spa at Loretto showcases carefully curated art from local galleries, and even hosts artist residencies within it’s distinctly Santa Fean adobe walls. While the custom architecture of Hotel Albuquerque‘s grand lobby quite literally makes our jaws drop every time we have the pleasure of entering their doors. El Monte Sagrado, too, is impossible to not fall in love with — the high mountain retreat space has everything needed for a luxurious and unforgettable reprieve outside the city.

In fact, we almost feel badly for you darling brides, how could you pick one to get married in?! Can we make having 11+ different ceremonies for one wedding the new 2018 trend?

Though, your guests probably don’t have 11 different wedding outfits, so you’ll have to choose just one. If it helps, scroll on to get a quick taste of a few of their venues, and read what their guests have to say about each space. {If it doesn’t help, well, we understand. It’s like choosing a favorite child! The bright side is, every hotel + resort is impossibly beautiful and carefully staffed with kind people, so you really can’t go wrong.}

Eldorado

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We were over the moon with our choice to have our wedding at the Eldorado hotel. Dan Liss and his staff were amazing and helped make our special day flawless and unforgettable. The La Capilla de oro chapel took everyone’s breath away! It is so beautiful and special, our guests were in awe. Our cocktail hour, reception and dinner also took place at the hotel. Everything was so elegant. I promise the Eldorado does not disappoint!!

Jessica, bride


Hotel Albuquerque

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It was hands down the best place in Albuquerque to have a wedding. The hotel is beautiful, the outside garderns incredible and the wedding chapel romantic. The food was delicious and the service impeccable!

Samantha S., bride


El Monte Sagrado

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My wife and I wanted to get married at El Monte for years. Their Intimate Wedding package included a ceremony in the Sacred Circle, the officiant, florist, and photographer. It included one night stay in the Taos Mountain rooms and a 4 course dinner with wedding cake. They created the perfect wedding for us. The location was beautiful, the dinner delicious and the officiant, florist and photographer made us feel special. They tailored their services to our wishes. I would do it all over again.

Lillian, bride


Inn and Spa at Loretto

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Tony Gambino Photography

The Loretto was GORGEOUS! Perfect setting for our wedding! The staff was excellent and Vickie, Jen, Ludwig and Josephine were wonderful! It was a beautiful hotel and I’m so glad that our wedding was there! I loved it!

Lisa, bride


Thank you so much for joining our PWG family, Heritage Hotels!

Click the names of any venue for contact and booking information. To see even more of Heritage Hotel’s stunning spaces, you can visit them here.

 

Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico