2018 Wedding Trend: Live Music

Have you heard, bride-to-be? Tides are shifting in the world of weddings! The budget-friendly option of preset playlists and iPods on shuffle for reception music were all the rage for a little while there, but it’s time to hang up the aux cord. Live, professional music is back in style! {Though in our opinion, it never really left.}

It’s no wonder either, especially here in New Mexico, where there are so many options for brides who want a genuine, authentic experience for their wedding day. Luckily too, the variety of choices available mean you don’t have to break the bank to switch out your brother-in-law’s Spotify playlist for the ever-romantic option of a live musician.

No need to feel overwhelmed by the smorgasbord of individuals that are here to make your celebration unforgettable this wedding season. We picked three amazing musicians that are local and ready for you to book for your wedding, because we love you.

From guitar, to harp, to full band, it’s hard to choose our favorite live musicians from Albuquerque + Santa Fe, but luckily we don’t have to. The reputation of these talented artists speaks for themselves. {It’s no surprise they all have 5-star reviews on Perfect Wedding Guide!}


Ryan Smith, of Cello for Weddings

is the perfect fit if you’re looking to add an unparalleled touch of elegance to your ceremony or reception. Not only does he offer traditional wedding music, but also pop, rock, acoustic, soundtrack/classical, country, folk, motown, and oldies! Even custom arrangements, if your heart should so desire. Does it get better than that?

Book him here!

Absolute Entertainment

Absolute Entertainment‘s own band Soulstice,

has been voted as Santa Fe’s leading event band by brides. And of course they have! Graceful or groovy, the band plays everything from cross-generational classics to today’s hits. Whatever vibe {or vibes!} you choose, Soulstice delivers above and beyond expectations every time.

Book Soulstice here!

Last, but very certainly not least,


Sandi Ludescher, Albuquerque’s favorite Harpist

has graced couples with her delightful music, and several of our events too, since 2005. With a broad range of available compositions, there’s a spot in every celebration for her harp! {Highly customizable as well, Sandi once played my favorite Simon & Garfunkel song for me on her harp — it was unforgettable!}

Book Sandi here!


Want more?

You can find local musicians, bands, and DJs available for your wedding here!

Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico



On Trend with Alchemy Confections Co. {Vendor Spotlight}

Food is a language of care.

D’Mitri Agnes, Founder

Our love story with Alchemy Confections Co. began long ago, when we first discovered their crazy gorgeous Instagram feed. The vibrant cakes, cookies, cookie-cakes, biscotti, marshmallows, and gummy bears totally enraptured us. Then we had the pleasure of seeing the gorgeous confections IRL {in real life} at our Tablescape Designer Showdown! Fulfilling all our wildest, internet-crush dreams, their agate cookies and quartz lollipops were even more delicious to eat.

Now, we’re so honored to welcome them to our Perfect Wedding Guide family of local vendors! And thank goodness they did, now that we’ve had a taste of their amazing creations, we can’t imagine life without them.

With an impeccable attention to detail, everything that comes from the Alchemy Confections Co. team is just as much a work of art as it is a delightful treat. Taking the Albuquerque + Santa Fe wedding scene by storm, their goodies are so on-trend and aesthetically pleasing we wouldn’t be surprised to see your wedding guests taking selfies with the desert bar.

{Plus, rosé infused gummy bears? Can you think of a more perfect party favor?!}

Here’s some eye candy to tide you over until you get the chance to gorge on some cookies. It’s okay to drool, we won’t judge. Welcome to the team, Alchemy Confections Co.! We’re so happy you’re here.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetRosé Gummy Bears

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetMarigold Piñon Cookie

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetStrawberry Milk Agate

28238805_10156272349939114_1888273253768787525_oQuartz Point Lollipops {From Black Bow Events‘ set-up at the Tablescape Showdown!}

To book Alchemy Confections Co. + make your celebration one to remember, you can contact their magnificent team here.


Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico

Jenna + Nestor’s Sweet + Classic Celebration

Now, we love all couples indiscriminately, it’s true. But there’s something particularly heart-warming about two best friends falling in love and committing their lives to one another. In this case, we’re so lucky to have had Nicole Bradshaw Photography there to capture all the sweetest moments in Jenna + Nestor’s big day!

The warm + caring couple married at Prairie Star here in Albuquerque, but had been best friends since their Freshman year in high school. With a deep friendship as the foundation for their love, the kindness they have toward one another is apparent at first sight. Nicole herself says, “They almost seemed to orbit around one another!”

Little pops of red scattered throughout Jenna’s bouquet and their wedding party’s attire made for a classic vibe for the day. An elegant sort of simplicity allowed for their love to truly be the focal point of the ceremony too. Not without their little details though, there were a few hidden things, making their day all the more meaningful and personal. {Like the tiny portrait charm of Jenna’s grandparents, which was fastened to the stem of her bridal bouquet.}

Thank you again to the ever-talented Nicole Bradshaw Photography for sharing this beautiful day with us! Somehow, we’re always stunned by her photographic eye, and the attention to composition and detail she shows her couples.



Thank you to all the hardworking vendors who made Jenna + Nestor’s day possible!

Photography | Nicole Bradshaw Photography

Ceremony Venue + Catering | Prairie Star 

Cake Designer | Christiana Romero {Jenna’s sister}

DJ | ICY Jams

Dress | Ann Mathews Bridal

Bridesmaid Dresses | David’s Bridal

Groom’s Suit |Men’s Warehouse

Groomsmen’s Suits | Men’s Warehouse

Rings | Kay Jewelers


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.}



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


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


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

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


Spilling the Beans {Part Two!}

You might remember our post Spilling the Beans: Wedding Vendors’ Best Kept Secrets from last month — super sneaky budgeting tricks ring a bell? Or never-before-heard pro-tips? Well, we’re back with more! In a never-ending quest to make dreams come true for New Mexico’s wedding professionals and local engaged couples, we decided throw even more wedding planning advice at you.

Coming straight from the mouths of Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s top wedding vendors, the following tips are money-saving, stress-reducing, fun-inducing guaranteed. But don’t take our word for it, scroll on, then call up your local vendors and put them to use!

Maura Jane Photography
Maura Jane Photography

Your Photos

When choosing a photographer first look at the different styles that each photographer offers and narrow it down to ones that really vibe with your taste and personality. A lot of photographers offer beautiful trendy photos with lots of filters and moodiness which is something we do not do. While our shooting style is natural and romantic, our editing style is clean and classic, so when you look at your photos 10 years from now you still love them just as much as the first day you saw them.

Maura Jane Photography


Pennysmiths Paper

On Paper

We can do as little or a much as you need for your wedding invitations. You can buy the paper from us and print them yourself. You can even bring in your own design that we would be more than happy to print.  You can have us design, print, assemble, address and even go to the post office for you!

Pennysmith’s Paper



The Experience

One of our biggest secrets is centered around your event experience. We always strive to give more value than contracted. Sometimes it includes additional gear for sound or lighting, or maybe it’s a custom monogram or our 360 media guru footage. It’s always something that enhances your event experience beyond the original scope. Going the extra mile isn’t extra, it’s who we are.

Cutmaster Music



Last, but certainly not least!

For big weddings, an open air photo booth is a must. Whether you’re taking a quick snap with your bestie or capturing your entire wedding party, it’s the versatility you will depend on. On the other hand, a traditional, enclosed booth may be more fitting for an intimate celebration. Never be afraid to ask for references from either your venue or your photographer and be sure to follow up with an interview! Book early because typically dates fill up fast.  And give your guests a challenge + have fun with it! Have your guests do things like tell a story in three pictures, get a picture with the mother of the bride or the loudest person at the wedding. It gets the guests to laugh more and branch out to mingle!

Selfie Sensations


Check out our first set of tips + tricks for more advice on your big day here!


Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico

Santa Ana Star Casino Hotel

The place and atmosphere were pure fun and joy. I enjoyed every part of the place. I will definitely go back again and tell my family and friends of the place and what fun and joy. Thank you for such a great time.

– Terry, local to Albuquerque

It’s no secret to the locals that Santa Ana Star Casino Hotel lives to treat each and every one of their guests. But did you know that you can actually marry your sweetheart in their venue space too? We’re so excited to welcome Santa Ana Star on to the Perfect Wedding Guide team as our newest venue + member!

As long term fans of the space, we can’t help but be a little biased. It’s just that we always have such a wonderful time there, and now we get to direct our local brides there to celebrate their big day! I mean, the conference space + ballroom, which are flexible and accommodating, has over 30,000 square feet of space. Can you believe that?!

It’s not just for the bigger bridal parties either — “From 20 to 3,000 guests, our creative, knowledgeable and friendly staff will personalize YOUR event to perfection!” says their team, and we can attest to that.

Thank you, Santa Ana Star, for being a part of our family of Albuquerque + Santa Fe wedding professionals. We appreciate you!

For more information on booking the venue, chat with the Santa Ana Star team here!

Image 1 - Kissing Couple


Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico

Real Wedding at La Fonda | Ginny + Kolton’s Laid Back Celebration

We’re not exactly sure how Maura Jane Photography always gets to work with the most unique brides, but we’re starting to suspect there’s some magic involved here. Or, it could be because Maura herself is one of the most charming and down-to-earth photographers here in Albuquerque, so she attracts brides with similar vibes. (We like the idea of Maura casting spells to manifest interesting couples in her life, though.)

Either way, Ginny + Kolton’s cooler-than-cool ceremony at Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi might just be our favorite wedding at the Santa Fe venue of 2018 so far. Plus, a reception at La Fonda is always a good choice! Utilizing Santa Fe’s relaxed and restorative energy, the out-of-state couple made their wedding like a vacation for their guests, rather than a big production.

Keeping the event low-key didn’t detract from the day, though. Pops of blue {2018 wedding trend prediction anyone?} sparkled throughout the venue, the invites, and of course, New Mexico’s trademark skies — which dimmed respectfully as their guests enjoyed margaritas on La Fonda‘s terrace during the day’s finale.

Somehow, Ginny + Kolton got the best of both worlds: a relaxing celebration of their love AND the collection of tiny details that, when merged, created an absolute masterpiece of a day. We’re thankful that Maura was there to capture each moment. Savor what her lens captured below, and send a little thought of gratitude to the other vendors who made this day possible — also listed below.

{And may Ginny + Kolton live happily ever after! New Mexico already misses you both.}



Venue | Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi + La Fonda on the Plaza
Floral | Bloomstream Floral
DJ | DJ John Edwards
Dress | Saks 5th Avenue
Designer | Halston
HMU | Genica Lee, Makeup Artist

Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico