Trending: The Gift Lounge

Favors and gifts for guests are one of my favorite things about weddings. They give you the perfect opportunity to share your love and gratitude with all your friends and family. With so many options and ideas, however, it can be hard to narrow it down to one item. Thankfully, that’s where the gift lounge comes in! You no longer have to limit your gifts to one item. You can dedicate a whole area, or room (depending on your venue), to gifts for your guests. Best of all, they have the freedom to pick and choose the things they like most.

Similar to bars beyond cocktails, gift lounges are simply a “gift bar” — and the sky is the limit when it comes to assembling your perfect gift lounge. For instance, you can have gourmet sodas and candy, local goods, handmade or personalized items and even fresh local fruit. With so many local vendors in the area, planning a fun and gorgeous gift lounge couldn’t be easier. Some of our favorites include Chocolate Maven, Thirty-One Gifts, Pennysmiths Paper and American Pie Company, just to name a few.

Take a look at some of their amazing favors and treats!

American Pie Bakery
American Pie Bakery
Brandon Kidd Photography
Chocolate Maven, Photo by Alicia Lucia Photography

Gift lounges may sound extravagant and intimidating, but if you think about it, we’ve been doing gift lounges for years — with gift bags! Whether you would like the help of a local professional or a completely DIY gift lounge, you can keep it simple, affordable and best of all, creative. Simply allow your guests to assemble their own gift bag, and — voilà — you have a gift lounge!

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Trending: Cake Designs to Take Your Breath Away

Most of us usually don’t think of the amount of skill and work it takes to create one these beautiful masterpieces when we think of wedding cakes. And yet, that’s exactly what they are — a masterpiece. Creating one of these modern marvels is like creating an edible work of art. Especially with the endless styles and designs people dream up, wedding cakes are no longer limited to the buttercream frosting and fake pearls of old.

Cakes have only become more intricate with modern trends including metallics, ruffles and polka dots, sprinkles, fruit and edible flowers and one of my favorites, hand-painted. Wherever you draw your inspiration, however, we have the best local wedding cakes artists who are always up for a challenge. To help you decide on a cake for your wedding, here are some of the trending masterpieces sweeping bakeries around the world.

I. Dripping & Metallic Cakes

Metallic and mouthwatering dripping cakes are perfect for brides and grooms who are trendy and all about modern design. These cakes are classy and edgy all wrapped into one delicious concoction!

Cake by Hansel & Gretel Cakes. Photo by Tennille Fink
Cake by Chocolate Maven, Photo by Alicia Lucia Photography

II. Ruffled & Polka Dot Cakes

For a softer touch, ruffles and polka dots are perfect for a romantic wedding with soft colors. No matter what trends come and go, these classic styles are always a beautiful option.

Cake by Chocolate Maven
Cake by Savory Fare, Photo by Maura Jane Photography

III. Fruit Topped & Edible Flower Cakes

Coinciding with the farm-to-table movement, cakes mounded with fresh fruit and edible flowers are perfect for those of us who prefer an organic-style cake inspired by nature.

Photo by We Are All Stardust
Cake by Chocolate Maven

IV. Sprinkle Cakes

You can never go wrong with sprinkles! With a modern twist on sprinkles these days, they are sophisticated and fun. Give your inner child the option to have sprinkles or not and you will always choose sprinkles!

Cake by Bespoke Bride
Cake by Style Sweet CA

V. Hand Painted Cakes

As an artist, it’s only natural for me to love hand-painted cakes. If Leonardo da Vinci were still alive, I’m certain his inbox would be flooded with requests for one of these original works of art!

Photo by Cake Ink
Cake by Bobbette & Belle, Photo by Vicki Bartel Photography
Cake by Olofson Design, Photo by Anneli Marinovich Wedding & Lifestyle Photography

As you can see, many of these cakes are a combination of modern trends and styles. Have fun and play with different styles to create your own original wedding cake masterpiece!

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Trending: Bars Beyond Cocktails

We’ve all seen them. You know what I’m talking about… the plethora of this, that and the other “bar” on Pinterest. They’re everywhere screaming at you to have one at your wedding. And, well, you should! Bars beyond cocktails are one of the things your guest will love the most. They go beyond the traditional, yet delicious wedding cake (which you still need to have by the way). That is, unless you want to start a riot!

Not to worry, bars have come such a long way since the days of boxed wine and Shirley Temples. In fact, the skies the limit when it comes to bars and the more creative the better! I recently had the pleasure of attending a friend’s wedding and she had a mouthwatering popcorn bar with all kinds of different flavors I never knew existed, even green chile cheese! And to be quite honest, I don’t think I enjoyed popcorn more than I did that day.

Aside from popcorn, however, there are so many options when it comes to bars. Like I said the skies the limit, so be creative! They’re just so much fun and certainly leave a lasting impression. Here’s a list of popular bar ideas to get your bar juices flowing: s’mores, popcorn, candy, coffee, ice-cream, fruit, pie, donuts, bake-off (bar meets contest). Just remember to put your own spin on your bar and you’ll be golden!

Photo by Lauren Rae Photography
Photo by Novel Hill Studio
Photo by Novel Hill Studio
Photo by Lauren Kirkbride Photography
Photo by This Love of Yours Photography

For some reason treats taste so much better from a “bar.” Having the freedom to choose the flavors you want and going back for seconds and thirds without any judgement is what makes bars so amazing. After all they’re pretty much the fancy equivalent to an all-you-can-eat buffet!

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Trending: Suspended Wedding Decor

It’s easy to see why suspended wedding decor has become so popular in the recent years. If you have ever seen these delightful decorations, you know exactly what I’m talking about! They add a magical touch that simply can’t be accomplished any other way. With a little creativity, the possibilities for suspended wedding decorations are endless.

For example, you can use chandeliers, jars with candles or flowers, balloons, lanterns, leaves, umbrellas and so on. One of the most popular options for hanging decor, however, are light bulbs. The clusters of hanging Edison bulbs give the impression of sitting beneath the stars. They’re super romantic and perfect for adding a modern touch to any venue.

The obvious and most beautiful option, however, are flowers! Suspended flowers are super gorg and even more tempting over an altar or dinner table. And because they are so versatile, you can create a look that’s prim and proper or wild and whimsical. I personally prefer the latter with flowers and greenery draping over the edges like nature intended.

Finally, if you have a tight budget the good news is that many of the of the options for suspended decor are DIY friendly. Making paper flowers, for instance, is a budget friendly option to have suspended decor at your wedding. Not to mention, they look just as beautiful and you can easily create a focal point over the bride’s and groom’s dinner table.

Photo by Studio Impressions
Photo by Lauren Gabrielle Photography
Photo by Brklyn View Photography

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Reception Games: The New Dance Off!

Today’s bride and groom are all about experiences. And when it comes to their reception, more couples are planning fun, relaxed and kid friendly soirées for their guests. In fact, one of the trends sweeping the wedding scene is having games at the reception. If you are planning a wedding and want to guarantee your guests will have fun, games are the way to go!

Depending on the theme of your wedding, you can have fun planning the games that will suit your style. From board games to carnival games, you can plan just about anything to make sure your guests are having fun and interacting with each other. To help you come up with ideas, here’s a list of some fun games you might plan on playing with your guests!

Photo by Next To Me Studios

It’s all Fun & Games

  1. Board Games – One of the easiest things to have at your wedding are board games like Candy Land, Scrabble or Mystery Date!
  2. Jumbo Games – Jumbo games can really make a statement at your wedding including Dominoes, Connect Four, Checkers and Chess.
  3. Summer Camp Games – Go back to your days at summer camp with a game of Tug-of-War or Sack Racing.
  4. Carnival Games – Balloon Darts, Ring Toss, a Hot Dog Eating Contest or a Bake-Off. Have guests bring their best desert for a chance to win a prize!
  5. Video Games – For your inner gamer, try  creating an arcade with Dance Dance Revolution and old school Super Mario or Duck Hunt.
  6. Lawn Games – For a more sophisticated spin on wedding games, try lawn games including Croquet, Mini Golf or Bocce Ball.
Photo by See Yourself Photography
Photo by Kari Bellamy
Photo by Alicia Lucia Photography

Remember, try to be creative and original. If you see ideas that you like, try to put a creative and unique spin on it.

— Perfect Wedding Guide Team

Photo by GRW Photography

What’s your spin on games at weddings? Do you have any fun ideas to share? Leave a comment, we would love to hear from you!

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Pushing the Envelope: Differently Designed

As the details of your dream wedding start to unfold, we have been featuring all things wedding stationery for the month of March to make sure you’re in the know for your big day. And what better way to bring our parade of paper to a close than with one of our very own wedding stationery businesses right here in Albuquerque?

Located off of Lomas just east of Eubank, Differently Designed provides one-of-a-kind, quality stationery for all occasions, covering everything from birthdays to weddings. Whether you have your own idea or want one of their experienced designers to create your wedding invitations from scratch, they are sure to have what you’re looking for.

With modern technology and printing capabilities, Differently Designed makes sure to stay on top of wedding trends, including the very popular white ink and gold leaf styles taking over all your Pinterest pages. Even if you don’t follow trends, possibilities are endless when it comes to the colors, fonts and styles they have to offer. Not to mention, they have a wide variety of quality paper to choose from.

Because of their high standards and emphasis on service, all consultations are done by appointment only to ensure that you receive the undivided attention you deserve. To start creating your invitations, be sure to make your appointment today. At Differently Designed, they don’t skimp on the details or the fairy dust! As you can see, their designs are everything but ordinary.

The mission of Differently Designed is to create, quality, unique unforgettable, personalized event stationery for that couple or individual seeking something different from all the rest.

Photos by Differently Designed

At Differently Designed, they push the envelope on wedding stationery!

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Styled Shoot: Romantic Mountain Elopement

Styled photo shoots are one of the best ways to get unique ideas and inspiration for your wedding. And I don’t know about you, but I get lost in the details of each photo and I can’t help but feel a tug on my own heart strings to get creative and plan my wedding all over again!

With the Sandia Mountains in the background, this romantic elopement, captured by Maura Jane photography, is no exception. The earthy shades of pink and gold stand out perfectly against the muted backdrop of the southwest desertscape – typical of our beautiful New Mexico sunsets.

To give you inspiration for your own wedding, local experts in the business got together to bring you a fresh spin on the moody trend taking the wedding industry by storm. As you get lost in the details of this romantic shoot, remember to hit the drawing board for your own wedding plans!

We ventured deep into an untouched field with the snowcapped Sandia Mountains in the distance for this romantic elopement. Drawing inspiration from the dusty rose colored vintage couch, Maura Jane Photography and Just Lovely Weddings came together to create this inspirational photo shoot. Stephanie Yardman designed stunning florals with an eclectic bouquet of ranunculus and roses full of moody magentas, pinks and creams. Using a nontraditional, dusty rose colored, lace gown from K2 Boutique we matched it with a delicate vintage veil from Teresa Romero and fun statement earrings by Betsy Johnson. Julianne looked stunning with her hair swept to the side by Lavender + Rose Studio while she walked hand in hand with our makeshift groom, Isaac. Paired with a rose colored bow tie, Isaac’s charcoal grey tux by The Black Tux matched Julianne’s dress perfectly. This photo shoot all started with a couch and turned into so much more, all to inspire brides with its romantic and moody color scheme. – Maura, Maura Jane Photography

The inspiration for this shoot was based around a lovely vintage couch that I had recently purchased. Maura and I had discussed using it for a photo shoot in the spring, but then came up with the idea of using it for a moody love inspired shoot. I thought this was a great fit, since vintage decor already feels very romantic to me because of the timeless beauty that it offers, much like a long lost love.We decided that for flowers we wanted deeper, moodier colors. Maura had the brilliant idea of having greenery frame the couch, and I think it fit in so well. For the table, I wanted lots of candles to add to the theme of romance. At first we had looked at traditional wedding dresses, but ended up loving the dress that was used because of the vintage aesthetic and how nontraditional it was. We wanted the hair and makeup to be soft and romantic, and I think that the artist did an incredible job achieving the look we wanted. The veil was an essential touch to keeping the look bridal, while still being nontraditional. While planning this shoot we hoped for sunshine, but in the end I am so grateful for the weather that we got. Seeing the clouds rolling over the mountains in the background added so much to the essence of the photo shoot. As much as brides want to avoid it on their wedding day, rain really does symbolize cleansing and good luck. Besides, what is more romantic than kissing in the rain? – Lauren, Just Lovely Weddings

Photos By: Maura Jane Photography
Photography: Maura Jane Photography @maurajanesphoto | Planning: Just Lovely Weddings | Decor: Darling Details | Floral: Stephanie Yardman Floral Design | Ribbons: Honey Silks & Co. @honeysilksco | Dress: K2 Boutique @kii_boutique | Suit: The Black Tux | Veil: Teresa Romero | Jewelry: Betsy Johnson | Hair & Makeup: Lavender + Rose Hair and Makeup Studio @lavendarroseabq | Models: Julianne Montano & Isaac Herrera
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