You're Engaged, Now What? A Comprehensive Guide on Planning Your Wedding

Your partner popped the big question and you said yes–congratulations! Although the excitement of your engagement has your stomach filled with butterflies and you wish you could hold onto these perfect and stress-free moments forever, you are probably starting to wonder when the chaos of wedding planning is going to begin. More importantly, you’re probably wondering where to start, and that is where we come in! Before we go any further, we want to tell you that planning your wedding is meant to be filled with personality, joy, laughter, and bonding. It can truly be an amazing experience for you AND your loved ones, and we encourage you to have some fun!

The First Steps

Let’s take a deep breath. Sit down. Close your eyes. Imagine your ideal wedding. What do you see? What does your dress look like? What does your suit look like? Is your wedding inside or outside? Do you see trees? What about a chapel? How many people do you want surrounding you while you say ‘I do’? These thoughts can quickly become overwhelming and we know that money and time are the first things that come to mind. For just a moment, imagine that these concepts don’t exist and then open your mind to the possibilities! Instead of seeing them as negative thoughts, turn them into opportunities. This is the moment where you let your personality and imagination take control. After you’ve designed your ideal wedding, now you can take it to the drawing board and decide on the details.

However, we know that some people enjoy having a professional to guide them in their first steps, and that is why wedding + event planners exist! One of our own lovely wedding planners, Danielle of D Events and Weddings, is an expert in her craft and offers full service event planning just for you from beginning to end. Remember that wedding you just imagined, the one that seemed impossible? She’s here to make it possible–and she’s done it countless times before. Yup, you can breathe easy now.

Jasper K Photography | Black Bow Events

Local Wedding Vendors

So you’ve reached out to your wedding planner, or maybe you’ve decided to DIY, but either way you’re ready to start building your team of love experts. Find your venue, caterer and get all of the high priority planning squared away. Your wedding planner will be right by your side during this process for smooth sailing and emotional support (it’s not in their job description, but we know that they must be pretty good at it). After that, it’s time to grab your gals or your bros and have some fun. Dress and suit shopping, creating ‘save the dates‘, florals–local wedding vendors will have everything you need without the hassle of ordering online and waiting to see your product. We do love a good Etsy shopping spree, but we also encourage you to support your community because they’re kind of flippin’ awesome.

You can also get discounts on local vendors when you have a wedding planner like Black Bow Events, another local business who has years of experience planning amazing weddings. We love that event planners are there every step of the way and have cultivated connections with the wedding community so that planning your wedding can be stress-free and budget friendly.

Brandon Harwell Photography | D Events and Weddings

Just Months and Even Days Away

The wedding is months away, and everything is pretty much settled. Well, as settled as it can be–we get it. Now it’s time for all of the final preparations, like teeth whitenings, spa days, gym memberships, guest accommodations, etc. A wedding planner can help you get set up with all of these things if you’ve lost the energy! But beyond all of this, it’s your time to rest and focus on the love between you and your honey. These moments before the big day are unique and exciting, they should be embraced. So put down your notebook filled with wedding planning notes, go grab the love of your life, and remember why you’re doing it all–for the love.

Feel like you need more wedding planning help + inspiration? You can check out our own website here where you can find upcoming wedding shows, local vendors, discounts, and giveaways. We would be honored to be a part of your planning process and we’re here for you every step of the way.

Lavel Marie Photography | D Events and Weddings + Black Bow Events

Header photo: Lavel Marie Photography

Why You Should Have Your Wedding at a Country Club

Every bride and groom wants to find a wedding venue that is both practical and perfect. As you’ve been searching, possibly very overwhelmed by all of the options available to you, there may have been moments where you felt that finding the practical and perfect option was impossible. We are here to reassure you that, first of all, anything is possible, and secondly, we have your back.

When deciding on a wedding venue, there are always quite a few things to keep in mind, such as the time of year, capacity, catering options, services, etc. The best thing to do right before you start your search, or halfway through when you’ve given up hope, is to pick up that notebook dedicated just to your wedding, and make a list of your wedding venue NEEDS, WANTS, and NOPES. This will help you narrow down your search and give you a clear path toward the perfect and practical venue.

There is a special kind of venue that we, your Perfect Wedding Guide team, absolutely love because of it’s well-roundedness–country clubs! Rain or shine, big or small, country clubs are the ideal place for weddings. Not super familiar with the benefits of choosing country clubs? Here are some reasons why they are great:

1. They’re unique, exclusive, and classy

Since country clubs are local, the event venue is unique and centered around the views of the city! Country clubs are often perceived as being unattainable because they are typically member-based, but this doesn’t always apply to weddings. Most clubs are willing to host guests who are not members, you just have to ask. Country clubs are always clean, well-maintained, and classy! Just take a look at this beautiful indoor set-up at Tanoan Country Club here in Albuquerque.

Tanoan Country Club by Kyle Cahill

2. They’re Accommodating

Aside from all of the beauty of country clubs, their accommodations are incredible. Whether you’re having a small or large wedding, there are plenty of options indoor and outdoor. Most country clubs offer multiple ballrooms for ceremonies and receptions, depending on the size of your party. The Event Center at Sandia Golf Club has the most wonderful set-up, a large ballroom with Lanai Doors that lead to a heated/cooled patio and out to an outdoor gazebo. This is the perfect all-in-one experience!

The Event Center at Sandia Golf Club by K. Mari Photography

3. They’re All-Inclusive

Since country clubs host many events all year, they are often fully inclusive when it comes to providing food, drinks, tables, chairs, etc. Many country clubs don’t allow outside food and drinks because of their full service kitchens and cleanly grounds. The Canyon Club at Four Hills is one of the venues that can provide just about everything you need for your wedding, from food and bar services to elegantly arranged seating in the ballroom.

Canyon Club at Four Hills Catering by Chef John Apodaca

We hope you’re sold by now on our favorite country clubs–and if you’re not, don’t fret. Just like everything in life, they’re not for everyone. There are more options for you! Simply check out our local venues here.

2019 Diamond Dash Wedding Show: The Recap

The time has finally come! The photos from our November Diamond Dash Wedding Show at the Hyatt Regency are in and we just can’t wait to share them with all of you. This year we were so fortunate to have so many bright and beautiful faces at the show. The decor was dazzling, the laughter echoed throughout the ballroom, and the energy was incredible! We love a good wedding show, and this year’s Diamond Dash was one for the books.

If you don’t know what Diamond Dash is and want to know more about it, keep on reading because you’re in for a treat. This recap is going to go into a little bit more detail on what the event is all about, how the whole day plays out, and how the show can benefit a soon-to-be-married bride and/or groom like you!

What is Diamond Dash?

Well, the name comes from the cake dive for diamond jewelry that happens later during the wedding show–but we will cover that bit later. The show itself is put on by yours truly, the local Perfect Wedding Guide team. This show is an opportunity for local couples to get out and have some fun with wedding planning. When the couples arrive, our team will give you a bag of goodies and $500 of PWG Bucks to spend on participating vendors inside the ballroom. Get there early and enjoy the VIP Pre-Party, which we will tell you more about right now.

VIP Pre-Party

The VIP Pre-Party is an exclusive gathering that happens just before the wedding show begins. Join other couples while sipping mimosa’s and getting pampered by local wedding professionals. This year, we had an amazing DJ, Dream Factory Productions, and a top-notch expert wedding panel. Bridal Elegance by Darlene provided a veil try-on station, Blo Blow Dry Bar provided a braid bar, Photo Booth Rentals of New Mexico provided a photo booth, Charlotte’s Flowers brought some gorgeous flower stems, and The Cake Boutique set up a DIY dessert station. How fun is that?! Make sure to get your ticket as an add-on to the main show for next year’s Diamond Dash if you want to be part of the excitement!

Fashion Show + Giveaways

Another unique and truly entertaining aspect of the Diamond Dash Wedding Show is the fashion show that, literally, takes center stage for the majority of the event. The latest trends and styles are modeled by local models of every gender and age for you to find inspiration. And guess what? This year, all of the styling was done locally by Bridal Elegance by Darlene, Suits Unlimited, and Blo Blow Dry Bar! Throughout the show, our fave wedding show MC, Brad King of King Mobile Music, announces the winners of our unique door prizes provided by local wedding vendors.

Vendors

This is really what the show is all about–providing you with all of the best resources to plan your perfect wedding. We invite the best of the best local wedding vendors to set up a booth and meet with prospective brides and grooms. This provides you with a wide variety of wedding photographers, stylists, cake shops, venues, and beyond! We would be lying if we said it will be easy to pick out a vendor, so come with an open heart and be ready to note your best conversations and options.

The Diamond Dash Cake Dive

And finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for–the reason for the name! Toward the end of every Diamond Dash Wedding Show, all of the guests and vendors gather around the stage to watch as 5 lucky brides/grooms are chosen to put on a cute apron, tie back their hair, and prepare to get a little messy. These lucky folks have been selected to dig into a cake all at once for the chance to find the box with diamond jewelry inside. Everyone will win a prize, but only 1 of the 5 will walk away with brand new diamond jewelry! This year’s stunning cake was hand-crafted by Honey & Salt Cake Co. and we were absolutely in love with it–even after it was smashed into pieces by eager brides.

This past Diamond Dash was one of our favorites, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication and talent of our sponsors. The Perfect Wedding Guide gals are so grateful for those who participated and came out to enjoy all of the vendors and the fun! We want to give a special thank you to our videographers, Journey Home Media, and our photographers that provided all of the amazing photos in this recap, Photographic Perspectives!

Photographic Perspectives
Journey Home Media

EVENT SPONSORS | Blo Blow Dry Bar, Bridal Elegance by Darlene, Charlotte’s Flowers, Enchanted Events, Honey & Salt Cake Co., Hyatt Regency, King Mobile Music, NMWP, Photographic Perspectives, Skinny Secrets, and Suits Unlimited

Everything You Need to Know About Wedding Flowers

With 2020 approaching and new wedding trends making their way into the spotlight, we are seeing a shift in traditions. More and more couples are choosing to find unconventional wedding venues, from coffee shops to their own backyards, and we dig it. The possibilities are truly endless! However, there are some wedding traditions that never seem to change, one of them being a fan favorite–wedding flowers.

Your wedding day is getting nearer and nearer and we get it, everything seems to be hitting you all at once. We’re here to help ease that tension and make wedding planning an enjoyable experience. When it comes to floral arrangements, planning is really easy. There are so many options for wedding flowers out there and sometimes it can be a little overwhelming–but it is actually a blessing in disguise. The Perfect Wedding Guide team has spent years working with the best florists in New Mexico, and in doing so, we’ve learned a lot of insider secrets to help out our local couples. Whether you are looking for a environmentally friendly option for your wedding day, or want to design your wedding venue to look like a floral wonderland, our local wedding florists can do it all.

We thought that we would give you a little guide to finding the right flower options for your wedding, because we are your guide to a perfect wedding after all. Plus, we have included some of our favorite local vendors for your convenience. Who knows, maybe today is the day that you book your new floral bestie!

Getting started + planning it all out

The first step in booking a florist is taking into consideration your color palette, the season, and the flower type. Here are some tips:

Colors | Think about your accessories and your bridesmaids! Are they wearing pastels? Or is it more of a moody wedding with maroons and navy blues? Choose colors that compliment your wardrobe and the decor, or choose colors that are complete opposite to create contrast. Be bold and have fun with this part!

A classic white rose bouquet to compliment the white gown. Bouquet by Albuquerque Florist || Briana Nicole Photography
An elegant + moody rose and succulent arrangement. Bouquet by Arranged Elegance || Fender Photography
Vibrant jewel tones + pops of contrasting colors that look incredible together. Bouquet by Estella Floral Design || via Estella Floral Design

Season | There are some flowers that are only available seasonally, so you want to make sure that the flowers you have your eye on are going to work with your wedding date. It is possible, though, to find a flower out of season, it might take a little more effort as a result. We want to help you make picking out your flowers as smooth as possible, so we suggest you take into consideration all of the options available to you ahead of time. Choose colors that compliment the season, from springtime pinks to winter blues.

Lovely pastel + succulent arrangement for the warmer seasons. Bouquet by Albuquerque Florist || Lauren Cherie Photography
A stunning bouquet with a focus on seasonal sunflowers. Bouquet by Estella Floral Design || via Estella Floral Design
The most charming holiday floral arrangement with an ornament. Arrangement by Bosque Flower Studio || via Bosque Flower Studio

Flower Type | We have a quite a few options now when it comes to preserving wedding day flowers. Everyone loves a good living flower that smells fresh and can be pressed and saved for years to come, but there is another option that we have been loving lately–silk flowers. We get to see plenty of real and artificial flowers in the wedding business and we’re gonna tell you a secret… we can’t tell the difference most of the time. They are all SO lovely.

Flawless silk floral arrangement with embellishments. Bouquet by Charlotte’s Flowers || T. Rayne Photography
A wide variety of gorgeous flowers. Arrangement by Flowers and Things || Via Flowers and Things
A centerpiece with just a pop of color and mostly focused on leaves and embellishments. Arrangement by Bosque Flower Studio || Kayla Kitts Photography

Perks of hiring a wedding florist

They are the experts. They have years of experience in this business and know just exactly what flowers compliment other flowers and embellishments. The styling and arranging is like second nature to these wedding professionals! When the big day comes, you don’t have to worry about anything going wrong because you chose someone who was dedicated specifically to making your perfect arrangements happen.

You can relax. All of the “doing” and “making” is done by the pros, so you get to focus on the other details of your wedding. Although it might be fun to gather up your gal and guy pals and create an assembly line of matching, cutting, and trimming, it’s not for everyone. Take some time for yourself and let a dedicated florist do what they do best. You won’t regret it!

You can be silly and make your wildest dreams come true. Like we said earlier, anything is possible. We mean it! The best thing about hiring a florist is that they are there to help you develop and carry out your vision–even if it means creating flower crowns for you, your bridesmaids, AND your furry friend.

A flower crown made specially for your best friend. Made by Charlotte’s Flowers || Maura Jane Photography

Want to see a list of our fave florists that take flower power to a whole new level? Check them out here!

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.

Our Favorite 2020 Wedding Trends

Here at Perfect Wedding Guide, the end of the year means planning, preparing, and jumping for joy because we get to learn about all of the upcoming trends for next year! We would by lying if we told you that we aren’t a little sad to see 2019 go, though. This year was definitely one for the books, filled with the most beautiful weddings and exciting wedding shows & events. We loved hearing all of your perfect wedding stories and having the honor of sharing them with other brides and grooms that are looking for some inspiration.

As our pinky promise to you, we will continue to provide you with the most current and trendy tips and inspiration each and every year because we think you’re the best. We are so eager to share what is in store for next year that we are going to give you some insider knowledge right now that the Perfect Wedding Guide team picked up at this year’s Wedding MBA Conference in Las Vegas. Yesterday we hosted our annual Wedding MBA Recap Breakfast at The Event Center at Sandia Golf Club and got to hear some notable takeaways from our fellow local wedding professionals that also attended the conference.

We thought that we would have a little fun with this one and look back at some of the decade’s biggest wedding trends while introducing the future forecast for wedding trends in 2020.

First, the oldies, but goodies.

2019 | Private ceremony + elopement locations

Coryn Kiefer Photography

2019 | Animals in weddings

Coryn Kiefer Photography

2019 | White weddings

Briana Nicole Photography

2019 | Pastels, pinks, and blushes

Briana Nicole Photography

2019 | Pear-shaped rings

Maura Jane Photography

2019 | Romantic lighting rentals

Briana Nicole Photography

2019 | Unique venues

Lauren Cherie Photography

2019 | Specialty cakes

Maura Jane Photography

And now for the upcoming trends for 2020!

2020 | The “Roaring 20s” (of course)

Via todaysbride.com

2020 | Bright & bold pops of color

Al Gawlik Photography

2020 | Ceiling installations

Anna Jones Photography

2020 | Textures

Via HiMissPuff.com

2020 | Greens + grasses

Via Happywedd.com

2020 | Mirrored floors

Darin Images

2020 | Cake backdrops

Buffy Dekmar

2020 | Texture, minimalism, capes, and beyond

2020 | Donuts, mini cakes, & tall cakes

2020 | Sustainability

Via thegoodbeginning.com

So there you have it, a decade of trends and some new ones to welcome to the table. We’re ready for you, 2020!

9 of Albuquerque's Best Hotels & Resorts

With record-breaking visitors to our city every year, it’s no surprise that we have some of the most beautiful and classy hotels and resorts in the country. Between the beloved Balloon Fiesta in October and incredible weather during the Spring and Summer, an Albuquerque wedding is bound to be on the wishlist for many couples. Whether you are planning a destination wedding here in the Land of Enchantment or simply inviting your friends and family from out of state, you’re going to need a welcoming place to house you and your guests – and we know just exactly how to make everyone feel right at home!

The Perfect Wedding Guide team is very familiar with the hotels in this city because we work closely with them to curate and host wedding shows and events all throughout the year. Without fail, they always know how to make guests feel like their top priority while incorporating the New Mexican culture and landscape. This is why we trust these hospitality professionals with all of our hearts and we know that you will too upon seeing what they have to offer.

Book a night for your wedding party in the heart of downtown at the Hotel Andaluz for outstanding city views or, if you want to experience the outskirts of town, stay at the Isleta Resort & Casino for pure relaxation. These wedding hospitality professionals know how to make the bride and groom feel ready for their big day, while also ensuring the happiness and comfortability of their loved ones.

If you are looking for a place for your parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, and/or best friends to stay during your Albuquerque wedding, or even just want to find the perfect ceremony or reception venue, we have collected some of the best hotels and resorts in all parts of the city, from the North to the South! Let’s check them out…

1. Albuquerque Marriott 

2. Embassy Suites Albuquerque

Photographic Perspectives

3. Hotel Andaluz

Matt Blasing Photography

4. Hyatt Regency Albuquerque

5. Isleta Resort & Casino

Photographic Perspectives

6. Marriott Pyramid North

7. Sandia Resort & Casino

Matt Blasing Photography

8. Sheraton Uptown

Blue Rose Studio
Photographic Perspectives

9. Route 66 Casino Hotel