Exquisite Details: Local Styled Shoot Spotlight

How blessed are we to live in a city with such an abundance of wedding expertise? Getting married in New Mexico means you have a huge array of choices for the wedding professionals you decide to hire. Which then means, of course, you get to choose to work with people on your special day who you actually get along with, on a human level. Being able to connect with your wedding pros before your wedding ensures that on the big day, things are smooth as can be, because everyone is on the same page.

Even with this connection though, we’re still continuously amazed with how Albuquerque + Santa Fe wedding businesses manage to perpetually go above and beyond with the love they bring and showcase for every couple. Which is why we adore styled shoots so much, too. What better way to illuminate the dedication to detail and venerable knowledge each professional has about weddings?

This styled shoot was coordinated and cultivated by the New Mexico Wedding Professionals — a group of likeminded, hardworking wedding businesses who are experts at their craft. From venues, to florists, to officiants and more, the New Mexico Wedding Professionals are an eclectic bunch who all have one thing in common: excellency.

Shot at Isleta Resort and Casino by one of our most beloved photographers, Photographic Perspectives, this styled shoot was all about highlighting that excellency.

An evening of romance, exquisite details, and the exploration of the uniqueness of Isleta Resort and Casino took place. From using custom-made Renee linens for the Santa Fe Opera, to the whimsical florals and carefully chosen lace gown and veil, the vision of sophistication and elegance was truly captured.

New Mexico Wedding Professionals

This gorgeous moment, captured in time forever more by Photographic Perspectives, was the amalgamation of so many moving parts, that came together for one, collaborative manifestation of a dream.

To meet these vendors in person, connect with them over mutual love of weddings, and chat about the excellency they can incorporate into your wedding day, you can stop by the first wedding show of 2019: the Wicked Wedding Show! This years theme is Elegance at an Angle — RSVP here, before it’s too late.

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Concept: New Mexico Wedding Professionals Photographer: Photographic Perspectives Venue: Isleta Resort & Casino Bridal Gown: Bridal Elegance by Darlene Men’s Attire: Suits Unlimited Linens & Decor: Occasion Services & Events Officiant: Amor Ceremonies    Florals: Something Special with Flowers

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King Mobile Music: King of Parties in Albuquerque

Here in Albuquerque, our Perfect Wedding Guide team is probably best known for the handful of wedding shows we throw throughout the year. The most popular one being, of course, the Diamond Dash. Though, on the day of the wedding show, our favorite part actually comes when the curtains close on another high-energy, super fun Sunday — when we get to see hundreds of couples leave the Hyatt Regency Downtown with bags full of free goodies and prizes, and giant smiles on their faces.

We can only take a small portion of the credit for those happy couples though, because most of the magic happens on stage. Yes, we’ve got the bridal fashion show, but more importantly, we’ve got Brad from King Mobile Music up on stage with a mic, and a slew of jokes and games to get everyone pumped up.

My fiancé and I met with Brad through a recommendation from our photographer because we had mentioned that our dream wedding reception was A LOT of fun and a had every guest dancing. Let me tell you, Brad delivered. From the very beginning as the guests were arriving, he was mingling and chatting with everybody. And then as soon as it was time for the reception, he was ready to turn it into a great party! He was out on the dance floor with everybody and he kept the party going the whole night.

-Kayla, local newlywed

The team at King Mobile Music is so much more than a group of DJs, and they’ll tell you that themselves, too. As entertainment professionals and wedding experts, King Mobile Music offers couples things that they didn’t even know they wanted — like two DJs, instead of just one. With two experts there for each wedding, the King Mobile Music team ensures that one can keep the music flowing smoothly, while the other interacts with the audience to keep spirits high, and feet dancing.

Plus, with customizable lighting packages available for engaged couples, King Mobile Music is kind of a one-stop-shop for all your wedding entertainment. Their team is responsible for lighting the Dîner en Blanc the last several years — an event which typically has over 800 attendees — so you can feel confident in their lighting equipment and abilities. Because, if we’re being real, Dîner en Blanc is probably the most legit event in Albuquerque, which makes King Mobile Music pretty darn legit, too. (So legit we’re still using the word legit as an adjective because their team impresses us so much, we forgot it wasn’t 2014 anymore.)

From now until the end of the year, King Mobile Music is offering engaged couples six free uplights with their wedding music + lighting package. Which is a $300 value — as if they aren’t already doing so much for the local wedding community here! To book the King Mobile Music team  and ensure that your special day is the most fun wedding you’ll ever attend, you can contact them here.

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King Mobile Music made our wedding day so memorable. They were dressed professionally, handled themselves well and most of all made our wedding so much fun! We incorporated Jewish traditions into our reception which KMM had no problem leading. They handled the Hora dance better than any DJ’s on YouTube videos that I have seen. Honestly I think EVERYONE was on the dance floor. We did not have to worry about the timeline because they kept us on schedule. They even made sure guests gave us time to eat!!! We appreciate everything they did for us. We definitely recommend them for your wedding.  

-M, local newlywed

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Kevin’s Photography: Albuquerque Wedding Photographer Highlight

We could give you a hundred reasons why to choose local, small businesses over corporate chains for your wedding. {I mean, that’s kind of literally what our team is all about, right?} But our favorite reason, and the reason we also chose to work with small businesses owners is as such: they’re real people.

Well, yes, they’re obviously real people, with skills they’ve worked hard to cultivate and be able to share with you. But more than being tangibly real, their businesses are also their lives and passions, which means their actual personalities are on display and influence their work. So when you work with a real person, you get the chance to connect with them on a more human level. Instead of having a troupe of strangers parading about on your wedding day, you have people there who you trust and actually get along with.

Take Kevin’s Photography for example. Their studio of handpicked artists here in Albuquerque, New Mexico all share a common vision and all work together on human levels with one another. For over 33 years Kevin’s Photography has been connecting with engaged couples, cultivating working relationships with them, and giving them the best for an invaluable aspect of their wedding day.

Yes, their work speaks for them, but when you sit down for a consultation with Kevin or one of his highly qualified team members, you get to actually meet, face to face, the person who will be there capturing your wedding. You get the chance to check out your photographer’s personality and style, and make sure its inline with yours and your vision. Plus, you can see and know that it’s more than just a job for Kevin’s Photography — dedicated to their craft and doing what they love, Kevin’s team pours their hearts into their photographic art.

We feel infinitely lucky to have such a variety of local wedding experts in Albuquerque + Santa Fe to choose from, and with businesses like Kevin’s Photography keeping the love in their work, it’s no wonder we’re always staying inspired. So stay local friends! You won’t regret it.

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Kevin Dooley of Kevin’s Photography is an over-qualified individual who loves what he does. He really is enthusiastic about taking photos and turns out some of the most beautiful photos I’ve ever seen. Some of the photos of our daughter’s wedding look like they belong in a magazine! He was fun and easy to work with. We would hire him again! 

Local couple

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Smallcakes, Big Hearts {Vendor Spotlight!}

Here at Perfect Wedding Guide, we don’t pick favorites when it comes to the incredible local wedding professionals in New Mexico. When every business contributes, in its own way, to the eclectic wedding market here in Albuquerque + Santa Fe, providing engaged couples with so many options for their big day… well, how could we?!

Actually, never mind. We can do it just like this: Smallcakes is our favorite cupcakery in New Mexico. 

Whew! Feels good to get that out in the open and, no, it doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that Smallcakes is the only team of bakers and makers in New Mexico who have specifically dedicated their talents to becoming cupcake experts. Although, that is a pretty good reason to love them, too.

Smallcakes: A Cupcakery is our favorite cupcakery in New Mexico because they actually do so much more than just cupcakes. Whatever you’ve previously believed about bakeries, cupcakes, wedding cakes, and the like — throw it out the window, because Smallcakes transcends all the customary boundaries. We’re not just talking your typical customization options, either.

Custom, handmade cookies? Check. Bachelorette parties? You got it. If that’s not enough for you either, they also do groom cakes — which we haven’t seen anywhere else — smash cakes, and gluten-free cakes. The best part too, is they have over 120 flavor choices for you to taste, delight in, and choose from.

Oh, and get this. Did you know that if you order your sweet treats from Smallcakes for your wedding day, you’ll also receive a complimentary couple’s cake for your one year anniversary?! There. Your anniversary dinner is already taken care of for you.

The team at Smallcakes: A Cupcakery is ceaselessly working to improve and elevate the wedding community here in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, so yes. They are our favorite cupcakery. This might be controversial to some, but with the flavors, fun, and friendly faces, how could they not be?

To schedule a tasting for your custom wedding sweets, you can contact Smallcakes: A Cupcakery here.

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Why Your Photographer Thinks You Should Hire a Wedding Planner {Guest Post!}

A very special thank you to Beth Waldron Photography, a New Mexico photographer based in Corrales, for sharing her wedding expertise with us + allowing us to pass it on to our local engaged couples in this guest post!

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4 Reasons to Hire a Planner — from a Photographer’s Perspective

Planning your wedding can be really fun. It can also be a source of stress in what should otherwise be a joyful time. If you have room in your budget for a wedding planner, then here are four reasons to hire one, from a photographer’s perspective. 

1.

Your decor – This might be the first thing you think of when you hear “wedding planner.” A well dressed person running around with material swatches and flower arrangements.

They do so much more than this, but the gorgeous decor part is definitely true.

When you want your wedding decorations to be on point and everything to look amazing, hiring a planner is a great way to do that. They’ll get to know you and take everything you hope and dream about your wedding and make magic with your ideas to turn them into reality. It’s what they do. Especially if you have a vision of a wedding that is uniquely you. They work tirelessly behind the scenes and at all hours…building and crafting and designing and ironing. They create magic.

Truthfully, all weddings can be photographed beautifully. But if you read wedding magazines and blogs and you love how beautiful and styled everything is in the articles, and want your wedding to be like that … that wedding styling is generally the genius of a wedding planner. They make everything, including photographers, look good.

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2.

Your timeline – Your wedding day needs a timeline. And your wedding planning needs a timeline too. The reasons for this could fill another blog post. There are a lot of details to get done for your day to happen and run smoothly. Wedding planners know when things have to happen in order to get everything done in time for your wedding day. When do you need to have all of your ideas finalized so everything can be ordered or made in time? When do you need to order everything? When do you start making decor items you can’t buy somewhere? Anyone can be organized, so while the organization is great, it’s the experience and knowledge of a planner that makes them worth the expense.
A planner will help you build a realistic timeline for your wedding day. How much time do you need for getting ready? How much time will your wedding party need? Will you really have enough time to get from location A to location B? What will your guests do while you’re taking portraits with the photographer? Who will decide when to do toasts and cake cutting?

It’s true that your vendors can help you with your timeline. Your photographer can suggest you pad certain areas with more time and estimate how much time you’ll need for portraits. Your DJ can suggest when to have your toasts and when to cut the cake. Your hair and makeup team can estimate how long it will take to get everyone ready. But a wedding planner will have a vision for the day, pull all of the pieces together, and keep everyone to it as well as they can, while also handling any crisis that comes their way.

If you contract a wedding planner for day of services, then they’ll be there setting things up and keeping things running all day and you get to relax and be present. And then they clean up, which is awesome. Some wedding planners have a day of only service as well.

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3.

Your budget – Your planner will keep you on budget. A good planner evaluates what details  are most meaningful to you in your ideas. They’ll see where you can spend and where you should think about being more thrifty. And they keep you on track in your contracts and payments with vendors.

Your planner will have the hard discussions with you and manage your expectations. If your dreams don’t align with your budget, then your planner can help you find areas to spend less for more or where things can be made instead of purchased.

Wedding planners keep everything in one place. There’s a list of vendors working on the wedding with a timeline for when they get payment for their services.

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4.

Your vendors – Planners can recommend vendors to work with, which is a great thing. But even when you choose your own vendors, a planner keeps them informed about everything. Who’s doing what? Where do they go? When are they supposed to be there? What’s happening when? Who to talk to about what details? Are they delivering what they promised? Are they where they’re supposed to be? They might feel like they herd cats.

A planner is also a single point of contact for all of your vendors, and they defuse any situations that may arise, vendor and personal. And for any of you thinking, “It’s a wedding, what situations could there be?” Oh, it happens. It could be anything from “the bus arrived late to get the bride from the cabin where she’s getting ready with her bridesmaids and the bride will be at least 45 minutes late to the ceremony” (yes…this one is real) to a disagreement between vendors or an overly rowdy guest/family member.

As a vendor, it’s very helpful to have a point of contact for the entire wedding. Planners keep you informed and send you information you don’t even know you need until you need it. Amazing. If you want this level of detail, definitely hire a wedding planner and let your friends and family relax with you on your wedding day while someone else takes care of everything.

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If you’ve ever had the thought, “Do I really need a wedding planner? What do they do anyway?” or wished that someone who isn’t a wedding planner give you some real talk for why you should spend your money on a wedding planner, there it is. A good wedding planner is going to make sure your wedding is gorgeous and everything goes smoothly for you and your wedding vendors. Worth every penny.

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Announcing the 2018 PWG Elite Award Winners!

Ah yes, the morning after an incredible night. It seems like we spend all year long waiting for our favorite event, the Vendor Appreciation Party, and then suddenly it’s here and over far too quickly. Luckily our henna tattoos and memories of gold + glam will last a lifetime, even if the Bollywood-themed night couldn’t!

A very special thank you to The View Event Center by Simply Decor for truly tantalizing the senses with authentic chai, stunning performances, and a breathtaking space for us to celebrate and appreciate all of Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s best, local wedding professionals.

In the midst of all the glitz, we also awarded some particularly dedicated local wedding experts with well-deserved awards in categories like Best Floral Designer, Best Bridal Gown Shop, and Best Photographer. Don’t worry though, you don’t have to take our word for it that these vendors were worthy of awarding — they were chosen by local, engaged or recently married couples just like you!

So without further adieu, scroll on to get the scoop on the best wedding vendors Albuquerque + Santa Fe has to offer, as chosen by real local couples!

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2018 PWG Elite Award Winners:

Best Wedding Coordinator | Black Bow Events

Best Bridal Beauty Expert | Makeup by Kim Fisher

Best Spa or Place to Relax | Bliss Salon and Spa

Best Place to Order a Wedding Cake | Cake Fetish

Best Catering or Restaurant | Blue Plate Special

Best Place to Have a Bachelorette Party | Duke City Pedaler

Best Place to Have a Reception | The View Event Center by Simply Decor

Best Location to Have a Ceremony | Casa Rondena Winery

Best Wedding Officiant | Amor Ceremonies

Best Floral Designer | All The Pretty Flowers

Best Event Decor | Simply Decor & Events

Best Rental Company | Occasion Services & Events

Best Bridal Gown Shop | Bridal Elegance by Darlene

Best Men’s Formalwear Shop | Suits Unlimited

Best Place to Order Invitations | Funky Olive Design Invitations & Stationery

Best Disc Jockey | Dream Factory Productions

Best Live Ceremony Musician | Cello for Weddings

Best Local Band | Absolute Entertainment

Best Photographer | Matt Blasing Photography

Best Cinematographer | Southwest Wedding Films

Best Photo Booth Rental | Snapshot Selfies

Best Unique Wedding Service | Bombshell Fitness

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Our sincerest gratitude to the magnificent sponsors, who made our Vendor Appreciation Night the speculator party it was!

The View Event Center by Simply Decor | King Mobile Music | Tori Photography | Little Bear Media | Cafe Venture Catering | Funky Olive Invitations | The Acre Restaurant | Hacienda Del Rio | Jaz Catering | Magic Mirror NM Photo Booth | Tully’s Catering | Simply Decor

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Bliss Salon and Spa: A Review of Albuquerque’s Finest

Who could have known, when Bliss Salon and Spa first opened their doors in 2009, that they would grow to be one of Albuquerque’s most beloved one-stop beauty shops? Well… actually, most of their clients probably did. The family owned and operated business has been famed for its welcoming environment for 9 years now, and the quality of their services has only continued to evolve with each passing year.

Most often, when we highlight a local business or wedding professional, it’s because their products or services have taken the wedding world by storm. We’ll hear about them from locally engaged couples, other wedding vendors, wedding guests — you name it. This is true of Bliss, of course, but we also have personal experience with the salon and spa.

Not only does their team provide the hair and makeup for our models at the Diamond Dash and Wedding Gallery couture fashion shows, but recently I also had the opportunity to come in the shop for a pedicure. Let me tell you, my toes have never been happier. From the moment I walked in, I was greeted with the warmth of a regular, and treated with the utmost kindness. While their nail artist made my feet look like that of a princess, we chatted amicably about her time in cosmetology school, and how lucky she felt to work at Bliss Salon and Spa with her best friend and some of the most talented people in Albuquerque.

Then, as if the glorious pedicure wasn’t enough for me, I mentioned to the front desk receptionist that I needed a hair trim and that I should make an appointment for the following week. Before I could blink they had a chair open for me and a cape around my neck. The same lovely and talented nail artist pulled out her scissors and started trimming my hair.

Normally would have been hesitant, as I’ve only ever had my hair cut professionally one other time, but I remembered the raving reviews for Bliss Salon and Spa that litter their listing on the Perfect Wedding Guide site, and felt totally confident in their team’s abilities. I was right, too! She took my overgrown, mostly dead hair and transformed it into a chic bob with the perfect amount of messiness to match my personal style.

While it might not be on the visible horizon for me just yet, I know without a doubt which team of stylists I want there with me on my wedding day. {It’s Bliss Salon and Spa, if that wasn’t already abundantly clear.} After seeing so many brides, bridesmaids, and models have their natural beauty illuminated with care and consideration by their team, I know how comfortable and confident I’d feel having Carmen Joe, Bliss Salon‘s owner, and her team of incredible women styling me for such an important day.

Thank you to the whole team for working so diligently to provide Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s wedding parties with the best service our state has to offer! We’re so grateful for you.

{See the team in action at during the couture bridal fashion show at our next event — the Wedding Gallery Wedding Show! Grab your tickets here.}

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The women (and men) who make the Bliss Salon run are wonderful, sweet, and compassionate people. They work with your budget, accommodate your needs, and provide a great salon and spa experiences you can have in the city of Albuquerque.

-Courtney

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