Santa Fe Celebration: Real Wedding with Maura Jane Photography

Well, well, well, another successful Front Cover Contest has come and gone yet again! Hopefully you’ve been keeping up with the competition via our Instagram, but if not, then have no fear. We offer local wedding professionals the opportunity to have their image featured on over 12,000 copies of our print magazine every year, twice a year. ‘Cause we love y’all like that.

This year was, by far, one of the most difficult go-arounds of the contest yet. Local photographers, wedding planners, videographers, and more sent in their strongest image, and we were totally blown away. With so many different styles and preferences on our team, nailing down our 3 finalists took longer than we’d like to admit. When we saw the gorgeous submission from Maura Jane Photography, though, we all nodded in solidarity. The ethereal, yet timeless photograph checked all our boxes: super unique, super New Mexican, and super, duper, unbelievably dreamy.

Caitlin + Justin, the newlyweds that we mistakenly took for models at first, grabbed our intrigue with the obvious love they have for one another. It nearly jumps off their wedding photos, and Maura Jane Photography captured the essence of their celebration to a stunning degree of accuracy. When Maura shared the details of their love story with us, too, we were absolutely sold, and knew we had to pass on the madly-in-love vibes to our fellow wedding nerds.

Without further adieu, Caitlin + Justin, as captured by one of Albuquerque’s favorite wedding photographers, Maura Jane Photography.

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Caitlin and Justin met within their first month of medical school. It wasn’t that hard to find the time to fall for each other as they shared classes, tutoring groups, and studied together. Years later, Justin planned a weekend trip for Caitlin at a vineyard.  During their walk they ‘”found” a large heart on the ground made of flower petals, (Arranged by his family in advance.) and this is where Justin got down on one knee.  They started medical school by finding each other, and they were going to end it by getting married.

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Caitlin and Justin chose to mix a classic and elegant style with a nod to hispanic culture. Since their wedding day landed on Cinco De Mayo, they made sure to add accents of bright warm florals, have a piñata for the kids, and serve margaritas and tacos. Inspired by the history of New Mexico, they gifted their bridal party beautiful turquoise cufflinks and necklaces, in homage to The City Different.

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The bouquets by Bloomstream matched the coral bridesmaid dresses perfectly. Caitlin wore her late grandmother’s Tiffany necklace, and earrings gifted to her by Justin’s mother, as she stunned everyone walking down the aisle in her elegant lace gown. Later guests enjoyed themselves to a traditional New Mexico dinner while sipping champagne and wishing the couple well wishes.

Maura, Maura Jane Photography

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Venue: Gerald Peters Gallery
Planner:  Just Lovely Weddings
Hair and Make Up: Madeline McCue Makeup
Dress Store: Julian Gold
Dress Designer: Christos Bridal
Tuxes: The Black Tux
Cake: ABC Cakes

From Albuquerque to Iceland: Real Winter Wedding

With the winter chill covering our Sandia Mountains in crisp, white snow, but not gracing the city with the same, it’s no wonder we’re feeling a bit envious of this real wedding from local couple, Sara-Irene + Alex. Can we all just pack up our things and hitch it over to Iceland, like the lovebirds did for their wonderfully intimate, wintery wedding?

Alas, there’s much to do in here in New Mexico, so we’ll have to live vicariously through the photos of their breathtaking ceremony. Luckily Maura Jane Photography was there to capture every detail and darling moment between the couple. With her magic-making gear in tow, Maura hopped on a plane to Iceland with just the couple and their officiant after they decided to switch up their plans.

Sara-Irene and Alex had originally planned a large local wedding here in Albuquerque. After a month of planning, they realized that the upcoming wedding didn’t portray the two of them very well. It didn’t feel like they thought their wedding should. It didn’t take long for them to flirt with the idea of an elopement. After all, Sara-Irene already had her dress and none of the invites had been sent. After scouring Pinterest for ideas, they fell in love with and settled on Iceland. One quick phone call and they changed their plans and dates to head to the land of fire and ice.

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While we don’t advocate for ever leaving our Land of Enchantment — why would you ever want to?! — we’d be lying if we didn’t say it was the perfect move for Sara-Irene + Alex. Ultimately, each wedding serves as a reflection of the values and love between its respective couple, in all their deeply unique and incomparable ways.

It may have been cold but the wind blew Sara’s bouquet ribbons in the most beautiful fashion adding to the ethereal look of all their photos. It also made it so only they themselves could hear each other say their vows, adding to the intimacy of the day. Afterwards we traveled around the island to some of the most picturesque locations for photos that you have ever seen. From the black sand beaches in Vik to the icy glaciers on the south side of the island, we were all completely awestruck by its beauty. Sara-Irene and Alex could not have picked a more ideal place to say I do. With their adventurous hearts and desire to keep their wedding intimate, it all fell together perfectly.

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A hearty and warm congratulations to Sara-Irene + Alex for leaping together into the evolution of their love story. And, of course, thank you to Maura Jane Photography for ensuring that the moment will be preserved in their hearts, and ours, for lifetimes to come.

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Photographer: Maura Jane Photography Venue: Reynisfjara, and Jökulsárlón Dress Store: A Dressy Occasion Dress Designer: Mon Cheri Veil: Bridal Elegance by Darlene Ring: Heidi Gibson Ribbons: Table and Vase Flowers: Upplifun, Be Inspired – bækur, blóm og gjafavara Desserts: Alchemy Confections Invitations: Funky Olive Invitations + Stationery Officiant: Tryggvi Gunnarsson of  Sidmennt

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Save the Dates: Setting the Tone for Your Wedding {Guest Post!}

Our deepest thanks to the wonderful team of experts over at Paperlust for sharing their wedding expertise with us + our local wedding community through this awesome guest post!

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A save the date is one of the first pieces of wedding stationery that your guests see. It is an opportunity to create cohesion with your wedding invitation and on-the-day stationery, giving everyone a glimpse of what the most special day of your life will be like. There are many ways to do this, and we’ve compiled a list of tips to get you started.

Your Signature Style

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If you have a trademark style or have picked one for your nuptials, why not give everyone an idea of what it is from the outset? Your whole wedding will have a fantastic sense of unity and guests can know what to expect. For example, if you’re planning to host a formal wedding, an overly casual save the date will give people the wrong idea (and they may not come dressed how you want them to). Some design elements that suit formal events are gold foiling, letterpress, formal wording and limited colour. On the other hand, if you’ve got an off white knee length wedding dress and plan to walk down the aisle in your family’s barn, kick off the rustic vibes with a sweet kraft paper invite.

A Theme to Build Around

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Many an engaged person has balked at the enormity of the task that planning a wedding presents. Where do you even start? A wedding has to be built around something, so if you’re struggling for inspiration, why not build it around a theme that is unique to you and your love? If you two regularly argue about who could have a career in stand up comedy, a humorous save the date might be just the thing to kick off the festivities with a laugh. Get creative with the wording and give all your friends a giggle as they see your save the date on their fridge leading up to the wedding. Alternatively, your theme could be related to a certain region, like French (red, white and blue on your save the dates and baguettes as your starters) or Australiana theme. Whatever theme you pick should ideally be included the rest of the way through your wedding, but don’t feel the need to be too obvious. After all, less is more.  

The Reoccurring Motif

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You might be thinking, ‘Wait, aren’t a theme and motif the same thing?’ Basically, a theme is a key idea while a motif is a reappearing symbol, image or idea. If your wedding has a tropical theme but you think the palm leaf or wave invitations are played out, consider including pineapples as an image that repeats throughout not just your stationery, but for your whole wedding. You could even secretly weave pineapples into unexpected parts of your day and see who notices. Themes and motifs aren’t about how loud you can be, so aim for something tasteful. Flowers are another example of a motif to include in your save the date to give loved ones a hint without explicitly stating that you’re hosting a spring garden wedding.

Storytelling As an Art

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Every couple has a story to tell – so why not share it with those you love most during your special season in a way that is unique to you? While there are many ways to tell a good tale, pictures can be an easy and practical way to get creative. Use photocards to give the story in ‘chapters’, starting with your save the date. You could stick to black and white, frame the idea in terms of movie scenes or make every bit of stationery totally unique. That’s the best part – it’s all about you and your partner! Brainstorm some ideas then grab a camera (or hire a photographer) and start shooting.

 

Save the dates are more important than you might have first thought. Send these trend setters out at least 10 weeks before your wedding, or longer for a destination wedding, and all of your guests will know what they’re in for. Plus, the more notice they have, the more likely they are to be free to come. Happy planning!

 

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Custom Wedding Jewelry: Vendor Spotlight

With November nearly behind us, and the holiday season coming on the horizon, there’s not much we want to do except lay in our cozy, warm beds and scroll through the wedding section of Pinterest, if we’re being honest. Though the holiday season is known in the wedding world as engagement season, so there’s still much to be done. In times like these, we look to our local wedding professionals for a little boost and a little inspiration.

Jewelry by Josana, a local, custom jewelry business, is exactly what the doctor ordered. Josana’s work, riddled with sparkles and captivating to see in the light, is what we need to bring a little bit of warmth and sunshine back into these chilly almost-winter days. As a wonderfully spiritual and intuitive person, Josana endows each of her custom jewelry pieces with intention, love, and blessings for their wearers.

Jewelry by Josana started several years ago when Josana herself began to recognize the importance of jewelry for herself. Now, after 50 happy years of marriage to her hubby, Josana makes jewelry for engaged couples to wear on their wedding day and beyond, so they too, can have this physical connection to something beautiful.

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It is exhilarating for me to see their smiles and excitement when they receive their jewelry! There is nothing like beautiful jewelry to heighten a person’s self esteem.

-Josana, Jewelry by Josana

Using only the finest quality of metals, gemstones, and beads in their work, Jewelry by Josana helps couples choose their pieces to emphasize their wedding colors and add personal touches to reflect their love story within the jewelry.  From hypoallergenic metals and crystals, to freshwater coated pearl, cultured pearls, Preciosa, Australian Crystal, Crackled Crystal, and so much more, the shape, size, and color combinations are nearly limitless for your jewelry.

If you’ve been planning your wedding, or are just obsessed with weddings like we are, then by this point, you probably cringe when you hear about something to make your wedding unique. But truly, each celebration of love is as individual and unrepeatable as your relationship with your soon-to-be-spouse, and highlighting that is one of the most fun parts about your wedding — besides the actual marrying your sole mate part, of course.

Having custom-made, handcrafted jewelry for you and your wedding party is simply one of the easiest, and most affordable ways to do just that. Oh, and did we mention? Your jewelry package order comes with a flower girl set at no extra charge, just to sweeten the day even more. Leave your bridesmaids and partner with tangible memories of the beginning of your life together to cherish for the rest of your forever.

To contact Jewelry by Josana for your custom jewelry today, you can contact her here.

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Nativo Lodge: New Mexican Wedding Venue Spotlight

You probably already know this, but at Perfect Wedding Guide, we get to work face-to-face with hundreds of local, small businesses at our networking events, wedding shows, Elite Awards, coffee meet ups, and a whole lot more. Although, despite this simple fact, it’s true we’ve been accused of favoring the members of our PWG family over others. And we think we know where this belief may be coming from…it’s because our vendors and members are the best in Albuquerque + Santa Fe!

When you work with the best local wedding businesses, it’s easy to seem a bit biased towards the hardest working, kindest teams and experts. But we can assure you, we love working with any and every small business in New Mexico, and we don’t discriminate. It just so happens to be that the wedding professionals we work with the most, also happen to be some of the highest ranking and most well-loved around.

Take Nativo Lodge, for example. When their team of wedding experts and event coordinators joined the Perfect Wedding Guide family, we were over the moon. Because, while we adore all wedding businesses, one very real, very obvious bias we have is for New Mexican vibes and venues. Every inch of Nativo Lodge is covered in our distinct southwestern charm, and the venue as a whole draws heavily on Native American influences to pay homage to indigenous people. And, each individual room in the spacious hotel + venue was designed and painted by local, Native American contemporary artists.

The bounteous and fertile culture of our home state is what sets us apart from the mainstream wedding community, what with their penchant for minimalism and all. Of course you can find perfectly beautiful blank canvas venues in New Mexico, but incorporating the history of your home into your wedding day? Well now, that’s how you get a truly memorable, personal, and intrinsically unique celebration.

Luckily for us, local photographers Loren X Chris captured the perfect example of a wedding day with unparalleled richness and love at the Nativo Lodge. Alex + Mike tied the knot with their dearest loved ones and southwestern opulence abound.

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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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