Feeding New Mexico’s Weddings and Communities: Street Food Institute

As certified New Mexico wedding experts, we, the Perfect Wedding Guide team, spend a lot of time talking about what it is that makes each individual wedding so special. Often, we hone in on the little details in the decor, bouquets, vows, and such. We do so because with hundreds of thousands of weddings happening all over the world, it’s the minutia of the moment that reveals the hidden intricacies of a couple’s wedding. So you might ask yourself questions while planning your wedding that seem overly introspective, but are actually totally valid. The colors you choose for your wedding do reflect your identities. Your venue, be it chic and modern with clean edges, or industrial and rustic with an old-world charm, really does encapsulate your penchants and personalities. 

Not to mention, as the world continues to be tumultuous and ever-turning, the decision-making of choosing wedding professional to trust, which vendor to collaborate with, and which small business to support, becomes even bigger than just deciding whose vibe matches yours. If you’re anything like us, then you want to support the kinds of businesses who do good for your community, too. 

So when we first learned about the Street Food Institute here in New Mexico, our initial reaction was to jump for joy. Equal parts food truck catering and culinary education program, the Street Food Institute nourishes our community not only through their delicious food, but through their sustainable entrepreneur pathways, too. The former provides unique, experiential dining options for weddings and events here in New Mexico, and the latter, long-lasting and life-changing professional development for students from all backgrounds. 

With specific programs for those most vulnerable in our community — like their partnership with Crossroads for Women, an organization for formerly incarcerated women — the Street Food Institute empowers and educates while they feed and delight their customers and friends. You can choose from one of their many fine-tuned, carefully curated menus — brunch foods, taco bars, causal eats, vegetarian cuisine, and asian buffets — or you can take advantage of their professional chef expertise and have a custom menu created to perfectly compliment the other eats and treats at your wedding. With either option, you can move forward with the Street Food Institute knowing you’re supporting and celebrating a local business who strengthens our entire community. 

Plus, if we’re being honest here, we all know the food truck trend is the most adorable and convenient thing to ever hit the food scene here in New Mexico. By partnering with the Street Food Institute for your wedding, you can reflect your good taste both literally and metaphorically, and create an experience for your family and friends unlike any other. To contact the incredibly dedicated, incredibly kind team over at the Street Food Institute, you can contact them here. 

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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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Rebekah + Julio’s Unforgettable Albuquerque Wedding

With so many weddings every year, it’s easy to get lost in the bustling world of planning, budgeting, hiring wedding professionals, choosing venues, themes, and color schemes. But, a wedding day is, at its core, a ritual used to symbolize the coalescence of two lives into one. With all the precious details of Rebekah + Julio’s effortlessly elegant union, the couple reminded guests of this message hidden within the celebratory day.

Thanks to Chrisi K Photography, we’re also able to relearn the deeper meaning behind the tradition. Behind her lens, the famed Albuquerque photographer captured every moment — including, of course, when the bridesmaids walked down the aisle. As they made way for the bride, darned in muted hues to complement the venue {Casas de Suenos} and vibes, the message became clear. When each woman came to the outdoor altar, they removed one flower from their personal bouquet and added it to a vase which sat, front and center at the end of the aisle.

Representing both the support each couple had from their loved ones, and the coming together of their separate lives, the vase grew larger and more beautiful with each bridesmaid’s floral addition. The end result was an arrangement to rival all others — bursting with color and life, it represented the happy future each guest envisioned for Rebekah + Julio together.

Even more lively and awe-inspiring than the bouquet though, was the couple themselves. When Rebekah joined her soon-to-be husband in front of their guests, the joy and harmony that surrounded the couple was quickly the center of attention. Rebekah’s sleek gown combined vintage details with a modern elegance through its empire waist and high neckline. Julio’s tux, traditional and impeccably-pressed, complemented her attire perfectly, just as they do for one another in their relationship. Though they were essentially there, on a stage of sorts, it seems as if the two were in a world of their own.

How Chrisi K Photography manages to preserve each special second of the ephemeral day, we’ll never know. We can say though, with absolute certainty, that any engaged couple would be lucky to have her on their team for their big day.

To book Chrisi K Photography for your celebration, you can contact her here.

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Andrea + Rebecca’s Real + Rosy Wedding

In Albuquerque alone, there’s an estimated 5,000 marriage licenses given out every single year. Which, if you’re ever feeling down about the state of the world, is a beautiful statistic to consider. (5,000 couples pledging their love to each other!) But it’s also a little overwhelming. How can we possibly give the attention and recognition that each wonderful marriage deserves?!

Realistically, we can’t. Luckily though, weddings like Andrea + Rebecca’s make us forget about all others. Not because it was a wedding from the royal family or America’s equivalent — the Kardashian’s — but because there’s something distinctly universal about the love that emanates from Andrea + Rebecca.

Maybe it’s the full-bellied laughter that accompanied the misty eyes during their ceremony, or the secret lover’s dance captured by Matt Blasing Photography, or just a combination of all the tiny, exquisite moments from their day. Whatever it may be, Andrea + Rebecca’s wedding calls to mind the memory of a pure, unbridled kind of joyous love.

Though, not everything about their celebration was universal. Sidestepping tradition, Rebecca + Andrea walked down the aisle hand in hand, with Rebecca in a bright red dress that accentuated both brides’ rosy cheeks and Andrea’s tie, of course. {Plus the day took place at the unparalleled venue, Los Poblanos Historic Inn + Organic Farm, which is truly a one-of-a-kind space.}

Somehow, as always, the husband and wife duo that is Matt Blasing Photography managed to capture the couple in all their uniqueness and wholeness. Through their lens we’re able to participate, albeit from a distance, as two distinct individuals come together in a brand-new, unique union, while also recognizing the ubiquitous nature of their love and how it mirrors all the love that came before them.

Thank you, Andrea + Rebecca, and Matt Blasing Photography, for sharing this special day with us so we could, in turn, share it with our lovely readers.

{To book Matt Blasing Photography for your wedding, contact them here!}

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Funky Olive: Bespoke Pieces for Trendy Couples

Modern | Bespoke | Custom

If you live in New Mexico — or really anywhere in the Southwest for that matter — and haven’t heard of Funky Olive Design: Invitations + Stationery, you’ve been missing out. But that’s okay! Because that means we, Perfect Wedding Guide, get to introduce you to one of Albuquerque’s most talented wedding professionals. {Which is our favorite thing to do, if you haven’t noticed.}
 
For years now, Funky Olive Design has been gracing the local community with the trendiest, most on-point wedding stationery — specifically for the trendiest, most on-point engaged couples. Their team of 3 incredible ladies hand-crafts custom designs with each duo’s personal style at the forefront. Collaborating with their team is like working with your best friend — that is, if your best friend is a creative genius who’s perpetually on top of current trends, and can transmute them into a one of a kind design for you and no one else.
 
One thing unifies every unique design, though: they’re all mind-blowing. From the table signs, to the invitations, menus, engagement announcements, and supplemental signage, no detail goes unnoticed by Funky Olive Design.
 
Don’t believe it? We know, it sounds too good to be true. If you need some evidence, you can scroll — try not to drool when you do — through photos of the previous designs they cultivated from local couple‘s wildest dreams. Or even better, book a consultation with their team to get the ball rolling, and they’ll share their design portfolio with you. {It’s a dream, but you’ll just have to see for yourself.}
 
So yes, if you’re modern, hip, and ready to tie the knot, Funk Olive Design: Invitations + Stationery is the place for you. Get ready for bewildering bespoke-ness, you bold bride-to-be.
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Photo Courtesy of: Maura Jane Photography
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Photo Courtesy of: Maura Jane Photography
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 Photo Courtesy of: Maura Jane Photography 
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PWG Elite Awards: Vote Now!

While it’s true that we, the Perfect Wedding Guide team, do have some authority when it comes to showcasing Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s local wedding professionals, we fully admit to not knowing everything. To stay humble, each year we reach out to hundreds of local engaged — or recently married couples — to get the full scoop on what it’s like to work with vendors like Matt Blasing Photography, Amor Ceremonies, or Prairie Star.

{Because, if we could get to see these professionals in action by having a wedding every weekend, we totally would. Unfortunately, half our team is already married.}

Then we take all this incredible info from real couples, and we bestow the Perfect Wedding Guide Elite Awards to the hardest working, kindest, and most deserving wedding vendors! And guess what?

Voting for 2018 is open NOW!

Here’s your chance to, with a few clicks, pass on all you learned while planning your own wedding, to other engaged couples! Your vote is essentially your recommendation to all the amazing love-birds of Albuquerque + Santa Fe. So if you really vibed with or were impressed by a wedding professional who worked to make your day special, here’s a super simple way to pass back some of the love they showed you!

{Not married yet? That’s alright too — feel free to vote for any vendors who have made your planning process a little more enjoyable, because that’s just as important too.}

You can vote for your favorite business owners HERE

Then, keep an eye peeled for the winners who will be announced later this year, and see if your fave team made the cut!

Oh yeah, and those amazing vendors we mentioned at the beginning of this post? {Matt Blasing Photography, Amor Ceremonies, and Prairie Star} They’re just a few of last year’s venerable winners. You can check out the rest of 2017’s PWG Elite Award Winners here, and follow the links included to book them for your wedding, too!

Perfect Wedding Guide local vendors Albuquerque Santa Fe New Mexico planning inspo inspiration ceremony tips real wedding couple photography PWG Elite Awards contest competition vote now outdoor marriage engagement

Matt Blasing Photography

Perfect Wedding Guide local vendors Albuquerque Santa Fe New Mexico planning inspo inspiration ceremony tips real wedding couple photography PWG Elite Awards contest competition vote now venue marriage Prairie Star ceremony

Prairie Star by Maura Jane Photography

Perfect Wedding Guide local vendors Albuquerque Santa Fe New Mexico planning inspo inspiration ceremony tips real wedding couple photography PWG Elite Awards contest competition vote now officiant ceremony local award winner

Kelly Atkin, of Amor Ceremonies

 

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Devoted Love at Prairie Star {Video Feature}

Yes, yes, we did just feature a gorgeous wedding at Prairie Star. But what can we say? We’re suckers for the quiet serenity of the venue. Nestled in the Santa Ana Pueblo, the traditional adobe mansion is only a few minutes from downtown Albuquerque, and one of our favorite places to visit in New Mexico.

Prairie Star‘s stunning views and amazing team make every wedding + celebration there one for the books. If you really want to take advantage of the little slice of heaven though, the only way to make it even better is to pull in an equally incredible, just as local, entertainment company like COMPLETE Weddings + Events. Which Tara + Kevin did! {Not to mention, the other local vendors who came together as the cherry on top of a perfect day. Listed below!}

We’re so thankful that Luminance Wedding Films was there to capture their heartfelt + tastefully vintage wedding day. Cementing in memory the unparalleled way in which Prairie Star + COMPLETE collaborated to make Tara + Kevin’s day undeniably elegant and insanely fun — we’re just dying to share this Luminance wedding film with you all.

Turn up your volume, or pop in some headphones for this one. Maybe grab some tissues too, because Tara + Kevin’s radiating love and devotion is giving us — well, me, at least — some serious wedding fever.

Love You More….Tara {+} Kevin Wedding Short Film~Prairie Star from Luminance Wedding Films on Vimeo.

 

Cinematography | Luminance Wedding Films
Editing/Color Grading | Sarah Kanafani of Luminance Wedding Films
Venue | Prairie Star
Bridal Consultant | Vicki Newsom of Orange September
Photographer | Jones Photo Art
D.J. | Justin with COMPLETE Weddings + Events
Floral Design | Say Something Special With Flowers
Cake | Cake Fetish

 

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Bride’s Night Out 2018

Well folks, engagement season is finally wrapping up! It’s been such a wonderful time to watch adorable local couples take the next step in their relationship. From snowy mountaintop engagements pictures, to the most fantastically festive holiday proposals, it truly has been one of the best seasons yet.

So what’s the next step for freshly bloomed brides-to-be? Wedding shows of course! And we totally have you covered. The Diamond Dash is right around the corner, on March 4th from 12-4pm, but if you can’t break away from your busy schedule during the day, there’s always the famed Bride’s Night Out.

This year, on May 18th, your favorite local vendors are bringing their A-game for the BNO. It’s hard to pick favorites when every wedding show leaves our team feeling so inspired by our community, but Bride’s Night Out is definitely one of my personal faves. Boutique vibes, delicious cocktails + treat, all in one of Albuquerque’s most uniquely stunning venues: Hotel Andaluz. How could you not love it?!

{PLUS! The first 50 brides get a swag bag totally free, that’s totally jam-packed with goodies from local vendors. Right?!}

So come join us! For now you can live vicariously through these stunning photos from last year, courtesy of Matt Blasing Photography. Tickets to this event fly off the shelves pretty fast though, so lock yours down here!

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19417405_10155484655339114_630333957883913313_oMatt Blasing Photography

 

Can’t wait to see you there!

Grab your tickets here.

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Free Susan Southerland Webinar Tomorrow Wednesday, June 16th 12:30pm EST

The Susan Southerland Secret: Crucial Contracts: Perfect Wedding Guide expert Susan Southerland discusses the nuts and bolts about what you absolutely need in every vendor contract for your wedding. To register, visit http://www.perfectweddingguide.com/events/webinars/

About Susan Southerland

Susan Southerland has been a wedding planner for more than 17 years. Weddings today are often loaded with stress and pressure to overspend, over impress and be over-the-top. Brides are bombarded with images of wildly expensive weddings and with messages insisting that they host the event of the decade. The goal of her wedding blog is to help couples and their families create beautiful, unique weddings that reflect their personality and style and create an atmosphere of warmth and celebration – regardless of budget or income level.

Susan’s wedding blog features tips on everything from bridal wear and bridesmaids to wedding workshops and vendors. In addition, each week she posts pictures of real weddings with great ideas on color themes, wedding dresses, overcoming challenges and more.

The most important thing to remember when planning your wedding is to be true to yourself. You may not have the most expensive flowers or a 20-tier cake, but if everything suits your personality it will truly be the perfect wedding.


Fun Bachelorette Party Themes

Fort Mill Photography

Everyone looks forward to attending the bachelorette party before the wedding day. Adding a theme to the event spices up the typical bachelorette party, helps you forget the wedding planning for a minute, and makes for some pretty memorable stories and pictures! Here are eight fun bachelorette party themes and ideas for a great “girl’s night out”.

Road trip: The group can plan an overnight or weekend trip to a nearby destination and plan activities. Examples could be a casino road trip, a beach trip or a whitewater rafting trip.

Scavenger Hunt: At the beginning of the night, the bride-to-be is given a list of items or tasks to complete before the end of the night. A few examples of what could be included on the list are:

  • Give a cop a kiss
  • Sing a song in a crowded restaurant bar
  • Collect a pair of boxer shorts
  • Get a picture of bride and a stranger in a sports car

If you like, the scavenger hunt can include the wedding planning party as well and you can decide on any penalties for not completing the list.

Candy for a Buck: The group takes the bride out on wearing a T-shirt that has candy attached. Each guy that wants a piece of candy must pay a buck.

Wearing a Lei: Each bridesmaid wears a lei throughout the entire night.

Shirt Full of Names: The bride wears a shirt that has different male names on it. For each man she meets throughout the night, she must ask him to find his name on her shirt and he must sign the shirt when he finds his name. At the end of the night, the bride does a shot or some other type of wedding planning penalty for each “unsigned” name on her shirt.

Question and Answer: This theme is kind of like the Newlywed Game show. The wedding planning hostess asks the groom-to-be questions before the bachelorette party in secret. Once at the party, the bride-to-be is asked the same questions. If she answers differently from the groom-to-be she has to eat, drink or do something embarrassing for each wrong answer.

Spa Relaxation: Whether you go to a spa or have this at the hostess’ house, this is a great evening together as friends. Gifts are not generally required, but spa baskets or gift certificates are always appreciated.

Karaoke: Take the bride to a karaoke bar and the fun will ensue! Task her with getting up on stage and singing a love song that reminds her of her groom-to-be. While gifts are not required, if you would like to give a gift at the bachelorette party, a CD would be a great gift to go along with the wedding planning theme.

When planning your bachelorette party, remember the guest of honor. Never plan activities where the bride would be uncomfortable, bored or too embarrassed participate. Do you research and consult with the other bridesmaids and friends of the brides to select the perfect night out that your guest of honor will never forget.

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