Zero-Waste Wedding: 5 Ways to Get There

If you know anything about your New Mexico Perfect Wedding Guide team, then you know we love two things. One, New Mexico; two, weddings. Which seems pretty obvious, but it really is as simple as that.

Only, our love for New Mexico transcends an affection for the rich cultures, venerable mesas and mountains, and traditional architecture that surrounds us. There’s a foundation of respect for our home that supports the love we feel for all of those beautiful and inspiring New Mexican features. So, in our small ways, we try very hard to preserve the perfection of our wild state.

Whether it be through recycling, supporting local, or educating our community, each little step culminates to make a powerful act of love for New Mexico. Though of course, we adore weddings as much as we do our state, so combining values to create a zero-waste wedding that uplifts our local community, creates a killer party, and offers some kindness back to the land — does it get much better than that?

Chances are, if you’re reading about how to incorporate zero-waste principles into your wedding, then you know it really doesn’t get better than that. Before we jump in though, give your self a little pat on the back for taking extra steps to support your community by booking local vendors and reducing the waste your wedding creates. Every little thing counts!

So — after consulting with the local wedding professionals who are experts in their respective crafts — we’ve pulled together 5 simple tips to reduce waste at your wedding in New Mexico! Because we all get to enjoy the landscapes around us, let’s do our best to make sure the generations after us get to enjoy them, too.

1. All reusable, all the time.

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Matt Blasing Photography

Whether you’re having a small, intimate elopement, or inviting every single cousin, people will come expecting to eat at your wedding. Eating as a group, as lovely and communal as it can be, also offers up a lot of waste if you use single-use materials.

Luckily, with local and environmentally-conscious catering companies like Cafe Venture or Blue Plate Catering, you can have all reusable serving ware! Think cloth napkins, silverware, ceramic plates, and the like. Not only will this give your wedding a higher-end vibe, but all these things can be washed and reused after your wedding, instead of sitting in a landfill for the next several hundred years.

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Matt Blasing Photography

If the local catering company you’re working with doesn’t offer reusable serving ware, linens, and china like these guys do, then don’t fret! Thrift stores can still be your best friend. Grab vintage, reusable silverware and dishes, and pull it all off with an eclectic, artistic vibe. Then afterwards, you can give away the thrifted materials, or just donate them right back!

If you go this route, be sure to communicate with your caterer ahead of time, so no wires get crossed on the day of your wedding.

2. Power in the Flowers

Tori Photography

When it comes to floral arrangements, the best advice we have is to go silk! Does that seem counterintuitive?

While its true that flowers are compostable, you’ll want to pause before tossing them in your garden or local composting center. A majority of live flowers are treated with preservatives to ensure their long-lasting scent and beauty makes it through your ceremony. So before you bury them, be sure your florist sources from an organic farm like Europa, otherwise all those preservatives end up in your soil and, subsequently, the groundwater.

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With silk arrangements — like the gorgeous, can’t-believe-it’s-not-alive bouquets from Charlotte’s Flowers — you have a bit more wiggle room for reusing. The immortal bouquets can be rearranged into home decor after the wedding, used in future craft projects, or gifted to a friend.

Whether you go with organic live flowers, or silk arrangements, or just a bundle of chamomile from Trader Joe’s, you can always reuse the flowers from your ceremony for your reception. Chances are you and your bridal party aren’t going to be carrying your bouquets all night long, so repurpose them! It’ll save you money and reduce your floral carbon footprint.

3. Something old, nothing new.

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Coryn Kiefer Photography

It’s true — the thought of buying a wedding dress from a thrift store sounds a bit horrifying to some. After all, this is the gown you’ll be wearing in hundreds of photographs, videos, and memories, is it worth it to risk it?

Thankfully, we have amazing local wedding professionals who can make a less-new dress totally risk-free. With shops like Bridal Elegance by Darlene, you can buy a gown ‘off the rack.’ Which, for those who don’t live and breathe bridal, just means it’s a sample of the gown, not one that was ordered, manufactured, and shipped just for you. With in-store seamstresses available for your wildest alteration dreams, too, there’s hardly a worry about making sure it fits in all the right places.

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Coryn Kiefer Photography

Or you can opt for a second-hand gown from specialty shops like The Dressing Room West in Santa Fe. This local shop carries off the rack gowns as well, but they come as excess directly from designers who need to make space in their warehouses. Or sit down with Terese Rose Designs, a local custom bridal gown designer, and have a chat about sourcing fabrics and potential choices for your gown.

Last option, and a favorite for your wallet, is to haunt thrift stores and vintage shops. With seamstresses across the state, there’s some serious magic that can happen with a secondhand gown. It’s worth it to give new life to an old gown that might have just gone into the trash, if not for the power of a trained eye and tuned sewing machine.

4. Make things easy for your guests.

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Kayla Kitts Photography

As someone who personally composts, I’ll be honest: I don’t always compost when I’m out and about. Mostly because compost bins aren’t readily available around our state yet, and holding on to my food waste until I’m able to get home is smelly, messy, and not super convenient when I’m running around the town.

So you can expect a similar response at your wedding, even from your greenest of green friends. But luckily, you can mitigate this with a little bit of foresight during your wedding planning process.

Chat with your venue coordinator! When booking a venue, ask the coordinator ahead of time if they have enough trash cans to have one for landfill trash, recyclables, and compostables, all separated and labeled clearly. If not, bring your own!

Plus, if you’ve decided to book a local invitation and stationery company like Funky Olive Design or Pennysmith’s Paper, you can have your trash labels custom made. Then, there’s no sacrificing aesthetics for environmental-consciousness. Take it a step further by reusing the signs in your own home too, to make it easier for guests and kids that might be around to throw things away.

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5. Favors in your favor

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Chrisi K Photography

As much as your friends and family love you, they might not love your favors. Which is okay! A lot of personalities are coming together in one space to celebrate you and your partner, so trying to please all of them is virtually impossible.

Keep this in mind when choosing your favors. If 1, 10, or 100 guests don’t take home their favors, what will happen to them?

You can go with an adorable little plant like Aja and Johnny did for their wedding — so in the off chances these get tossed outside, at least they’ll compost. (Or root and grow right there!) Plus the metal tins are reusable in a million different ways, so if the succulent gets replanted, the tin hopefully won’t go to waste. And anyways, how cute are they?!

Or be like Lynsey and Kent, who had one of our very favorite apple orchard weddings.

Arielei Kinzer Photography

Their apple-themed favors were not only delicious and charming, but super earth-friendly! For those who opted not to take their little jars home, the couple got some extra homemade apple butter for their own family. For those who did decide to enjoy the treat, they got a reusable jar and a delectable spread to remember the wedding by.

So, whether it’s through your dress, venue, or favors — whatever steps you decide to take to preserve all the beauty of New Mexico, we thank you. We’d like to keep loving this state and the weddings in it for many more generations to come, and a few choices on your part help to ensure that’s possible.

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New Mexico’s Most Loved Bridal Gown Shop

From my first visit, Darlene and her team have been absolutely amazing when it came to helping my find the perfect wedding dress. Not only are they incredibly professional, but they genuinely care about helping you find your dream dress. This has been an amazing experience and I recommend everyone come here, you won’t be disappointed! 

Britney, local bride

Now, despite the fact we, the Perfect Wedding Guide team here in New Mexico, have been working with local engaged couples and the wedding professionals in our state for a long time now, it’s still quite the assumptive leap for us to claim one bridal gown shop as New Mexico’s most loved. Or at least it would be, if we weren’t talking about Bridal Elegance by Darlene. See, with over 30 years of experience, Darlene and her team have the miles of positive reviews, community love, and name recognition needed to qualify as New Mexico’s most loved. It’s really no wonder that they do, either.

Rather than it being a fluke, or stroke of luck, or popularity contest, Bridal Elegance by Darlene has won over the hearts of brides and bridesmaids alike by being exceedingly kind and qualified, and having impeccable gowns. It really is that simple! Because, despite what the fairytales and Hollywood movies might have whispered in your prepubescent ears, choosing a wedding gown isn’t the easiest thing in the world. There’s sizing charts, measurements, fingers getting caught in zippers, giant mirrors for meticulous examinations, sequins in — ahem — interesting places, and more we don’t need to mention because you get the picture, right?

With all that confusion, the kind of people you want by your side teaching you how to bustle and tying up your corset back are the kind of people who really get it. And at Bridal Elegance, they get it. They know the wedding industry, they know their gowns, and they know the process of making this big decision can be overwhelming. With attention and care, the team at Bridal Elegance by Darlene act from this place of knowing, and create an environment for their brides that is so calm and conducive, you do actually get a bit of that fairytale magic. Especially when you find the one.

So yes, these masters of tulle, taffeta, and human kindness have made so many brides, so many bridesmaids, and so many flower girls feel beautiful and comfortable in their own skin that they have been granted the title of New Mexico’s most loved. To commemorate this and the fact we’ve been working with Bridal Elegance by Darlene for over 15 years now — holy moly! — we’ve recapped some of our favorite styled shoots and weddings featuring their gowns below.

Once you’ve been swept up in this local wedding magic, you’ll have no trouble loving Bridal Elegance by Darlene as much as we, and all these local photographers, wedding planners, and decor specialists, do too. You can contact the Bridal Elegance team here to get started on finding your perfect gown.

Picante Passion: A {Super Local} Styled Shoot

Tiffany Burke Events + Tori Photography

 

Sweet Summer Wedding with Kayla Kitts Photography

Kayla Kitts Photography

Bridal elegance by Darlene is by far the best place to find your dreams dress. They’re super professional, they listen to what you’re looking for and find you the most beautiful dress that you can imagine. Every single member of this shop is Extremely knowledgeable and just make it happen for you.

Guadalupe, local bride


Romantic Desert Wedding Inspiration

Briana Nicole Photography

 

From Albuquerque to Iceland: Real Winter Wedding

Maura Jane Photography

Darlene at Bridal Elegance is the best person to see if you want to look and feel your best in your wedding gown. She gives you that personal touch that you won’t get at a chain store. With something for every budget. She listens to what you are imagining for your big day and makes it come to life. Plus, she’s locally owned which is amazing!

Racheal, local bride


Red: A Storybook Styled Shoot

Maura Jane Photography

 

Dramatic New Mexican Skies with Local Wedding Professionals

Photographic Perspectives

 

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National Picnic Day: Wedding Inspo

You brought the prosciutto and brie, right? It is National Picnic Day after all! But don’t worry too much if you haven’t dusted off your trusted wicker basket for the special occasion. We’ve got you pretty well covered for your dose of picnic appreciation today with a meticulously planned, perfectly executed, apple-blossom-inspired styled shoot from Coryn Kiefer Photography, one of Albuquerque’s favorite wedding photographers.

If Coryn’s unique name rings a delicate little bell in your head, it’s probably because we were just obsessing over her ballerina styled shoot just a few weeks ago. Normally we spread the love all around for our local wedding professionals here in New Mexico, but frankly, this shoot made our hearts flutter upon first sight. Within a private, blooming forest framing the exquisite details, this picnic-styled elopement has us ready to throw out everything we know about traditional wedding celebrations.

A palette of baby pink, robin’s egg blue, and a rich mustard yellow complimented the natural green landscape and perfectly cocooned the essence of spring in one moment. Pulling the mythical vibes into the realm of modernity, the bride wore a Maggie Sottero gown from Bridal Elegance by Darlene adorned with ornate lace and gently sparkling beadwork. As Coryn Kiefer Photography commented, “Who says elopement brides have to give up on their dream dress?”

Scroll on to read what else inspired the pure, unbridled magic that is this styled shoot, and try to not get lost. To contact and book Coryn Kiefer Photography for your own fairytale, you can contact her here.

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Keeping with our garden theme, we decided to forgo the usual sweetheart table for an intimate picnic of champagne and cake. Colorful throw pillows, vintage lanterns and a small wooden table were placed on a hand woven ivory quilt. Silver flatware, bronze candlesticks and pink water goblets complete the casual elegance of this cozy setup.

Coryn, Coryn Kiefer Photography

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Our natural outdoor setting was a private apple orchard in the heart of Corrales New Mexico. The inspiration behind the setting was to combine the airy elegance of the spring season with modern notion of an elegant, and personal, elopement. Modern and vintage décor elements were artfully tied together to help bring this vision to life. 

Coryn, Coryn Kiefer Photography

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Photography | Coryn Kiefer Photography

Florals | Floral Fetish

Make Up | Betty Rose by Alanna

Hair | Jewel Hair Design

Dress Shop | Bridal Elegance by Darlene

Groom Attire | Suits Unlimited

Rentals/Décor | RUST Vintage Rentals

Rings | Shelton Jewelers

Paper Goods | KH Creative Group

Cake | Savory Fare Café

Second Shooter | Laurel McCloskey

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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 at the Albuquerque Sheraton Uptown Hotel! 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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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.

Maura Jane Photography

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.

Maura Jane Photography

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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2018 Wedding Gallery Recap

Since our last wedding show of the year has, tragically, already come and gone, we think it’s only fair to spend a little bit of time reminiscing on one of our favorite shows of 2018. While all of our Albuquerque + Santa Fe wedding shows are things we celebrate and enjoy, my personal favorite of the year was the Wedding Gallery show at Sandia Resort and Casino.

On the sunny morning of August 5th this past year, our Perfect Wedding Guide team arrived bright and early at Sandia Resort to watch the magic unfold in one of their most grand ballrooms. And let us tell you, folks, it really did. We got to watch — and lend a helping hand, of course — as dozens of vendors filled the room, bringing their best decor, goodies, flyers, and free stuff to one space for you, our local couples.

The theme of this year’s Wedding Gallery show was jeweled elegance, and my gosh, was it rich. Bright golds and silvers complimented the deep maroons and greens, blues and mustards throughout the ballroom. Every vendor carefully coordinated their corner of the space to showcase and showoff all the enchanting things they can make possible, and it came together in the most cohesive, jewel-toned wonderland you can imagine.

After the mingling and connecting of local vendors to the hundreds of engaged couples who graced us with their presence, then came the fashion show. With styles from Suits Unlimited for the fellas, and Bridal Elegance by Darlene for the ladies, every couple got a New York worthy dose of in-real-life wedding fashion inspiration, that was also tied in with our overall theme for the event. Velvet, vintage couches headed the runway, and Brad with King Mobile Music lit the stage to perfectly illuminate the fine details on the gowns and tuxes.

Lastly, there were, of course, tons and tons of giveaways and prizes. With free goodies from venues, florists, officiants, and more, so many couples walked a way with a spring in their step after winning some serious discounts and freebies.

We couldn’t have done it without our incredible sponsors, or the amazing couples whose love stories are what make the whole day worthwhile. So, from the bottoms of our hearts, thank you!

(Especially to Sandra + her team at Photographic Perspectives, for capturing the glamour with her magical photography powers!)

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Dramatic New Mexican Skies with Local Wedding Professionals

Like all our favorite things — wine, cheese, Golden Girls reruns — the Perfect Wedding Guide Diamond Dash just continues to get better with age. Which, if you happened to catch any of our stories or posts from Sunday on social media, you’ll know it was one for the books! The energy and liveliness of the wedding show paralleled no other, and left us feeling inspired, reinvigorated, and so grateful to be a part of the local wedding community here in Albuquerque + Santa Fe.

With another round of wedding shows down for the entire year as well, we can’t help but to reflect on what made 2018 so spectacular. For us, it was undoubtedly the wedding professionals, like the ones who brought their A-game to the Diamond Dash, who we have the chance to support and be supported by. Being members of the New Mexico Wedding Professionals, or NMWP for short, is just one of the ways we get to do so, by working with and for the small businesses owners who make up the group of experts.

And when we say experts, we mean it. Florists, officiants, venues, photographers — if you can name it, there’s a dedicated member of NMWP who can do it. So when this styled shoot came to fruition from their wedding-obsessed minds, we were absolutely swooning.

With the stage set at The View Event Center — whose booth at the Diamond Dash was gorgeous, by the way — Kevin’s Photography captured the urban magic of the venue perfectly. Charlotte’s Flowers, one of the many talented wedding veterans of Albuquerque + Santa Fe, arranged the gorgeous modern bouquets, while Bridal Elegance by Darlene and Suits Unlimited outfitted the couple.

We had a wonderful time capturing the essence of a wedding day at this beautiful venue! The eclectic decor was a perfect setting for the elegant styles of the bridal outfits and flowers, each working together for a unique photo shoot every bride dreams of. The dramatic New Mexico skies presented a perfect background for this couple from the wrap around balcony overlooking the picturesque city of Albuquerque! Appreciation to all who participated in sharing their time and talents.

Kevin, Kevin’s Photography

We second that Kevin! So much appreciation to all who participated in the styled shoot, and continue to serve local, engaged couples with their wedding expertise and industry knowledge.

 

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Concept: New Mexico Wedding Professionals

Venue: The View Event Center

Photographer: Kevin’s Photography

Florals: Charlotte’s Flowers

Decor: Simply Decor & Events

Bridal Gown: Bridal Elegance by Darlene

Men’s Attire: Suits Unlimited

Officiant: Amor Ceremonies

Hair + Makeup: Bliss Salon & Spa

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