Texture & Light: A Styled Shoot with Carissa + Ben Photography

Dreamy black and white photographs always evoke a nostalgia that is beyond compare. A photograph does so much more than just capture a moment in time, but also preserves the feeling of the moment to be experienced again and again. Here at Perfect Wedding Guide, we see so many awe-inspiring shoots by so many talented wedding photographers and we can’t seem to get enough. Bring on your light and airy or dark and moody—we want it all!

Without a doubt, we love styled shoots, which is why we’ve featured them so many times before. However, you might be wondering, what exactly is a styled shoot and why are they so special? First and foremost, styled shoots give the local wedding community a chance to work together as one big team to create something completely their own and totally unique. They can showcase their talents in a team setting to bring dream weddings + elopements to life! Secondly, it is rare that wedding photographers and vendors get a chance to have complete creative control over a shoot, so this gives them the opportunity to focus on creativity rather than conventionality.

“For this styled shoot, we drew inspiration mainly from black and white images. We wanted to challenge ourselves creatively to focus more on shape, form, texture and light than we normally would. Our vision was for stark contrast, and striking shapes, and we achieved it by shooting the way we would if we were only shooting black and white film.

This shoot at the Rosewood Inn of The Anasazi was cultivated by a group of local wedding professionals and conceptualized by Manmade & Sage. Carissa + Ben Photography captures rich colors, textures, and colors in this styled shoot by focusing on elements of shape and form. The black and white images are reminiscent of analog film with contrast and moodiness. Carissa + Ben play with the dancing light and use it to enhance the small details of raw human emotion and physicality.

The team was absolutely incredible, and we’re so grateful that Amanda and Melissa were on the same wavelength from the start! The result is a styled shoot that made us think outside the box, and stretch our creative muscles while producing some of our very favorite images this year!” 

The venue, the concept, the decor, and so much more goes into creating the final, and heart wrenchingly beautiful, product. You can view the full gallery and visit the vendors below!

Photography | Carissa & Ben Photography
Concept + Styling | Manmade & Sage
Planning | Candace Noel Events
Videographer | Kevin Guevara Photography/Design
Florals | Renegade Floral
Hair | Jewel Hair Design
Makeup | Betty Rose by Alanna
Garter | Bridal Elegance by Darlene
Suit | Suits Unlimited
Jewelry | Peyote Bird Designs
Venue | Rosewood Inn of The Anasazi
Models | Tonya + Ryan

Desert Vibes: A Styled Shoot with Briana Nicole Photography

The southwest is as diverse as it comes between the melting pot of cultures and geography, but that only means that you can use our gorgeous desert landscape to set the stage for your bright and vibrant color palette. 

It is officially time to say “hasta la vista” to the warm New Mexico weather, and welcome in the thrills and chills of late October. Even though we love a good fall breeze, it’s hard not to look back at sunnier days and feel a little bit wistful. Luckily for us, Briana Nicole Photography submitted this absolutely charming styled shoot conceptualized by Just Lovely Weddings so that we may indulge in our summertime cravings. The incredible images are the cherry on top!

The New Mexican desert is home to spectacular wildflowers, abounding sagebrush, and various cacti plants. It’s no wonder people gravitate to our state for photo opportunities galore. For this styled shoot, the designers used bright pinks, rich teals, and shimmering golds set against the neutral tones of the desert to create an astonishing performance of color contrast. Talk about photogenic!

Lauren with Just Lovely Weddings rounded up an amazing vendor team to share these pops of color, teal accents, geometric shapes, and desert vibes along with the creative usage of a hexagon arch as your romantic backdrop.

Just when we think we’ve seen it all, something new pops its head around the corner and surprises us. Our vendors really know how to put on a show, and we want front row tickets. The bespoke invitations from Funky Olive, the combo of colors in the florals, the macarons in the cake (can you spot ’em?), the gorgeous wedding ring from Ooh! Aah! Jewelry, the breathtaking gown from Bridal Elegance by Darlene… we’re speechless.

Styled shoots are aways a group effort that showcase the talents of so many wonderful local wedding vendors and it really is a community effort, that’s why we love them so very much. We can’t seem to get enough of styled shoots, so keep them coming our way all of you beautiful people!

This shoot came to life with the help of Briana Nicole Photography and her magical camera-eye. Check out the gallery below!

Photography: Briana Nicole Photography
Concept + Planning: Just Lovely Weddings
Décor: Darling Details Rentals
Florals: A Beautiful Theme
Cake: Sweet Grace Cake Co.
Hair & Makeup: Fancy Faces by Gina
Stationery: Funky Olive Invitation + Stationery
Jewelry: Ooh! Ahh! Jewelry
Bridal Gown: Bridal Elegance by Darlene
Menswear: Ted Baker
Models: Jenna Doddridge and JC Ciddio

A ‘Breaking Bad’ Inspired Wedding Shoot

“The universe is random. It’s not inevitable. It’s simple chaos.”

– Walter White

Talk about chemistry, right? If you’ve been keeping up with us here at Perfect Wedding Guide, you know that we live for styled shoots and anything that showcases our home state. This Breaking Bad inspired shoot took things to a whole new level. We. Are. Obsessed. From a beautifully designed wardrobe to the lovely decor, our vendors have the formula to create the most amazing weddings– it’s just science.

Bridal Elegance by Darlene never fails to make wedding day dreams come true for any bride looking for a wedding gown– and ladies, we are absolutely saying ‘yes’ to this dress right now. For this specially styled shoot, a stunning mermaid gown with lace embellishments created the most breathtaking marriage between elegance and drama. After all, the shoot was based on one of the most dramatic and powerful shows in the history of television.

Being in the wedding industry, we know that it is all in the details. Darling Clementine‘s creations are the highlight of the tablescapes, bringing the beloved story to life like we’ve never seen it before. The charming drink menu illustrations and the invitations cannot be recreated, and that is why we adore them so much. Darling Clementine Art & Illustration produces one-of-a-kind work that is completely perfect for the couple who is looking to make a lasting impression.

Jasper K Photography took these amazing photos that bring the vision to life– but tread lightly, they might just blow your mind.

Photography | Jasper K Photography
Hair & Makeup | Viva Grace Makeup
Table setting and layout | Black Bow Events
Wedding Dress | Bridal Elegance by Darlene
Stationary, table tags, acrylic board, and envelopes | Darling Clementine Illustration
Blue Crystal Doughnuts | Rebel Donut
Floral Design | The Flower Company

Announcing the 2019 PWG Elite Award Winners!

Sadly, the evening of our 2019 Vendor Appreciation Party has come and gone and we are left with remnants of glitter on our faces as we sit here thinking about the fun that we had hoped would never end. The evening was filled with the most wonderful surprises around every corner, from ocean water blue cocktails to seafood themed hors d’oeuvres and goodies! All of the sea creatures seemed to be enjoying all of the attention and excitement, too.

The night would not have been possible if it weren’t for our amazing venue, the ABQ BioPark Aquarium and the mouth-watering goodness provided by Taste Catering. We are so grateful to have such incredible sponsors for the event that provided the most stunning “under the sea” themed elements that simply brought the party to life, starting with our invitations by Funky Olive that made a splash! We adored the creative centerpieces by The Flower Co. and the beach-y tunes provided by King Mobile Music and Rockin’ Piano Party. We can’t forget to mention those phenomenal cakes from Honey & Salt Cake Co. because we all know we were dying to taste when we saw them placed on display.

These local wedding professionals, from wedding coordinators to wedding travel agencies, show exemplary performance in helping local brides and grooms make their wedding day dreams come true. Since we think that all of our vendors are shining stars every day, we ask locals to vote for their favorites to help make the process easier and more exciting. Now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for, and the moment we can’t wait to share with all of you, the winners of the PWG 2019 Elite Awards!

Drum roll please…

Coordinator | Black Bow Events
Bridal Beauty Expert | Vixen Looks by Vangie
Best Place to Order Wedding Cake/Dessert | The Cake Boutique
Best Catering or Restaurant | Eloisa Catering
Bachelorette/Bachelor Party | Bombshell Fitness
Reception | The View Event Center by Simply Décor & Events
Ceremony Location | Sandia Resort & Casino
Officiant | De Novo Concierge Pastors
Floral Designer | Desert Flowers Co.
Event Décor | My Beloved Vintage Rentals
Rental Company | Simply Décor Tents & Events
Bridal Gown Shop | Bridal Elegance by Darlene
Men’s Formalwear | Suits Unlimited
Invitations | Funky Olive Invitations + Stationery
Disc Jockey | Cutmaster Music
Ceremony Musician | Cello for Weddings
Photographer | Maura Jane Photography
Cinematographer | Photographic Perspectives
Photo Booth Rental | Complete Weddings + Events
Unique Wedding Service | Urban Balloons by Dawn
Best Hotel Accommodations | Sheraton Uptown Hotel
Best Travel Agency | Connect Thru Travel

A big and super special thank you to the lovely T. Rayne Photography for capturing the evening and also having a blast with us while doing it. We can’t wait to share the night with everyone through her lens!

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2019 Wedding Gallery Recap

It is hard to believe that there are only a few more months left in 2019 and suddenly preparations for all of next year’s weddings are in full swing. With so much to be done and seemingly so little time, finding time to explore your wedding vendor options can be a dreaded task. Here at Perfect Wedding Guide, we understand the natural instinct to feel loads of stress and anxiety about wedding planning, but it really shouldn’t be stressful at all. In fact, we think it should be a blast, and that is why we have created a very special and elevated wedding show specifically for you– The Wedding Gallery!

Wedding Gallery is specially curated for our New Mexico wedding community and prides itself on its unique approach to conventional wedding shows. This year’s show was an absolute blast filled with an abundance of marvelous vendors to chat with, food stations with mouthwatering options, specialty drinks– including, because I just HAVE to mention it, Cotton Candy Champagne, a couture fashion show and giveaways galore! Now if that hasn’t sold you yet, just wait, there’s more.

Every year, we, your dedicated hosts, try to incorporate a theme for the show that will inspire our vendors and inspire you for your own wedding. This year’s theme was something more close to home, because we are basically in love with New Mexico and think it possesses beauty beyond compare. Any idea of what the theme could be?

That’s right, you guessed it… the Southwest! There were lovely Southwestern vibes coming from Darling Clementine Crafts through their adorable succulent decor, the jaw-dropping hair and makeup by Blo Blow Dry Bar and the stunning wardrobe designs brought to life by Suits Unlimited & Bridal Elegance by Darlene. The essence of the Southwest was taken straight out of our backyards and placed at the heart of the show. Cacti, flowers, and free-flowing hairstyles took center stage at the couture fashion show for everyone to see.

We need to talk about the fact that there were SO many talented people involved with Wedding Gallery this year– it was really an all-star cast. With over 40 different vendors present, it was amazing to see the connections and relationships between local couples and local wedding professionals.

Our sponsors made sure that the show was even more elegant than we could imagine it to be! There were beautiful floral arrangements from Bosque Flower Studio, music from Cello for Weddings and King Mobile Music, incredible photos from Photographic Perspectives, magical decor by Simply Décor & Events, and last but not least, an incredible venue hosted by Embassy Suites Hotel & Spa.

I know, I know. You’re really bummed out that you missed this year’s show, but there’s no need to worry because we always have next year! There isn’t a better way to take the stress out of wedding planning and put the excitement in… plus, who doesn’t love fashion shows, food, and giveaways?

We would like to give a big thank you to our sponsors for this event, as well as Photographic Perspectives for capturing every moment. It wouldn’t be possible without all of you! You can check them out below:

Bosque Flower Studio
Blo Blow Dry Bar
Bridal Elegance by Darlene
Cello for Weddings
Darling Clementine Crafts
Embassy Suites Hotel & Spa
King Mobile Music
Photographic Perspectives
Simply Décor & Events
Suits Unlimited
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Who is YOUR Favorite Wedding Vendor?

Sometimes being surrounded by so many incredible people is overwhelming, but trust me, we’re not complaining! We work with so many phenomenal vendors every single day – we wish that we could reach out and hug everyone and tell them just how much we value both their friendship and their partnership with Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico.

Since it would most likely take an eternity to show everyone just how much we appreciate them, we decided it would be best to plan one special themed evening every year that is dedicated entirely to our lovely vendors full of food, drinks, music and dress-up! We call this our Vendor Appreciation Night, and you can read all about last year’s Bollywood-themed event here.

The team at the 2018 Vendor Appreciation Night by Tori Photography

In order to make the event even more exciting, which is hard to do considering how much fun it is already, we like to recognize a particular group of wedding vendors that are making a noticeable impact in the lives of brides and grooms in New Mexico. We call this the Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico “Elite Awards” – where hundreds of locals vote for their favorite wedding professionals in over 20 different categories. Check out last year’s winners here!

We are eager to hear your praise for the hard-working and beyond talented vendors that you’ve connected with. Want to vote? Keep reading below!

How to Vote

The voting process is simple! Just follow these 3 easy steps:

  1. Click here!
  2. Search for your favorite wedding professional
  3. Write a review explaining why you love them

And voila! Your vote has been submitted! Now all you have to do is repeat these steps for all of your favorite wedding professionals – we want to hear about everyone who made your day the best.

PLUS… All who vote will be entered to win several prizes including Chello Grill, Tour ABQ, and Symbolize It gift cards!

VOTE NOW! Voting ends on September 1st, 2019 at Midnight.

Vendor Appreciation Night 2019

Do you want to have some fun under the sea AND spend an evening with New Mexico’s most beloved wedding professionals?

Hangout with us at “The Siren’s Soiree and the Sailors Too” on September 18th, 2019 at the ABQ BioPark Aquarium from 6-9pm. Dress to impress in your deep sea best, and follow the siren’s song down to the water’s edge. The evening will be filled with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, dancing and the announcement of the 2019 Elite Award Winners! We can’t wait to see you there.

RSVP and learn more HERE!

Elite Award Winners 2018

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 Rondeña 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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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.

VanArsdale & Sanchez Wedding - PreCeremony-43
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.

AppleFinals-10
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

View More: http://chrisikphotography.pass.us/aja--johnnys-wedding
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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