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 Mexican Elopement with Chrisi K Photography

It’s that time of year in the Perfect Wedding Guide world — at least our corner of it — when the excitement of the holidays has passed, and the ethereality of spring hasn’t yet come. The magic never really subsides here though, because tiding us over between these two time markers is the new edition of our magazine finally coming to fruition! If you followed along for the thrill and apprehension of our Front Cover Contest on Instagram, then you know, too, that this spring’s print guide is going to be more beautiful, more inspirational, and more serviceable than ever before.

We spent some time a couple weeks ago falling in love with Caitlin + Justin, the stunning couple whose photo was in our top three finalists for the Front Cover Contest. We’d be absolutely remiss if we didn’t give a little TLC to our other finalists, Abby + Tyler, and their New Mexican elopement that warmed our hearts so much, it was a health hazard. Which, of course, comes as no surprise, considering Chrisi K Photography was there to work her camera mastery for every step of the day.

Opening up the celebration at the Inn of the Turquoise Bear, Abby + Tyler got oh so pretty in preparation for the next step of their lives together. It was there that they shared their first look, spinning around and marveling at one another, before heading to the destination of their elopement ceremony: Jemez Springs.

Now, Abby + Tyler are actually from Ohio. They flew in all the way from the midwest to our little slice of southwestern heaven to commemorate the beginning of their life as husband and wife here, in New Mexico. But against the backdrop of Jemez’s signature red clay, Abby + Tyler glowed with such obvious joy, it was as if they had been here and with one another for many lifetimes.

There, they shared their vows with one another, framed by the natural beauty of our desert, and stepped into their next chapter together.

It was beautiful, raw, and emotional. I’m so honored I got to document it all. My heart is full!

-Chrisi, Chrisi K Photography

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Pastel Perfection: Real Wedding with Chrisi K Photography

Perhaps we use the adjective perfect a little bit too frequently…But we are the Perfect Wedding Guide, after all! Plus, every wedding that graces our pages, both print and digital, was conceptualized and executed to perfection. But don’t let that fact dilute the word, because Aja + Johnny’s celebration of love was — yes we’re going to use it again — absolutely perfect.

When we say perfect, we don’t necessarily mean without hitch or hiccup as the traditional definition would suggest. Anyone whose been to a wedding, whether attending as a guest or collaborating as a vendor, knows that no celebration so large, so detailed happens without a few little bumps. Especially when a healthy number of family members are gathered in one place, if you know what we mean. What makes weddings like Aja + Johnny’s perfect is their persistence.

Despite the hours of calling, researching, and booking local wedding professionals, despite New Mexican weather that stays finicky all year long, despite all the budgeting, the love persists. Because the love between Aja + Johnny is bigger than any wedding-related trial or triumph — it steadfastly remains the focal point of their celebration, no matter the circumstance. We’re lucky Chrisi K Photography was there to capture this facet of their love, and ensure every detail was solidified in memory for their lifetime. Because, well, their life together as husband and wife began on this glorious and bright summer day, but the love that brought them there had already been existing and persisting all the while.

And, as if this simple truth didn’t make their wedding day perfect enough already, the couple truly slayed the summer wedding palette, and incorporated some of the most darling details we’ve seen to date. From the paper parasols to shade their guests from the New Mexican sun, to the adorable and surprisingly realistic succulent cupcakes, to the buoyantly cheerful bouquets of rose that complimented the bridesmaids donned in ethereal pastel. Aja + Johnny cared for every detail of their wedding day, and Chrisi K Photography cared for every moment.

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Pili + Sienna’s Albuquerque Engagement Session {Chrisi K Photography}

If you’ll recall, we recently posted our thoughts on the time-old debate: Should you have an urban or natural setting for your engagement photos? With New Mexico’s impressive and historically rich architecture on one hand, and the unrivaled mesas, mountains, deserts, rivers, and forests on the other, it’s a nearly impossible choice for local engaged couples.

But what if you didn’t have to choose? 

Yes, it’s true. We’re here with delightful information for the cosmopolitan mountain-fanatics and city-loving forest dwellers alike… You can have both! Or at least you can according to Albuquerque’s new favorite engaged couple, Pili + Sienna. Instead of compromising, the fiancées opted to have a two-part engagement session with Chrisi K Photography — one of New Mexico’s leading wedding photographers.

Starting in Zendo, Chrisi K Photography and the gorgeous couple graced the whitewashed coffee shop walls with their unbridled laughter and love. Using the industrial-chic interior as their backdrop, Pili + Sienna sipped coffee from matching mugs and stole kisses in front of the exposed brick, which always features local art. Complete with polaroids and shots of their tattoos, the first half of their engagement session with Chrisi K Photography is everything we could hope for in an urban love story.

Then, traversing up to the more northern parts of our lovely state, Chrisi K Photography shot the couple’s happy news in the mountainous desert landscape for which New Mexico is famed. Dancing in the open air, blowing bubbles, and just enjoying each other’s presence, Pili + Sienna’s devotion nearly jumps off the photos here.

We feel extremely spoiled to have the best of both worlds in this one, gorgeous engagement session. So hey, thank you Chrisi K Photography, for capturing Pili + Sienna’s pronouncement of love in all its wonder and glory! And to all other engaged couples, feel free to follow in suit Pili + Sienna — if you want urban and natural landscapes for your photos, don’t settle. Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s wedding experts are here to make sure you can have it all.

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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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Chrisi K Photography {Vendor Spotlight + Real Wedding}

By now you might have noticed that we kind of have a thing for local photographers. It’s not that we don’t love every wedding professional equally {we do!}, it’s just that photographers give us the chance to live vicariously through their lens. We might be here, in the Perfect Wedding Guide office, or out and around Albuquerque + Santa Fe, but with photographers like Chrisi K Photography, we get to secretly attend every awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, heart-warming wedding in our stunning state.

{And yes, you’re our plus one. Always.}

Even with so much wedding experience under our belts though, we still can’t pick weddings because, well, how could we? What I can say, with absolute confidence though is: Josh + Victoria, your wedding day makes our top 10. So many thanks, Chrisi K Photography, we owe you our hearts for letting us in on this celebration of love.

The ceremony, which was shaped by magnificently opulent trees in the outdoor space at El Monte Sagrado, was matched in grandeur only by the looks of love shared between Victoria + Josh. Captured devotedly by Chrisi K Photography, of course, the most minsicule of details paired with these moments between the newly-weds is how we’re able to feel like we’re really there, cheering on the new couple.

Dashes of jewel tones bookmark certain moments in their day: magenta pokes out from Victoria’s bouquet of greenery, royal blue bridesmaids gowns frame the couple sharing their vows, and of course, the familiar depth of red wine as Victoria + Josh join their lives together in ritual.

After being behind the lens since middle school, Chrisi K Photography’s respect for the camera and her craft is elucidated in this wedding, and in every photo. Thank you for being a part of the Perfect Wedding Guide family, Chrisi! We’re so happy to have you here, in New Mexico, pushing our community to do its best to keep up with you.

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