Winter Magic: A Real Wedding at The Event Center at Sandia Golf Club

Sydney and Christian had a romantic December wedding that was pure winter magic! Relying on the backdrop of the Sandia Mountains and the views of the golf course, the couple was able to keep the décor simple and elegant with subtle winter and holiday vibes.

– Lauren Landavazo, Director of Catering at The Event Center at Sandia Golf Club

The holiday season is upon us and the hot New Mexico weather is finally starting to cool off. We are thrilled to start seeing all of the winter weddings rolling in–so let the festivities begin! New Mexico is the quintessential place for a winter wedding, not only because the weather stays nice until late November, but because of the abundance of versatile wedding ceremony and reception venues.

There are so many possibilities, from rustic farms with holiday lights strung up, to fairytale-like ballrooms, our wedding vendors can do it all. The Perfect Wedding Guide team is no stranger to helping our local brides and grooms find their ideal “Winter Wonderland”, because after all, who wouldn’t love to get married during the coziest season of them all? We’ve learned over the years that many brides already have a pretty good idea of what kind of wedding they want, they just need a little help getting there.

For Sydney & Christian, a December wedding was a must because it was their dating anniversary month (cue happy tears). A December wedding + reception absolutely meant hints of Christmas in their color scheme and menu–and with the help of The Event Center at Sandia Golf Club, they rocked it. Another must for the couple, and we couldn’t agree more, was to incorporate the breathtaking views of the Sandia Mountains. Luckily for this beautiful couple, their reception venue was able to do just that and more.

“Our wedding was everything we had hoped for, with the help of all of our amazing vendors. I cannot speak highly enough about each and every person involved, who allowed all of our dreams to come to true. We are so blessed.”

– Sydney, Bride
Featured Venue: Event Center at Sandia Golf Club
Photography: Matt Blasing Photography
Videography: Southwest Wedding Films
Invitations: Funky Olive Invitations + Stationery
Florals: Albuquerque Florist
Cake: Simply Sweet by Darci
Hair & Makeup: Alt Salon
Musician: The Real Matt Jones
DJ: Party Time DJ
Decor: Occasions Services + Events
Menswear: Suits Unlimited

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

Create & Cultivate: 2019 Speed Connecting Event at Four Seasons in Santa Fe

We, your Perfect Wedding Guide team, want to give our vendors every opportunity possible to make connections with local couples. It’s our mission! However, we realize that the first step to any successful wedding business starts with a strong presence in the wedding community, which is why we host our speed connecting events. Speed connecting events allow local wedding businesses to have face-to-face conversations with other local wedding businesses– because the best connections are made when you’re willing to open up and share your story. Especially when scenic views, delicious eats, and good tunes are involved!

The event itself is different from other networking events because you won’t be waiting around for someone to come talk to you. Instead, we have carefully designed speed sessions where you are allotted a certain amount of time to introduce yourself and your business, share a brief history, and exchange business cards and contacts. The atmosphere is meant to be laid back and, we promise you, there’s no pressure involved. It’s simply your opportunity to spend some time with wedding professionals and watch the magic unfold in front of your eyes.

We hosted our annual Create & Cultivate: Speed Connecting Event at Los Poblanos over the summer, but we wanted to give our Santa Fe vendors an opportunity to meet each other as well, so we planned an October event at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado. The more events the merrier! The New Mexico wedding community joined us at the venue and everyone got to chat over drinks and great food, such as Aji Chile Shrimp Ceviche and a piece of Candied Bacon from the Candied Bacon Wall– doesn’t that sound amazing?! The atmosphere was incredible and laughter filled the air as the soft evening light draped everything in gold. This event is not only about networking, but also about making lasting memories and friendships. We can’t emphasize this enough.

All of this would not be possible if it weren’t for our amazing venue and our sponsors! We would like to express our gratitude to Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado for being our generous venue host, because everything was so welcoming and just drop dead gorgeous. The centerpieces by Bosque Flower Studio were radiant and the music from Absolute Entertainment had everyone in the dancing mood. Thank you to Funky Olive, PSAV, and Colorado Party Rentals for your help bringing it all together.

Finally, we would like to give a huge shoutout to our lovely photographer for the event, Kayla Kitts Photography. We couldn’t have captured the beauty, the blossoming friendships, and all around good vibes radiating from the event without her incredible eye. For those of you who missed out this go round, Kayla’s photos will give you a sneak peak into what you missed! And no need to fret, we host the event every year in Albuquerque, so we will see ya next time.

2019 Vendor Appreciation Night Recap

If you didn’t know already, we, your Perfect Wedding Guide team, love to have fun. Both the team and our local wedding vendors work hard everyday to make sure that we are building the strongest and most stress-free bridges between couples and their perfect wedding. Even though we are extremely dedicated to our jobs and to our local wedding community, we definitely aren’t all work and no play. What is life without a little music, dancing, food, drinks, and great company? Psssst. The answer is boring!

Since we love our jobs, our wedding community, and a good party, we decided to create one very special night each year that celebrates our vendors and their hard work: the Vendor Appreciation Night! This exciting evening encourages wedding professionals from all around New Mexico to relax and engage in conversation with other like-minded individuals, all while enjoying some yummy food and drinks.

Did we mention that there is also a different theme every year? That’s right– we get to play dress up as adults, too! For this year’s Vendor Appreciation Night, the theme was “Siren’s Soiree & the Sailors Too”, fittingly hosted by the Albuquerque BioPark Aquarium and their Shark Reef Cafe. We cannot put into words how thrilled we were to see all of the sequins, sparkles, and sailor hats as they began to fill the halls and the dining room. Everyone really nailed it this year, it’s going to be hard to beat it next year! 

As our guests arrived at the entrance to the aquarium, they checked in and received a gift and then were free to experience the wonders of the underwater world. There were exciting options at every turn, from blue margaritas to seared ahi tuna on a bed of seaweed salad (it was amazing). Rockin’ Piano Party took requests for music and we jammed out all night long. The music didn’t stop until everyone was gone and we even started our own Perfect Wedding Guide Team karaoke session during clean-up!

It would behoove us to mention the incredible table decor from The Flower Co., the stunning cakes from Honey & Salt Cake Co., and the delicious seafood themed hors d’oeuvres from Taste Catering. We were so grateful to have Brad from King Mobile Music there to liven up the party and announce our Elite Award Winners, which you can read about here. T. Rayne Photography did us the honor of capturing the evening and we are absolutely in AWE of how the photos came out. Without these amazing vendors, the night would not have been as beautiful and well put together!

If you attended the evening or not, you’re in for a treat when you see the T. Rayne Photography‘s photo gallery from the evening. Check it out below and make sure to join us for next year’s event!

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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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.

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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

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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