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.

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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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What Local Engaged Couples Have to Say About Planning a Wedding in New Mexico

So, if we’re being honest with ourselves, most people in New Mexico know Perfect Wedding Guide for our wedding shows. Which makes sense, considering how many hundreds of engaged couples and local wedding professionals come together to make shows like the Diamond Dash, Bride’s Night Out, and the Wedding Gallery possible. We’re not really complaining, promise, but we actually have a lot of love and appreciation from some of our smaller events, like the Bridal Board + Vendor Mixer!

The 2019 edition of the Bridal Board + Vendor Mixer flew past us just this last week. (Of course months of planning, collaborating, and designing goes by in a dizzying but beautiful flash!) All we want to talk about is all the amazing nuggets of knowledge we learned, but wait…

What even is the Bridal Board + Vendor Mixer?!

Great question, reader! This particular event was conceptualized to fill the gap between local engaged couples and the wedding professionals who serve them. (Sound familiar?) Essentially, the Bridal Board + Vendor Mixer is oriented like a research or focus group. We invite around 10 engaged or recently married couples from the local community to come share their insights, triumphs, complaints, compliments, woes, worries, and wonders about the wedding planning process in New Mexico. 

Then, with bellies full of a complementary, gourmet dinner, the wedding professionals from all over New Mexico take note, adjust their practices, ask questions, and, hopefully, grow! It’s one of the few opportunities you have in any business-client relationship to truly hear and communicate with one another. It’s how we’re able to keep the eclectic New Mexico wedding market moving and evolving in the right direction.

Ready to learn what the engaged couples who have come before you have to say about the wedding planning process in New Mexico? Let’s jump in with our 3 main takeaways.

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1. Inclusivity is Key.

Another word for inclusivity here could be clarity. When we asked the couples, “What is the most important quality you are looking for when hiring a wedding professional?” the conclusion was the same across the board. Couples look for those who exude kindness and personality, and vendors who actually listen to their vision without imposing their own ideas on the couple. 

When we asked the couples what the vendors they choose did to earn their business, what we heard reaffirmed these values. They appreciated (and went on to book) the professionals who didn’t exclusively brag about themselves, whose websites were clear and communicative, and whose work accurately represented the couples they want to work with.

For example, if a wedding professional exclusively promotes straight couples on their website and social media channels, the chances of reaching LGBTQ couples are pretty much nil.

To sum: be clear, be kind, be inclusive, and listen well.

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2. Stick to Email, Folks.

Yes, the digital world is ever changing, and it’s so tempting to make texting your main form of communication. (You can do it from bed, from the gym, from the couch with Netflix playing in front of you, so we totally get it.)

But, because lots of couples create a specific email address for wedding planning, keeping all communications in one place is best. There’s higher visibility of conversations in email as well, so accountability comes much easier.

Also, hate is a strong word, but our couples felt strongly about this: they hate phone calls. Like, really and truly. Most couples are at work during a business’s hours of operations, or they’re at home with their partners and families.

Remember: stick to email.

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3. Yes, Social Media is Still Important.

Your website should still be the home of your business, but social media is where the vast majority of couples look for wedding inspiration. The two top contenders, which you might be able to guess already, are Instagram and Pinterest.

Instagram is a great platform to utilize, according to the local couples, because it’s easy to return to feed posts for references — though they love seeing stories, especially of behind-the-scenes previews for styled shoots and weddings. Pinterest is beneficial for businesses as well because it’s so visually-oriented. Then, there’s always the concept of pinfinity, too!

(Pinfinity = the fact your pins continue to be recirculated by pinners long after you post them, whereas Instagram posts are usually only seen within the first 48 hours of posting.)

Here’s your excuse to log on, friends, and show the world what you’re working with.

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A very special thank you to all the incredible local businesses who made this awesome, collaborative event possible: Embassy Suites, for generously hosting us and feeding all our guests a marvelous meal; De Novo Pastoral Services for being our informed and entertaining emcee; Beth Waldron Photography for capturing all the fun above; Estella Floral Design for our darling centerpieces; Funky Olive Designs for our pretty little invitations; Cello for Weddings for serenading all our guests with delightful live cello music; and Black Swan Events, for transforming the ballroom into a conducive, inspiring space.

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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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Announcing the 2018 PWG Elite Award Winners!

Ah yes, the morning after an incredible night. It seems like we spend all year long waiting for our favorite event, the Vendor Appreciation Party, and then suddenly it’s here and over far too quickly. Luckily our henna tattoos and memories of gold + glam will last a lifetime, even if the Bollywood-themed night couldn’t!

A very special thank you to The View Event Center by Simply Decor for truly tantalizing the senses with authentic chai, stunning performances, and a breathtaking space for us to celebrate and appreciate all of Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s best, local wedding professionals.

In the midst of all the glitz, we also awarded some particularly dedicated local wedding experts with well-deserved awards in categories like Best Floral Designer, Best Bridal Gown Shop, and Best Photographer. Don’t worry though, you don’t have to take our word for it that these vendors were worthy of awarding — they were chosen by local, engaged or recently married couples just like you!

So without further adieu, scroll on to get the scoop on the best wedding vendors Albuquerque + Santa Fe has to offer, as chosen by real local couples!

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2018 PWG Elite Award Winners:

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 Rondena 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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Our sincerest gratitude to the magnificent sponsors, who made our Vendor Appreciation Night the speculator party it was!

The View Event Center by Simply Decor | King Mobile Music | Tori Photography | Little Bear Media | Cafe Venture Catering | Funky Olive Invitations | The Acre Restaurant | Hacienda Del Rio | Jaz Catering | Magic Mirror NM Photo Booth | Tully’s Catering | Simply Decor

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Timeless Touches: A Styled Shoot

As a wedding photographer, I strive to create images and memories for my clients that they can look back on years from now and still love. This was the main motivation behind this photoshoot. Creating something that we can still appreciate 10, 20, 30 years from today.

-Maura, Maura Jane Photography

 

We’re total wedding-trend groupies, and honestly, we’re not afraid to admit it. Following along the perpetual evolution of decor, floral arrangements, and gowns while each facet of the wedding world grows and adapts to fit the needs of current trends is ceaselessly inspiring. Especially when we get to watch up-close as Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s local wedding professionals match — and even exceed! — trends from New York and L.A. without charging New York or L.A. prices.

But there is one downside to the ephemerality of wedding trends, and it’s simply that: they’re ephemeral! Think of your parents’ wedding photos — what with their sepia tones and overabundance of taffeta. The endlessly evolving trends are exciting to keep up with, it’s true, but it also means certain styles and details can carbon-date your wedding photos, and might warrant teasing from your future grandchildren.

So there’s something to be said for choosing to work with what is classic, like Maura Jane Photography did with this shoot at Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Lavender Farm. Rather than limiting the creative possibilities by skirting around current trends, the restriction offers talented local professionals — like A Beautiful Theme, who designed this shoot — the opportunity to showcase their innovative problem-solving skills.

Together, this team of Albuquerque’s best wedding experts manifested a dusty-blue dream and we’re willing to place bets on the fact we’ll still love this shoot in 10 years time. How could we not?!

{Check out the vendors, details, and more from Maura Jane Photography below!}

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Wedding trends have always come and gone, from mason jars and burlap, to dresses with puffed sleeves, and cakes with fountains. However, a wedding that is timeless can always be appreciated. We wanted to create an inspiration photoshoot with a classic and elegant theme. A wedding with timeless touches that also incorporates certain trends that are popular now with some of the most beautiful and stylish weddings of today. We used the popular color of dusty blue throughout the shoot, from the yummy macaroons on the dessert table to beautiful earrings that graced the bride’s ears and the pumps on her feet. She wore her hair in a classic chignon while the groom looked equally as dashing in a navy suit. Exquisite peonies and eucalyptus hung from the mint blue classic getaway car and down the long wooden tables. Ornate mirrored signs with effortless calligraphy decorated the entrance to the reception area and the dessert table.

-Maura, Maura Jane Photography

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Design + Decor + Planning | A Beautiful Theme
Jewelry | Ooh Aah Jewelry
Invitations | Funky Olive Design
Bouquet Ribbons | Desert Garden Silk
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Alissa + Clint’s Splendid Celebration at the Four Seasons Santa Fe

Yes, it’s true, we did just feature the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado in a post recently. But when there’s a wedding this stunning, this vivacious in Albuquerque or Santa Fe, we simply have to give our two cents. {Plus, there’s no such thing as too much love for the incredible New Mexican wedding venue.} The verdict on this delightfully bright celebration of love and marriage? Five stars! 10/10, would recommend you fawn over the deep colors and lighthearted jamboree for wedding inspiration and life goals.

It helps too, that Maura Jane Photography was there to capture the brilliance. Which, if you’re in New Mexico, you’ve probably heard of the famed local photographer and her wonderfully airy style — but she truly outdid herself this time. Collaborating with a few of our absolute favorite wedding professionals in Albuquerque + Santa Fe, Maura Jane Photography encapsulated the splendor of the day that was made possible by the hard work of incredible experts.

For their wedding, Alissa + Clint wanted bright beautiful colors that encompassed the diversity of their guests and matched the sunsets that Santa fe is known for. Rich deep pinks and bright vibrant oranges were used from their invitations to the shoes that Alissa wore on her feet. In lieu of a veil, Alissa wore a beautiful flowy Vivian Reed scarf that matched her personality perfectly.

Guests enjoyed a beautiful Santa fe sky during the ceremony that teased us with rain but quickly blew past resulting in a breathtaking sunset. They made their way to the outdoor cocktail hour on the Four Season‘s patio and sipped signature drinks that Alissa + Clint came up with themselves along with  a little help of a mixologist. Handblown glass vases graced the reception tables, a nod to Santa fe’s rich artistic culture.

-Maura, Maura Jane Photography

It’s no secret how deeply appreciative we are of New Mexico’s venerable history and landscapes. So a wedding, pouring over with bold colors and full-bellied laughter, that pays homage to our state’s culture, and was brought to life by the hardworking hands of dedicated local professionals? We’re starting to wonder if Alissa + Clint intentionally set out to have a wedding that would make our entire team cry. {Or we would be, if the unparalleled adoration and devotion between the couple weren’t so obvious. We can thank Maura Jane Photography again for catching those loving looks on camera so spectacularly.}

Congratulations on making us tear up from unbridled joy and admiration, Alissa + Clint! Oh, and on your newly-wed status, of course. Thank you to you both, as well as Maura Jane Photography, and all the extremely talented wedding professionals {listed below!} who made this day possible.

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Photographer | Maura Jane Photography

Venue | Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe

Planner + Designer | Maria Socha, Sealed With a Kiss 

Florist | Floral Fetish

Hair + MUA | Carmella Conway with Chrome

Shoes | Stuart Weitzman + Monolo Blahnik

Dress | Ann Matthews

Dress Designer | Da Vinci 

Tuxedos + Suits | Men’s Wearhouse

Cake + Desserts | Chocolate Maven

DJ | Paul Feathericci

Officiant | Dr. Paul Martinez with De Novo Pastoral Services 

Invitations | Funky Olive Design