The Best Places to Take Engagement Photos in New Mexico

Congrats, lovebirds – you’re engaged! Or maybe we’ve jumped the gun and you’re in the process of planning an upcoming proposal for the love of your life. Either way, you’re looking for the perfect spot to capture your tender moments together to celebrate your love, and we have been dying to share our favorite suggestions with you.

Every couple is different, which is why one of our main focuses is providing you with a wide variety of options for vendors in each stage of planning your wedding. The same is true for photography locations and venues! Some couples enjoy a lush garden filled with flowers, while others are more into urban-scapes filled with tall buildings and busy city life – and thank goodness that in New Mexico there are locations galore for every type of person.

Your wedding + engagement photographer is a great source for figuring out a location because they’ll have the background knowledge and experience to ensure that you’re photos come out perfect, all while guiding you on your location scouting journey. However, we know that it can be fun to scout out the locations for yourself first, because who are we kidding, our years of pinning cute pics on Pinterest weren’t for nothing! If you want to find some locations without leaving the house, we’re going to drop some pins for you.

THE URBAN

Here are some of our favorite photography spots where the city life comes alive!

THE CULTURE RICH

Experience New Mexico and beautiful history + culture that it has to offer.

THE NATURAL LANDSCAPE

The vast landscapes, clear blue skies, and stunning Sandia Mountains will set the scene for your love story.

We wish you luck on your photographic adventures around the state, and remember to keep your eyes open along the way because you never know when the New Mexican landscape will surprise you and set the stage for gorgeous images.

Header image by T. Rayne Photography

5 Hidden Wedding Venue Gems in New Mexico

The wonderful thing about our state is that it never ceases to amaze all of those who visit – particularly those who are planning a wedding and are looking for that special place to say “I do”. There is no doubt that every turn there is something exciting to be discovered, and we, your Wedding Collective team, are here to help you cultivate every element of your New Mexico wedding while you sit back, relax, and enjoy a warm cup of coffee.

It turns out that New Mexico is actually the place where history, landscape, and culture collide, which makes for the most stunning of weddings. Our fellow wedding planners picked the best spot to call their home base, and we did too. With such vast landscapes and the perfect weather year-round, the possibilities are endless. Want to plan an outdoor wedding in the winter? No problem. Want a private and beautiful spot to elope in the desert? No problem. Our wedding vendors know New Mexico and weddings like Taylor Swift knows heartbreak. Yeah, they’re that good.

As a group of “love” fangirls, we pretty much obsess over anything wedding related. But when it comes to hidden gems and unique venue locations, we can’t even begin to explain how thrilled we are – and we are even more thrilled that we get to share our fave spots with you. Ready to find and book your favorite hidden gem wedding venue? Keep reading below!

1. Casa Perea Art Space

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Maura Jane Photography

We adore this spot not only because of how picture perfect it is, but also because the space indulges all of the senses. From scenic gardens, to the smell of herbs and florals growing in the surrounding area… Everything. Is. Perfect.

2. Europa

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Stills by Gerard

Nestled in the heart of Los Lunas, this venue takes farm-to-table to a new level. With acres of land and rustic farmhouse vibes, Europa is the most unique and charming little spot just outside of Albuquerque. There are both indoor and outdoor venue options so that you can enjoy what they have to offer year-round!

3. Hacienda Doña Andrea

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Lauren Cherie Photography

From these pictures alone, you can understand why we love this place so much. The adobe and architecture already feels like New Mexico, and to top it off, you could have the whole thing to yourself and your wedding party. You heard correctly, this romantic venue is a private estate where your wedding dreams come true.

4. Nature Pointe

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We are a little biased because we happen to love the scenery of the outdoors here in New Mexico, so of course we would try to find a little gem that showcases Mother Nature. Aside from the natural beauty of Tijeras, New Mexico, this venue also offers a wide range of services to help make your day stress-free!

5. UNM Alumni Memorial Chapel

Maura Jane Photography
Chrisi K Photography

Some people might say this gem isn’t really hidden, but being tucked behind trees on the University of New Mexico campus, we think it deserves a little spotlight. This beautiful chapel was built in 1962 to honor alumni who lost their lives in line of duty has become the gathering place for renewals, memorials, and weddings.

Summertime Love with Lauren Cherie Photography

Long days full of sunshine, vibrant colors, and plenty of memories to be made, isn’t that what summer is all about? Summertime means beautiful and bright outdoor weddings, which also means beautiful and bright wedding photography that captures the essence of the glowing bride and groom. Before we say goodbye to the heat for this year, let’s reminisce over one of the first weddings of the summer.

When it comes to capturing the summertime mood, Lauren and Chris of Lauren Cherie Photography truly shine. Their photographs not only appear bright and chic, but also encompass the brightness of the personalities in each image. Every bride and groom (don’t worry fellas, we didn’t forget about your wedding day glow) radiates a special light that deserves to be captured in its purist form. Who doesn’t want to look back at one of the most important days of their lives and see the most genuine, goofy and over-the-moon-in-love version of themselves?

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Here at Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico, we LOVE every single wedding day detail, from the wedding rings to the decor. Sarah and Mitchell’s breathtaking Santa Fe wedding was filled with small and intimate details… I mean, just look at that blue agate invitation and stunning wedding dress! It is so important to capture those unique and emotional touches that can easily go unnoticed on such a big day, and Lauren Cherie Photography absolutely nailed it!

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The dynamic duo are not just married (no pun intended) to wedding photography, but offer a wide range of services to clients for every special moment in their lives. If you’re just fawning over these images like we are, and also happen to be looking for the perfect photographer for your lovely day, you can book a session with Lauren Cherie Photography by contacting them here!

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7 Wedding Venues Outside the City

As much as we love the hustle and bustle of our vibrant city here in the southwest, we can’t lie… Taking a step back from the noise and enjoying New Mexico’s myriad of landscapes is one of our favorite parts of living in such a wild state. The mountains and mesas, rivers and roving fields, can all enliven even the most downtrodden spirit, honestly. So when we hear a local engaged couple wants to get away from the city for their wedding, we get it.

And luckily for couples in New Mexico, everyone else here seems to get it, too. Whether you’re ready to make the trek to the deeply restorative forests of Ruidoso, or just popping over to sunny and sprawling Los Lunas, there’s already a wedding venue there waiting for you and your loved ones.

So if your wedding guests, bridal parties, or partner-to-be are in need of some R&R, why not let your wedding be that gift to them? Not every horror story you’ve heard about wedding day chaos is true, and even if they were, there are steps you can take to ensure nothing unsavory transpires during celebration.

Step one — utilize all available wedding planning resources, like our print magazine and online tools.

Step two — book local wedding vendors who have dedicated their lives to ensuring weddings, like yours, are the happiest of all occasions.

And finally, step three — choose a beautiful venue surrounded by nothing but fresh air and a great view, like Prairie Star or Hacienda Doña Andrea, or one of the other 7 wedding venues listed below.

1. Prairie Star

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Maura Jane Photography

Prairie Star truly captures the gorgeous New Mexican culture with the best view of the Sandia Mountains. My wedding was everything I hoped for and I am very appreciate of the staff here. We had an hour rain delay and the staff helped keep the guests comfortable and calm. The coordinator, Rebecca, knows her stuff! She is very responsive and helpful.

The food here is AMAZING and the professionalism of the staff is impeccable. They even stayed 30 minutes later to let us continue the reception due to the rain delay. We rented an event tent for the lawn and had a plated dinner out there. The staff was great and timely about serving the guests. Prairie Star is a wonderful venue! I can’t say enough about it!  

Shelby, local newlywed

2. Hacienda Doña Andrea

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Shayla Edenfield Photography

We had a lovely and intimate wedding at the Hacienda – the venue is beautiful and had the perfect southwest ambiance that we were looking for for our New Mexican wedding. The day of the wedding had multiple mishaps (as weddings do) and the event staff on hand was SO accommodating and helpful.

We are so happy that we chose this venue and almost all of our guests asked where we found such an amazing and scenic place. The rooms were beautifully decorated and comfortable accommodations overall. Even when our guests were up far into the night, the rooms were quiet. We had everything we needed to stay over the weekend.

Tabitha, local newlywed

3. Europa

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I never write reviews, but let me tell you. I have lived in the area for a long time and have never come across anything that even comes remotely close to the experience you get here. You’d be hard pressed to find another place that’s close to this. I feel like it’s basically impossible to best it as well.

The workers do a fantastic job, the whole experience is so unique and amazing, that I almost feel guilty about it. This place is the absolute definition of a diamond in the rough. Such a hidden gem.

Jacob, local New Mexican

4. Sanctuary on the River

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When looking for an outside venue for our wedding and something a little out of the way The Sanctuary on the River was by far the best. I made all arrangements over the phone so it was hard to tell exactly what I was getting. Two weeks before our wedding we visited the Sanctuary and was very impressed.

The staff and owner were very nice, extremely helpful and made sure our special day was spectacular. I would definitely recommend this venue for any kind of wedding. The decorations, the bridal suite and the gazebo were decorated perfectly. The bridal suite fit about 6 of us comfortably with our own private bathroom. There is no complaints all compliments here. Thank you to the staff of the Sanctuary for making this a day we will never forget.

Jennifer, local newlywed

5. Nature Pointe

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Matt Blasing Photography

Nature Pointe is one of the most beautiful spaces I have seen locally. It has an amazing natural fee with wood and stone and iron. Feels so New Mexico without being in Santa Fe or downtown. We love the mountains and this spacious venue has amazing views you can’t get in Albuquerque. We are super impressed with Courtney and her team and how communicative and helpful they have been, making us feel special and not just another wedding. We are excited about both the inside and the outside of Nature Pointe.

The kicker for me was just how much was included in the price. Tables, chairs, linens, centerpieces, vases, candles, cake cutting supplies, signage, etc. The list goes on and on. It was a bit more than we were planning to spend initially, but as soon as we drove up, we fell in love with Nature Pointe and are so excited for our special day. 

6. El Monte Sagrado

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Emily Joanne Wedding Films + Photography

Honestly, I didn’t know places like this still existed. Besides El Monte Sagrado being breathtakingly beautiful, the customer service was out of this world! I had my wedding here at the beginning of the year and everyone at the resort made sure that my family, friends, husband and I had everything we needed!

Rarely am I impressed by wedding food, but our filets were some of the best I have ever had – thank you to the chef, Cristina Martinez, and our wonderful dinner team, Madelyne, Matt, and Marge. Last, but not least, Melisha Romero planned and coordinated my wedding from beginning to end. I could go into the nitty, gritty detail, but the long and short of it is that when I had a problem or was not 100% happy with the proposed plan, Melisha came back to me with other suggestions and resolutions. I owe so much to this beautiful woman for easing my mind from over 1,200 miles away (we are in Birmingham).
My wedding was perfect and the week was an absolute dream. All of our guests said it was their favorite wedding they’ve ever been apart of and I believe them! I can’t wait to go back!

Jillian, local newlywed

7. Casa Perea Art Space

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Maura Jane Photography

This venue is a treasure both in its beauty and historical value to this community. From the office gals to the grounds keeper, the care and service over our wedding event was impeccable, professional and most importantly, personal. Their flexibility is a blessing during sometimes stressful decisions.

The included tables, chairs, linens and parking shuttle are all blessings which freed us up to handle the more pleasant details of food, music and florals. The beauty of this adobe garden home made the need for further decorations minimal. Our wedding at Casa Perea was both intimate, grand and simply lovely. Many thanks to the owner and staff at Casa Perea for sharing this historical treasure with us!  

Helene, local newlywed

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Wedding Venue Hotspots in New Mexico {Part Two!}

Yep, it’s back already! If you missed our first round, you’ll definitely want to pop on over to the Wedding Venue Hotspots, Part One post. If you didn’t miss it, then we’re sure you’re on the edge of your seat for this post, just like we are! The variety of venues, vibes, and values available makes the New Mexico wedding-space scene one of our favorite sources of inspiration. From traditional adobe and colorful cathedrals, to modern farmhouses and rugged rail yards, the options are endless here.

Then, as you might imagine, trying to choose only 18 of our top wedding ceremony and reception venues seemed nearly impossible! Luckily, from our little perch here in the local wedding community, we’ve been able to cultivate awesome business friendships with the creative teams who run wedding venues in New Mexico. So it actually turned out to be pretty easy to choose, considering all of our favorites also have staffs who are dedicated to excellence, and stellar reputations to precede them.

Enough with the flattery though, let’s jump back into our curated list!

Hacienda Dona Andrea

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Shayla Edenfield Photography

Hacienda Dona Andrea is nestled in the hills 25 miles outside of Santa Fe and one of the hottest, and most private, spots to get married in New Mexico. The 13,000 square-foot old-world estate offers glowing mountain views, ceremony and reception spaces. Their nine deluxe bedrooms allow for up to 30 of your closest family and friends to stay with you while making lifelong memories during your special weekend. The hacienda is rented exclusively to one party at a time. Couples can plan their wedding their way with chairs, tables, and tableware rentals onsite and free choice of outside vendors. You get your wedding and the whole hacienda, too.

 

Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town

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Blue Rose Photography

Whether it’s a magnificent formal reception or an intimate outdoor event, Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town offers a flexible and elegant array of wedding and reception spaces that can fulfill your vision. The property has more than 62,000 sq. ft. of event space, including two state-of-the-art grand ballrooms and gracefully landscaped gardens with fountains, rose arbors, lawn courts, and a Victorian-style pavilion. The centerpiece of Hotel Albuquerque is the 19th-century style non-denominational chapel, San Isidro de Capilla, which seats 156 guests under a soaring vaulted beam ceiling. Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town’s memorable settings are the perfect backdrop for your dream wedding.

 

Hotel Chaco

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Emily Joanne Wedding Films & Photography 

Albuquerque’s newest luxury hotel, Hotel Chaco, offers spectacular panoramic views of the Sandia Mountains, downtown Albuquerque, and historic Old Town. Designed by the world renowned architectural firm, Gensler, the uniquely contemporary spaces are perfect for intimate and grand events. The Terrace Suite is ideal for a grand outdoor event and the serene courtyard and gardens are perfect for a quaint wedding ceremony, with additional ceremony space available at the adjacent Hotel Albuquerque at Old town. This exciting space is unlike any rooftop ceremony and reception venue in Albuquerque. 

 

Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces

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Lauren’s Photography

Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces has a Spanish and Mexican Colonial ambiance and offers couples sophisticated wedding venues. Up to 500 guests can be accommodated in the tasteful San Andreas Ballroom, while the smaller San Rafael Ballroom can fit up to 200. Weddings can also be held at one of the several beautiful outdoor spaces, with palm trees, fountains, and colorful flowers. The events lawn, adjacent to the elegant pool, the Jardín Sagrado Event Garden, and the stylish Azul Lounge patio are all perfect for receptions and ceremonies. The unique settings at Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces feature old world charm with modern amenities to make your special day perfect and memorable. 

 

Hyatt Regency Downtown Albuquerque

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Briana Nicole Photography

Hyatt Regency downtown Albuquerque is a historically urban venue for your wedding ceremony and reception. Our Whyte Room is a blank canvas to design your dream ceremony or reception. Experience our unique ABQ, city-vibe with a touch of contemporary, and a dash of elegance…all that’s left is your signature. 

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Royal Wedding, New Mexican Style

If you’ve picked up on anything from reading our little New Mexico Perfect Wedding Guide blog here, then you know a couple things. First, we love love. Like, a lot. Second, we’re obsessed with high-quality, jaw-dropping weddings and styled shoots that prove our state is on par with coastal trends, despite being oh so landlocked. And third, we have a special affinity for weddings with super strong New Mexican vibes, for obvious reasons.

So when a photo comes across our desks that combines all three of those elements…well, let’s just say we do a lot of happy dancing in our office. And happy dance we did, the moment we saw this collab between a few of our very favorite local wedding businesses. Housed by the undeniably southwestern, yet luxuriously curated Hacienda Dona Andrea, Shayla Edenfield Photography came together with some incredible local vendors like Mr. Tux and The Flower Company to create a shoot that rivals royal weddings, with an added New Mexican flair.

Hacienda Dona Andrea, a traditional adobe structure, began as a 9-bedroom home to the Contreras in the 16th century. The home, which is actually more castle than townhome, is imposingly venerable in the best possible way, and now generously hosts weddings for New Mexican natives, and those otherwise enchanted from far-off places. With impeccably carved furniture around every bend, and of course debuting within the shoot itself, and hand-crafted fixtures hanging from above, the hacienda made the perfect venue for this dignified and colorful styled shoot.

Bright florals enhanced the already-bursting colors of the venue, from the traditional Spanish art and hand painted tiles, to the oriental rugs. It would all have been for naught, of course, if there weren’t any turquoise jewelry; luckily the darling bride wore the traditional stone across her neck. And thank goodness for Shayla Edenfield‘s light and bright style — as sunshine-y and heartwarming as the personality behind the lens — which captured it all in its shining, regal glory.

To book Hacienda Dona Andrea for your wedding, you can contact their team of dedicated creatives here.

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Photographer: Shayla Edenfield Photography

Floral: The Flower Company

Tux: Mr. Tux Formalwear

Dress:  Borrowing Magnolia

Makeup: Betty Rose by Alanna

Cake: Cake Fetish

Turquoise Jewelry: Turquoise Direct

Furniture: Hacienda Dona Andrea

Stationery: Cordially Invited Events LLC

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Best Outdoor Venues in Albuquerque

Here’s the thing about New Mexico: it’s very easy to forget how lucky we are living in this state, especially when it comes to the weather. {Yes, we know it’s been pretty toasty lately, but take a trip somewhere a little closer to sea level and you’ll be missing the dry heat, we promise.}

It’s true that our lovely desert climate — minus the windy spring season — is relatively mild all year long.  Even when it rains, seasoned New Mexicans rest assured knowing it’ll only last 5 minutes, 10 maximum. Which, obviously, makes this state one of the best places for an outdoor wedding! If we had to guess, that’s probably why we’re blessed with so many options for outdoor ceremony and reception venues.

How do you choose though, when they’re all so lovely? Well, research of course. But even then, sometimes a venue seems perfect on screen, but might not measure up in person. Which is why we took the liberty of choosing five of our favorites to showcase here, for you. While there are many more incredible venues in New Mexico aside from these five, these are venues we’ve visited, spent time in, and even hosted events in some! So we can say, with the utmost confidence, that these venues will not disappoint.

{Plus we thew in some of the always invaluable reviews + opinions from local brides too, just in case you need a little extra assurance.}


Casa Rondeña

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Casa Rondeña, a gorgeous and fully-functional winery in the heart of the South Valley, has more charm than you’d think even possible for just one venue. With indoor spaces available as well, the possibilities for indoor-outdoor receptions and ceremonies are {almost} endless!

The venue is absolutely gorgeous, and though we don’t have our professional pictures back, even the pictures our guests took are breathtaking. They went on Facebook where everyone just oohed and aahed over how gorgeous the lawn of the 1629 Club is, and how beautifully everything reflects off the water there.

-Heather, bride

For availability at Casa Rondeña, you can book the venue here.


Prairie Star

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Maura Jane Photography

Prairie Star, you beautiful venue, you! The serenity at this venue is very much unrivaled, as the space is nestled in the quiet of the Santa Ana Pueblo and is surrounded by rolling hills of lush greenery. Punctuating the property is the proud adobe mansion, whose regality is also unparalleled.

I choose this venue mostly for the scenery. When I found it, I fell in love. Even better, it’s so reasonably priced compared to other venues. I received so many compliments on the location, it was beautiful. […] I am so incredibly glad I found this place and got to have my ceremony and reception here. Also, it’s very convenient to have a place where you can have the ceremony outside and reception inside!

-Alexandria, bride

For availability at Prairie Star, you can book the venue here.


Hacienda Dona Andrea

Ashley Davis Photography
Ashley Davis Photography

Honestly, of all the venues in all the world, Hacienda Dona Andrea just might be the most romantic. With old-world vibes, hand-crafted details, and stunning views, this venue is a perfectly secluded escape from reality for you and your soon-to-be spouse.

The place decorates itself – the architecture is southwestern and unique. the views are gorgeous and the place is perfectly secluded, yet there is still access to the funky little town of Madrid close by. We couldn’t have picked a better spot for our intimate family wedding. The team at the Hacienda made planning from a distance very easy for us and we were well taken care of. We are truly so happy with our choice to get married at Hacienda Dona Andrea!

-Alexis, bride

For availability at Hacienda Dona Andrea, you can book the venue here.


El Monte Sagrado

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Chrisi K Photography

Oh, El Monte Sagrado, where to even begin? Photos of the property showcase quite clearly how venerable and awe-inspiring the trees and scenery of the property truly are, but trust us when we say, it’s even better in person. See more from this darling real wedding here.

Honestly, I didn’t know places like this still existed. Besides El Monte Sagrado being breathtakingly beautiful, the customer service was out of this world. I had my wedding here at the beginning of the year and everyone at the resort made sure that my family, friends, husband and I had everything we needed!

-Jillian L., bride

For availability at El Monte Sagrado, you can book the venue here.


Los Poblanos Historic Inn + Organic Farm

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Lauren Cherie Photography

Of course, no list of New Mexico venues would be complete without Albuquerque’s golden child, Los Poblanos Historic Inn + Organic Farm. But the space is famous for good reason — it truly is one of the most magnificent places in our city. With rolling fields of lavender, chic farmhouse architecture, and several different options for ceremony space, there’s no facet of Los Poblanos that doesn’t live up to its reputation.

What an amazing venue!! I fell in love with this place from the first time I set foot on the property. It feels like you are out of town even though you are in the middle of the city. The architecture of the buildings and the surrounding gardens are gorgeous! It is definitely a venue that requires very little in the way of providing your own decor; the venue speaks for itself.

-Catie, bride

For availability at Los Poblanos, you can book the venue here.


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