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.

Waves of Love: A Real Wedding with Kayla Kitts Photography

“The weather was beautiful, and the scenery to die for, but most of all it was so perfect because of all of the love.

The Perfect Wedding Guide team just got back from the 2019 Wedding MBA conference where we were able to sit in on some pretty amazing talks from professionals in the industry, meet other like-minded wedding business owners, and develop new skills. We are always looking for ways to ensure that we stay up to date with the fast-paced and ever-changing world of weddings, because we love what we do. We will talk a little bit more about what we learned later this month when we recap the event.

Something that we hear all of the time at big wedding talks is that every bride and groom should plan our their wedding and make sure that they set achievable goals for the big day, with the help of talented local vendors of course. When Azaira & Matthew were planning their wedding, they had one very important goal in mind: have the the best beach wedding ever– and they did just that!

Though we will always have a special place in our hearts for New Mexico weddings, destination weddings are just as alluring. This sandy beach wedding captured by Kayla Kitts Photography truly makes us want to put winter on hold, book a flight out of town, and throw on our swimsuits to get our party on! Just by looking through the gallery and seeing all of the smiles and laughter, we can tell that love was in the salty air.

Kayla has a way of not only capturing a moment in time, but also composing the shot perfectly to where it appears timeless. We can’t get enough!

Love poured through every part of the day; from the getting ready rooms, to the vows they recited to each other, and the toasts made by family and friends. Every bit of the day was filled with excitement, celebration, and happy tears, and it was so wonderful. 

They promised to forever on the edge of the sunny beach, and celebrated with an epic dance party as the moon glistened on the water – and if you asked any of us if we wanted to do that day again, we’d say HECK YES!

Photographer | Kayla Kitts Photography
Venue | Grand Caribe Belize
Dress | XO
Bridal Shoes | David’s Bridal
Groom’s Attire | Men’s Wearhouse
Rings | Zales
Cake | Grand Caribe Belize

8 Local Wedding Businesses Run by Husband + Wife Teams

We can’t lie. As New Mexico’s Perfect Wedding Guide team, we get to be on the forefront of a whole lot of magic coming from our community. From whimsical winter weddings, to sensational spring styled shoots, to first-time collaborations between wedding professionals, to proposal stories that would make anyone tear up — it’s almost too much love for us to handle! 

While all our wedding professionals are the source of unending inspiration and buckets of love, there is one particular category of businesses, specifically, that warms our hearts and keeps us committed to our local wedding community. That is, of course, the local wedding businesses run by husband and wife teams. 

We’re not alone in this particular penchant either. As much as we like to suggest local couples approach their wedding planning process in a methodical, step-by-step process, we’ve found that they often flock toward these wedding businesses too. Booking them first based on instinct, and then hoping all the other factors — budget, dates, etc. — fall into place.

Which comes as no surprise. Especially as a soon-to-be-wed couple, the comforting familiarity of working with a team that is both partnered in business and in life is totally unparalleled. A lot of these boss-babe, business couples were actually married in New Mexico too, so knowing they were once in the very same shoes as you — well, how much more reassuring can it get? Their wedding was so great they decided to not only stick with this partnership of love, but to jump in on the wedding industry themselves.

So we couldn’t let another day pass without sending some love back to these amazing couples, who give so much of their time and heart to our community. We couldn’t possibly highlight every married duo whose killing the game in the wedding community of New Mexico, but we can pick out a few of our favorites! Plus, we, Perfect Wedding Guide, have had the pleasure of working one-on-one with these businesses, and are totally confident in recommending their magical talents to you.


1. Matt Blasing Photography

The best part of being in business with my wife Amy is that she brings an administrative business balance to my creative side (she’s a Hospital CEO by day), and she seems to quickly connect with just about anyone, so our couples always love her. Working with your spouse is such an advantage when you know you work well together. After being married for years (and after photographing over a hundred weddings together), you start to learn to read each other’s minds.

At weddings where every minute matters and the schedule can be rushed, being able to anticipate what we need to do, often without even speaking, really helps us not only stay on task regardless of the hurdles that might occur on a wedding day, but do so seamlessly and without stress.

Matt, Matt Blasing Photography


2. Absolute Entertainment

Working together as a couple we discovered we were able to divide up the tasks  serving both of our strengths. We had very successful careers before moving to New Mexico so started out as a well rounded team. Chris & I, Vicky, have successfully worked together for 22 years.
As with anything in a relationship you have to come to workable agreements and this actually becomes a powerful exercise in personal growth.  You always need to nurture your relationship. With communication, kindness and staying out of your Ego you can resolve anything.

3. Shutter Force Photography

The biggest challenge we had to overcome as married business partners was determining how we would build a photography studio with two photographers who have incredibly different styles and “eyes” for photography.
We are both very different people, different artists, different photographers. We learned that this is something our couples like about our style, and we finally let go of the fear that we’re “too different.” After embracing the idea of keeping our independence while blending our styles to tell a story in an exciting way, we learned this is something that truly sets us apart. It took a long time for us to see that the only way we’d find success is to stay true to who we are and to walk a different path than other vendors in the industry.

4. Orange September + Casa Roñdena Winery

Vicki and Jerry are known as the powerhouse duo behind both the well-loved wedding venue, Casa Roñdena Wineryand the esteemed event planning company Orange September. Somehow, they manage to balance being business-oriented creatives as well as life partners, while always keeping the focus on their couples and their special day.


5. Photographic Perspectives

So John & I were married in Villanueva, NM (near Pecos) in the same church that my parents were married in and my grand-parents; and it’s in this tradition and roots in New Mexico that reinforces our role as story tellers.  Our families’ roots in New Mexico has taught us to appreciate the traditions passed down in other families, and we always strive to keep these traditions alive in the photos and videos so that they are not lost for the generations that are yet to come.

If we could get married again, I would have loved to have Lupe from Genesis to help me.  Her creativity and knowledge in lighting & décor can transform any location!

Sandra, Photographic Perspectives


6. The View Event Center by Simply Decor & Events

Akshay and Payal, the married couple whose glowing personalities match that of their stunning venue, The View Event Center, do more than just host weddings and events. They first began working together as Simply Decor, and still continue to fabulously furnish the weddings at their modern and metropolitan wedding venue and beyond. With an unmatched eye for beauty, Akshay and Payal not only continuously support each other, but the couples they work with, too.


7. Kayla Kitts Photography

Anyone who’s ever met Dominic know he has the biggest heart – and it definitely shines through on wedding days!  Things can be hectic – but our job is to stay calm and keep others calm, and it never fails that Dominic comes to the rescue with whatever that couple, that family, or that day needs.  Grandma needs help with the door?  He’s on it.  Kiddo needs a funny dance to smile?  Done.  Groom needs a place for all the things before he walks into the ceremony?  You betcha.  Someone needs the shirt off his back?  Sure thing.  He’s a man of his word, a jack of all trades, and absolutely the guy you want by your side on a special day because he’s for sure gonna be there for ya.

We’re so thankful to call this our job!  It’s a dream, with days filled with love and celebration and so many memories – and we’re so honored to be a part of it all!


8. King Mobile Music

Last but certainly not least, a married duo who we rely on several times a year, Brad and Heather King of King Mobile Music. As the emcees and certified fun-masters who make our wedding shows as successful as they are, we can’t recommend them as a team enough. With a smile and a laugh readily available to anyone and everyone who needs it, their levity balances the weight of a busy wedding day or event.


 

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Toby + Dan’s Intimate Santa Fe Wedding [with Kayla Kitts Photography!]

I’d like to say that fate put these two in the same place at the right time.  They met in St Louis, half a world away from Toby’s home.  And there in that city was Dan – and they say they knew right away that it was something special.

Kayla, Kayla Kitts Photography

If you didn’t know already, our little perch in the New Mexico wedding community happens to be right in between local engaged couples and the wedding professionals who serve them. So, luckily for us, we’ve been able to watch some serious magic happen in our desert state. Which, you might be thinking something along the lines of: come on, it’s weddings, love, and celebrations, so of course incredible, heartwarming, and tear-jerking stories come to Perfect Wedding Guide pretty much every day.

But what we want to chat about today is a more subtle kind of magic — like whatever unidentifiable force brought Toby and Dan together, and then together again with Kayla Kitts Photography. Because this trend of somehow managing to find the exact vendors who vibe with a couple’s personality happens all the stinking time here. Is it something in the air, in our Land of Enchantment? Maybe.

Or is it because engaged couples actually have a surprising amount of resources to make connecting with local small businesses who have dedicated their talents to weddings a bit easier? Also maybe. Or perhaps it’s a combination of both, or something else entirely. What matters, and what keeps our heart here in the wedding world of New Mexico, is that it happens so frequently.

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Kayla and her hubby Dominic, of Kayla Kitts Photography, are self-proclaimed belly laughers and people persons, and world renowned rays of sunshine. It’s a simple fact that we’ve all come to know as their photography craft has grown and evolved throughout the years of creative practice. Toby and Dan, two sides of the same coin, have a love grounded in a deep friendship and balanced with a sense of levity and humor. Their beaming smiles and bursts of laughter jump off their wedding photos and it’s not hard to imagine the giggles coming from behind the camera, too.

The collaborative and comfortable way Kayla and Dominic interact with couples and their wedding guests was the perfect approach for Toby and Dan’s intimate celebration in Santa Fe. As a couple of people who feel like your close friends even upon first meeting, we’re sure Toby and Dan’s actual close friends and family welcomed Kayla and Dominic’s presence with open arms. We just feel lucky enough to have lived vicariously through it!

To connect with Kayla Kitts Photography for your wedding or engagement, you can contact Kayla and Dominic here.

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They laughed hard as they told me about Dan “super cheesily” proposing on Valentine’s Day, and looked at each other sweetly as they told me about their special day.  As we sat and sipped coffee and cracked up over and over again, I knew that photographing their wedding was going to be awesome – and it was!

Kayla, Kayla Kitts Photography

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Venue  |  Neptune Gallery and Studio Event Space + Dinner at The Compound Restaurant
Florist  |  Bloomstream Floral
Attire  |  Mr. Tux
Officiant  |  Erin Whitcomb
Cake  |  American Pie Bakery
Ceremony Musician  |  Cello for Weddings
Caterer  |  Walter Burke Catering
Coordinator  |  Lauren Mestas with Just Lovely Wedding + Event Planning

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New Mexico’s Most Loved Bridal Gown Shop

From my first visit, Darlene and her team have been absolutely amazing when it came to helping my find the perfect wedding dress. Not only are they incredibly professional, but they genuinely care about helping you find your dream dress. This has been an amazing experience and I recommend everyone come here, you won’t be disappointed! 

Britney, local bride

Now, despite the fact we, the Perfect Wedding Guide team here in New Mexico, have been working with local engaged couples and the wedding professionals in our state for a long time now, it’s still quite the assumptive leap for us to claim one bridal gown shop as New Mexico’s most loved. Or at least it would be, if we weren’t talking about Bridal Elegance by Darlene. See, with over 30 years of experience, Darlene and her team have the miles of positive reviews, community love, and name recognition needed to qualify as New Mexico’s most loved. It’s really no wonder that they do, either.

Rather than it being a fluke, or stroke of luck, or popularity contest, Bridal Elegance by Darlene has won over the hearts of brides and bridesmaids alike by being exceedingly kind and qualified, and having impeccable gowns. It really is that simple! Because, despite what the fairytales and Hollywood movies might have whispered in your prepubescent ears, choosing a wedding gown isn’t the easiest thing in the world. There’s sizing charts, measurements, fingers getting caught in zippers, giant mirrors for meticulous examinations, sequins in — ahem — interesting places, and more we don’t need to mention because you get the picture, right?

With all that confusion, the kind of people you want by your side teaching you how to bustle and tying up your corset back are the kind of people who really get it. And at Bridal Elegance, they get it. They know the wedding industry, they know their gowns, and they know the process of making this big decision can be overwhelming. With attention and care, the team at Bridal Elegance by Darlene act from this place of knowing, and create an environment for their brides that is so calm and conducive, you do actually get a bit of that fairytale magic. Especially when you find the one.

So yes, these masters of tulle, taffeta, and human kindness have made so many brides, so many bridesmaids, and so many flower girls feel beautiful and comfortable in their own skin that they have been granted the title of New Mexico’s most loved. To commemorate this and the fact we’ve been working with Bridal Elegance by Darlene for over 15 years now — holy moly! — we’ve recapped some of our favorite styled shoots and weddings featuring their gowns below.

Once you’ve been swept up in this local wedding magic, you’ll have no trouble loving Bridal Elegance by Darlene as much as we, and all these local photographers, wedding planners, and decor specialists, do too. You can contact the Bridal Elegance team here to get started on finding your perfect gown.

Picante Passion: A {Super Local} Styled Shoot

Tiffany Burke Events + Tori Photography

Sweet Summer Wedding with Kayla Kitts Photography

Kayla Kitts Photography

Bridal elegance by Darlene is by far the best place to find your dreams dress. They’re super professional, they listen to what you’re looking for and find you the most beautiful dress that you can imagine. Every single member of this shop is Extremely knowledgeable and just make it happen for you.

Guadalupe, local bride


Romantic Desert Wedding Inspiration

Briana Nicole Photography

A Styled Spring Shoot

Maura Jane Photography

Darlene at Bridal Elegance is the best person to see if you want to look and feel your best in your wedding gown. She gives you that personal touch that you won’t get at a chain store. With something for every budget. She listens to what you are imagining for your big day and makes it come to life. Plus, she’s locally owned which is amazing!

Racheal, local bride


Red: A Storybook Styled Shoot

Maura Jane Photography

Dramatic New Mexican Skies with Local Wedding Professionals

Photographic Perspectives
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Smitten Ceremony: Real Wedding in Albuquerque with Kayla Kitts Photography

They’re smitten, adorable, and officially Mr. + Mrs.!

Kayla Kitts Photography

Since we, Perfect Wedding Guide, exist in a liminal space between engaged couples and local wedding pros, we have quite the vantage point over the love stories that begin, and begin again, here in New Mexico. With so many weddings, each intricate and impossible to replicate, you’d think it’d be the details that really set apart certain weddings for us. But to burst your bubble, it’s actually quite the opposite — the common threads of love which weave in and out of every individual story, that’s what really makes our hearts beat in overtime.

After all these years, we’ve come to learn a few things about those common threads which unite every love story together in pure, unadulterated experiences of life. Nikki and Bobby, happy newlyweds married last year at Hotel Albuquerque, remind us so clearly of one of those lessons in particular.

When you look back, every tiny decision made was actually an enormous leap in the direction of your fate.

Like when Nikki and Bobby both happened to join the same softball team. Minimal in the moment, maybe, but that choice brought them close enough together so that love, mysterious and mercurial as it can be, could do the rest of the work. Which, of course, it did in no short time.

Thankfully, Kayla and Dominic of Kayla Kitts Photography also made a series of choices that brought them into collaboration with Nikki and Bobby for their wedding. Knowing the Kitts‘ romantic, fun, and impossibly sweet personalities, we can’t imagine a better photographer in Albuquerque to capture the all the smiles and scintillations of their wedding day.

{Pssst… This wedding + more will be featured in the 2019 Spring/Summer edition of the Perfect Wedding Guide magazine. Preorder your free copy here!}

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Photographer: Kayla Kitts Photography Venue: Hotel Albuquerque Florals: Shannon Loves Flowers Dress: Ann Matthews Bridal Officiant: Randy Joslin Makeup: Chelsea LeMendola Hair: Ashlee Mendoza with Amp’d Up Salon DJ: Cutmaster Music Shoes: Dillard’s Jewelry: JC Penny Rings: Ben Bridge Jeweler and Zales Men’s Attire: Mens Wearhouse Cake: BitterSweets Bakery

 

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