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

Sanctuary on the River

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

couple wedding outdoor venue Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico Casa Perea long sleeve gown tuxedo bowtie floral arrangement natural light photography Maura Jane
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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Blo: Albuquerque’s Fav Blow Dry Bar

When you hear the phrase blow dry bar, your mind might conjure up imagery of 1950’s ladies in pleats and patterns getting blow-outs and blow-drys all in a row. But with just a three letter distinction, the blow dry bar suddenly becomes Blo Blow Dry Bar, and everything changes. Gone are the days of mint green tile and hair as tall as the doorframe. Instead, here among our wedding professionals in Albuquerque, we have sleek edges and minimalist white space with lush, comfortable seating that makes your hair appointment feel more like an appointment in the clouds.

The Bloers, also known as your stylists, have dedicated their nimble fingers to elevating your hair. In height, maybe if that’s what you’re into, but definitely in quality. By using the best quality ingredients paired with their meticulous training, you’d be hard pressed to not feel like your best self coming out of there.

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Which, yes, the focus of your wedding day is love, love, and more love, as you know. But regardless of how deep your love for your partner runs, it’s difficult to focus on anything else when you don’t feel like yourself. With so much to worry about when it comes to planning your wedding day too, the last thing you want to be focus on is a misplaced hair or an updo that doesn’t match your personality. Not to mention the hundreds of photos from your photographer and guests that will memorialize your celebration of love forever.

But don’t worry, and don’t let anyone tell you its vanity. It’s a day you want to remember and revisit fondly, for the rest of your everlasting marriage, so place your beautiful face (and hair!) in the talented hands of beauty professionals you can trust with Blo Blow Dry Bar.

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Local + Lovely: Albuquerque’s Favorite Wedding Show

SNAG YOUR TICKETS HERE!


 

Okay, so maybe the Diamond Dash is actually your favorite wedding show. Which makes sense — where else do you have the opportunity to dive into a giant wedding cake and dig around for diamond jewelry? {No, seriously, is there somewhere else you can do that? Because we’d love a shot at it ourselves…} But the Wedding Gallery Wedding Show is my personal favorite, and I’ll tell you why.

First, Sandia Resort and Casino — the famed location of the Wedding Gallery — provides the perfect backdrop for the event. Each little corner and crevice is filled with local wedding professionals who have dedicated their entire Sunday to making the wedding planning process a little bit easier for you. Sounds like a wedding show, right? Well, what makes the Wedding Gallery different in this aspect, though, is how each booth is meticulously curated.

Last year’s theme, for example, was greek chic. When our team walked into the ballroom and saw not only the stage for the couture fashion show, but each local professional‘s hard word and dedication to this theme, our jaws dropped. As the morning continued, our jaws stayed on the floor with every impeccable detail that was added. From Black Swan Events‘ multi-table spread, to Gypsy Trail Hair + Makeup‘s boho-greek space, not an ounce of the ballroom was left untouched by love.

For the discerning couple, this is the place to do your planning. Some of the vendors even recruited one another to ensure their booths were perfectly enticing and aligned with the theme. Not only was it magical to watch this greek chic dream suddenly solidify in reality, but witnessing the wedding experts build each other up made the whole day unreal. And isn’t that the whole point of a wedding show? To see how local businesses can take a vision and bring it to life, while working together with the other wedding experts on the big day?

{Oh! I almost forgot to mention — the cocktails, food stations, wedding inspo, VIP bridal couture fashion show, giveaways, games, and prizes are pretty incredible, too. But you probably already knew that.}

See you there!


SNAG YOUR TICKETS HERE!

 

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Bliss Salon and Spa: A Review of Albuquerque’s Finest

Who could have known, when Bliss Salon and Spa first opened their doors in 2009, that they would grow to be one of Albuquerque’s most beloved one-stop beauty shops? Well… actually, most of their clients probably did. The family owned and operated business has been famed for its welcoming environment for 9 years now, and the quality of their services has only continued to evolve with each passing year.

Most often, when we highlight a local business or wedding professional, it’s because their products or services have taken the wedding world by storm. We’ll hear about them from locally engaged couples, other wedding vendors, wedding guests — you name it. This is true of Bliss, of course, but we also have personal experience with the salon and spa.

Not only does their team provide the hair and makeup for our models at the Diamond Dash and Wedding Gallery couture fashion shows, but recently I also had the opportunity to come in the shop for a pedicure. Let me tell you, my toes have never been happier. From the moment I walked in, I was greeted with the warmth of a regular, and treated with the utmost kindness. While their nail artist made my feet look like that of a princess, we chatted amicably about her time in cosmetology school, and how lucky she felt to work at Bliss Salon and Spa with her best friend and some of the most talented people in Albuquerque.

Then, as if the glorious pedicure wasn’t enough for me, I mentioned to the front desk receptionist that I needed a hair trim and that I should make an appointment for the following week. Before I could blink they had a chair open for me and a cape around my neck. The same lovely and talented nail artist pulled out her scissors and started trimming my hair.

Normally would have been hesitant, as I’ve only ever had my hair cut professionally one other time, but I remembered the raving reviews for Bliss Salon and Spa that litter their listing on the Perfect Wedding Guide site, and felt totally confident in their team’s abilities. I was right, too! She took my overgrown, mostly dead hair and transformed it into a chic bob with the perfect amount of messiness to match my personal style.

While it might not be on the visible horizon for me just yet, I know without a doubt which team of stylists I want there with me on my wedding day. {It’s Bliss Salon and Spa, if that wasn’t already abundantly clear.} After seeing so many brides, bridesmaids, and models have their natural beauty illuminated with care and consideration by their team, I know how comfortable and confident I’d feel having Carmen Joe, Bliss Salon‘s owner, and her team of incredible women styling me for such an important day.

Thank you to the whole team for working so diligently to provide Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s wedding parties with the best service our state has to offer! We’re so grateful for you.

{See the team in action at during the couture bridal fashion show at our next event — the Wedding Gallery Wedding Show! Grab your tickets here.}

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The women (and men) who make the Bliss Salon run are wonderful, sweet, and compassionate people. They work with your budget, accommodate your needs, and provide a great salon and spa experiences you can have in the city of Albuquerque.

-Courtney

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Where Are They Now? {Celeste + Brandon}

You might remember Celeste + Brandon from this blog post a couple weeks ago. You know, the love so gorgeous and devoted this blogger was crying over it? Their wedding, which was last October, tugged at our heartstrings in a really special way. Yes, yes — we do love all married and engaged couples, but something about Celeste + Brandon’s celebration inspired us.

Which is why we decided to catch up with them! We love when our local vendors share special days with us, but…We’ve always wondered how the beautiful couples from our posts fair after the whirlwind of a wedding day settles down. Now we don’t have to! Celeste + Brandon motivated us to reach out to our local couples and ask: Where Are You Now? 

 

Where Are They Now? {Celeste + Brandon}

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Wedding Photo: Kayla Kitts Photography

 

I will never forget the day we met. We met at a baseball game in the town I was attending college. He happened to show up too and there wasn’t a huge crowd. So we sat by each other in the warm March day. I was there to watch the cute guys, he was there for the baseball. I pretended to understand what was happening and he probably knew that I had no clue! But he stuck around until the end of the game with me, even though I had felt my legs burning in the sunshine, I didn’t want to part with him yet. I asked him over to play with my dog and my dog immediately loved him. That’s when I knew he was different. He made me laugh and feel beautiful from the moment we met. I’ll never forget the feeling of butterflies and couldn’t stop smiling. It was worth the sunburn!

Celeste

Celeste and Brandon have cozied right up to life as a married couple. In the spirit of equality and love, so clearly seen in their wedding day, they split the day-to-day responsibilities of their lives together right down the middle. {Taking turns cooking and doing the dishes, with Celeste usually doing the laundry, and Brandon usually taking out the trash.} Full of respect for each other!

For the fun stuff: every day feels like a celebration now that they’re married! But still, getting out of the routine is healthy. Their favorite married-life tradition is going out on the town together a few times a month. Sometimes just to a movie — what matters is getting dressed up, getting out, and getting to enjoy each other’s company!

Celeste and Brandon made a fun trip up to Colorado recently, for a wedding nonetheless! “It was so fun to watch others tie the knot and be so happy on their big day. We reminisced of our own big day and loved just being able to be together to enjoy this amazing adventure with others!!” Celeste says. 

No major life changes have ricocheted through their life together yet, but emphasis on yet. They’re moving to a different state soon, and buying their first house together! New Mexico will be sad to see them go, but we’re grateful to have had them here this long.

Thank you to you both for sharing your wedding day, post-vows life, and for spreading love wherever you go!

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Engagement Photo: Cristy Cross Photography

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Real, Regal Wedding at the Event Center at Sandia Golf Club

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There’s a distinctly magical quality about the Sandia Mountains here in New Mexico. Not fairytale-Disneyland type of magic, per se, but something like no other. If you live here, or have ever traveled through, you probably know what we’re talking about. {They don’t call it the Land of Enchantment for no reason!}

So it’s never really a surprise when an engaged couple, filled to the brim with love and excitement, wants to incorporate some of New Mexico’s scenery into their day of celebration. What better way to solidify your vows, than with the ever-regal, perpetually devoted Sandia Mountains as your backdrop?

And unless you want to hike up to the crest, the best place to get that scenic view is at the Event Center at Sandia Golf Club. {Which, let’s be real, mountain-top weddings are gorgeous, but how is your great Aunt Betty going to make that hike?!}

When Alyssa and Porfirio decided to take the leap, to spend the rest of their time on earth together, it was the easiest decision of their lives. Right behind that though, the second easiest choice was their venue — the Event Center at Sandia Golf Club.

It was clear to us why we would choose the Event Center at Sandia Golf Club as our reception venue. The view of the Sandia mountains and the view of the NM sunset is breathtaking. A lover of sunsets, I knew this venue was a “must-have.”

Alyssa, Bride

A lover of sunsets and a lover of love — the local vendors Alyssa and Porfirio chose to work with for their wedding day made sure that the only thing on their minds was sunsets, love, and each other.

We put our trust into the experts and they transformed our vision into a reality. From the candles and candelabras to the orchids and chiavari chairs, from the up-lighting and selfie mirror photobooth to the iridescent cake and bride/groom M&M’s, from the significance of the memory table to the significance of the ring-bearers pillow, it’s apparent that we not only incorporated meaningful symbolism within the smallest of details but ensured that the details also reflected “us.”

Alyssa, Bride

Their marriage began as anyone would hope, surrounded by beauty, family, friends, and dedicated local businesses, working behind the scenes. It never ceases to amaze us at how these intensely collaborative, uniquely special days come together so flawlessly — but we’re constantly grateful for weddings like these, to remind us why we do what we do.

Special thank you to the Event Center at Sandia Golf Club for providing a space for love to bloom, and for every magnificent vendor {listed below!} who helped manifest Alyssa and Porfirio’s dreams.

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Reception Venue: Event Center at Sandia Golf Club

{Coordination by Lauren Danielle Landavazo | IG: @sandia_golf_club}

Photography: Talitha Tarro Photography | IG: @talithatarro

DJ: Cutmaster Music | IG: @cutmastermusic

Decor: Occasion Services & Events | IG: @ose_events

Florist: Diamante Floral and Gifts

Cake: Simply Sweet By Darci

Video: Southwest Wedding Films | IG: @southwestweddingfilms

Wedding Party Formalwear: Forever Yours Bridal | IG: @foreveryoursbridalnm

Bride’s Dress: Ann Matthews Bridal | IG: @annmatthewsbridal

Ceremony: Church of the Incarnation, Rio Rancho, New Mexico