Wedding Invitations: Go Online or Stay Local?

The nicest, most professional people I have ever worked with. This world would be heaven if every company had their level of ethics and customer service.

Stefani

Every wedding begins with a simple yes.

No, we’re not referring to the big yes that usually gets all of the attention. Instead, we’re talking about saying yes to your wedding invitations. That first step toward a happily ever after begins the cascade of moments and decisions and planning that eventually culminate into your wedding day.

So, no pressure, but your wedding invitations are kind of a big deal! While save-the-dates are a little bit more casual, your wedding invitation is the first place you see your color scheme and aesthetic theme come to life. Each frill and fluff of your decor, floral arrangements, and wedding party attire will follow in suit (pun intended) with the vibe you set with your wedding invitations.

With this in mind, it becomes less and less tempting to jump on board the trend of ordering your paper goods online. Despite how customizable and unique most chain websites claim to be, the designs remain in circulation for thousands of engaged couples across the country. Not to mention, when ordering invitations online, there’s rarely an opportunity to feel the paper, see the print quality, and talk through your questions and concerns in person with a paper expert.

41f579ed-9b6d-4c8f-a2e6-f7d0e58c2f9f.jpg
Maura Jane Photography

 

Which is why we always have and always will recommend ditching the faceless monotony of mass produced goods and, instead, support the local small businesses who have dedicated their passion and talent to their community. Like Pennysmiths Paper!

For 40 years now, Pennysmiths Paper has been serving New Mexico weddings — but their team will tell you, often out-of-state couples will fly in just to have their invitations and stationery designed by the Pennysmiths team. We’re not surprised by that though, considering their free one-hour consultation policy, hundreds of happy couples, and meticulous attention to detail.

From the first whisper of a celebration, to the final moments of your wedding day, Pennysmiths Paper has the stationery and invitations to set the tone and supplement your decor. Because it’s never too early to get started on your first step of wedding planning, you can get connected with a paper design expert from the Pennysmiths team here.

kayla+kitts+photography-monica-andrew_0001
Kayla Kitts Photography

Pennysmiths Paper

Pennysmiths Paper

Pennysmiths Paper

Pennysmiths Paper

Perfect Wedding Guide wedding planning design inspiration budget floral bouquet arrangement New Mexico Albuquerque greenery Santa Fe flowers natural organic local

Hidden Gem Photographers in New Mexico

Yes, it’s true — we just said earlier this week that the fickle weather of spring had given way to steady sunshine and…..then it rained. So it goes in this beautiful, mercurial desert state! While we might not be able to rely on the weather for consistency, we can at least know that whatever rain comes to New Mexico won’t last very long. Plus, because temperamental weather is often on the horizon, local creatives have learned how to work with and around it, especially our wedding photographers.

We all know that rain on your wedding day is good luck — what with the symbolism of cleansing, renewal, and fertility and all — but what about the wind? Or the blazing New Mexican sun that occasionally becomes a bright and shining nuisance? Despite how perfectly you may plan your wedding, there are always a few uncontrollable weather variables. So, if you can’t control the weather, you’ll need a team of wedding professionals who aren’t afraid of a little Mother Nature.

Which is why we’ve put together a list of our 5 favorite hidden gem photographers. With years of experience in rain and shine, these local wedding photographers have been put to the test and come out on the other side with gorgeous visual art, a fine-tuned understanding of lighting, and a considerable dedication to their craft. So, if you maybe want someone you can count on to capture your wedding day — take a peak below.

1. Beth Waldron Photography

We’re starting out strong here with the creative known as Beth Waldron Photography. Like an amazingly talented fly on the wall, Beth photographed our Bridal Board + Vendor Mixer just a few weeks ago, and totally captured the essence, fun, and special moments of the event. (Not to mention, the photos were beautiful despite coming from a dimly-lit ballroom.) With an expressive edge that comes through in each shot, her wedding photography should be properly classified as works of art.

 

2. Jared Kellogg Photography

I feel life has a soul and there is nothing more beautiful than capturing it in a smile or in the twinkle in some one’s eye.

We couldn’t have described the creative driving force behind Jared Kellogg‘s photographic art any better than he does himself! With a unique blend of digital and film photography in his portfolio, Jared has come to understand the medium on a personal and artistic level, which shines through in his business. His clean and even approach to each couple makes his work feel comforting and familiar, with a kind of timelessness to last through each and every anniversary.

 

3. Chandelier Studio

It’s hard not to love Shannon, the creative powerhouse behind Chandelier Studio, from the first moment you meet her. All of her photographic work — weddings and boudoir — comes from a deeply artistic, deeply collaborative place, and it shows. The focus of her lens and creative practices is on making sure the women and couples in front of the camera feel beautiful, and know they’re beautiful. It’s no small wonder then, that each shot comes out looking comfortable, crisp, and perfectly balanced.

 

4. Rick Saul Photography

Rick Saul approaches each engaged couple in New Mexico with a keen awareness of the fact that his photos will long outlive the ceremony, reception, and even the honeymoon. It’s this knowledge that motivates his work, and ensures his talents are used to encapsulate all the most important moments of the day, whether they are precious and heartfelt, or silly and fun. His photographs are, essentially, his way of cementing your story in time forever, so that they may remind you of your unique love for decades to come.

 

5. Shutter Force Photography

To finish just as a strong as we started, we’re wrapping up here with Shutter Force Photography. Although we just did a special feature on the husband-and-wife photographer duo, it’s worth reiterating that their fun and loving approach to photography is totally unparalleled. Meagan and James, as they’re also called by, cultivate real, genuine relationships with their couples. It’s with this connection that they are able to express the inexpressible emotions, details, and depth of each love story within their photography.

Perfect Wedding Guide wedding planning design inspiration budget floral bouquet arrangement New Mexico Albuquerque greenery Santa Fe flowers natural organic local

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.

wedding professionals speaking focus group bridal engaged couples

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.

wedding bridal couples engaged professionals new mexico santa fe focus group

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.

engaged couples wedding market focus group bride groom new mexico santa fe albuquerque profesionals speaking

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.

floral centerpiece flowers wedding business wedding market new mexico santa fe albuquerque rose

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.

Perfect Wedding Guide wedding planning design inspiration budget floral bouquet arrangement New Mexico Albuquerque greenery Santa Fe flowers natural organic local

Terese Rose Designs: Exclusively Designed Bridal Gowns

A wedding dress should do more than adorn its wearer. It should be a chapter itself in the love story it illustrates.

Terese Rose Designs

If there’s anything you know about our Perfect Wedding Guide team by now, it’s that the little details of weddings are what really make our hearts stir. Which makes sense, considering how many beautiful celebrations of love we’re blessed to be apart of — vicariously, of course — through our little family of local wedding businesses. Over the years, we’ve developed a finely-tuned, highly trained eye for the magnificently minuscule fragments of a love story, which coalesce to create an intrinsically unique experience.

Yet our love of delicate details doesn’t belong to us solely. In fact, we’re not nearly as talented at the tiny than one particular local, small business: Terese Rose Designs.

After taking a peak at some of the original, exclusively designed wedding gowns and whimsical lingerie pieces that Terese Rose Designs works diligently on, it’ll come as no surprise to learn her business launched on Valentine’s Day a few years ago, here in New Mexico. The perfectly apt holiday now marks each new anniversary of the designer’s operation of opulence, and each new season of designs made for love, and with love weaved into every stitch.

Inspired by natural elements from fireflies to florals, all Terese Rose Designs pieces are crafted slowly, and for one particular wearer at a time. By breathing new life into the tradition, and revitalizing Victorian essentials, the designer cultivates a magical new approach to wedding and intimate attire, elevating the way we see fashion here in New Mexico. Her designs are not misplaced in time, per se, but the avant-garde gowns and lingerie seem to transcend time, reaching past the boundaries of generations to touch on the core of something that remains intensely beautiful throughout the ever-shifting cultural, temporal, and social trends.

To collaborate with Terese Rose Designs on your wedding gown, see more of her awe-inspiring work, or contact the designer herself, you can reach out here.

092847f1-22c2-48a7-8d1c-488b368913c1

48897b_f3e44437ff394b96aa6c0705558a8fb3~mv2_d_1920_2880_s_2

48897b_9b0c35b2a6b64f67ac8e037b518b5029~mv2_d_1920_2880_s_2

49900190_1223207341150655_2669379061305835520_o
Elizabeth Wells Photography

48897b_e35bde3d80a34b99835e29cef714abfe~mv2

48897b_b0fff607f3514da9a4e92e2840262d93~mv2
Maura Jane Photography

48897b_735f648de1fa4c93bda6eaefd3e9c3c9~mv2_d_1568_2352_s_2

48897b_5b25f0105f36418f8e5d45fa736669fe~mv2_d_1568_2352_s_2
Just West Photography

Perfect Wedding Guide wedding planning design inspiration budget floral bouquet arrangement New Mexico Albuquerque greenery Santa Fe flowers natural organic local

Cello for Weddings: Vendor Spotlight

When the day finally arrives — yes, you know which day we’re referring to — the whole rest of the world melts away. Or at least it does when your wedding is coordinated by local professionals who have dedicated their talents to making dreams come true. The details, the timing, everything is handled. So, really, all you have to do is be there, be yourself, and marry the love of your life. 

With Cello for Weddings, releasing the stress of planning a wedding comes as an easy, full exhale. Ryan Smith, the musical talent behind the name, has cultivated an appreciation and understanding of sound for many years, so that every wedding may have the opportunity to be elevated by live cello. Whether it is accompanied by other instruments to round out the harmonies, or solo, amplified acoustic cello, you have a guarantee that the music will reach the ears and hearts of all of your guests. 

We’ve all watched movies, seen plays, and even some well-executed commercials whose carefully timed use of music creates an emotional vitality that forces us to be present and acknowledge our tenderness. Incorporating live music into your wedding ceremony or reception produces this kind of  experience for your guests, which is not one that will leave their minds for long after. 

From sweeping, classic ballads to modern love songs, Cello for Weddings has a range of tonal talent that ensures your personality can shine through. Lustrous and heroic in Beethoven and John Mayer alike, Ryan is proud to approach his playing with a collaborative spirit so your wedding feels and sounds like your wedding. As Cello for Weddings, Ryan even offers to learn a new song for each couple, should his vast library of available songs be missing your favorite one. 

Spend some time visiting with Cello for Wedding’s transcendentally vibrant music with the samples available below, and contact Ryan here to have it present for your wedding day.  

0fd6f253-a96d-4038-90f9-e7e18e2337dc

Perfect Wedding Guide wedding planning design inspiration budget floral bouquet arrangement New Mexico Albuquerque greenery Santa Fe flowers natural organic local

Rockin’ Piano Party: Live Wedding Performance

Whatever your vantage point may be, it’s no secret that today’s world has quite a bit of turmoil and tumult. Which, in our humble opinion, is probably why the current trend of experiential weddings has risen, and continues to evolve with each passing month. Couples want to create an experience for their guests, rather than just the typical Sunday-in-June, afternoon ceremony. Because, well, sometimes life is hard! Or boring, or stressful, or just plain ol’ exhausting.

But weddings shouldn’t be — they should be fun, inspiring, memorable, and a reminder of all the secret moments of happiness and love that the world has to offer. Luckily, with local wedding professionals like Jorge, of Rockin’ Piano Party, they can be all of those lovely things and none of those daily-life things. Yes, you might still spill coffee down the front of your dress, just like you would at work, but at least now it’ll be because you’re dancing.

The Rockin’ Piano Party first began as a nascent, but quickly growing, love of music from Jorge. Being raised in a musically inclined family definitely helped, and Jorge’s passion for innovation and fun carried the idea to fruition. His first drum set was a hand-built, lovingly crafted collection of five-gallon buckets!

Today, Rockin’ Piano Party‘s wedding packages don’t include any five-gallon buckets, unfortunately. No need to worry though, because they do include two baby grand pianos, an advanced sound system monitored by experts, specialized event lighting, and extra microphones, so guests can jump in on the action, if they feel so inclined. Which, of course they will! The Rockin’ Piano Party is high-energy and interactive, so it’s downright impossible to not want to participate.

With two available shows — dueling pianos, or a single player — every type of wedding vibe can be bolstered with the unparalleled sound of live piano. To see videos, get more information, and book Rockin’ Piano Party for your wedding, you can contact Jorge and his team here.

IMG_0210

IMG_1103

IMG_0208

 

Perfect Wedding Guide wedding planning design inspiration budget floral bouquet arrangement New Mexico Albuquerque greenery Santa Fe flowers natural organic local

My Beloved Vintage Rentals: Local Spotlight

Something about this fine start to a brand new year has us feeling like the right thing to do, right now, is just to indulge in the beauty around us. We’re lucky enough to be on the forefront of weddings, styled shoots, vendor collaborations, and so much more. We’re even luckier to be doing what we love to do, here in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, because both communities are rich in creative people with unique aesthetics, who aren’t afraid of pushing boundaries.

Which is how we landed on highlighting My Beloved Vintage Rentals, on this crisp winter morning. Founded on the principle that beauty is everything, the woman-owned decor team provides their couples and clients with so much more than just your average stock of chair covers.

With meticulously chosen vintage furniture and textiles, classic wooden yard games for the child’s spirit within all of us, and handcrafted, lovingly built tables of all shapes and sizes, My Beloved Vintage Rentals does big details in a big way.  Not to mention their take on the circular arch backdrop — the trend that everyone and their mother has been swooning over this season — that supports crawling, sprawling florals and fanciful greenery.

But, with all the love that’s poured into the big details, the little details get twice as much. Because crafting a memorable, special moment to match your love story is actually what My Beloved Vintage Rentals does best. It’s no wonder their team has been popping up in just about every jaw-dropping styled shoot and wedding in New Mexico!

To book My Beloved Vintage Rentals, and ensure your wedding celebration is fine-tuned into your unique love story and personality, you can contact their team here.

832211f4-c8ff-466c-8bfe-23b9464a5904
Brittany Mundy Photography
39506904_545553199213957_8704848649617670144_o
Brittany Mundy Photography
40377645_554195188349758_1216508735942295552_o
Brittany Mundy Photography
40382445_554194898349787_1487278558207279104_o
Brittany Mundy Photography

92341486-16e2-4315-9809-c27d488e7cab

0d6accf3-4fb8-481f-b7de-66f0be144254

7044f600-d89f-439a-bcae-a680b8c4fd40