Let’s Get Planning! 5 Local Wedding Planners Who Will Get You on Track

One of our favorite things about working here at Perfect Wedding Guide is that we get to see so many incredible weddings everyday. From farmhouse chic winter weddings, to vibrant pink floral wonderlands in the spring, we’ve seen some of the most perfect weddings out there– and the exciting part is, it doesn’t end there! The possibilities are truly endless here in the Land of Enchantment, and with the help of local wedding vendors, your wildest wedding day dreams can become a reality.

Let’s talk planning, because achieving that dreamy wedding starts with a good plan, and finding the talented individuals who bring that plan to life should be your #1 priority. All of those DIY YouTube videos and Pinterest boards are great, and trust me, we love a good DIY wedding, but sometimes that’s not an option for the couple who is looking to take some weight off of their shoulders. Check out this blog that we wrote in June that dives deeper into the different types of wedding planning available to you!

Wedding planning is not meant to be stressful, but rather a time where you get to celebrate love and connection, so take a deep breath, relax your shoulders, and keep reading to connect with a local wedding planner that can help you along your greatest adventure yet. Wedding planners are a great way to keep you on track for the big day, even when you’re at your wits end. These local wedding planners are trusted by our wedding community, and after seeing the stunning images from weddings that they’ve planned, you’ll totally agree.

1. Occasion Services + Events

Natalie and Celine are not only pros in the event planning business but are an absolute pleasure to work with throughout the entire process. Although they already had three other weddings scheduled the weekend of my big day, they agreed to take on our out-of-town wedding as well. They have top-of-the line quality products at reasonable prices and are quick to offer their creative vision in designing the perfect concept. They ran out of gold chiavari chairs the week of my wedding due to their high demand so they upgraded me to their vineyard chairs for the same price! I was thrilled! They added a personal touch to my wedding and I will undoubtedly go to Occasion for all my future event needs!  

– Hallee, Local Bride

2. Simply Done Events

Symone is a professional and she understands your vision for the event! She makes planning a party fun and easy! I loved having her on my wedding day. She was absolutely essential in making every detail go according to plan.

Larissa, Local Bride

3. Casi Sueño Weddings + Events

Genevieve and her team bring both an otherworldliness here to Albuquerque, and a genuine love for celebration and design. Being motivated by a pure passion for what they do, there’s no need to feel spoiled when the Casi Sueño team transforms your wedding day, only grateful.

4. NJR Event Planning

For nearly 3 decades, Naomi — the creative powerhouse behind NJR Event Planning — has been taking the inklings of dreams, and turning them into realities for New Mexico engaged couples. Her design expertise has weathered the storm through many a trend: cupcake-ballgowns, burlap + lace, bolero tops (Google it), puffed sleeves, etc…. Classic and modern though, the inherent talent of the NJR Event Planning team continues to evolve, meeting the needs of our generations respective trends like it’s second nature.

5. Black Swan Events

I cannot say enough positive things about this company. Joann and Brian were incredibly attentive, responsive, professional, and talented at what they do! They provided all of our floral decorations, lights, set our place settings, and everything was incredible! I was very thankful that when they gave us our quote, which included everything we initially wanted, they gave us multiple price points and allowed us to pick and choose. They communicated directly with our venue for set up, measuring, and other details and it made our wedding day beautiful and stress free. I hope to work with Black Swan again on future events!

– Bailey, Local Bride

Header photo: Maura Jane Photography

New Mexico History and Culture: Santa Fe Scottish Rite Temple

Our state is filled with a rich history, and as New Mexicans, we are deeply rooted in its culture. Stories sweep across vast, mesmerizing landscapes– from the expansive White Sands in the South to the snow-capped mountains in the North. Often times, we are so immersed in the present that we forget to look back at what built us.

As wedding professionals who love our state, we want to help you find wedding vendors that love our state just as much. If you are planning a wedding that will not only take place in New Mexico, but also incorporates our beautiful culture and history, then you have come to the right place! What better place to start this series of New Mexican history and culture than at the heart of our state in the lovely city of Santa Fe.

Santa Fe Scottish Rite Temple, Jo Whaley

We loved every aspect of Scottish Rite for our wedding. Beginning with the gorgeous theater, grand piano and set choices for our ceremony, and ending with the spacious reception hall with Tiffany-style fixtures! You would be hard pressed to find a more classy, glamorous and special site for a Santa Fe wedding.

Rena and Daniel Simpson

With pink exteriors, a lush courtyard and Moorish architecture, the Santa Fe Scottish Rite Temple has stood tall and proud for over a century. The architecture was inspired by that of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain, and it is most definitely reflected through the arches and accents of Spanish design. Since 1912, the temple has served many purposes, but was primarily built for use by the Freemasonry fraternity and is still considered the College of Freemasonry. Today, the temple is a place of gathering for plays, concerts, special events, and our favorite kind of eventweddings!

The Lobby, Jo Whaley

For any bride and groom, comfort and elegance are at the forefront of wedding planning, and this venue does not disappoint. Together let’s imagine that we are going on a tour of this lovely venue, taking a step back in time and indulging in the wonders of the past. When you first walk in, you can expect to see the first of many Gothic arches and other arch motifs that are scattered throughout the temple. If you continue walking, you will find yourself in the Dining Hall with it’s endless rows of windows looking out to the patio. This is makes our fairytale wedding day dreams come true! Just when you think it couldn’t get any more breathtaking than this, it does.

Dining Hall, Jo Whaley

As you continue walking we will see the kitchen, the classroom and the exuberant courtyard, but none of this could prepare you for what people call the “Heart and Soul” of the temple– the theatre. This is where you will complete your imaginary tour and let your minds be at ease. Your eyes can take in the rest! Words fail us when we try to describe the historical richness of the building, but these beautiful images capture it perfectly.

The Theatre, Jo Whaley

“Our experience with the Scottish Rite could not have been better! Dori was in contact with us for each and every step along the way, and the Scottish Rite Stewards couldn’t have been more helpful. Everything went so smoothly that once the event started, we were able to completely enjoy the experience with our family and friends. The Grand Ballroom was perfect for our needs and was the shining jewel of the event (next to the bride and groom, of course!) The Santa Fe Scottish Rite comes with my highest recommendations!

– Phil Shirey

If you’re looking for a wedding venue that is going to merge the past and the present and create an unforgettable experience for you and your guests, then this is the place for you! To learn more about the temple, you can contact them here.

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Glory Ranch Wedding Films: Lights, Camera, Love Story

My husband and I cannot speak more highly of Tom Ragan…not only does he take great care to create a beautiful and personal video that perfectly captures the event, but he is professional and an absolute delight to work with – we felt so at ease having him film our wedding. The turnaround time on receiving our video was extremely fast and the look of the DVD was lovely – I can say without hesitation that if you are looking for someone to film your wedding, Tom is the way to go! 

– Eve, Bride

You know that special feeling you get when you grab some snacks, sit down with a comfy blanket and turn on your favorite movie? And even though you have watched it a thousand times and can quote just about every line, it still sends shivers down your spine? Just like the movies, we have our own stories that we cherish and share with the world– but unfortunately, we aren’t likely to have our story portrayed in grandiose by Meryl Streep or Johnny Depp.

As it turns out, you don’t have to be a celebrity to tell a good love story, because Tom and Jenny at Glory Ranch Wedding Films will make you the star of your own! The filmmakers specialize in documentary-style storytelling, which is not only unique, but also widely sought-after by brides and grooms everywhere. Each smile, laugh, tear, happy dance, and every moment in between will be there for you to watch over and over again for the rest of your life. You are seriously going to need those snacks, a comfy blanket, and a nice big box of tissues.

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Glory Ranch Wedding Films

Here at Perfect Wedding Guide, we adore our local wedding videographers because they all have their own special artistic flare. With a keen sense of composition and an eye for capturing intimate moments, Tom and Jenny are the cinematic dream team. It’s not everyday that you find a wedding videographer that is dedicated to telling your real life love story and allows you to incorporate your own vision for the wedding film. You would be the director of your own love story without attending years of film school, and Glory Ranch Wedding Films will bring it to life with their years of expertise! Your artistic vision is in good hands, and we can assure you, you will not be disappointed.

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Glory Ranch Wedding Films

What a great pleasure it was to have Tom film our wedding! He was so kind as to talk details and staging with us for the ceremony, helping us think things through at the last minute (we planned a bit on the fly). At the ceremony, he completely blended in and made the filming feel totally stress-free, not at all ‘in your face’, as I’ve experienced at some other weddings. The film is just beautiful and incorporated sweet thoughtful details as well as being incredibly high quality. Tom was also kind and flexible enough to make a requested edit to the film after production. Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t say what a lovely, laid back person Tom is. We couldn’t have asked for a nicer person to help us capture the day!

– Julia, Bride

With roots in both New Mexico and New York, the couple brings together two distinct cultures to create a dynamic and unique vision. They have a passion for creating and a passion for love, just like us! If you are looking for a wedding videographer that will tell your love story through your vision, then Tom and Jenny are your perfect match. You can learn more about Glory Ranch Wedding Films and how to chat with them here.

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4 of New Mexico’s Favorite Wedding Cake Shops

Your wedding day is going to be one of the most treasured days of your entire life – and with the help of our favorite local wedding cake shops, it’s also going to be the sweetest! When we think “wedding“, we think about some of the most anticipated moments during the special day: the bride walking down the aisle, the groom’s reaction and, last but not least, the cutting of the cake. Who doesn’t love to see the happy newly-weds smash their beautiful cake into each other’s beautiful faces?!

I think we can all agree that wedding cakes are a true work of art from the delicious ingredients on the inside, to the intricate details on the outside. Stylized color palettes and detailed personal touches make any wedding cake feel like it was made only for you – with love!

Between venue scouting, dress shopping and dozens of other necessary wedding planning tasks, picking out a wedding cake can seem like just another daunting challenge. However, these local sweet-tooth experts will make it a piece of cake (literally)!

1. The Cake Boutique

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Chrisi K. Photography
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We were invited to sample the cake. Birdie talked us through the different tier and flavour options, and we conferred so she could get an understanding of our colour/decoration needs. Birdie worked with our florist to ensure the arrangements were in place for the floral topper. The cake was delivered on time, it looked great and tasted delicious! We had a three-tiered round cake with colours and decorations chosen by us and a plain sheet cake, and we were able to have two different flavours (chocolate and vanilla). The cake was definitely the tastiest we had tried in Albuquerque.  

– Jamie, Local Bride

If you’re looking for a cake shop that offers pretty much everything, whether it be conventional or something completely out of the ordinary, then you’re in the right place! Locally owned and operated by Birdie, The Cake Boutique is conveniently located on the Westside of Albuquerque for you to stop in and explore all of their breathtaking options. You can learn more about the shop and how to get in contact with them here.

2. Maggie’s Cakes

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Kevin Guevara Photo + Film
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Alicia Lucia Photography

Zara has the perfect eye for creating stunning work. Her cake artistry is unparalleled… From cupcakes to 5 tiered masterpieces, she CAN create ANYTHING you can IMAGINE! From the moment you arrive in her artistic space until the moment your creation is presented, she is simply magical.

-Devonna, Local Bride

Here at Perfect Wedding Guide, we are clearly obsessed with our state – and Maggie’s Cakes so perfectly represents the southwest in all of its glory. From simple and chic Earth tones to vibrant blush bursts of color, this shop has everything you could dream of. You can find Zara, the artist behind the cakes, and your future delicious creation at her Santa Fe shop. You can find more information here!

2. Les Blonde Bakery

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Maura Jane Photography
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I had Les Blonde Bakery make my wedding cake and my daughters first birthday cake. They were better than I imagined! The frosting was my favorite (and I am not a frosting person!) Not only was the cake DELICIOUS, but Kerian was wonderful! I will absolutely be ordering more cakes!!

– Michelle, Local Bride

Wedding cakes, cupcakes, desserts galore! Les Blonde Bakery is well versed in the world of sweet things, and just looking at Kerian’s elegant baked goods makes our mouths water. Their unique displays and cake toppers are reason enough to stop by the bakery and see for yourself what makes Les Blonde Bakery so special! You can learn more about how to get in contact with them here.

4. SmallCakes: A Cupcakery

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Jasper K. Photography
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Briana Nicole Photography

I spent many weekends tasting cakes before I decided on SmallCakes. They have a great selection of flavors and we received so many compliments on our cake. I knew I could trust them with our cake and they proved themselves on the day of our wedding.

– Romilly

Last, but certainly not least, SmallCakes focuses on creating a diverse range of cakes that look almost too good to eat. Just look at those colors… and that texture! *Heart eyes* From cupcakes to wedding cakes, there are options for everyone. Stop by their shop in Northeast Albuquerque to take the next step in ordering your cake for your wedding day, or visit them here!

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White Sands Elopement with Matt Blasing Photography

While the white hot heat of a New Mexican summer might have some of your eyes trained on the impending autumn, we’re not quite finished with this season yet! With weddings every weekend, sunshine for days, and the occasional light afternoon rain, it’s no small wonder why summer weddings in New Mexico are such a hit — or why this is our favorite season at Perfect Wedding Guide.

So before we let the long days slip into fall, we have to pay homage to one of our state’s most famed landscapes. As certified New Mexico-obsessed residents, we can’t pick favorites, but we definitely were on the edge of our seats waiting for a White Sands wedding or styled shoot to get us through the rest of the year.

And, if you’ve been following along, you know we’ve had elopements on the brain more than usual. Who could we call on to fulfill our wishes, besides one of the most loved husband and wife duos in the wedding photographer community, Matt Blasing Photography?!

These guys are professionals. And they are pleasant, fun, and cool people to have along for the ride on a wedding day. I would hire them again and again except I only plan to get married once!

Sandy, newlywed

Joey and Sandy made the trek to New Mexico all the way from the pacific northwest for their elopement. And thank goodness they did! Sure there are beaches all across the coast, and sure most of them have vast expanses of sand. But none quite compare when it comes to the inexplicable electric energy of White Sands. For Joey and Sandy, this ethereal space perfectly paralleled the otherworldly foundation of friendship and love that unites them.

With not a soul around, save their photographers and officiant of course, Joey and Sandy commemorated their new chapter together with the desert sun above and their toes in the sand below. Matt Blasing Photography, a team of creatives renowned for their easygoing humor and disarming humbleness, captured all the smallest moments of magic as they mirrored the unending landscape around them.

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The whole time shooting felt comfortable and easy. I am somebody who does not like taking photos – they always seem to turn out bad, so I did have some fears and really appreciated every bit of direction [Matt Blasing Photography] provided. I found myself totally letting go and being myself on my wedding day.

Sandy, newlywed

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Albuquerque’s 6 Best Ballrooms

When outdoor weddings first started gaining popularity several years ago, no one in New Mexico was surprised. Why wouldn’t we, especially here in our home state, have outdoor weddings?! With a myriad of differing landscapes — all responsible for inspiring countless artists — and a mild, predictable desert climate, there’s not much else you need for a fantastic al fresco celebration here.

Even with all the perks and predictability though, New Mexico isn’t immune to the forces of nature. It’s true our springs are a bit windy, and yes, temperatures do drop in the evenings and during the winter months. So while barnyard, fresh field, and riverside weddings stayed in vogue, the quiet and classic champion of weddings — ballrooms! — persisted.

And thank goodness they did! The timeless elegance of a grand ballroom has come back en vogue, and the indoor spaces across Albuquerque still stand proudly. Hosting receptions, ceremonies, and celebrations of all kinds, the ballrooms in our city easily make all who enter forget about the world outside their doors. With the comfort and ease of an indoor space with dedicated event staff, a hefty amount of wedding-day jitters and stress can be relieved as well.

So for the winter weddings, urban vibes, and modern brides alike, we’ve compiled 6 of Albuquerque’s most loved indoor ballroom spaces. While varying decor and aesthetics differentiate these local wedding venues, the uniting factor between all 6 is their impeccable attention to detail and on-staff wedding experts available for each celebration. You can’t go wrong!

1. Isleta Resort & Casino

Alicia Lucia Photography

See more of what Isleta Resort has to offer for engaged couples here!

 

2. Albuquerque Sheraton Uptown

The Youngrens Photography

See more of what Sheraton Uptown has to offer for engaged couples here!

 

3. Embassy Suites

Photography by Patti Cooke and Francisco Roybal

See more of what Embassy Suites has to offer for engaged couples here!

 

4. Sandia Casino and Resort

Matt Blasing Photography

See more of what Sandia Casino & Resort has to offer for engaged couples here!

 

5. Hyatt Regency Downtown 

Briana Nicole Photography

See more of what Hyatt Regency Downtown has to offer for engaged couples here!

 

6. Hotel Andaluz

Tori Photography 

See more of what Hotel Andaluz has to offer for engaged couples here!

 

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The 3 Main Benefits of Eloping

No, the New Mexico Perfect Wedding Guide team has not been kidnapped. It’s still us, the same love-obsessed locals whose entire lives revolve around weddings! We bet you never thought we’d be advocating against having a wedding, right? We didn’t either.

When it comes down to it though, we’re not choosing elopements over weddings, and we’re not saying either is better than the other. Elopements and weddings are two sides of the same lovey-dovey, romantic coin and plus, we have some introverts on the team who would be happy to avoid the crowd a traditional wedding can draw.

It helped too, that just when our wedding brains were steering toward elopement territory, a gorgeous gallery from T. Rayne Photography happened to come into view. Marisol & Charles, newlyweds and best friends, eloped in Santa Fe this past July, and Taylor, of T. Rayne Photography, was there to catch every smile and scintillation during the wonderfully intimate and incredibly happy occasion.

Their elopement session, full of laughter and love, was just the thing we needed to really get on board the elopement train. It also happens to be the session that’s most emblematic of all the benefits of choosing to elope instead of having a full traditional wedding. Wanna know why? Let’s jump into the 3 main benefits of eloping, then!

1. Your love is at the forefront

While the beating heart of weddings is love, too, the hustle and bustle of planning a wedding can sometime elbow its way to the forefront of your celebration. With vendors to book, cousins to invite, venues to tour, groomsmen to wrangle, gowns to be fitted, and more, the reality of planning a wedding isn’t always as pretty as the aftermath.

If you and your partner are working full-time, having children or dogs, are building a home together, or working through any other sort of life-stuff, you might not have the time to plan a full wedding. So your options then become either hire a wedding planner, or have an elopement. Both options suit different needs and personalities, so it all depends on what your love looks like.

And no one said you had to miss out on the party! More and more, we’re seeing local engaged couples opt for elopement ceremonies so that more focus can be put on the reception. Whether your reception is right after your elopement, later in the year, or for your 5 years anniversary, you can always celebrate your union with the people you love. (And avoid hurting your in-laws’ feelings if they don’t get invited to the elopement!)

2. You get what you really, actually want

Because, maybe you actually do want your in-laws there for the ceremony. Or maybe you want to wear photorealistic dinosaur head masks for part of the ceremony, because it’s hilarious and also surprisingly adorable. Or maybe you want to run away to the woods with the love of your life and secretly bind your futures together in the company of Ponderosa pine trees.

Whatever you want, you can have it.

It’s an elopement, not a wedding. There are no guests lists to work around, no great-aunts to please, no dresses and suits to coordinate around everyone’s aesthetic preferences and personal styles, it’s just about you and your soon-to-be spouse.

So yeah, get those dino heads on, it’s your day.

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3. You save money

Yeah, yeah, we know. One of the first things people think of when they hear elopement is the money they’d save if they chose to do that instead of having a traditional wedding. And sure, that money can go toward a home, your honeymoon, or a myriad of other things.

Or, you could use the money you save on skirting the venue to focus on what is really important for you and your partner to have while you forge your new life together. For Marisol & Charles, it was important to have gorgeous, intimate photos to revisit for the rest of their lifetime together — that’s where T. Rayne Photography came in, of course!

For you and your partner, it might be something different. But with the money you save by eloping, you can choose to have the photographer, dress, location, or florist of your absolute dreams. All the rest of that stuff? Well, you can save it for your vow renewal or killer reception.

There is no wrong decision though. Whether you choose to weather the storm of planning a full, traditional wedding or go for something quieter, smaller, and more intimate like the Santa Fe elopement T. Rayne Photography captured — it’s all for the sake of love. (And for our sake too, because you know we live vicariously through the local weddings and elopements around us, so either way we’ll be swooning.)

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