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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Pizza in Santa Fe AKA The Best Engagement Session Ever

In September of this year, Meghan and Ryan will be married at the Folk Art Museum in Santa Fe. There will be llamas. Llamas, people!

Quite frankly, these facts and the photos from their engagement session below are all you really need to know in order to make you fall in love with Meghan and Ryan. But of course, the story doesn’t end there, and it gets even better with every turn.

We first met Meghan digitally, via email, when she reached out to thank Perfect Wedding Guide for being Perfect Wedding Guide. (So yeah, we liked her right off the bat!) Meghan had been using some PWG-exclusive resources to plan their wedding and engagement session from afar, which would have tickled us either way, but then she told us she was an event planner, too. An expert in our midst!

Which means she was able to, and is proud of, the creative ways she’s conserved their wedding budget and found vendors. She lamented over how much of the New Mexico wedding community thrives on just word-of-mouth, and how often styled shoots are beautiful, inspirational, magical, and completely impossible to accomplish for a real wedding, and we totally agreed.

(Except for Perfect Wedding Guide styled shoots, of course, because we only feature local vendors who could, if you want, literally recreate the exact shoot for your wedding with all the other wedding professionals they collaborated with originally.)

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Kady McKeehan Photography

I love when bridal resources feature real weddings — and none of that Martha Stewart Real Weddings because we all know that’s not really real!

So, despite the wall of exclusivity created by non-digital, word-of-mouth businesses, despite the fact they were planning a wedding and engagement from afar, and despite the fact Meghan and Ryan have impeccable style and couldn’t settle for just any wedding business, they have done it. They have planned a perfect fall wedding in Santa Fe.

Meghan’s parents are immigrants from the Philippines, and Ryan’s family is old-school New Mexican — back to the Don Victor Ortega days. So, as Meghan says, this September wedding will be an explosion of culture, family, and joy! Plus, remember the llamas? There are going to be llamas. Not to mention, most of the couple’s wedding vendors are non-profits, or give back to the local wedding community in some way, too.

An engagement session full of pizza, impenetrable love, and laughter, paired with a wedding rich in color and culture and kindness and llamas, booked solely with wedding businesses who work to make our state better…Well, we warned you that you’d fall in love with these two!

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Kady McKeehan Photography

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Royal Wedding, New Mexican Style

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

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

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

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

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

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Photographer: Shayla Edenfield Photography

Floral: The Flower Company

Tux: Mr. Tux Formalwear

Dress:  Borrowing Magnolia

Makeup: Betty Rose by Alanna

Cake: Cake Fetish

Turquoise Jewelry: Turquoise Direct

Furniture: Hacienda Dona Andrea

Stationery: Cordially Invited Events LLC

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Banque Loft Ballerina Shoot by Local Wedding Photographer

The best kind of love is the kind that takes your breath away year after year, moment after moment.

Coryn Kiefer Photography

For friends who have been hanging out here on the New Mexico Perfect Wedding Guide blog for a while, the name Coryn Kiefer should ring delightful little bells in your head. We took some time to feature her incredible rock cabin styled shoot last Valentine’s Day because we fell in love with her creative finesse of a camera lens. And frankly, we’re still trying to catch our breath, so maybe this, right here, is the best kind of love!

We know that we’re not unique in this love-bordering-on-obsession with Coryn‘s wedding photography, though. How could we be, when her work so clearly reflects her passion and dedication to the craft? It comes as no surprise to discover her first steps into a dark room occurred over 20 years ago, or to discover the myriad of glowing reviews that follow her business’s digital footprint everywhere.

With our affection for her perfection in mind, and the fact Albuquerque already feels as balmy and breezy as it does in May, it feels only right that we share this ballerina-inspired styled shoot to usher us into spring.

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The inspiration behind the setting was to combine the airy elegance and beauty of a ballerina with a raw palette of an industrial wedding venue. Modern and vintage decor elements were artfully tied together to help bring this vision to life.

Coryn Kiefer Photography 

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With the softness of a ballerina in mind, the primary colors of this wedding are blush, green, and white. Accents of bronze, natural wood, and robin blue were added to round out and modernize the airy palette.

Coryn Kiefer Photography

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Photography | Coryn Kiefer Photography

Dress | Lace + Liberty

Florals | Floral Fetish

Venue | Banque Lofts

Jewelry | Shelton Jewelers

Decor | Rust Vintage Rentals

Staging | For the Love Events

Real Love in a Real Albuquerque Wedding with Briana Nicole Photography

Photographing people in love is what I do but it is an extra joy when the couple has a best friend connection.

Briana Nicole Photography

That’s what fuels our wedding fire — the best friend connection that so obviously shines through when two puzzle pieces fall inline together. We’re lucky to have a myriad of incredible photographers in New Mexico, too, to ensure that moment of coalescence is always captured forever. Today, we’re especially grateful for Briana Nicole Photography, whose crisp and modern photography style records the romance and personality of all her couples.

Sherah + Greg’s unique personalities were at the forefront of their wedding ceremony, and Briana Nicole Photography told their love story in exquisite detail. The muted and regal tones of their wedding colors enveloped the couple throughout their day at the Hyatt Regency Downtown, and complimented the all-white ballroom perfectly. Pops of purple in the bouquets from Albuquerque Florist and in the detailing of the decor showcased the couple’s humor and friendship, and rounded out the day into a full on celebration of their love.

The couple’s gifts to one another made them both cry, and proved just how deeply and truly they are connected. For Greg, Sherah surprised him with two thoughtful and heartwarming cards, detailing the unique facets of their love. To accompany her eloquent words, too, was a set of cufflinks featuring the faces of their fur babies. The second card was, of course, from the aforementioned puppies, thanking Greg for being the best dad ever.

It’s the precious, incomparable moments and details like this that accumulate to tell one, beautiful story of love and friendship. Briana Nicole Photography, who is a self-proclaimed romantic at heart, knows this so clearly and allows it to shape her work. Thank you, Briana, for allowing us a sneak peak into this celebration, so we might be touched by Sherah + Greg’s love in the same way.

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From Albuquerque to Iceland: Real Winter Wedding

With the winter chill covering our Sandia Mountains in crisp, white snow, but not gracing the city with the same, it’s no wonder we’re feeling a bit envious of this real wedding from local couple, Sara-Irene + Alex. Can we all just pack up our things and hitch it over to Iceland, like the lovebirds did for their wonderfully intimate, wintery wedding?

Alas, there’s much to do in here in New Mexico, so we’ll have to live vicariously through the photos of their breathtaking ceremony. Luckily Maura Jane Photography was there to capture every detail and darling moment between the couple. With her magic-making gear in tow, Maura hopped on a plane to Iceland with just the couple and their officiant after they decided to switch up their plans.

Sara-Irene and Alex had originally planned a large local wedding here in Albuquerque. After a month of planning, they realized that the upcoming wedding didn’t portray the two of them very well. It didn’t feel like they thought their wedding should. It didn’t take long for them to flirt with the idea of an elopement. After all, Sara-Irene already had her dress and none of the invites had been sent. After scouring Pinterest for ideas, they fell in love with and settled on Iceland. One quick phone call and they changed their plans and dates to head to the land of fire and ice.

Maura Jane Photography

While we don’t advocate for ever leaving our Land of Enchantment — why would you ever want to?! — we’d be lying if we didn’t say it was the perfect move for Sara-Irene + Alex. Ultimately, each wedding serves as a reflection of the values and love between its respective couple, in all their deeply unique and incomparable ways.

It may have been cold but the wind blew Sara’s bouquet ribbons in the most beautiful fashion adding to the ethereal look of all their photos. It also made it so only they themselves could hear each other say their vows, adding to the intimacy of the day. Afterwards we traveled around the island to some of the most picturesque locations for photos that you have ever seen. From the black sand beaches in Vik to the icy glaciers on the south side of the island, we were all completely awestruck by its beauty. Sara-Irene and Alex could not have picked a more ideal place to say I do. With their adventurous hearts and desire to keep their wedding intimate, it all fell together perfectly.

Maura Jane Photography

A hearty and warm congratulations to Sara-Irene + Alex for leaping together into the evolution of their love story. And, of course, thank you to Maura Jane Photography for ensuring that the moment will be preserved in their hearts, and ours, for lifetimes to come.

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Photographer: Maura Jane Photography Venue: Reynisfjara, and Jökulsárlón Dress Store: A Dressy Occasion Dress Designer: Mon Cheri Veil: Bridal Elegance by Darlene Ring: Heidi Gibson Ribbons: Table and Vase Flowers: Upplifun, Be Inspired – bækur, blóm og gjafavara Desserts: Alchemy Confections Invitations: Funky Olive Invitations + Stationery Officiant: Tryggvi Gunnarsson of  Sidmennt

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