Going Garcia: Elena + Antonio’s Wedding Story

Going Garcia: Elena + Antonio’s Wedding Story

We, your Perfect Wedding Guide team, adore stories. Stories are what make us who we are from start to finish, and they live on beyond our years on this Earth through the gift of family and friends. We are especially fond of the stories that are about love, of course, because they are passed on from generation to generation. This is why whenever we receive a new wedding story from a bride, we grab a box of tissues and anxiously wait to share it with all of you.

Elena and Antonio Garcia just got married in October of 2019, and have quite the story to share. Before you keep reading, we just want to warn you–it’s a bit of a tear-jerker (in all of the best ways). The way Elena tells her story is so eloquent, so we are going to let her take center stage for this feature:

“Tony and I met in 7th grade pre-algebra, but it wasn’t until the summer before Junior year of college that we went on our first date. We were friends, of course, for the 7 or so years before we started dating, but this guy was ALWAYS in a serious relationship. (If you asked him he’d say the same about me, haha). He asked me to go to breakfast with him sometime in April of 2014, and the night before, actually like 10 hours before, he texted me to cancel. So, I took matters into my own hands and text him later in the week asking if we could make it up another time. We scheduled for May and this time he showed! We went to the Tea House in Santa Fe and afterward he waited the appropriate amount of time…5.5 hours… to call me and ask if we could do it again (lol). Then 3.5 years later, Christmas Eve on the Canyon Road Gallery Walk at that very same little cafe table, he got down on one knee. At the time I was living in PHX finishing my doctorate and he was in ABQ. We had spent the last 2 years fumbling, and I do mean FUMBLING, through long distance. However, as hard as it was Tony never gave up on me, drove 6 hours one way 2-3x/month, and loved me harder than I ever knew was possible. The second he reached for that ring in his pocket, and even way before the considerable shock and awe wore off, I knew my answer was: yes.

Haley Lupinski Photography

It took us a while to begin planning our wedding as I was set to move back and finish my clinical rotations in May of that same year. But once we did, I was immediately in love with all of it. I had no idea how much fun it would be to coordinate, plan and truly create a whole day centered around this incredible love I had found in Tony. We truly were a team throughout the whole planning process, in fact, he is the one who found and booked our venue, baker and DJ and he and his groomsmen created all our woodworking DIY items. We went to Bridal Expos and open houses together, he would bring home the latest copy of the Perfect Wedding Guide, we watched wedding shows on TV and followed wedding videographers near and far to get inspiration. We painted signs together, built custom monogram cornhole sets, made an escort card board and set visions for our head table displays and for months I was amazed to find how much my right brain loved being able to create, plan and enjoy the whole process. We elected to have a kind of “week-long” celebration in that our bridal party arrived 2 days early and we stayed all-together in bride and grooms suites. Which led me to wonderful insight. The day goes by so fast that you will likely not even have time to think. I would 200% recommend having your close loved ones around in advance. My girls and I got to hot tub, we bonded with the boys, we stayed up and ironed robes and talked about the excitement and butterflies, we enjoyed a few adult beverages together and truly I could not imagine anything more calming two days before the wedding than that. It was absolutely wonderful and necessary.

Haley Lupinski Photography

Then, the day arrived. Which, of course, everyone says its the “best day of your life” but no one can prepare for how truly magical it feels to see your loved ones all in one place there for no other reason than to support this incredible love and life you have created. Tony and I are both criers so we, and just about everyone there, sobbed the entire day. But in between that we laughed, we danced, we took tons of photos and most importantly we stayed present and enjoyed every second. As with every wedding, or event in life really, there were a few game-day challenges. For starters my dress came in..in the wrong size, twice, months beforehand. The second too small dress I actually tore trying to get off in the bridal store…that was horrifying. But still beyond worth it the day of to see my husband’s face as he saw me for the first time walking down the aisle. Next, I ordered a veil online that was apparently not proper veil material because when I took it in to get steamed on the Monday before the wedding, yes, as in 4 days before, it burned. But my dress consultant was kind and generous enough to actually give me one that was truly WAY more beautiful and matched my dress to a T.

Haley Lupinski Photography

And then….the weather. Beginning the week before, we found that our wedding day was being called an “Impact Weather Day,” and supposedly bringing not only a chill, but 40-45MPH wind gusts. That forecast seemed to be getting worse and worse all week until that morning while in hair and make-up, our wonderful coordinator Shaunna came to ask me what we would most like our back-up plan to be. I found out later that not only was the wind gusting…it had been raining and somehow my amazing friends had kept me away from the windows enough to keep that a secret. In all her wisdom, Shaunna decided to keep our original planned ceremony spot and drop the two back-ups seconds before the wedding, so we were a go. Then, at exactly 4:00pm, just as the weatherman had projected…the wind came. Set to begin at exactly 4, I was wondering slightly what the hold-up was but at this point knew better than to ask. Turns out, our officiant, after walking down the aisle and getting everyone ready to go had been victimized by one of those “Impact Day” gusts, and his paperwork, our vows, and our ceremony script were riddled along the dirt path behind the ceremony site blowing away and being chased down by guests. So, at 4:15pm, completely unaware, the paperwork finally collected and the guests back in their seats, I was finally walking down the aisle. When I first looked outside I was terrified. I literally thought some of those trees may blow over, and I realized the ground was somewhat damp. For a second as I looked down at everyone in their places I thought, “is it too late to use our back-up ceremony room” but realized as I saw my husband standing there with tears in his eyes (no telling if from the wind or from emotion) that it certainly was too late. But then, something amazing happened. The wind blew the clouds away, the sun came out, and the gusts settled (probably to 20MPH or so) and we got married, exactly as we had planned to.  My gorgeous new veil blew in the wind the whole time, and although my head was a touch sore, it made for some BEAUTIFUL photos.

Haley Lupinski Photography

The rest of our day was gorgeous and perfect. Tony made everyone laugh with his “dance lessons,” our friends and family made gorgeous toasts,  our reception space was exactly as we had dreamed it to be and I have never laughed so whole-heartedly in my life. The one thing that we got complimented on most had nothing to do with our planning or preparation. It turned out, Tony and I began our vows in the exact same way, completely unknowingly. It was a sweet, unexpected surprise for us, but more than that our guests loved to hear the same story in each of our perspectives and I learned quickly throughout the day that it was simple personal touches that made the most impact. After all the hustle and bustle of the most perfect and wonderful day I have ever experienced I was left with three main pieces of advice that I collected and came up with throughout the nearly two years of our engagement.

1. Rain is good luck.

2. The best weddings are the ones where something totally unexpected happens, you can’t plan for everything, nor would you want to.

3. Don’t forget the day is about you and your significant other. Spend time together and alone, laugh with one-another, take time to meditate beforehand, notice not only your guest reactions and facial expressions, but more importantly your partners, and be present.

If you truly plan the day together you will learn more about each other than you ever thought you could, so don’t forget to enjoy every second.”

New Mexico History & Culture: Celina’s Biscochitos

New Mexico History & Culture: Celina’s Biscochitos

Beloved New Mexico, you never cease to amaze us with your abundance of talented people who have a strong connection to their culture. We are so fortunate to work with a quite a few of these individuals who let their passions and love of their history guide them through their work. We would be silly if we didn’t share these local wedding vendors with the world, so without further ado, we would like to introduce you to Celina’s Biscochitos!

Celina’s Biscochitos started when Celina decided to carry a family tradition by reimagining what she could do with her grandmother’s recipe for biscochitos. Like many of our other driven vendors, Celina was able to create a successful business from the ground up with her love of “sweetness” guiding the way. What makes Celina’s Biscochitos unique, though, is that she did it all in just about 6 years and was able to put her own spin on a classic tradition.

via @celinasbiscochitos

Here at Perfect Wedding Guide, we love to take risks and try new things. This is why we admire Celina’s Biscochitos so much, because her company takes it to the next level and they aren’t afraid to be different. In fact, they completely embrace it! Have you ever heard of a green chile pecan biscochito? What about a pumpkin pie biscochito bar? Yep, it was a first for us too! These are just a couple of the delicious flavors that they offer alongside the traditional biscochito that we New Mexicans love so much. We can’t forget to mention the special shapes cookies that they have to offer as well!

Pumpkin Pie Biscochito bars and Pecan Pie Biscochito bars via @celinasbiscochitos

Classic. Authentic. Delicious. This is how we would describe Celina’s Biscochitos. Even though the company prides itself on innovation and uniqueness, Celina still believes that the classic ingredients of a biscochito and the family traditions behind the recipe build the foundation of a great cookie. And we love that.

via @celinasbiscochitos

We’re getting hungry just thinking about all of these sweets—we wish we could get cookies delivered straight to Perfect Wedding Guide‘s door. Actually, come to think of it, we can! Celina’s Biscochitos ships goodies Monday through Friday to almost everywhere in the United States (some restrictions do apply). If you’re a local or just visiting Albuquerque, make sure to stop by their shop at 404 Osuna Rd. NW, Ste A, Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, NM  87107.

Love in the Mountains: A Real Wedding with Coryn Kiefer Photography

Love in the Mountains: A Real Wedding with Coryn Kiefer Photography

From the get go David and I both talked about not stressing out about the minor things and always keeping in mind that planning a wedding shouldn’t be a stressful experience.

– Alexis, Bride

Girl, we couldn’t agree more. Wedding planning is supposed to be a blast, and with the help of our local wedding vendors, it can be a breeze, too. At Perfect Wedding Guide, our mission is to foster the connection between engaged couples and the local wedding community… all for the love. We want you to know that your love story is in good hands with the help of local wedding professionals who are passionate and overflowing with talent.

A wedding is an incredibly special moment in everyone’s lives, whether you’re the bride, the groom, or simply family and friends of the couple. This is why we think that you deserve to laugh and play a little before (and on) the big day, not just your guests. For Alexis and David, having fun was number one on the list of to-dos. From unconventional wedding traditions, like having flower men instead of little flower girls, to specially made socks with pictures of their dog’s face on them, their wedding day was filled to the brim with AWESOME.

Alexis and David chose to have their wedding at Nature Pointe in Tijeras, the perfect place for a breathtaking, New Mexican wedding. Not to mention, the couple wanted to find a venue that offered a scenic mountain environment that wasn’t too far from the city, and Nature Pointe was able to provide that and so much more.

If there is a way to capture the essence of elegance, fun, and pure joy, Coryn Kiefer Photography holds the key. She managed to capture the fun, loving spirits of the couple with such grace through her light and airy photographs. We can’t get over the way that Coryn took the small moments and turned them into dreamscapes that any bride and groom would adore, and this is why we know you will love them too!

Photographer: Coryn Kiefer Photography
Venue: Nature Pointe Weddings + Events
Flowers: Desert Flower Co.
Cake: Sweet Grace Cake Co.
Hair: Hair by Shirley
Ceremony + Cockatil Hour Music: Cello for Weddings
DJ: Gabriel Ortega
Catering: Chello Grill

5 New Mexico Vendors for a Fabulously Unique Wedding

5 New Mexico Vendors for a Fabulously Unique Wedding

Here at Perfect Wedding Guide, we have copious amounts of wedding vendors that offer so many different services to our local brides and grooms– it’s pretty awesome. Between perusing through lists of popular wedding “musts” like florists and photographers and trying to mentally prepare for the event, vendors that offer unique services might seem like they’re nowhere to be found. We’re here to tell you that there are actually plenty of these little gems, and they’re not hiding at all!

In fact, they’re pretty much all over our state and they are ready to work with locals like you who want to make a lasting impression for your friends and family. Let’s not forget how important it is to find vendors that want to make your wedding uniquely yours so that it stands out against all of the other weddings out there, and these vendors are sure to make your experience one for the books!

Whether you are looking for an artist to create hand-made invitations or an exciting way to entertain your wedding party that also incorporates the sights and sounds of your city, we’ve got just the vendor for you. After some dedicated social media account stalking and conversations with these wedding professionals, we think that they are some of the most innovative and creative in the state!

Here are 5 super unique wedding services here in New Mexico:

1. Darling Clementine

Just Smile Photography

We could come up with a thousand words to describe anything and everything wedding related, but my goodness! These handcrafted announcements from Darling Clementine leave us speechless. Owner and artist, Bella Robles, specializes in custom watercolor illustrations, handwritten + calligraphy signage, as well as books and stationary sets that have an adorable personal touch. We can’t think of a better way to bring your personality to life on paper through the eyes of a local artist. You can learn more about these lovable little treasures here.

2. My Beloved Vintage Rentals

Brittney Mundy Photography
Lavel Marie Photography

We know that every couple is looking for a very particular style and taste when it comes to décor, and we also know that every couple wants to make sure that their guests feel comfortable and at home during their wedding day. Why not combine style and comfort by choosing a vendor who is basically an expert in both? My Beloved Vintage Rentals offers the most incredible vintage furniture and décor that is completely unique and curated to fit your wedding. To learn more about them, you can visit the site here.

3. Bombshell Fitness

Alan Osterholtz

We love the idea of a good party, and we like to think we know how to throw some pretty awesome ones for our vendors and local wedding community– but when it comes to showers & wedding parties, we’ll leave that to the experts. What is more fun than your classic bachelorette party? A bachelorette party where you get to be sassy and put on costumes and performances! Get together your gal pals, or your guy pals, and plan a party with Bombshell Fitness filled with special pole dance training, dance routines, and games that will leave everyone talking about the fun for years to come. You can get in contact with them here.

4. Urban Balloons by Dawn

Bryan’s Photography
via Urban Balloons by Dawn

As New Mexican’s, we know a lot about balloons. You know, the ones that start popping up in the sky during crisp October mornings. When it comes to party balloons, that is a whole other story. Luckily, we have Urban Balloons by Dawn to provide expertise and awe-inspiring balloon arrangements for our local wedding community. With options for every kind of event and any style, you’re sure to find something that has YOU written all over it! If you’re looking to add some extra fun to your wedding, or maybe even to replace floral arrangements with something unique, you can reach out to Urban Balloons here.

5. Tour ABQ

We love our state, and we also love our basecamp in the city of Albuquerque. There is so much to see and explore, especially in the heart of downtown. If you love to explore Albuquerque as much as we do, then you will love what Tour ABQ has to offer! Enjoy your friends and family on a trolley that can fit up to 34 guests, or make it more intimate and take a ride on the Duke City Pedaler. Everyone will have an awesome time and will get to experience the city in their own way! So what are you waiting for? Check them out here.

Header photo: Just Smile Photography

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Pink + Perfection: Real Wedding with Briana Nicole Photography

Pink + Perfection: Real Wedding with Briana Nicole Photography

We tied the knot on the most perfect day! I chose the colors gold and “50 shades of pink” because what girl doesn’t love pink, and no girl likes just one shade of pink. I knew I wanted peonies, ranunculus, and roses with a touch of eucalyptus.

– Esmeralda, Bride

Peonies, roses, eucalyptus… oh my!

As wedding connoisseurs, we like to think that we know almost everything about love and all that mushy, heart-felt stuff– but every time we hear stories from our local newlyweds, we realize that we have barely scratched the surface. We seem to learn new things every day because our wedding vendors know exactly how to bring a couple’s visions to life, and every vision is magnificently unique! Briana Nicole Photography did just this when she captured Esmeralda and Miguel’s sweet and serene wedding.

We are simply swooning over recent wedding color palette trends that are filled with pastel pinks and muted greens. Esmeralda and Miguel chose the most ravishing floral combo for their wedding day, but the awe-inspiring details don’t stop there. From the dresses to the venues, the couple made it a point to embrace their bright personalities and the interconnection between their love story and the scenery.

bride smiling at her bridesmaids, bride, new mexico bride, hotel albuquerque at old town, abq flowers, new mexico weddings, perfect wedding guide

I really wanted our venue to be tied with the Sandia Mountains where Miguel proposed so we choose The View Event Center, since they are so close. We also really wanted an outdoor ceremony, where there would be lots of florals and greenery, so Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town was the perfect spot with the vines covering the pavilion and the chandeliers hanging from it. Everything was so gorgeous!

– Esmeralda, Bride

Here in the breathtaking state of New Mexico, we have been utterly rewarded with impressive scenery, from the golden mesa to the blushing Sandia Mountains. At every turn there is something that reminds us just why so many couples decide to get married in the Land of Enchantment.

We live in a photographer’s oasis, and Briana Nicole Photography captured the ceremony at the Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town like no other. The couple was beaming with joy and the fun never seemed to end! One could only hope for their wedding day to be bottled up without losing its integrity so that it could be experienced again and again, and Briana Nicole Photography does this flawlessly through her lens.

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bride and groom outside with their bridesmaids and groomsmen, bride smiling, bride, new mexico bride, hotel albuquerque at old town, abq flowers, new mexico weddings, perfect wedding guide

Esmeralda and Miguel spent the evening celebrating their new life together and taking in the beauty of the city lights of Albuquerque at The View Event Center. Could there be any more “pink” and “perfect” in one day? I think not, but hey, we are always surprised by our local weddings and the vendors that make them happen, so we never know what will come next!

bride and groom kissing, the view event center, new mexico wedding, new mexico sunset, new mexico bride, new mexico wedding gown
Photographer: Briana Nicole Photography
Planner & Florist: A Beautiful Theme
Ceremony Venue: Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town
Reception Venue: The View Event Center
Cake: ABC Cake Shop & Bakery
DJ: Red Sapphire DJ Entertainment
Catering: Café Venture Catering
Bridal Makeup: Betty Rose by Alanna
Officiant: Amor Ceremonies
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The Big Fake Wedding

The Big Fake Wedding

It’s no secret that when small businesses in New Mexico come together magic happens. We, your dutiful Perfect Wedding Guide team, have seen it with our own eyes time and time again. From local styled shoots straight from heaven, to real weddings that make large-scale celebrations seem effortless, to the all-out fantastical displays resurrected from dust in mere minutes at our wedding shows – you don’t have to sell us on New Mexico wedding professionals. We’re already straight up fangirls.

So when we caught wind that The Big Fake Wedding would be venturing out to our southwestern state, it came as no surprise. The traveling wedding show has been garnering popularity since they first got their start in 2008, and the landscapes alone make New Mexico an easy sell. Not to mention, The Big Fake Wedding is an alternative to the wedding shows we know and love, which offers our community something new to reinvigorate the wedding planning process.

By arranging their event to mimic an actual wedding, the attendees – who were local engaged couples – got to sit in on The Big Fake Wedding as if they were actual wedding guests. With a stunning stand-in bridal party and every detail planned meticulously, the engaged couples who participated got to sit back and watch the magic happen in real time.

https://www.perfectweddingguide.com/listing/cloak-photography-178247/
Cloak Photography

As time drew nearer for the event to take place, it became clear that it was going to be something truly special. Each local business that decided to commit to collaborating on this project had already proved themselves as dedicated and creative wedding professionals. Knowing that businesses like The Cake Boutique –who would be crafting up something spectacular to look at and eat – and For the Love of Flowers with their renowned floral artistry, would be there? And it was going to be at one of our absolute favorite venues, Nature Pointe? Well, we were nearly bursting at the seams with excitement by the time the day arrived.

Jennifer and Jose Exchange Vows
Bri-lliancy Photography

We’d like to say the day was exactly as wonderful as we’d imagine it would be, but we have to be honest. No matter the prep, no matter the insider knowledge we had about the event, and no matter the counting down the days, nothing could have properly prepared us for how lovely The Big Fake Wedding actually was.

bride, groom, new mexico wedding decor, new mexico cookies, wedding table
Alysha Lee Photography
cake, new mexico wedding cake, new mexico florists, orange cake, red cake, green cake, new mexico weddings
Cloak Photography
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Cloak Photography

And of course, now that the time has passed, words fail us as well. Only photos from local wedding photographers like Cloak Photography, Bri-lliancy Photography, and Alysha Lee Photography could capture the magic that we knew was coming, but still exceeded our expectations. We are still officially in awe.

bride, groom, bridesmaids, groomsmen, new mexico wedding, new mexico florist, outdoor wedding, new mexico wedding venues
Bri-lliancy Photography
new mexico florist, pink and orange bouquet, boho wedding, red and orange wedding, roses, wedding roses, new mexico wedding
Bri-lliancy Photography
bride, groom, reception, wedding reception venues new mexico, hotel andaluz, for the love of flowers, new mexico weddings
Bri-lliancy Photography
balloons, mr and mrs balloons, floral backdrop, bride and groom kiss, new mexico wedding decor, casi sueno, pink and white flowers
Cloak Photography
Venue: Nature Pointe
Music: Cello for weddings/Ryan Smith Cello Music
Cake: The Cake Boutique
Floral: For the Love of Flowers
Floral Wall: Wall of Enchantment
Balloon Décor: On the Rise Balloon Shop
Hair & Makeup: Genica Lee, MUA
Bridesmaids Dresses: Azazie
Rings: Hitched (Groom) & Ooh! Aah! Jewelry (Bride)
Design: Casi Sueno Weddings & Events, My Beloved Vintage Rentals
Photography: Cloak Photography, Bri-lliancy Photography, Alysha Lee Photography
Photo Booth: Magic Mirror
Event Coordination: Black Bow Events
Décor+Signage: Letters & Such
Bar + Mixology: ABQ Barkeeps
Bridal Gown: Renee’s Bridal

Featured header photo is by Cloak Photography

All other lovely vendors can be found here.

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White Sands Elopement with Matt Blasing Photography

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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