Summertime Love with Lauren Cherie Photography

Long days full of sunshine, vibrant colors, and plenty of memories to be made, isn’t that what summer is all about? Summertime means beautiful and bright outdoor weddings, which also means beautiful and bright wedding photography that captures the essence of the glowing bride and groom. Before we say goodbye to the heat for this year, let’s reminisce over one of the first weddings of the summer.

When it comes to capturing the summertime mood, Lauren and Chris of Lauren Cherie Photography truly shine. Their photographs not only appear bright and chic, but also encompass the brightness of the personalities in each image. Every bride and groom (don’t worry fellas, we didn’t forget about your wedding day glow) radiates a special light that deserves to be captured in its purist form. Who doesn’t want to look back at one of the most important days of their lives and see the most genuine, goofy and over-the-moon-in-love version of themselves?

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Here at Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico, we LOVE every single wedding day detail, from the wedding rings to the decor. Sarah and Mitchell’s breathtaking Santa Fe wedding was filled with small and intimate details… I mean, just look at that blue agate invitation and stunning wedding dress! It is so important to capture those unique and emotional touches that can easily go unnoticed on such a big day, and Lauren Cherie Photography absolutely nailed it!

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The dynamic duo are not just married (no pun intended) to wedding photography, but offer a wide range of services to clients for every special moment in their lives. If you’re just fawning over these images like we are, and also happen to be looking for the perfect photographer for your lovely day, you can book a session with Lauren Cherie Photography by contacting them here!

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Who is YOUR Favorite Wedding Vendor?

Sometimes being surrounded by so many incredible people is overwhelming, but trust me, we’re not complaining! We work with so many phenomenal vendors every single day – we wish that we could reach out and hug everyone and tell them just how much we value both their friendship and their partnership with Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico.

Since it would most likely take an eternity to show everyone just how much we appreciate them, we decided it would be best to plan one special themed evening every year that is dedicated entirely to our lovely vendors full of food, drinks, music and dress-up! We call this our Vendor Appreciation Night, and you can read all about last year’s Bollywood-themed event here.

The team at the 2018 Vendor Appreciation Night by Tori Photography

In order to make the event even more exciting, which is hard to do considering how much fun it is already, we like to recognize a particular group of wedding vendors that are making a noticeable impact in the lives of brides and grooms in New Mexico. We call this the Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico “Elite Awards” – where hundreds of locals vote for their favorite wedding professionals in over 20 different categories. Check out last year’s winners here!

We are eager to hear your praise for the hard-working and beyond talented vendors that you’ve connected with. Want to vote? Keep reading below!

How to Vote

The voting process is simple! Just follow these 3 easy steps:

  1. Click here!
  2. Search for your favorite wedding professional
  3. Write a review explaining why you love them

And voila! Your vote has been submitted! Now all you have to do is repeat these steps for all of your favorite wedding professionals – we want to hear about everyone who made your day the best.

PLUS… All who vote will be entered to win several prizes including Chello Grill, Tour ABQ, and Symbolize It gift cards!

VOTE NOW! Voting ends on September 1st, 2019 at Midnight.

Vendor Appreciation Night 2019

Do you want to have some fun under the sea AND spend an evening with New Mexico’s most beloved wedding professionals?

Hangout with us at “The Siren’s Soiree and the Sailors Too” on September 18th, 2019 at the ABQ BioPark Aquarium from 6-9pm. Dress to impress in your deep sea best, and follow the siren’s song down to the water’s edge. The evening will be filled with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, dancing and the announcement of the 2019 Elite Award Winners! We can’t wait to see you there.

RSVP and learn more HERE!

Elite Award Winners 2018

Best Wedding Coordinator | Black Bow Events

Best Bridal Beauty Expert | Makeup by Kim Fisher

Best Spa or Place to Relax | Bliss Salon and Spa

Best Place to Order a Wedding Cake | Cake Fetish

Best Catering or Restaurant | Blue Plate Special

Best Place to Have a Bachelorette Party | Duke City Pedaler

Best Place to Have a Reception | The View Event Center by Simply Decor

Best Location to Have a Ceremony | Casa Rondeña Winery

Best Wedding Officiant | Amor Ceremonies

Best Floral Designer | All The Pretty Flowers

Best Event Decor | Simply Decor & Events

Best Rental Company | Occasion Services & Events

Best Bridal Gown Shop | Bridal Elegance by Darlene

Best Men’s Formalwear Shop | Suits Unlimited

Best Place to Order Invitations | Funky Olive Design Invitations & Stationery

Best Disc Jockey | Dream Factory Productions

Best Live Ceremony Musician | Cello for Weddings

Best Local Band | Absolute Entertainment

Best Photographer | Matt Blasing Photography

Best Cinematographer | Southwest Wedding Films

Best Photo Booth Rental | Snapshot Selfies

Best Unique Wedding Service | Bombshell Fitness

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Zero-Waste Wedding: 5 Ways to Get There

If you know anything about your New Mexico Perfect Wedding Guide team, then you know we love two things. One, New Mexico; two, weddings. Which seems pretty obvious, but it really is as simple as that.

Only, our love for New Mexico transcends an affection for the rich cultures, venerable mesas and mountains, and traditional architecture that surrounds us. There’s a foundation of respect for our home that supports the love we feel for all of those beautiful and inspiring New Mexican features. So, in our small ways, we try very hard to preserve the perfection of our wild state.

Whether it be through recycling, supporting local, or educating our community, each little step culminates to make a powerful act of love for New Mexico. Though of course, we adore weddings as much as we do our state, so combining values to create a zero-waste wedding that uplifts our local community, creates a killer party, and offers some kindness back to the land — does it get much better than that?

Chances are, if you’re reading about how to incorporate zero-waste principles into your wedding, then you know it really doesn’t get better than that. Before we jump in though, give your self a little pat on the back for taking extra steps to support your community by booking local vendors and reducing the waste your wedding creates. Every little thing counts!

So — after consulting with the local wedding professionals who are experts in their respective crafts — we’ve pulled together 5 simple tips to reduce waste at your wedding in New Mexico! Because we all get to enjoy the landscapes around us, let’s do our best to make sure the generations after us get to enjoy them, too.

1. All reusable, all the time.

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Matt Blasing Photography

Whether you’re having a small, intimate elopement, or inviting every single cousin, people will come expecting to eat at your wedding. Eating as a group, as lovely and communal as it can be, also offers up a lot of waste if you use single-use materials.

Luckily, with local and environmentally-conscious catering companies like Cafe Venture or Blue Plate Catering, you can have all reusable serving ware! Think cloth napkins, silverware, ceramic plates, and the like. Not only will this give your wedding a higher-end vibe, but all these things can be washed and reused after your wedding, instead of sitting in a landfill for the next several hundred years.

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Matt Blasing Photography

If the local catering company you’re working with doesn’t offer reusable serving ware, linens, and china like these guys do, then don’t fret! Thrift stores can still be your best friend. Grab vintage, reusable silverware and dishes, and pull it all off with an eclectic, artistic vibe. Then afterwards, you can give away the thrifted materials, or just donate them right back!

If you go this route, be sure to communicate with your caterer ahead of time, so no wires get crossed on the day of your wedding.

2. Power in the Flowers

Tori Photography

When it comes to floral arrangements, the best advice we have is to go silk! Does that seem counterintuitive?

While its true that flowers are compostable, you’ll want to pause before tossing them in your garden or local composting center. A majority of live flowers are treated with preservatives to ensure their long-lasting scent and beauty makes it through your ceremony. So before you bury them, be sure your florist sources from an organic farm like Europa, otherwise all those preservatives end up in your soil and, subsequently, the groundwater.

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With silk arrangements — like the gorgeous, can’t-believe-it’s-not-alive bouquets from Charlotte’s Flowers — you have a bit more wiggle room for reusing. The immortal bouquets can be rearranged into home decor after the wedding, used in future craft projects, or gifted to a friend.

Whether you go with organic live flowers, or silk arrangements, or just a bundle of chamomile from Trader Joe’s, you can always reuse the flowers from your ceremony for your reception. Chances are you and your bridal party aren’t going to be carrying your bouquets all night long, so repurpose them! It’ll save you money and reduce your floral carbon footprint.

3. Something old, nothing new.

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Coryn Kiefer Photography

It’s true — the thought of buying a wedding dress from a thrift store sounds a bit horrifying to some. After all, this is the gown you’ll be wearing in hundreds of photographs, videos, and memories, is it worth it to risk it?

Thankfully, we have amazing local wedding professionals who can make a less-new dress totally risk-free. With shops like Bridal Elegance by Darlene, you can buy a gown ‘off the rack.’ Which, for those who don’t live and breathe bridal, just means it’s a sample of the gown, not one that was ordered, manufactured, and shipped just for you. With in-store seamstresses available for your wildest alteration dreams, too, there’s hardly a worry about making sure it fits in all the right places.

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Coryn Kiefer Photography

Or you can opt for a second-hand gown from specialty shops like The Dressing Room West in Santa Fe. This local shop carries off the rack gowns as well, but they come as excess directly from designers who need to make space in their warehouses. Or sit down with Terese Rose Designs, a local custom bridal gown designer, and have a chat about sourcing fabrics and potential choices for your gown.

Last option, and a favorite for your wallet, is to haunt thrift stores and vintage shops. With seamstresses across the state, there’s some serious magic that can happen with a secondhand gown. It’s worth it to give new life to an old gown that might have just gone into the trash, if not for the power of a trained eye and tuned sewing machine.

4. Make things easy for your guests.

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Kayla Kitts Photography

As someone who personally composts, I’ll be honest: I don’t always compost when I’m out and about. Mostly because compost bins aren’t readily available around our state yet, and holding on to my food waste until I’m able to get home is smelly, messy, and not super convenient when I’m running around the town.

So you can expect a similar response at your wedding, even from your greenest of green friends. But luckily, you can mitigate this with a little bit of foresight during your wedding planning process.

Chat with your venue coordinator! When booking a venue, ask the coordinator ahead of time if they have enough trash cans to have one for landfill trash, recyclables, and compostables, all separated and labeled clearly. If not, bring your own!

Plus, if you’ve decided to book a local invitation and stationery company like Funky Olive Design or Pennysmith’s Paper, you can have your trash labels custom made. Then, there’s no sacrificing aesthetics for environmental-consciousness. Take it a step further by reusing the signs in your own home too, to make it easier for guests and kids that might be around to throw things away.

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5. Favors in your favor

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Chrisi K Photography

As much as your friends and family love you, they might not love your favors. Which is okay! A lot of personalities are coming together in one space to celebrate you and your partner, so trying to please all of them is virtually impossible.

Keep this in mind when choosing your favors. If 1, 10, or 100 guests don’t take home their favors, what will happen to them?

You can go with an adorable little plant like Aja and Johnny did for their wedding — so in the off chances these get tossed outside, at least they’ll compost. (Or root and grow right there!) Plus the metal tins are reusable in a million different ways, so if the succulent gets replanted, the tin hopefully won’t go to waste. And anyways, how cute are they?!

Or be like Lynsey and Kent, who had one of our very favorite apple orchard weddings.

Arielei Kinzer Photography

Their apple-themed favors were not only delicious and charming, but super earth-friendly! For those who opted not to take their little jars home, the couple got some extra homemade apple butter for their own family. For those who did decide to enjoy the treat, they got a reusable jar and a delectable spread to remember the wedding by.

So, whether it’s through your dress, venue, or favors — whatever steps you decide to take to preserve all the beauty of New Mexico, we thank you. We’d like to keep loving this state and the weddings in it for many more generations to come, and a few choices on your part help to ensure that’s possible.

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Ashley + Kris: Real Wedding at Event Center at Sandia Golf Club

The goal for us on our wedding day was to make sure everything was very personal and that our guests had a fun and memorable time.

-Ashley, bride

Luckily for our darling local newlywed, Ashley, she and her now-husband, Kris, are not alone in that desire. With thousands of weddings happening in New Mexico alone every year, it becomes less and less about brands, colors, antiquated traditions, and more about love, community, and celebration. For the next few years, this trend is expected to continue, as engaged couples shoot less for the fairytale and more for the unforgettable experience that their guests can enjoy for every moment of the day.

With so much magic possible here in Albuquerque, too, it’s no small wonder that more couples are opting for staying in our home state as well. Our local wedding professionals prove again and again that they’re on parr with coastal trends and styles through their innovative work and collaborative approach to the wedding community. (Don’t believe us? Check out our last blog post — we rounded up a few of our favorite styled shoots and real weddings from the last year!)

Because we’re here, in the Land of Mañana, too, our wedding professionals have a certain special quality to them that you can’t find anywhere else: flexibility. For them — like Lauren with The Event Center at Sandia Golf — love really is at the center of all that they do. So it becomes imperative to work around the usual roadblocks, think outside the box, and do what they can to manifest that love in a way that truly reflects the people it belongs too: the couple!

For Ashley + Kris’s big day, they were able to do exactly that. The Event Center‘s sweeping views framed the all-night dancing of the couple and their guests, and the grandness of the day was complemented by refined details so unique to their love story, it couldn’t have been anyone else’s day but their own.

Finding a venue that offered both indoor and outdoor space, where our guests could play corn hole on the event lawn, visit the photo booth on the patio and enjoy dancing all night in the ballroom ticked every box for us; and the jaw-dropping views for our wedding photos didn’t hurt either. The Event Center at Sandia Golf Club is truly a hidden gem in Albuquerque!”
-Ashley, bride
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Upon meeting with Ashley and Kris, our team knew that if they picked the Event Center at Sandia Golf Club it would be the perfect fit. They were such a fun couple and you could immediately see how much they loved each other and that more than anything they wanted to make sure their wedding was one their guests would remember. They had so many personal touches that really showed who they were as a couple, especially how much they loved their pets and how much they loved the Aggies or Lobos depending on who you asked. Ashley and Kris found several ways to make sure their beloved pets presence was felt at the wedding.
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Venue: Event Center at Sandia Golf Club |  Photography: Play on Light Photography | Cake: Simply Sweet by Darci | Dress: M&J Bridal Boutique | Photo Booth: Snapshot Selfies | Photo Booth Videographer: Avista Video | Centerpieces: A Day to Remember  | DJ: DJ Halcyon
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2018 Four Seasons Connection Luncheon Recap

Okay, so maybe we’re a bit nostalgic, but is that so wrong? Especially since we’re only a few days into 2019, and here in New Mexico, 2018 was one of Perfect Wedding Guide‘s best years yet. We had wedding shows, luncheons, and parties galore, plus relationship building, contest-throwing, giant giveaways, and more. The only way to rectify our desperate reminiscing is to start look eagerly toward our upcoming events, which we’re definitely doing, don’t get us wrong.

But before we jump ahead, we have to spend at least a moment discussing the experience of our Four Seasons Connection Luncheon that was in December of 2018. Because that’s exactly what it was — an experience. Four Season‘s unparalleled elegance, the crisp, clean air of Santa Fe, and Alena Bard LLC.‘s wisdom all combined to create a truly moving afternoon.

Lucky for us, Keara Lloyd Photography was there to capture every moment, too, from the first course to the last lingering conversation. The former being, if you can believe it, warm quail on a bed of roasted fennel salad, decorated with a complimentary beet puree, roasted almonds, and white balsamic glazed blueberries. Then came the duel entrees: slow braised short ribs with green chile mashed potato, and chorizo and macadamia roasted Chilean sea bass.

Accompanying every bite was a light and refreshing sparkling wine that prepared the palette for our team’s personal favorite, the dessert: strawberry trifle with sponge cake, vanilla and Chantilly cream. The only thing that rivaled the dessert’s sweetness was the absolute treat of hearing local wedding planner Alena Bard LLC. share her knowledge to the group of local business owners. She talked finding your purpose, holding onto it, and weaving passion and self-compassion into your business practices. We walked away feeling filled to the brim with inspiration and delectable cuisine.

The best part of being positioned between local engaged couples and the businesses who serve them is being able to spoil both parties. For our engaged couples, it’s through our giveaways, wedding shows, online tools, print guide, etc., etc., etc. And for the local wedding professionals, who work so hard to elevate and evolve Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s market, it’s through indulgent, invigorating, innovative days like this.

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5 Rules For Choosing A Wedding Venue

Here at Perfect Wedding Guide, we get to work one-on-one with Albuquerque’s best florists, officiants, photographers, and the like, every single day. So it’s safe to assume that we might know a bit more about weddings than your average Joe or Joanne. While we like to think that we’re somewhat of experts though, we always turn to our local vendors for the real knowledge. When you need to know who the best wedding professionals are — turn to us. For the nitty gritty wedding planning details — we turn to them.

Like when our local officiants dropped some serious education on us about why hiring a professional is so important for your wedding. Or when Gypsy Trail Hair + Makeup gave us some incredible tips for your wedding day hair care, and Beth Waldron Photography told us why your photographer thinks you should hire a wedding planner. There’s such a wealth of knowledge in the Albuquerque + Santa Fe wedding community, and we’re just here to harness it!

Which is why we’re so happy to have this super helpful info from the delightful Embassy Suites, on the whats, whys, and hows, of choosing a venue for your wedding day. Of all the wedding professionals you hire for your ceremony, your venue is going to be up there in the top three most important. Because, well, it’s going to set the tone for the whole day! So it pays to know how to choose the venue that’s right for you, your future spouse, and your budget.

Without further adieu, we’ll let Jonathon, with Embassy Suites, tell you how to do that — he’s the real expert. (Photos by Alicia Lucia Photography.)

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1 | BACKTRACK.

 

A lot of times, it’s good to start things “backwards,” if you will. Start by putting a rough budget together. Guestimate how many guests you think will attend. The number doesn’t have to be exact, and details may change throughout the duration of your planning. But it’s good to have some kind of  number in mind before you even walk into a venue for pricing.

2 | EARLY BIRD GETS THE WORM.

If you can help it, try to start venue shopping at least a year out from your special day (or as early as you possibly can). Choosing a venue is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in planning a wedding. You want to give yourself enough time to explore your options and find the best fit for you.

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3 | ASK, ASK, ASK!

Any time a question pops into your head, ask away! Our motto here at Embassy is that it’s better to ask as many questions and obtain as many answers early on than to be stressed out and asking on your special day.

4 | KEEP IT IN WRITING.

Planning a wedding can be exciting, but it’s not without its difficulties. You’re going to have so many details in your head at any given time throughout the planning process that a detail may slip here or there. A best practice is to back up all your details in writing – either via e-mail, via handwritten notes, etc. Whenever you sit down with your coordinator in person, or even when you speak to him/her over the phone, have your notes in front of you.

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5 | LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!

 

Always keep the location of your venue in mind – even more so if many of your guests will be travelling from out of town. How accessible is your venue? Is it easy to find? Also, if you will be hosting your ceremony and your reception in two separate venues, just make sure to factor travel time into the equation. For venues that are farther apart, always plan ahead for unexpected hiccups. An accident on the highway one hour before your reception may lead to your guests frustrated and sitting in traffic.

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