“Life without love, is no life at all.” – Leonardo da Vinci
With springtime so gracefully happening all around us, vibrant colors and incredible new beginnings steal the show. It is no wonder local couples choose this time of year to have their jaw-dropping New Mexico weddings. Since we’re now learning to live with these unexpected changes, couples must reschedule their weddings. We want you to know that it’s 100% okay to be sad, and maybe even really angry, since you’ve been preparing for this moment your whole life. Good news, though! You now have plenty of time to get back to the drawing board, without any distractions, and get inspired.
We’ve said it before and we will say it again – one of our favorite ways to get inspiration for weddings is local styled shoots. New Mexico wedding vendors from all over the bring their talents together to create something magical. Our lovely Coryn Kiefer Photography wanted to bring her vision for timeless romance to life, so she did just that through incredible colors, textures, and scenery.
The models are wearing a modern take on wedding attire – a pantsuit for the bride and a mismatched suit for the groom. While these elements of fashion are unconventional, they compliment each other and are a perfect match for the ornate decor that surrounds them. The decor + florals are fit for a queen. We get some serious fairytale vibes and all of our little girl dreams are coming true.
As we like to say, it’s all in the details. The hand lettering, the jewelry, and the cake are all exquisite. Check out the gallery below to see how Coryn + her team brought this fairytale to life:
Photography + Styling:Coryn Kiefer PhotographyVenue: El Rey Court Decor + Rentals: Darling Details Rentals Floral: Desert Flower Co. Hair + Makeup: Genica Lee Hand Lettering: Hello Jori Cake:Honey & Salt Cake Co. Jewelry:Ooh! Aah! JewelryBridal Attire: Rime Arodaky Groom’s Attire: J Crew Styling Assistant: Krissy Williams Models: Tessa & Deangelo
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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 andgroom (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?
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
5. Favors in your favor
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.
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.
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!”
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.
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.