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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The Most Blissful Bed+Breakfast: Hacienda Vargas

Britianie Tyler Photography

There’s a new theme emerging among all the incredible weddings of the world, especially here in New Mexico… Have you noticed it yet, brides and wedding lovers?

We’ve taken note, from our little perch between local wedding professionals and engaged couples, that brides and grooms are putting more and more emphasis on the cultural and historical beauty of their hometowns and states when planning their wedding. And we are so here for it!

So here’s a tip: Hacienda Vargas is the perfect wedding venue for engaged couples who are looking to incorporate some of New Mexico’s rich culture and history into their celebration. With traditional adobe structure to reflect New Mexico’s famous sunsets, walls covered in authentic local art, and vast, pristine land surrounding the inn, Hacienda Vargas emanates all the things that make our state so wonderful. Plus, The Land of Enchantment, aptly named, has enraptured so many of its inhabitants, it only makes sense to draw from the vibrant colors and unique history for some wedding inspo!

Tucked just between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, the historical bed + breakfast has been welcoming weary travelers and locals in need of relaxation since the 17th century. Yes, you read that right! For four centuries, Hacienda Vargas has dazzled every guest who passes through with the inn’s traditional architecture, and the owner’s — Cynthia and Richard — delicious, homemade breakfast.

Wrapped in a familiar sort of comfort, the bed and breakfast invites engaged couples to an intimate, yet rural, space to celebrate their union. Hacienda Vargas is happy to hold up to 150 of you and your partner’s loved ones. So whether you two are looking for a small elopement or you’re planning to invite everyone you hold dear, the inn is here with open doors.

To book Hacienda Vargas for your wedding here in New Mexico, contact their team here!

In the meantime, come gawk at this gorgeous wedding at Hacienda Vargas that we still can’t get over! candlelight vows bride groom couple wedding planning bridal gown updo suit tux indoor ceremony traditional New Mexico southwestern sweetheart neckline strapless rose cathedral love romantic perfect wedding guide

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Photos by Britianie Tyler Photography.

More on the wedding featured above here!

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2018 Wedding Trend: Live Music

Have you heard, bride-to-be? Tides are shifting in the world of weddings! The budget-friendly option of preset playlists and iPods on shuffle for reception music were all the rage for a little while there, but it’s time to hang up the aux cord. Live, professional music is back in style! {Though in our opinion, it never really left.}

It’s no wonder either, especially here in New Mexico, where there are so many options for brides who want a genuine, authentic experience for their wedding day. Luckily too, the variety of choices available mean you don’t have to break the bank to switch out your brother-in-law’s Spotify playlist for the ever-romantic option of a live musician.

No need to feel overwhelmed by the smorgasbord of individuals that are here to make your celebration unforgettable this wedding season. We picked three amazing musicians that are local and ready for you to book for your wedding, because we love you.

From guitar, to harp, to full band, it’s hard to choose our favorite live musicians from Albuquerque + Santa Fe, but luckily we don’t have to. The reputation of these talented artists speaks for themselves. {It’s no surprise they all have 5-star reviews on Perfect Wedding Guide!}

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Ryan Smith, of Cello for Weddings

is the perfect fit if you’re looking to add an unparalleled touch of elegance to your ceremony or reception. Not only does he offer traditional wedding music, but also pop, rock, acoustic, soundtrack/classical, country, folk, motown, and oldies! Even custom arrangements, if your heart should so desire. Does it get better than that?

Book him here!

Absolute Entertainment

Absolute Entertainment‘s own band Soulstice,

has been voted as Santa Fe’s leading event band by brides. And of course they have! Graceful or groovy, the band plays everything from cross-generational classics to today’s hits. Whatever vibe {or vibes!} you choose, Soulstice delivers above and beyond expectations every time.

Book Soulstice here!

Last, but very certainly not least,

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Sandi Ludescher, Albuquerque’s favorite Harpist

has graced couples with her delightful music, and several of our events too, since 2005. With a broad range of available compositions, there’s a spot in every celebration for her harp! {Highly customizable as well, Sandi once played my favorite Simon & Garfunkel song for me on her harp — it was unforgettable!}

Book Sandi here!

 

Want more?

You can find local musicians, bands, and DJs available for your wedding here!

Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico