7 Wedding Venues Outside the City

As much as we love the hustle and bustle of our vibrant city here in the southwest, we can’t lie… Taking a step back from the noise and enjoying New Mexico’s myriad of landscapes is one of our favorite parts of living in such a wild state. The mountains and mesas, rivers and roving fields, can all enliven even the most downtrodden spirit, honestly. So when we hear a local engaged couple wants to get away from the city for their wedding, we get it.

And luckily for couples in New Mexico, everyone else here seems to get it, too. Whether you’re ready to make the trek to the deeply restorative forests of Ruidoso, or just popping over to sunny and sprawling Los Lunas, there’s already a wedding venue there waiting for you and your loved ones.

So if your wedding guests, bridal parties, or partner-to-be are in need of some R&R, why not let your wedding be that gift to them? Not every horror story you’ve heard about wedding day chaos is true, and even if they were, there are steps you can take to ensure nothing unsavory transpires during celebration.

Step one — utilize all available wedding planning resources, like our print magazine and online tools.

Step two — book local wedding vendors who have dedicated their lives to ensuring weddings, like yours, are the happiest of all occasions.

And finally, step three — choose a beautiful venue surrounded by nothing but fresh air and a great view, like Prairie Star or Hacienda Doña Andrea, or one of the other 7 wedding venues listed below.

1. Prairie Star

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Maura Jane Photography

Prairie Star truly captures the gorgeous New Mexican culture with the best view of the Sandia Mountains. My wedding was everything I hoped for and I am very appreciate of the staff here. We had an hour rain delay and the staff helped keep the guests comfortable and calm. The coordinator, Rebecca, knows her stuff! She is very responsive and helpful.

The food here is AMAZING and the professionalism of the staff is impeccable. They even stayed 30 minutes later to let us continue the reception due to the rain delay. We rented an event tent for the lawn and had a plated dinner out there. The staff was great and timely about serving the guests. Prairie Star is a wonderful venue! I can’t say enough about it!  

Shelby, local newlywed

2. Hacienda Doña Andrea

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Shayla Edenfield Photography

We had a lovely and intimate wedding at the Hacienda – the venue is beautiful and had the perfect southwest ambiance that we were looking for for our New Mexican wedding. The day of the wedding had multiple mishaps (as weddings do) and the event staff on hand was SO accommodating and helpful.

We are so happy that we chose this venue and almost all of our guests asked where we found such an amazing and scenic place. The rooms were beautifully decorated and comfortable accommodations overall. Even when our guests were up far into the night, the rooms were quiet. We had everything we needed to stay over the weekend.

Tabitha, local newlywed

3. Europa

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I never write reviews, but let me tell you. I have lived in the area for a long time and have never come across anything that even comes remotely close to the experience you get here. You’d be hard pressed to find another place that’s close to this. I feel like it’s basically impossible to best it as well.

The workers do a fantastic job, the whole experience is so unique and amazing, that I almost feel guilty about it. This place is the absolute definition of a diamond in the rough. Such a hidden gem.

Jacob, local New Mexican

4. Sanctuary on the River

Sanctuary on the River

When looking for an outside venue for our wedding and something a little out of the way The Sanctuary on the River was by far the best. I made all arrangements over the phone so it was hard to tell exactly what I was getting. Two weeks before our wedding we visited the Sanctuary and was very impressed.

The staff and owner were very nice, extremely helpful and made sure our special day was spectacular. I would definitely recommend this venue for any kind of wedding. The decorations, the bridal suite and the gazebo were decorated perfectly. The bridal suite fit about 6 of us comfortably with our own private bathroom. There is no complaints all compliments here. Thank you to the staff of the Sanctuary for making this a day we will never forget.

Jennifer, local newlywed

5. Nature Pointe

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Matt Blasing Photography

Nature Pointe is one of the most beautiful spaces I have seen locally. It has an amazing natural fee with wood and stone and iron. Feels so New Mexico without being in Santa Fe or downtown. We love the mountains and this spacious venue has amazing views you can’t get in Albuquerque. We are super impressed with Courtney and her team and how communicative and helpful they have been, making us feel special and not just another wedding. We are excited about both the inside and the outside of Nature Pointe.

The kicker for me was just how much was included in the price. Tables, chairs, linens, centerpieces, vases, candles, cake cutting supplies, signage, etc. The list goes on and on. It was a bit more than we were planning to spend initially, but as soon as we drove up, we fell in love with Nature Pointe and are so excited for our special day. 

6. El Monte Sagrado

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Emily Joanne Wedding Films + Photography

Honestly, I didn’t know places like this still existed. Besides El Monte Sagrado being breathtakingly beautiful, the customer service was out of this world! I had my wedding here at the beginning of the year and everyone at the resort made sure that my family, friends, husband and I had everything we needed!

Rarely am I impressed by wedding food, but our filets were some of the best I have ever had – thank you to the chef, Cristina Martinez, and our wonderful dinner team, Madelyne, Matt, and Marge. Last, but not least, Melisha Romero planned and coordinated my wedding from beginning to end. I could go into the nitty, gritty detail, but the long and short of it is that when I had a problem or was not 100% happy with the proposed plan, Melisha came back to me with other suggestions and resolutions. I owe so much to this beautiful woman for easing my mind from over 1,200 miles away (we are in Birmingham).
My wedding was perfect and the week was an absolute dream. All of our guests said it was their favorite wedding they’ve ever been apart of and I believe them! I can’t wait to go back!

Jillian, local newlywed

7. Casa Perea Art Space

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Maura Jane Photography

This venue is a treasure both in its beauty and historical value to this community. From the office gals to the grounds keeper, the care and service over our wedding event was impeccable, professional and most importantly, personal. Their flexibility is a blessing during sometimes stressful decisions.

The included tables, chairs, linens and parking shuttle are all blessings which freed us up to handle the more pleasant details of food, music and florals. The beauty of this adobe garden home made the need for further decorations minimal. Our wedding at Casa Perea was both intimate, grand and simply lovely. Many thanks to the owner and staff at Casa Perea for sharing this historical treasure with us!  

Helene, local newlywed

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New Mexican Elopement with Chrisi K Photography

It’s that time of year in the Perfect Wedding Guide world — at least our corner of it — when the excitement of the holidays has passed, and the ethereality of spring hasn’t yet come. The magic never really subsides here though, because tiding us over between these two time markers is the new edition of our magazine finally coming to fruition! If you followed along for the thrill and apprehension of our Front Cover Contest on Instagram, then you know, too, that this spring’s print guide is going to be more beautiful, more inspirational, and more serviceable than ever before.

We spent some time a couple weeks ago falling in love with Caitlin + Justin, the stunning couple whose photo was in our top three finalists for the Front Cover Contest. We’d be absolutely remiss if we didn’t give a little TLC to our other finalists, Abby + Tyler, and their New Mexican elopement that warmed our hearts so much, it was a health hazard. Which, of course, comes as no surprise, considering Chrisi K Photography was there to work her camera mastery for every step of the day.

Opening up the celebration at the Inn of the Turquoise Bear, Abby + Tyler got oh so pretty in preparation for the next step of their lives together. It was there that they shared their first look, spinning around and marveling at one another, before heading to the destination of their elopement ceremony: Jemez Springs.

Now, Abby + Tyler are actually from Ohio. They flew in all the way from the midwest to our little slice of southwestern heaven to commemorate the beginning of their life as husband and wife here, in New Mexico. But against the backdrop of Jemez’s signature red clay, Abby + Tyler glowed with such obvious joy, it was as if they had been here and with one another for many lifetimes.

There, they shared their vows with one another, framed by the natural beauty of our desert, and stepped into their next chapter together.

It was beautiful, raw, and emotional. I’m so honored I got to document it all. My heart is full!

-Chrisi, Chrisi K Photography

View More: http://chrisikphotography.pass.us/tyler--abbys-newmexico-elopement

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View More: http://chrisikphotography.pass.us/tyler--abbys-newmexico-elopement

View More: http://chrisikphotography.pass.us/tyler--abbys-newmexico-elopement

View More: http://chrisikphotography.pass.us/tyler--abbys-newmexico-elopement

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Where Are They Now? Genevieve + Ricky’s Post-Wedding Perfection

Beginnings are always so beautiful, aren’t they? And what are weddings, except for a celebration of a new life beginning together? Yes, it’s easy to get lost in the tulle and sparkle of a wedding day, but in our opinion, what comes after is massively underrated. We’re not talking about the honeymoon, though those deserve more recognition too, but it’s the heart of true love that we really adore — the middle part that comes in between the sparkler send-off and the ’til death do us part.’

Which is why we’ve been catching up with some darling local couples whose weddings and relationships really touched our hearts. Genevieve + Ricky are one of those couples — their wedding was captured by one of our favorite photographers in Albuquerque + Santa Fe, Briana Nicole Photography, but we were already well acquainted with Genevieve before her gorgeous celebration came to fruition. {She was one of our 12 Months of Giveaways winners, and one of the engaged-experts on our Bridal Board!}

Genevieve was one of the loveliest brides we’ve had the chance to work with, so hearing about her wedding firsthand was such a treat. Though the day wasn’t without its hiccups, as one would expect, their love preserved and the clouds dissipated to reveal the sun — warm and familiar, like the love that emanates from this couple.  We simply had to share!

Genevieve + RIcky

We were married on September 23, 2017 at Paa-ko Ridge Golf Course. That morning was extremely emotional for me as I was watching a storm pass through a tiny window in my bridal suite. Chairs were flipping over, glasses were breaking and tablecloths were soaked – every bride’s nightmare. About 20 minutes before our ceremony was supposed to start the rain eased up, the clouds parted and the sun shined through.

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The amazing Paa-ko staff went into beast mode and had everything perfectly set up as guests were arriving. The rain held off through the bulk of our ceremony but started to lightly sprinkle as we kissed and made our way down the aisle as Mr. + Mrs. By the time our reception started, the sky was clear and weather was perfect. The weather certainly made for some amazing photos too! Our wedding day ended up perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing!

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We waited a couple of months to go on our honeymoon, but we spent a very relaxing weekend in Los Cabos. We rang in the New Year sipping margaritas on the beach and watching fireworks over the ocean. It was the perfect way to wrap up our wedding story. And now, we are anxiously awaiting our little honeymoon souvenir — due in October! It certainly has been a magical year for us.

Genevieve, bride

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Best Outdoor Venues in Albuquerque

Here’s the thing about New Mexico: it’s very easy to forget how lucky we are living in this state, especially when it comes to the weather. {Yes, we know it’s been pretty toasty lately, but take a trip somewhere a little closer to sea level and you’ll be missing the dry heat, we promise.}

It’s true that our lovely desert climate — minus the windy spring season — is relatively mild all year long.  Even when it rains, seasoned New Mexicans rest assured knowing it’ll only last 5 minutes, 10 maximum. Which, obviously, makes this state one of the best places for an outdoor wedding! If we had to guess, that’s probably why we’re blessed with so many options for outdoor ceremony and reception venues.

How do you choose though, when they’re all so lovely? Well, research of course. But even then, sometimes a venue seems perfect on screen, but might not measure up in person. Which is why we took the liberty of choosing five of our favorites to showcase here, for you. While there are many more incredible venues in New Mexico aside from these five, these are venues we’ve visited, spent time in, and even hosted events in some! So we can say, with the utmost confidence, that these venues will not disappoint.

{Plus we thew in some of the always invaluable reviews + opinions from local brides too, just in case you need a little extra assurance.}


Casa Rondeña

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Casa Rondeña, a gorgeous and fully-functional winery in the heart of the South Valley, has more charm than you’d think even possible for just one venue. With indoor spaces available as well, the possibilities for indoor-outdoor receptions and ceremonies are {almost} endless!

The venue is absolutely gorgeous, and though we don’t have our professional pictures back, even the pictures our guests took are breathtaking. They went on Facebook where everyone just oohed and aahed over how gorgeous the lawn of the 1629 Club is, and how beautifully everything reflects off the water there.

-Heather, bride

For availability at Casa Rondeña, you can book the venue here.


Prairie Star

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Maura Jane Photography

Prairie Star, you beautiful venue, you! The serenity at this venue is very much unrivaled, as the space is nestled in the quiet of the Santa Ana Pueblo and is surrounded by rolling hills of lush greenery. Punctuating the property is the proud adobe mansion, whose regality is also unparalleled.

I choose this venue mostly for the scenery. When I found it, I fell in love. Even better, it’s so reasonably priced compared to other venues. I received so many compliments on the location, it was beautiful. […] I am so incredibly glad I found this place and got to have my ceremony and reception here. Also, it’s very convenient to have a place where you can have the ceremony outside and reception inside!

-Alexandria, bride

For availability at Prairie Star, you can book the venue here.


Hacienda Dona Andrea

Ashley Davis Photography
Ashley Davis Photography

Honestly, of all the venues in all the world, Hacienda Dona Andrea just might be the most romantic. With old-world vibes, hand-crafted details, and stunning views, this venue is a perfectly secluded escape from reality for you and your soon-to-be spouse.

The place decorates itself – the architecture is southwestern and unique. the views are gorgeous and the place is perfectly secluded, yet there is still access to the funky little town of Madrid close by. We couldn’t have picked a better spot for our intimate family wedding. The team at the Hacienda made planning from a distance very easy for us and we were well taken care of. We are truly so happy with our choice to get married at Hacienda Dona Andrea!

-Alexis, bride

For availability at Hacienda Dona Andrea, you can book the venue here.


El Monte Sagrado

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Chrisi K Photography

Oh, El Monte Sagrado, where to even begin? Photos of the property showcase quite clearly how venerable and awe-inspiring the trees and scenery of the property truly are, but trust us when we say, it’s even better in person. See more from this darling real wedding here.

Honestly, I didn’t know places like this still existed. Besides El Monte Sagrado being breathtakingly beautiful, the customer service was out of this world. I had my wedding here at the beginning of the year and everyone at the resort made sure that my family, friends, husband and I had everything we needed!

-Jillian L., bride

For availability at El Monte Sagrado, you can book the venue here.


Los Poblanos Historic Inn + Organic Farm

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Lauren Cherie Photography

Of course, no list of New Mexico venues would be complete without Albuquerque’s golden child, Los Poblanos Historic Inn + Organic Farm. But the space is famous for good reason — it truly is one of the most magnificent places in our city. With rolling fields of lavender, chic farmhouse architecture, and several different options for ceremony space, there’s no facet of Los Poblanos that doesn’t live up to its reputation.

What an amazing venue!! I fell in love with this place from the first time I set foot on the property. It feels like you are out of town even though you are in the middle of the city. The architecture of the buildings and the surrounding gardens are gorgeous! It is definitely a venue that requires very little in the way of providing your own decor; the venue speaks for itself.

-Catie, bride

For availability at Los Poblanos, you can book the venue here.


 

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Chrisi K Photography {Vendor Spotlight + Real Wedding}

By now you might have noticed that we kind of have a thing for local photographers. It’s not that we don’t love every wedding professional equally {we do!}, it’s just that photographers give us the chance to live vicariously through their lens. We might be here, in the Perfect Wedding Guide office, or out and around Albuquerque + Santa Fe, but with photographers like Chrisi K Photography, we get to secretly attend every awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, heart-warming wedding in our stunning state.

{And yes, you’re our plus one. Always.}

Even with so much wedding experience under our belts though, we still can’t pick weddings because, well, how could we? What I can say, with absolute confidence though is: Josh + Victoria, your wedding day makes our top 10. So many thanks, Chrisi K Photography, we owe you our hearts for letting us in on this celebration of love.

The ceremony, which was shaped by magnificently opulent trees in the outdoor space at El Monte Sagrado, was matched in grandeur only by the looks of love shared between Victoria + Josh. Captured devotedly by Chrisi K Photography, of course, the most minsicule of details paired with these moments between the newly-weds is how we’re able to feel like we’re really there, cheering on the new couple.

Dashes of jewel tones bookmark certain moments in their day: magenta pokes out from Victoria’s bouquet of greenery, royal blue bridesmaids gowns frame the couple sharing their vows, and of course, the familiar depth of red wine as Victoria + Josh join their lives together in ritual.

After being behind the lens since middle school, Chrisi K Photography’s respect for the camera and her craft is elucidated in this wedding, and in every photo. Thank you for being a part of the Perfect Wedding Guide family, Chrisi! We’re so happy to have you here, in New Mexico, pushing our community to do its best to keep up with you.

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