Pizza in Santa Fe AKA The Best Engagement Session Ever

In September of this year, Meghan and Ryan will be married at the Folk Art Museum in Santa Fe. There will be llamas. Llamas, people!

Quite frankly, these facts and the photos from their engagement session below are all you really need to know in order to make you fall in love with Meghan and Ryan. But of course, the story doesn’t end there, and it gets even better with every turn.

We first met Meghan digitally, via email, when she reached out to thank Perfect Wedding Guide for being Perfect Wedding Guide. (So yeah, we liked her right off the bat!) Meghan had been using some PWG-exclusive resources to plan their wedding and engagement session from afar, which would have tickled us either way, but then she told us she was an event planner, too. An expert in our midst!

Which means she was able to, and is proud of, the creative ways she’s conserved their wedding budget and found vendors. She lamented over how much of the New Mexico wedding community thrives on just word-of-mouth, and how often styled shoots are beautiful, inspirational, magical, and completely impossible to accomplish for a real wedding, and we totally agreed.

(Except for Perfect Wedding Guide styled shoots, of course, because we only feature local vendors who could, if you want, literally recreate the exact shoot for your wedding with all the other wedding professionals they collaborated with originally.)

9E3A7233
Kady McKeehan Photography

I love when bridal resources feature real weddings — and none of that Martha Stewart Real Weddings because we all know that’s not really real!

So, despite the wall of exclusivity created by non-digital, word-of-mouth businesses, despite the fact they were planning a wedding and engagement from afar, and despite the fact Meghan and Ryan have impeccable style and couldn’t settle for just any wedding business, they have done it. They have planned a perfect fall wedding in Santa Fe.

Meghan’s parents are immigrants from the Philippines, and Ryan’s family is old-school New Mexican — back to the Don Victor Ortega days. So, as Meghan says, this September wedding will be an explosion of culture, family, and joy! Plus, remember the llamas? There are going to be llamas. Not to mention, most of the couple’s wedding vendors are non-profits, or give back to the local wedding community in some way, too.

An engagement session full of pizza, impenetrable love, and laughter, paired with a wedding rich in color and culture and kindness and llamas, booked solely with wedding businesses who work to make our state better…Well, we warned you that you’d fall in love with these two!

9E3A7228
9E3A7223
9E3A7236
9E3A7131
9E3A7175
9E3A7193
9E3A7115
Kady McKeehan Photography

Perfect Wedding Guide wedding planning design inspiration budget floral bouquet arrangement New Mexico Albuquerque greenery Santa Fe flowers natural organic local

Toby + Dan’s Intimate Santa Fe Wedding [with Kayla Kitts Photography!]

I’d like to say that fate put these two in the same place at the right time.  They met in St Louis, half a world away from Toby’s home.  And there in that city was Dan – and they say they knew right away that it was something special.

Kayla, Kayla Kitts Photography

If you didn’t know already, our little perch in the New Mexico wedding community happens to be right in between local engaged couples and the wedding professionals who serve them. So, luckily for us, we’ve been able to watch some serious magic happen in our desert state. Which, you might be thinking something along the lines of: come on, it’s weddings, love, and celebrations, so of course incredible, heartwarming, and tear-jerking stories come to Perfect Wedding Guide pretty much every day.

But what we want to chat about today is a more subtle kind of magic — like whatever unidentifiable force brought Toby and Dan together, and then together again with Kayla Kitts Photography. Because this trend of somehow managing to find the exact vendors who vibe with a couple’s personality happens all the stinking time here. Is it something in the air, in our Land of Enchantment? Maybe.

Or is it because engaged couples actually have a surprising amount of resources to make connecting with local small businesses who have dedicated their talents to weddings a bit easier? Also maybe. Or perhaps it’s a combination of both, or something else entirely. What matters, and what keeps our heart here in the wedding world of New Mexico, is that it happens so frequently.

kaylakittsphotography-toby-and-dan-wedding-231

Kayla and her hubby Dominic, of Kayla Kitts Photography, are self-proclaimed belly laughers and people persons, and world renowned rays of sunshine. It’s a simple fact that we’ve all come to know as their photography craft has grown and evolved throughout the years of creative practice. Toby and Dan, two sides of the same coin, have a love grounded in a deep friendship and balanced with a sense of levity and humor. Their beaming smiles and bursts of laughter jump off their wedding photos and it’s not hard to imagine the giggles coming from behind the camera, too.

The collaborative and comfortable way Kayla and Dominic interact with couples and their wedding guests was the perfect approach for Toby and Dan’s intimate celebration in Santa Fe. As a couple of people who feel like your close friends even upon first meeting, we’re sure Toby and Dan’s actual close friends and family welcomed Kayla and Dominic’s presence with open arms. We just feel lucky enough to have lived vicariously through it!

To connect with Kayla Kitts Photography for your wedding or engagement, you can contact Kayla and Dominic here.

kaylakittsphotography-toby-and-dan-wedding-49

kaylakittsphotography-toby-and-dan-wedding-99

kaylakittsphotography-toby-and-dan-wedding-88

kaylakittsphotography-toby-and-dan-wedding-142

kaylakittsphotography-toby-and-dan-wedding-251

They laughed hard as they told me about Dan “super cheesily” proposing on Valentine’s Day, and looked at each other sweetly as they told me about their special day.  As we sat and sipped coffee and cracked up over and over again, I knew that photographing their wedding was going to be awesome – and it was!

Kayla, Kayla Kitts Photography

kaylakittsphotography-toby-and-dan-wedding-214

kaylakittsphotography-toby-and-dan-wedding-413

kaylakittsphotography-toby-and-dan-wedding-293

Venue  |  Neptune Gallery and Studio Event Space + Dinner at The Compound Restaurant
Florist  |  Bloomstream Floral
Attire  |  Mr. Tux
Officiant  |  Erin Whitcomb
Cake  |  American Pie Bakery
Ceremony Musician  |  Cello for Weddings
Caterer  |  Walter Burke Catering
Coordinator  |  Lauren Mestas with Just Lovely Wedding + Event Planning

Perfect Wedding Guide wedding planning design inspiration budget floral bouquet arrangement New Mexico Albuquerque greenery Santa Fe flowers natural organic local

Wedding Venue Hot Spots in New Mexico {Part Three!}

New Mexico wedding Santa Fe planning La Fonda gown suit inspiration design floral bouquet lace photography romantic styled local perfect wedding guide lilies ceremony outdoor greenery natural light Birdseye couple vows flower petals

If you’ve been on the edge of your seat waiting for part three, then please, feel free to sit back and relax because it’s here! We started out spring with a feature on New Mexico’s favorite wedding venues, simply because our whole reason for being is to reinvigorate our state, and show local engaged couples the magic that is possible here in the Land of Enchantment. Because we’re not biased either, we’re covering everything from crisp spaces with modern cityscape backdrops, to rolling green hills with luxurious greenery to frame the ceremony.

The one thing all these venues, in their varied vibes and values, have in common is their respective teams. All included local wedding venues have dedicated staff members who have gone above and beyond to prove to us, Perfect Wedding Guide, and our local community that they’re committed to their couples and weddings. So, without further adieu, let’s jump right back in to our running list of New Mexico’s best wedding venues!

(Pssst… You can check out Part One here, and Part Two here!)


Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort + Spa

Hyatt Tamaya Venue Wedding Maura Jane Photography Hot Spot

Nestled between the Sandia Mountains and the legendary Rio Grande River on the sacred lands of the Santa Ana Pueblo, Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa is an extraordinary southwest jewel steep in centuries of rich history and culture. Stunning outdoor venues feature breathtaking mountain, sunset, and mesa views. At Tamaya you can arrive at your ceremony in a horse drawn carriage from our on-site stables. And your guests will find relaxation and entertainment at our spa, championship golf course, and one-of-a-kind cultural activities. 

Inn + Spa at Loretto

Loretto Inn and Spa Venue Tony Gambino Photography Wedding Bride Flower Girl
Tony Gambino Photography

Located next door to the historic Loretto Chapel, the landmark Inn and Spa at Loretto is the ideal location for a wedding reception. For a truly extraordinary event, The Grand Zuni Ballroom can host up to 200 guests while the more intimateTesuque Ballroom includes a fireplace, stage and canaccommodate receptions of up to 150 guests. The Sculpture Garden, with its curated collection of Santa Fe artists, can be reserved for ceremonies and receptions. The Penthouse Suite,offering five terraces with outstanding views, is the premierlocation for a truly memorable and intimate event of 10 to 75 guests. The Inn and Spa at Loretto is well known for hosting unforgettable Santa Fe weddings.

Isleta Resort + Casino

Isleta Resort Venue Wedding Couple Newlyweds Bride Groom Hot Spot
Photographic Perspectives

Isleta Resort & Casino now features more than 100,000 square feet of meeting space, designed to accommodate groups of all sizes. The resort features 201 hotel rooms, including a posh Governor’s suite to celebrate the most romantic of wedding nights. Pamper your bridal party at The Spa at Isleta, indulging in the outdoor rain waterfall and luxurious pre and post wedding day treatments. Isleta Resort & Casino features a variety of entertainment for out of town guests, including a country western bar,
fine dining, a 27 hole golf course, three natural lakes for fishing, and muchmore. Award winning sales and banquet partners help customize every detail of your day, as part of our unwavering dedication to turn your dream into a reality.

La Fonda on the Plaza

New Mexico wedding Santa Fe planning La Fonda gown suit inspiration design floral bouquet lace photography romantic styled local perfect wedding guide sunflowers first look couple engagement ceremony
Blue Rose Photography

 

A wedding at La Fonda on the Plaza is steeped in tradition and timeless, romantic ambiance, marrying the elegance and style of yesteryear with contemporary luxury and the convenience of today. Our elegant architecture, authentic, hand-crafted interiors and original artwork will create an air of romance that will make your dream wedding a heartfelt occasion. With over 95+ years of experience hosting weddings, you can relax and enjoy your day, knowing that our wedding planners will guide and assist inevery detail to ensure a flawless day from start to finish. And withmultiple event rooms, we can host weddings of all sizes, each offering your guests a unique Southwestern experience.

La Mesita Ranch Estate

La Mesita Ranch Estate Wedding Venue Reception Setup Beautiful Gorgoues Hot Spot

An exclusive estate located just 17 minutes north of downtown Santa Fe, sitting amidst 140 acres of Native land, La Mesita can accommodate up to 22 guests in its five sophisticated, and beautifully appointed homes and host weddings of up to 500 guests. This gracious estate was recently featured on KOB news as “The Hidden Gem of New Mexico” for places to be married in New Mexico! Centered around a European fountain, a world class Equestrian center provides the backdrop for a wedding experience unparalleled by any other New Mexico location. If it’s magic you are looking for, call Deborah Newman to chat about “Everything La Mesita”!

 

Perfect Wedding Guide wedding planning design inspiration budget floral bouquet arrangement New Mexico Albuquerque greenery Santa Fe flowers natural organic local

Santa Fe Celebration: Real Wedding with Maura Jane Photography

Well, well, well, another successful Front Cover Contest has come and gone yet again! Hopefully you’ve been keeping up with the competition via our Instagram, but if not, then have no fear. We offer local wedding professionals the opportunity to have their image featured on over 12,000 copies of our print magazine every year, twice a year. ‘Cause we love y’all like that.

This year was, by far, one of the most difficult go-arounds of the contest yet. Local photographers, wedding planners, videographers, and more sent in their strongest image, and we were totally blown away. With so many different styles and preferences on our team, nailing down our 3 finalists took longer than we’d like to admit. When we saw the gorgeous submission from Maura Jane Photography, though, we all nodded in solidarity. The ethereal, yet timeless photograph checked all our boxes: super unique, super New Mexican, and super, duper, unbelievably dreamy.

Caitlin + Justin, the newlyweds that we mistakenly took for models at first, grabbed our intrigue with the obvious love they have for one another. It nearly jumps off their wedding photos, and Maura Jane Photography captured the essence of their celebration to a stunning degree of accuracy. When Maura shared the details of their love story with us, too, we were absolutely sold, and knew we had to pass on the madly-in-love vibes to our fellow wedding nerds.

Without further adieu, Caitlin + Justin, as captured by one of Albuquerque’s favorite wedding photographers, Maura Jane Photography.

maurajanephotography_0046

Caitlin and Justin met within their first month of medical school. It wasn’t that hard to find the time to fall for each other as they shared classes, tutoring groups, and studied together. Years later, Justin planned a weekend trip for Caitlin at a vineyard.  During their walk they ‘”found” a large heart on the ground made of flower petals, (Arranged by his family in advance.) and this is where Justin got down on one knee.  They started medical school by finding each other, and they were going to end it by getting married.

Maura, Maura Jane Photography

maurajanephotography_0001
maurajanephotography_0015
maurajanephotography_0076
maurajanephotography_0053

Caitlin and Justin chose to mix a classic and elegant style with a nod to hispanic culture. Since their wedding day landed on Cinco De Mayo, they made sure to add accents of bright warm florals, have a piñata for the kids, and serve margaritas and tacos. Inspired by the history of New Mexico, they gifted their bridal party beautiful turquoise cufflinks and necklaces, in homage to The City Different.

Maura, Maura Jane Photography

maurajanephotography_0087

maurajanephotography_0100

maurajanephotography_0048

The bouquets by Bloomstream matched the coral bridesmaid dresses perfectly. Caitlin wore her late grandmother’s Tiffany necklace, and earrings gifted to her by Justin’s mother, as she stunned everyone walking down the aisle in her elegant lace gown. Later guests enjoyed themselves to a traditional New Mexico dinner while sipping champagne and wishing the couple well wishes.

Maura, Maura Jane Photography

maurajanephotography_0130

Venue: Gerald Peters Gallery
Planner:  Just Lovely Weddings
Hair and Make Up: Madeline McCue Makeup
Dress Store: Julian Gold
Dress Designer: Christos Bridal
Tuxes: The Black Tux
Cake: ABC Cakes

Announcing the 2018 PWG Elite Award Winners!

Ah yes, the morning after an incredible night. It seems like we spend all year long waiting for our favorite event, the Vendor Appreciation Party, and then suddenly it’s here and over far too quickly. Luckily our henna tattoos and memories of gold + glam will last a lifetime, even if the Bollywood-themed night couldn’t!

A very special thank you to The View Event Center by Simply Decor for truly tantalizing the senses with authentic chai, stunning performances, and a breathtaking space for us to celebrate and appreciate all of Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s best, local wedding professionals.

In the midst of all the glitz, we also awarded some particularly dedicated local wedding experts with well-deserved awards in categories like Best Floral Designer, Best Bridal Gown Shop, and Best Photographer. Don’t worry though, you don’t have to take our word for it that these vendors were worthy of awarding — they were chosen by local, engaged or recently married couples just like you!

So without further adieu, scroll on to get the scoop on the best wedding vendors Albuquerque + Santa Fe has to offer, as chosen by real local couples!

45A6A52D-7C85-482D-A7B6-4DECE96E2194

2018 PWG Elite Award Winners:

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 Rondena 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

41974073_10217401066440320_2997273812623425536_n

Our sincerest gratitude to the magnificent sponsors, who made our Vendor Appreciation Night the speculator party it was!

The View Event Center by Simply Decor | King Mobile Music | Tori Photography | Little Bear Media | Cafe Venture Catering | Funky Olive Invitations | The Acre Restaurant | Hacienda Del Rio | Jaz Catering | Magic Mirror NM Photo Booth | Tully’s Catering | Simply Decor

Perfect Wedding Guide wedding planning design inspiration budget floral bouquet arrangement New Mexico Albuquerque greenery Santa Fe flowers natural organic local

Alissa + Clint’s Splendid Celebration at the Four Seasons Santa Fe

Yes, it’s true, we did just feature the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado in a post recently. But when there’s a wedding this stunning, this vivacious in Albuquerque or Santa Fe, we simply have to give our two cents. {Plus, there’s no such thing as too much love for the incredible New Mexican wedding venue.} The verdict on this delightfully bright celebration of love and marriage? Five stars! 10/10, would recommend you fawn over the deep colors and lighthearted jamboree for wedding inspiration and life goals.

It helps too, that Maura Jane Photography was there to capture the brilliance. Which, if you’re in New Mexico, you’ve probably heard of the famed local photographer and her wonderfully airy style — but she truly outdid herself this time. Collaborating with a few of our absolute favorite wedding professionals in Albuquerque + Santa Fe, Maura Jane Photography encapsulated the splendor of the day that was made possible by the hard work of incredible experts.

For their wedding, Alissa + Clint wanted bright beautiful colors that encompassed the diversity of their guests and matched the sunsets that Santa fe is known for. Rich deep pinks and bright vibrant oranges were used from their invitations to the shoes that Alissa wore on her feet. In lieu of a veil, Alissa wore a beautiful flowy Vivian Reed scarf that matched her personality perfectly.

Guests enjoyed a beautiful Santa fe sky during the ceremony that teased us with rain but quickly blew past resulting in a breathtaking sunset. They made their way to the outdoor cocktail hour on the Four Season‘s patio and sipped signature drinks that Alissa + Clint came up with themselves along with  a little help of a mixologist. Handblown glass vases graced the reception tables, a nod to Santa fe’s rich artistic culture.

-Maura, Maura Jane Photography

It’s no secret how deeply appreciative we are of New Mexico’s venerable history and landscapes. So a wedding, pouring over with bold colors and full-bellied laughter, that pays homage to our state’s culture, and was brought to life by the hardworking hands of dedicated local professionals? We’re starting to wonder if Alissa + Clint intentionally set out to have a wedding that would make our entire team cry. {Or we would be, if the unparalleled adoration and devotion between the couple weren’t so obvious. We can thank Maura Jane Photography again for catching those loving looks on camera so spectacularly.}

Congratulations on making us tear up from unbridled joy and admiration, Alissa + Clint! Oh, and on your newly-wed status, of course. Thank you to you both, as well as Maura Jane Photography, and all the extremely talented wedding professionals {listed below!} who made this day possible.

MJP_044

MJP_266

MJP_590

MJP_367

MJP_808

MJP_834

MJP_1025

MJP_1160

MJP_1181

MJP_1140

Photographer | Maura Jane Photography

Venue | Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe

Planner + Designer | Maria Socha, Sealed With a Kiss 

Florist | Floral Fetish

Hair + MUA | Carmella Conway with Chrome

Shoes | Stuart Weitzman + Monolo Blahnik

Dress | Ann Matthews

Dress Designer | Da Vinci 

Tuxedos + Suits | Men’s Wearhouse

Cake + Desserts | Chocolate Maven

DJ | Paul Feathericci

Officiant | Dr. Paul Martinez with De Novo Pastoral Services 

Invitations | Funky Olive Design