12 Months of Giveaways: Free Stuff for Engaged Couples Only

Was it Winston Churchill who said, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give,” so many years ago? We’re sure it was, and we’re even more sure that he’s still absolutely right. Giving back to the community who supports our dreams has been and will always be the fuel and fire that keeps us doing what we do. (Which is fostering connections between engaged couples and the local wedding community, in case you forgot.)

But with such exciting things always happening in our little Perfect Wedding Guide world here in New Mexico — wedding shows, luncheons, the magazine, and much more — it would be very easy to hold this principle in abeyance, though. Which is why we created the 12 Months of Giveaways!

At first glance, the 12 Months of Giveaways is a totally free, totally local giveaway opportunity for engaged couples in New Mexico to win prizes from wedding businesses, valued at over $300, that happens every single month. (Yep, all twelve of ’em.) Digging a little deeper though, the 12 Months of Giveaways is also reminder for us to pause, reflect, and send some gratitude out into the world around us. This way, we have fun little monthly reminders to continue building the life we want to live.

This March, the contest resets for the year, and we have a fresh new batch of twelve incredible prizes for engaged couples to choose from! We’re lucky enough to also have twelve different wedding professionals providing their lovingly-crafted products and fine-tuned talents for the prizes, so every winner gets to choose the absolute best gift for their wedding.

So, without further adieu, let us give everyone a first look into the 2019 prize list! (And click here to enter the giveaway for yourself!)

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Lauren Cherie Photography

2019 12 Months of Giveaways Prize List

1. Complimentary boudoir session and 8×10 print – valued at $300, courtesy of Sheer Desire Boudoir. 

2. Day-of coordination and event management services – valued at $800, courtesy of Michelle Victoria Wedding & Event Planning. 

3. Complimentary three tier buttercream wedding cake with delivery in town serving 74 guests – valued at $325, courtesy of The Cake Boutique. 

4. Two for “Head to Toe Couples Package” includes a 90 minute couple’s treatment with Shea Butter wrap, scalp massage, and EcoFin for hands or feet. All day access to hot tub, sauna and relaxation lounge – valued at $330, courtesy of The Remedy Day Spa. 

5. Complimentary mini engagement session and mini boudoir session – valued at $500, courtesy of Lauren Cherie Photography. 

6. Complimentary two hour mirror photo booth package – valued at $700, courtesy of Magic Mirror. 

7. Complimentary boudoir photo session and 6×6 photo book – valued at $320, courtesy of Creative Portraits by Dolores.

8. “Bride To Be Package” includes an essential manicure, pedicure, signature body polish and facial. Totaling 4 1⁄2 hours of services – valued at $350 from Isleta Spa, courtesy of Isleta Resort & Casino.

9. Complimentary three tier classic wedding cake serving approximately 75 guests – valued at $300, courtesy of Smallcakes A Cupcakery.

10. Complimentary hair, makeup, and false lash services for the bride and one bridesmaid – valued at $300, courtesy of Bombshell Hair and Makeup.

11. Complimentary engagement session – valued at $375, courtesy of Coryn Kiefer Photography.

12. “The Lovers Delight Package” includes a private introductory couple’s horse lesson and photography session with the horses – valued at $300, courtesy of ABQ Horse Breaking + Training LLC.

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Smallcakes A Cupcakery 

12 Months of Giveaways {Enter for your chance to win!}

As much as we love to make magic happen from behind our computer screens, the most fulfilling part of our Perfect Wedding Guide work is getting to make a real difference for one, lucky local couple. So… we do it 12 times a year!

{Which might seem indulgent, but it’s actually pretty easy when we have so many incredible business owners to help make it happen.}

If you haven’t heard of the 12 Months of Giveaways before, now is your chance to toss your name in the running. It’s a local-only, monthly wedding giveaway with prizes for you to choose from that are all valued at over $300!

{Out-of-state couples who are planning a wedding in New Mexico can apply too, of course, because we’re so happy to have you here in our gorgeous state.}

Okay, okay, on to the good part: the prizes from local vendors are listed below! You can register for your chance to win at the button below, or by clicking here. It’s as simple as that! You’ll receive a free copy of the Perfect Wedding Guide magazine, and have a chance to win every month of 2018.

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Maura Jane PhotographyMaura Jane Photography

2018 Prize List

1.  Complimentary engagement session and 8×8 album book – valued at $395, courtesy of Tori Photography

2. A free bridal bouquet – valued at $325, courtesy of The Flower Co.

3. A personalized, and fully officiated wedding ceremony as well as preside over the rehearsal – valued at $250, courtesy of A Grand Beginning.

4. Complimentary filming of your love story (digital proposal story) – valued at $375, courtesy of Loving Image Videography.

5. A REVEAL boudoir experience gift card (The Bombshell Session) – valued at $325, courtesy of REVEAL.

6. Four hours of DJ and emcee services for a wedding reception – valued at $375, courtesy of Mixx The Beat Productions.

7. Gold photo booth package to include 4 hours of photo time, 2 full-time hosts, standard backdrop, unlimited color prints, prop box, and deluxe memory book – valued at $800, courtesy of Selfie Sensations by Wimberly Productions LLC.

8. Special edition keepsake photo album set includes three photo albums, one 12×12”, and two 6×8” albums – valued at $325, made by Peregrine Arts Bindery in Santa Fe.

9. 10 free centerpieces or 40 chair covers – valued at $400, courtesy of Simply Decor & Events, and $50 off the booking fee for The View Event Center.

10. Bride and Groom Bliss Spa Day package to include two 60 minute massages, two 60 minute facials and all day access to hot tub, sauna, and relaxation lounge – valued at $370, courtesy of The Remedy Day Spa.

11. One night complimentary stay in our bridal suite, including breakfast for two – valued at $300, courtesy of Hacienda Dona Andrea.

12. Bride To Be Package: includes an Essential Manicure; Pedicure; Signature Body Polish & Facial. 4 ½ hour of services – valued at $350 from Isleta Spa, courtesy of Isleta Resort and Casino.

 

enter to win

Lauren Cherie PhotographyLauren Cherie Photography

 

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

Choosing Seasonal Flowers for your Wedding

Spring has sprung, it’s true! And for you lucky engaged couples who are getting married this season, you’ve got a lot of choices for flowers. For every other couple though… the big day is still in its planning phases, and you might be wringing your hands trying to figure out what fresh florals you can incorporate into your wedding. So we did a little research for you! Because, let’s be real, you have enough on your plate.

Compiled below are the top three flowers that are in season for each of the other, well, seasons! As a little bonus too, we included samples from some of Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s finest vendors in the business of blossoms and bouquets.

{Plus, if you’re not into any of these seasonal delights, there’s a life hack you might not know about to get sensational stems any time of year — scroll on!}

 

Summer

 

 

images via Shutterstock + Fifty Flowers

From left to right: Poppies, zinnias, and sunflowers. It’s no wonder summer weddings are so popular! With these bad boys in season, it’d be pretty hard to not have a stunning bouquet.

Luckily, there’s tons of greenery in season during summer too. So you can fluff up your bouquet with delicate additions like Queen Anne’s lace, yarrow, or solidago.

 

Perfect Wedding Guide wedding planning design inspiration budget floral bouquet arrangement New Mexico Albuquerque greenery Santa Fe flowers natural organic local spring lilies calla lily traditional white green pink rose purple
{gorgeous summer bouquet from Albuquerque Florist}

 

Fall

 

 

images via Shutterstock + Fifty Flowers

From left to right: rose, calla lily, orange gerbera. Ah, autumn. Not traditionally known for its blooming, but the colors are undeniable. Splashes of orange, red, and yellow in your bouquet add depth to any arrangement, and pay homage to the beautiful time of year. Pretty easy to do with these guys in season!

 

Perfect Wedding Guide wedding planning design inspiration budget floral bouquet arrangement New Mexico Albuquerque greenery Santa Fe flowers natural organic local traditional rose pearl dusty stem lace greenery pink gold
{And if you’re going for more of a muted palette, there’s a rose for every shade. At least there is when you choose Arranged Elegance!}

 

Winter

 

images via Shutterstock + Fifty Flowers

From left to right: carnations, star of Bethlehem, tulips. Personally, I don’t believe there’s any wrong way to do a winter bouquet. Recalling the warmth of the rest of the year, any little bloom is sure to dazzle.

Greenery is still abundant during the colder months too, why not get a little creative with it? Pull down a branch from that juniper tree in your front yard! Or better yet, let your florist choose which evergreen stalk to add. After all, they do know what they’re doing.

Perfect Wedding Guide wedding planning design inspiration budget floral bouquet arrangement New Mexico Albuquerque greenery Santa Fe flowers natural organic local unique greenery herb seed pod leafs rose blue pink
{Dusty shades + seed pods are the perfect supplements, as you can see from this bunch from Albuquerque Florist.}

 

A promise was made at the beginning of this post to reveal one of the tip top secrets wedding vendors, photographers, designers alike employ for styled shoots and wedding days. So here it is:

 

Silk flowers.

Confined by no season or place, long-lasting silk flowers are not only budget-friendly, reusable {environmentally friendly? Perhaps!}, and stunning, but we promise your guests won’t notice the difference.

Just ask Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s silk flower expert, Charlotte, of Charlotte’s Flowers. She even encourages couples to reuse the floral arrangements for home decor after the fact. It really doesn’t get better than that.

 

These are just a few of Charlotte’s incredible silk flowers in action, from one of our all-time favorite weddings.

To book Charlotte’s Flowers for your wedding, you can contact her here.

 

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

Inside Scoop on PWG Buck {$500!}

If you’ve had the opportunity to attend one of our PWG Wedding Shows, then you’ve probably heard the term PWG Bucks tossed around a few times. Sometimes we do little giveaways on our Snapchat {pwgnm} or Instagram too, but typically the $500 is reserved for the beautiful engaged couples who attend our Diamond Dash shows.

But wait… What are PWG Bucks exactly?

They’re basically like free wedding service coupons except — get this — you choose what service to use them on. Each participating vendor will have a special package or service available to you that you can take up to $500 off!

But how do you make sure you’re getting the most out of your $500 in PWG Bucks?

Our first tip is to start thinking about PWG Bucks when you register for the event. Come to the show already knowing which vendors you still need to connect with. That way, when you one of our lovely team members checks off your name with a smile and hands over your $500 in PWG Bucks, you’ll know where you’re going to use them.

The Bucks come in $100 increments, which means you can spend 5 on 5 different vendors, or 3 on 1 vendor, etc., etc. Big decisions, we know. After you’re all checked in for the event though, you’re ready to jump into the ballroom that’s packed full of local photographers, officiants, invitation companies, and everything else you need to plan a wedding. {Not to mention, snacks, champagne, a couture fashion show, and door prizes given away ever 30 minutes but, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.}

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With your $500 in hand, you can peruse the incredible display booths, chat with vendors, and fill up on little freebies from the local wedding professionals. Each vendor who is participating in the PWG Bucks program will have a little sign on their booth clearly indicating that they will accept the Bucks as a form of payment. So here’s our next tip: if you see the sign, don’t be shy! 

Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s vendors are incredible, it’s true, but unfortunately they’re not mind-readers. If you think you might like to spend a few of your PWG Bucks on one of their services, let them know! They’ll direct you to whichever packages are available to you, how much you can save with the PWG Bucks, and really, it’s just a great way to get the conversation going. Essentially, the PWG Bucks are your icebreakers and your wallet-savers in one.

Lastly, don’t forget to ask when they expire. PWG Bucks themselves expire at 4pm, when the wedding show comes to a close. But luckily, because the local wedding professionals are ever so kind, most of them will allow you to redeem them up to a week — or even 6 weeks! — after the show. If you feel a connection with a vendor, but maybe need to talk it over with your partner before you book, just let your vendor know! It’s all about communication.

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So there you have it, the briefest of rundowns on how to get the most out of your $500 in PWG Bucks. Because not ever budget is limitless, and not every bride is going to splurge or save on the same services. Use this cash however you’d like, so long as it’s going toward creating the wedding day of your dreams.

 

Questions? Leave your comment below!

Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico

 

The Groom’s Guide to Helping with Wedding Planning

Over the years, the responsibilities of today’s groom have definitely changed. Especially, when it comes to who pays for the wedding. Traditionally, the groom would only pay for his tuxedo, the wedding rings, the officiant and his bride’s bouquet. Other expenses may have included groomsmen’s gifts, corsages for his mother and hers and the honeymoon {or minimoon!}.

Meanwhile, his family would pay for the rehearsal dinner and the bride’s family the rest of the financial burden. But the average cost of today’s wedding has soared, with some estimates placing the cost of the “average” wedding at $20,000 or more. This has led to a change in attitudes among engaged couples and quite frankly, it just isn’t always practical to follow tradition.

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Briana Nicole Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nowadays, more couples pay for most of their wedding expenses and receive smaller contributions from their families. When families do help, a greater burden tends to fall on the groom’s family. In some cases, the groom’s family handles not only the traditional rehearsal dinner expenses, but they also cover the cost of wedding services including entertainment for the reception, transportation for the wedding party and photography or videography.

For most grooms, it’s no longer an option to show up to the church ready to wed. Although it’s still typical for brides to oversee wedding plans, more and more men dig into their wallets, handle a range of wedding-related responsibilities and make important decisions. After all, it only makes sense to have both of you involved in decisions like:

  • The budget
  • The ceremony and reception venue
  • The size of the guest list and who will be invited
  • The degree of formality for both the ceremony and reception
  • Which stores and specific items should be part of your gift registry
  • Where you will honeymoon and for how long
Elizabeth Wells Photography

Of course, these are just a few of the areas where your involvement could be helpful. You can and should tailor your involvement to match your interests and the needs of your bride. For example, if you’re interested in cars, handle the transportation arrangements. But remember, you have two very important responsibilities at your wedding ceremony that, if handled well, can make all the difference in the world:

  • Work closely with the best man and attendants to keep things moving smoothly, including assuring that guests are properly seated, the wedding rings are there and everyone understands the schedule of events and roles.
  • Collaborate with your vendors before the wedding. Your bride to be can only keep track of so many things! Let her handle the florist, while you straighten out details with the officiant, for example.

You should recognize that, despite the many distractions, you’re there to be married. The day belongs to you two, and mental and emotional preparation is key to its success.

Whatever expanded role you play in planning and holding your wedding, it will be memorable. And yet another reason for her to love you!

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Maura Jane Photography

 

Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico

Wedding Photography Grant + Nicole Bradshaw Photography

As you must know by now, we’re a little bit obsessed with giveaways. What can we say? We love to spoil local brides (and even local vendors too!). From the 12 Months of Giveaways, to free copies of the guide, to our free engagement announcements… So when we heard that one of our favorite local wedding photographers had a gift of her own to pass on, we were ecstatic!

The darling Nicole Bradshaw, of Nicole Bradshaw Photography, is hosting a Wedding Photography Grant!

Here’s what that means: any lovely + local couple who has demonstrated a personal commitment to community service is invited to apply for the Wedding Photography Grant. In exchange for the efforts they’ve made to better the community we all live in, one couple will be awarded free wedding photography service, courtesy of Nicole Bradshaw.

{We’re so inspired by Nicole’s generosity, we wanted to jump in too! As an added little bonus, the winner of Nicole Bradshaw’s Wedding Photography Grant will also be awarded 3 free tickets to our March 4th Diamond Dash Wedding Show, and a free wifey tank top!}

Throughout the years, we’ve met many, many admirable brides and grooms, from school teachers, doctors, to volunteers — Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s best of the best. We’re so proud of Nicole Bradshaw Photography for generously donating her one-of-a-kind talent to give back to a local couple, and can’t wait to see the magic they create together.

{Details on applying + some of our favorite photos from Nicole below!}

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Nicole Bradshaw Photography

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For more information and to apply for the Wedding Photography Grant, click here!

Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico

Spilling the Beans: Wedding Vendors’ Best Kept Secrets

One of the most fabulous parts of working with incredible, local wedding vendors is having the inside scoop on all things wedding planning. The downside? No one on our team is currently engaged (yet!), so what can we do with all these amazing tips and tricks?

Well, share them with you, of course! Whether it’s local deals and promotions, wedding budget calculators, or upcoming wedding shows, we always try to pass on these goodies to all the lovely brides in our sphere and around the world.

{Some say we’re terrible at keeping secrets, but really we’re just wedding enthusiasts.}

This time around, we asked some of our favorite local vendors to divulge their best kept secrets of the industry. So read on, bride-to-be! Check out these four ways to make the most of your wedding day.

 

Photo + Gown: Maggie Sottero

Remember to keep an open mind in terms of designer and style. A dress always looks different on the body than it does on the rack! Choose your consultation party wisely. When deciding who to bring, limit it to those whose opinions matter the most. Make sure to start looking for and order a dress early on! It can take can up to 3-9 months, especially for big designers, for a dress customized to your specifications to come in. If you’re a bride on a budget, don’t hesitate to ask your dress shop for discontinued dresses. You will almost always receive a bargain on those kinds of gowns.

– Darlene, with Bridal Elegance by Darlene

 

 

 

 

One of the thriftiest wedding cake hacks out there and one that can give you the biggest bang for your buck is here!  Instead of creating one extravagant cake that can feed all of your guests, have your baker create a small cake, which is meant for the cake-cutting, pictures, & feeding a few guests. Then, have a simpler, easy to cut sheet cake that can be hidden in the kitchen and cut up afterwards for all your wedding guests to enjoy. You can also utilize a dummy tier out of foam. Many bakeries can help achieve the look of a multi-tiered wedding cake for less by substituting decorated foam tiers in between real tiers of cake. This will be a huge blessing to your bank account… trust us!”

Birdie, with The Cake Boutique

 

…the general advice you will get is to think about the basics:  the price and thecapacity. However, the process of selecting a venue can really make or break your planning experience. Once you have selected one, it should be a place that leaves you feeling completely confident about your big day, not frustrated or depleted. Once all of the planning is done, everything will come together and it will center around the venue,  so ask the tough questions and make sure that you trust the venue to execute your vision.

Lauren, The Event Center at Sandra Golf Club

 

 

 

 

Remember, this is the time in your life that you will be the most photographed.  Why not make the most of it and be camera ready at all times? When booking your wedding trial run with your hair and makeup artist, book your engagement pictures after. Or perhaps plan it to be done on the morning of your bridal shower, that way you can be camera ready for the shower.

Ric Kent, Hair and Makeup Artist

{Pssstt… Want more tips? Subscribe to our blog here for part two of this post!}