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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Airy + Alluring Apple Orchard {Real} Wedding

Well, pack it all up folks, our work here is done. We’ve officially found the most appealing New Mexican wedding, and it took place at the apple orchard, Rancho Manzana. {Get it? Appealing, apple orchard, peeling apples? Cheap shot, we know, and usually we don’t go for low-hanging fruit, but we’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth for food puns and couldn’t resist. It stems from a place of deep admiration, we promise.}

Though there’s still a few weeks before the official start of autumn — three to be exact, but we’re not anxiously counting the days or anything like that — it seems all of New Mexico is ready to release the summer heat in favor of fall’s freshness. Green chile roasting has already begun filling the air with savory, mouthwatering memories, earlier this year than ever before. At least as far as we can remember!

So there’s no better wedding to share for some unrivaled wedding planning inspiration at this particular moment in time. Captured by the dutiful and darling, Arielei Kinzer Photography, this celebration is exactly what we need to tide us over until the leaves finally start to turn. Wrapped up in a warm, cinnamon-y type of love, Lynsey + Kent married last October in Chimayó, New Mexico at, yes, a stunning apple orchard.

I loved getting to photograph this wedding for Lynsey and Kent! They blew me away with how kind and genuine they were, and their friends and family were all so wonderful. Their wedding was heartfelt, simple, and filled with personal touches — it really was serene and beautiful. Definitely one for the record books!

The wedding took place at an apple orchard in Chimayó, and Lynsey spent the week beforehand picking apples. She used these apples for homemade apple butter, which she then packaged into little jars to give away as wedding favors! How awesome (and adorable!) is that?

-Arielei, Arielei Kinzer Photography

Our suggestion for scoping out this exceedingly serene wedding for inspiration is to do as follows: blast your air conditioner, draw the shades, and make a cup of tea. Only then should you wrap up in your favorite sweater and/or blanket, and scroll on to live vicariously through Lynsey + Kent’s celebration that’s as sweet and warm as Lynsey’s apple butter. When real life calls again and you simply must step out into the beating sun again, remember — only three more weeks until we can all get married under golden leaves and sweet fruits.

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Venue: Rancho Manzana || Dress: Shareen, L.A. || Flowers: Renegade Floral || Officiant: Naomi Fiske || Cake: Whole Foods || Makeup: Sally from Santa Fe Lash and Beauty Bar || Hair: Ana Claudia from Diva Salon || Favors + Invitations: Bride DIY || Music: Absolute Entertainment ||

 

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Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado: A Santa Fe Treasure

We have a lot of love in our hearts for local wedding professionals, and that’s definitely no secret. Though, every once in a blue moon, one comes along that really steals our hearts. Whether it’s a dedicated florist, an open-hearted wedding officiant, or a venue that treats every guest with the utmost respect, there are a few wedding professionals in New Mexico who truly stand out. Which is, of course, the case with Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado.

While Santa Fe is inherently luxurious, the resort is genuinely the pinnacle of splendor. Nestled on 60 acres of secluded land, and with views of the Jemez Mountains, the entire space welcomes in couples with the familiar scent of piñon woodsmoke. Though, surrounded by the rugged, mountainous beauty of the Santa Fe wilderness, the inside of the resort is quite the opposite.

Beautifully manicured grounds and luxurious accommodations await. Located near the beautiful groves of old cottonwood trees that cast their ancient shadows over Tesuque. Serene and exclusive.

-Carl, guest

With several space choices for your wedding, each different setting offers flexible seating options to ensure every wedding party is comfortably provided for. Plus, Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado is revered for its culinary expertise, and even offers locally engaged couples the option of having a completely custom menu cultivated by their top-notch team, just for them.

Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado specializes in bringing cherished wedding dreams to life, which is what makes their venue stand out from all the rest. It’s not the unparalleled beauty of the resort, or their team of wedding experts who are there to help you from planning to execution, or the fact their space is intimately secluded while only being 10 minutes from downtown Santa Fe’s shops and galleries, or even the pool or opulent spa. What places Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado above all else is their dedication to manifesting the wedding fantasies of engaged couples, and how they treat each person who walks through their doors with kindness and respect.

{But some gorgeous inspo from a breathtaking venue never hurts, right?!}

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Venue Spotlight: Casa Perea Art Space

If you didn’t know by now, there are three things that our Perfect Wedding Guide team loves the most: weddings, New Mexico, and weddings in New Mexico. Which is why we feature historic venues, Southwestern inspired styled shoots, and New Mexico’s rich lineage so frequently — they combine our three favorite things!

So, when Casa Perea Art Space joined our Perfect Wedding Guide family, we were over the moon. Fondly described as “an excellently preserved example of New Mexico territorial architecture,” the home-turned-venue was built by a family of landowners and vintners in the 1800’s. Now, centuries later, the venue still stands proudly on the bank of the Rio Grande, fully restored and ready to host the most gorgeous celebrations New Mexico has to offer.

Looking for a stunning space for your wedding that also has historical character that would be impossible to replicate elsewhere? Yep, you just hit the jackpot. Newly refurbished, the venerable adobe now features whitewashed walls, wooden beams, mullioned windows, exposed vigas, and so many fireplaces, each member of your wedding party can have one to themselves.

Plus, of course, there’s a full kitchen, plenty of bathrooms, three brick patios, a small vineyard, generous parking space, and handicap access waiting for you at Casa Perea, too. We don’t know about you, but that just checked all of our boxes for a perfect venue — even a few boxes we didn’t know we had until just now!

{Oh, and how could we forget? There’s also a hundred foot long pergola crawling gracefully with wisteria, climbing roses, and trumpet flower vines. Seriously.}

If Casa Perea Art Space sounds lovely on paper, just wait until you see it for yourself. To tide you over until then, feel free to drool wholeheartedly over this perfectly fantastical styled shoot at the venue. Courtesy of the ever-talented Maura Jane Photography, you can practically smell the roses growing on that hundred foot long pergola now.

{To actually smell the roses in real life, you can contact Casa Perea Art Space here.}

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Albuquerque’s Most Beloved Bakery: The Cake Boutique

Florists, officiants, and DJs, oh my! We say this a lot, but planning your wedding really is quite the task. You’ve got vendors to meet and book, aunts and uncles to invite (or not invite — we don’t judge), shoes to find, makeup trials, gowns to get fitted — and that’s not even the half of it all. So if you’re feeling inundated, we understand. And we’re here to offer you some relief, as there’s one delicious treat waiting for you in your near future: your wedding cake!

When you choose The Cake Boutique for your cake, the whole process is even sweeter, too. For over 5 years, The Cake Boutique has been serving Albuquerque + Santa Fe locals the most delectable confections for their special day, knowing full well that your wedding celebration is one of the most important moments of your life. Creating custom wedding cakes (or cupcakes and cookies!) is The Cake Boutique‘s speciality, and working with every couple’s budget is of the utmost importance to their team.

Which is why we value Birdie, a wedding cake expert from The Cake Boutique, and her advice so highly, and over the years, we’ve compiled some incredible tips and tricks from her. Luckily for you, we aren’t in the business of hoarding industry secrets. Remember when we said we understand what an incredible feat it is to plan your wedding? We truly meant it, so we’re here to share everything we’ve learned, with some gorgeous cake inspo to boot!Andaluz-16

The best advice I can give to those blushing brides is to prioritize where the wedding cake will fit into her perfect day. Hopefully she can then create a budget for what she would like to spend on the cake. For example, if flowers are not high on the list of where she wants to make the most lasting impression from her day, she can then allocate fewer funds towards the purchasing of flowers to allow her more design options for her wedding cake!

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Here’s one of the thriftiest wedding cake hacks ever:

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, and 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 of your wedding guests to enjoy.

Alicia Lucia Photography

And another wallet-saving tip!

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!

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And some final words for all couples, regardless of cake preferences:

My words of wisdom for brides out there would be to just be a little bit selfish when planning her wedding. I’ve met with so many brides who get caught up in trying to please all of the different people in their lives. Trying to consider everyone else’s thoughts and opinions when it comes down to what will be right for them will only lead to undue stress.

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Rebekah + Julio’s Unforgettable Albuquerque Wedding

With so many weddings every year, it’s easy to get lost in the bustling world of planning, budgeting, hiring wedding professionals, choosing venues, themes, and color schemes. But, a wedding day is, at its core, a ritual used to symbolize the coalescence of two lives into one. With all the precious details of Rebekah + Julio’s effortlessly elegant union, the couple reminded guests of this message hidden within the celebratory day.

Thanks to Chrisi K Photography, we’re also able to relearn the deeper meaning behind the tradition. Behind her lens, the famed Albuquerque photographer captured every moment — including, of course, when the bridesmaids walked down the aisle. As they made way for the bride, darned in muted hues to complement the venue {Casas de Suenos} and vibes, the message became clear. When each woman came to the outdoor altar, they removed one flower from their personal bouquet and added it to a vase which sat, front and center at the end of the aisle.

Representing both the support each couple had from their loved ones, and the coming together of their separate lives, the vase grew larger and more beautiful with each bridesmaid’s floral addition. The end result was an arrangement to rival all others — bursting with color and life, it represented the happy future each guest envisioned for Rebekah + Julio together.

Even more lively and awe-inspiring than the bouquet though, was the couple themselves. When Rebekah joined her soon-to-be husband in front of their guests, the joy and harmony that surrounded the couple was quickly the center of attention. Rebekah’s sleek gown combined vintage details with a modern elegance through its empire waist and high neckline. Julio’s tux, traditional and impeccably-pressed, complemented her attire perfectly, just as they do for one another in their relationship. Though they were essentially there, on a stage of sorts, it seems as if the two were in a world of their own.

How Chrisi K Photography manages to preserve each special second of the ephemeral day, we’ll never know. We can say though, with absolute certainty, that any engaged couple would be lucky to have her on their team for their big day.

To book Chrisi K Photography for your celebration, you can contact her here.

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Simply Sweet Summer Styled Shoot

When vendors come together to let someone’s dream become a reality, that is what a wedding is.

Tori, Tori Photography

We couldn’t agree more, Tori. One thing though, are sure you didn’t accidentally make our wedding dreams a reality? Because this styled shoot is giving us all the feels. From our collaboration dreams for local wedding professionals, to wedding-day fantasies, this shoot fulfilled all our hopes and expectations.

A delicate floral backdrop for the sweetheart table, perfectly paired silk florals from Charlotte’s Flowers, all captured by the perpetually creative Tori Photography. Really though, what more could you ask for? Tiffany Burke Events, event planner extraordinaire, coordinated the styled shoot between a fabulous handful of local wedding vendors, and all the magic took place in one of Albuquerque’s favorite venues, The Canyon Club.

As for the sweethearts themselves, two lovely local models, cruised around The Canyon Club with an adorable golf cart and love in their eyes. Punctuated by splashes of sparkles and lace, no detail of this shoot went unnoticed, and all came together to create such a wonderfully delicate and elegant moment in time. Fashioned by the veteran vendor Mr. Tux, the groom wore a light gray suit — the perfect fresh and airy fit for the southwestern sun. And the bride… well, you’ll just have to see the photos for yourselves. Her gown was breathtaking, and it’s better we try not to describe it with words.

A very special thank you to these wedding professionals, who worked together to manifest this wedding-day fantasy, showcasing their incredible talent and offering local brides some IRL inspiration. For a full list of the participating vendors, scroll on! Links to contact and book the professionals included.

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Photography | Tori Photography

Decor & Planning | Tiffany Burke Events

Venue |The Canyon Club

Cake | The Cake Boutique

Hair + MUA | C. Johnson Makeup

Suit | Mr. Tux Formalwear

Dress | David’s Bridal

Floral | Charlotte’s Flowers

Invitations | Pennysmiths Paper

Decor | Simply Decor and Events

Ceremony Chairs | America Tent Rentals 

 

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