Warming Hearts & Hands: Real Wedding at Los Poblanos Historic Inn + Organic Farm

It ended up being 25 degrees on our wedding day, and we spent 2 hours taking photos and walking the grounds. Those 2 frigid hours were the most intimate part of our wedding. Los Poblanos was absolutely gorgeous in winter, and despite the cold weather, we could not be happier to be outside together before our ceremony.

– Kayla, Bride

We’re getting closer and closer to that highly anticipated time of the year full of pumpkin scented candles and that delightful crisp morning air! We can’t wait for the cold weather to make it’s grand entrance so that we may bring out our oversized sweaters and those cherished cups of hot cocoa. There seems to be something so special about the colder seasons, maybe it’s just because we get to cuddle up close with our loved ones to keep warm. It’s always nice to get that extra dose of love and intimacy to keep our hearts beating and a sense of joy flowing throughout the world.

For the Perfect Wedding Guide team, the colder seasons mean that the end of the year is upon us, and thus we are gearing up for our final big wedding show of the year in November, Diamond Dash! The show is incredibly exciting filled with the latest trends in fashion, wedding professionals, giveaways, and our favorite moment, the chance to dive into a cake to find FREE diamond jewelry. Aside from all of the show planning, we also get to reflect on the real weddings that are featured in our recent issue of the magazine. This wedding encompassed the ideal Fall/Winter vibes that we are so eagerly waiting for.

For our beloved couple Kayla & Roman, the cold brought them closer to each other on their wedding day than they had expected since they weren’t only warming their hearts, but also their hands. The bride and groom chose Los Poblanos Historic Inn + Organic Farm for its rustic farm aesthetic that is simply magical year-round and it was a great match for their winter theme. Can we take a moment to talk about how much we love that our vendors offer a variety of options throughout the seasons? Every couple is looking for a location that is going to reflect their interests, because no two love-birds are the same! Whether you love the indoors, outdoors, rain, shine, snow, or any combination of all of these, we know that you’ll find a venue that speaks to your heart and soul. It is no doubt that Los Poblanos Historic Inn + Organic Farm spoke to Kayla and Roman, and we are sure glad that they are able to share the day with all of us!

The varying shades of brown, subtle hints of auburn, and icy blues perfectly reflect the intimate vibes that the couple were hoping to find for their Winter wedding. Kayla wore a dazzling, snow-white wedding gown and Roman donned a black tux with a dapper bowtie– the two looked like they were ready to attend the most exclusive red carpet event. Kayla even threw on an adorable fur coat to keep warm for the outdoor sessions. Functional and stylish!

If you’re not convinced that Kayla & Roman had the best winter wedding ever, then see for yourself by checking out the gallery of dreamy photos captured by the incredible Elizabeth Wells Photography.

Featured Venue: Los Poblanos Historic Inn + Organic Farm
Photographer: Elizabeth Wells Photography
Cake + Catering: Los Poblanos Historic Inn + Organic Farm
Hair + Makeup: Genica Lee
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The 3 Main Benefits of Eloping

No, the New Mexico Perfect Wedding Guide team has not been kidnapped. It’s still us, the same love-obsessed locals whose entire lives revolve around weddings! We bet you never thought we’d be advocating against having a wedding, right? We didn’t either.

When it comes down to it though, we’re not choosing elopements over weddings, and we’re not saying either is better than the other. Elopements and weddings are two sides of the same lovey-dovey, romantic coin and plus, we have some introverts on the team who would be happy to avoid the crowd a traditional wedding can draw.

It helped too, that just when our wedding brains were steering toward elopement territory, a gorgeous gallery from T. Rayne Photography happened to come into view. Marisol & Charles, newlyweds and best friends, eloped in Santa Fe this past July, and Taylor, of T. Rayne Photography, was there to catch every smile and scintillation during the wonderfully intimate and incredibly happy occasion.

Their elopement session, full of laughter and love, was just the thing we needed to really get on board the elopement train. It also happens to be the session that’s most emblematic of all the benefits of choosing to elope instead of having a full traditional wedding. Wanna know why? Let’s jump into the 3 main benefits of eloping, then!

1. Your love is at the forefront

While the beating heart of weddings is love, too, the hustle and bustle of planning a wedding can sometime elbow its way to the forefront of your celebration. With vendors to book, cousins to invite, venues to tour, groomsmen to wrangle, gowns to be fitted, and more, the reality of planning a wedding isn’t always as pretty as the aftermath.

If you and your partner are working full-time, having children or dogs, are building a home together, or working through any other sort of life-stuff, you might not have the time to plan a full wedding. So your options then become either hire a wedding planner, or have an elopement. Both options suit different needs and personalities, so it all depends on what your love looks like.

And no one said you had to miss out on the party! More and more, we’re seeing local engaged couples opt for elopement ceremonies so that more focus can be put on the reception. Whether your reception is right after your elopement, later in the year, or for your 5 years anniversary, you can always celebrate your union with the people you love. (And avoid hurting your in-laws’ feelings if they don’t get invited to the elopement!)

2. You get what you really, actually want

Because, maybe you actually do want your in-laws there for the ceremony. Or maybe you want to wear photorealistic dinosaur head masks for part of the ceremony, because it’s hilarious and also surprisingly adorable. Or maybe you want to run away to the woods with the love of your life and secretly bind your futures together in the company of Ponderosa pine trees.

Whatever you want, you can have it.

It’s an elopement, not a wedding. There are no guests lists to work around, no great-aunts to please, no dresses and suits to coordinate around everyone’s aesthetic preferences and personal styles, it’s just about you and your soon-to-be spouse.

So yeah, get those dino heads on, it’s your day.

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3. You save money

Yeah, yeah, we know. One of the first things people think of when they hear elopement is the money they’d save if they chose to do that instead of having a traditional wedding. And sure, that money can go toward a home, your honeymoon, or a myriad of other things.

Or, you could use the money you save on skirting the venue to focus on what is really important for you and your partner to have while you forge your new life together. For Marisol & Charles, it was important to have gorgeous, intimate photos to revisit for the rest of their lifetime together — that’s where T. Rayne Photography came in, of course!

For you and your partner, it might be something different. But with the money you save by eloping, you can choose to have the photographer, dress, location, or florist of your absolute dreams. All the rest of that stuff? Well, you can save it for your vow renewal or killer reception.

There is no wrong decision though. Whether you choose to weather the storm of planning a full, traditional wedding or go for something quieter, smaller, and more intimate like the Santa Fe elopement T. Rayne Photography captured — it’s all for the sake of love. (And for our sake too, because you know we live vicariously through the local weddings and elopements around us, so either way we’ll be swooning.)

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Black Swan Events: For When Your Wedding Decor Simply Must Dazzle

Black Swan stepped up to the plate and handled everything for an extremely over scheduled bride and groom[…]. Everything was absolutely beautiful down to the last detail.

Gabriel, local groom

That’s the simple reality of weddings. Brides, grooms, fiancés — they’re all just lovely titles we add to describe real, normal human beings. These human beings, as you might guess, have real human being jobs, families, friends, responsibilities, and obligations that often take up nearly all their bandwidth. So when it comes time to plan a wedding, our over-scheduled brides, grooms, and couples are, most often, already spread too thin.

Which is when Black Swan Events steps in. Joann and Brian, the married duo whose creativity and meticulous attention to detail drives Black Swan Events forward, are the kinds of people you call to save the day. (Or, if you’re a little more ahead of the game, you call them to make sure the day never needs saving at all!) After learning and evolving within the New Mexico wedding community for years now, Black Swan Events is one of the few event companies who can truthfully claim to be ‘full service.’

Their dedication to precision has famed their name among engaged couples in New Mexico, and their professionalism paired with simple kindness has ensured their lifelong relationships with other wedding professionals in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Which means that when our darling human being brides, grooms, and couples feel simply up to the neck with officiant recommendations and marketing materials from DJs across the state, Black Swan Events can cut through the clutter and offer reliable guidance for choosing vendors, venues, and everything in between.

While we love all our New Mexico wedding professionals, we can’t always offer our full, wholehearted support and commendations, simply because we haven’t had the chance to work with every single business in our state. When it comes to Black Swan Events though, we can say with complete confidence that they will take care of you, because they also take care of us. If you’ve had the chance to visit one of our many extravagant wedding shows, chances are you’ve seen some Black Swan Events decor in action.

From the most minute, like the hand-lettering on your balloons, to the sweeping draping covering a ballroom ceiling, Joann and Brian cover every corner. Years of devotion to the engaged couples in New Mexico have brought them to near-celebrity status in the community, and for all the right reasons. (Don’t believe it? Check out their plethora of 5-star reviews!) To book Black Swan Events for your wedding, and ensure your decor will dazzle beyond belief, you can contact Joann and Brian here.

See more from this wedding here: Let’s Get Mehried, Shams + Sharmin

Joanne and her staff were simply amazing! They helped us find an excellent photographer, DJ, etc… And walked us through the whole wedding planning process. She designed all of our decorations and florals that were simply stunning! The day of the wedding she took care of every tiny detail leaving us to enjoy the celebration of our daughter’s special day. I highly recommend this company to plan your big event!  

Laura, local bride

Maura Jane Photography

Joanne planned all of our décor for our wedding reception. She is professional and easy to get along with and has a niche for creativity. I received so many wonderful comments about the décor of our ballroom for the reception. She worked on my budget and planned her design accordingly. She then gave me three options for price levels around my budget. She listened to what I wanted and incorporated it into my design. 

Tracy, local bride

See more from this wedding here: New Years Wedding Bash {Dominic + Erin}

Thank you to Joann and her staff for a beautiful job decorating our ballroom for our 10 year vow renewal. You brought my vision to reality. We had so many compliments from our guests how beautiful everything looked. Thank you again for giving us wonderful memories to remember!
Paula
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Blo: Albuquerque’s Fav Blow Dry Bar

When you hear the phrase blow dry bar, your mind might conjure up imagery of 1950’s ladies in pleats and patterns getting blow-outs and blow-drys all in a row. But with just a three letter distinction, the blow dry bar suddenly becomes Blo Blow Dry Bar, and everything changes. Gone are the days of mint green tile and hair as tall as the doorframe. Instead, here among our wedding professionals in Albuquerque, we have sleek edges and minimalist white space with lush, comfortable seating that makes your hair appointment feel more like an appointment in the clouds.

The Bloers, also known as your stylists, have dedicated their nimble fingers to elevating your hair. In height, maybe if that’s what you’re into, but definitely in quality. By using the best quality ingredients paired with their meticulous training, you’d be hard pressed to not feel like your best self coming out of there.

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Which, yes, the focus of your wedding day is love, love, and more love, as you know. But regardless of how deep your love for your partner runs, it’s difficult to focus on anything else when you don’t feel like yourself. With so much to worry about when it comes to planning your wedding day too, the last thing you want to be focus on is a misplaced hair or an updo that doesn’t match your personality. Not to mention the hundreds of photos from your photographer and guests that will memorialize your celebration of love forever.

But don’t worry, and don’t let anyone tell you its vanity. It’s a day you want to remember and revisit fondly, for the rest of your everlasting marriage, so place your beautiful face (and hair!) in the talented hands of beauty professionals you can trust with Blo Blow Dry Bar.

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Feeding New Mexico’s Weddings and Communities: Street Food Institute

As certified New Mexico wedding experts, we, the Perfect Wedding Guide team, spend a lot of time talking about what it is that makes each individual wedding so special. Often, we hone in on the little details in the decor, bouquets, vows, and such. We do so because with hundreds of thousands of weddings happening all over the world, it’s the minutia of the moment that reveals the hidden intricacies of a couple’s wedding. So you might ask yourself questions while planning your wedding that seem overly introspective, but are actually totally valid. The colors you choose for your wedding do reflect your identities. Your venue, be it chic and modern with clean edges, or industrial and rustic with an old-world charm, really does encapsulate your penchants and personalities. 

Not to mention, as the world continues to be tumultuous and ever-turning, the decision-making of choosing wedding professional to trust, which vendor to collaborate with, and which small business to support, becomes even bigger than just deciding whose vibe matches yours. If you’re anything like us, then you want to support the kinds of businesses who do good for your community, too. 

So when we first learned about the Street Food Institute here in New Mexico, our initial reaction was to jump for joy. Equal parts food truck catering and culinary education program, the Street Food Institute nourishes our community not only through their delicious food, but through their sustainable entrepreneur pathways, too. The former provides unique, experiential dining options for weddings and events here in New Mexico, and the latter, long-lasting and life-changing professional development for students from all backgrounds. 

With specific programs for those most vulnerable in our community — like their partnership with Crossroads for Women, an organization for formerly incarcerated women — the Street Food Institute empowers and educates while they feed and delight their customers and friends. You can choose from one of their many fine-tuned, carefully curated menus — brunch foods, taco bars, causal eats, vegetarian cuisine, and asian buffets — or you can take advantage of their professional chef expertise and have a custom menu created to perfectly compliment the other eats and treats at your wedding. With either option, you can move forward with the Street Food Institute knowing you’re supporting and celebrating a local business who strengthens our entire community. 

Plus, if we’re being honest here, we all know the food truck trend is the most adorable and convenient thing to ever hit the food scene here in New Mexico. By partnering with the Street Food Institute for your wedding, you can reflect your good taste both literally and metaphorically, and create an experience for your family and friends unlike any other. To contact the incredibly dedicated, incredibly kind team over at the Street Food Institute, you can contact them here. 

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What Local Engaged Couples Have to Say About Planning a Wedding in New Mexico

So, if we’re being honest with ourselves, most people in New Mexico know Perfect Wedding Guide for our wedding shows. Which makes sense, considering how many hundreds of engaged couples and local wedding professionals come together to make shows like the Diamond Dash, Bride’s Night Out, and the Wedding Gallery possible. We’re not really complaining, promise, but we actually have a lot of love and appreciation from some of our smaller events, like the Bridal Board + Vendor Mixer!

The 2019 edition of the Bridal Board + Vendor Mixer flew past us just this last week. (Of course months of planning, collaborating, and designing goes by in a dizzying but beautiful flash!) All we want to talk about is all the amazing nuggets of knowledge we learned, but wait…

What even is the Bridal Board + Vendor Mixer?!

Great question, reader! This particular event was conceptualized to fill the gap between local engaged couples and the wedding professionals who serve them. (Sound familiar?) Essentially, the Bridal Board + Vendor Mixer is oriented like a research or focus group. We invite around 10 engaged or recently married couples from the local community to come share their insights, triumphs, complaints, compliments, woes, worries, and wonders about the wedding planning process in New Mexico. 

Then, with bellies full of a complementary, gourmet dinner, the wedding professionals from all over New Mexico take note, adjust their practices, ask questions, and, hopefully, grow! It’s one of the few opportunities you have in any business-client relationship to truly hear and communicate with one another. It’s how we’re able to keep the eclectic New Mexico wedding market moving and evolving in the right direction.

Ready to learn what the engaged couples who have come before you have to say about the wedding planning process in New Mexico? Let’s jump in with our 3 main takeaways.

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1. Inclusivity is Key.

Another word for inclusivity here could be clarity. When we asked the couples, “What is the most important quality you are looking for when hiring a wedding professional?” the conclusion was the same across the board. Couples look for those who exude kindness and personality, and vendors who actually listen to their vision without imposing their own ideas on the couple. 

When we asked the couples what the vendors they choose did to earn their business, what we heard reaffirmed these values. They appreciated (and went on to book) the professionals who didn’t exclusively brag about themselves, whose websites were clear and communicative, and whose work accurately represented the couples they want to work with.

For example, if a wedding professional exclusively promotes straight couples on their website and social media channels, the chances of reaching LGBTQ couples are pretty much nil.

To sum: be clear, be kind, be inclusive, and listen well.

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2. Stick to Email, Folks.

Yes, the digital world is ever changing, and it’s so tempting to make texting your main form of communication. (You can do it from bed, from the gym, from the couch with Netflix playing in front of you, so we totally get it.)

But, because lots of couples create a specific email address for wedding planning, keeping all communications in one place is best. There’s higher visibility of conversations in email as well, so accountability comes much easier.

Also, hate is a strong word, but our couples felt strongly about this: they hate phone calls. Like, really and truly. Most couples are at work during a business’s hours of operations, or they’re at home with their partners and families.

Remember: stick to email.

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3. Yes, Social Media is Still Important.

Your website should still be the home of your business, but social media is where the vast majority of couples look for wedding inspiration. The two top contenders, which you might be able to guess already, are Instagram and Pinterest.

Instagram is a great platform to utilize, according to the local couples, because it’s easy to return to feed posts for references — though they love seeing stories, especially of behind-the-scenes previews for styled shoots and weddings. Pinterest is beneficial for businesses as well because it’s so visually-oriented. Then, there’s always the concept of pinfinity, too!

(Pinfinity = the fact your pins continue to be recirculated by pinners long after you post them, whereas Instagram posts are usually only seen within the first 48 hours of posting.)

Here’s your excuse to log on, friends, and show the world what you’re working with.

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A very special thank you to all the incredible local businesses who made this awesome, collaborative event possible: Embassy Suites, for generously hosting us and feeding all our guests a marvelous meal; De Novo Pastoral Services for being our informed and entertaining emcee; Beth Waldron Photography for capturing all the fun above; Estella Floral Design for our darling centerpieces; Funky Olive Designs for our pretty little invitations; Cello for Weddings for serenading all our guests with delightful live cello music; and Black Swan Events, for transforming the ballroom into a conducive, inspiring space.

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New Mexico Wedding Photography with Shutter Force

We were particularly impressed with Megan and James’ infectious enthusiasm, which made the day even more fun and memorable. They are truly adventure photographers and are up for anything to get a great photo. It is obvious that they enjoy their jobs and love spending time with their couples while providing great pictures.

-Amanda, local + engaged

One of the many things that makes New Mexico oh so special — besides the green chile, intoxicating desert landscapes, and mañana mentality, of course — is the variety of people, cultures, and communities coexisting here together. There’s no one, dominant kind of person here, but rather a collection of different experiences of the world, values, stories, and lives.

When it comes to choosing the wedding professionals you’ll work with to make your dream day come true, then, the options are endless. Taking a look at even just the range of skill we have from local photographers, and those who have come from all over the world to be ceaselessly inspired by New Mexico, your choices are definitely not limited. Which means you have the opportunity here to spend time with your decision, and choose the photographer or photography team that matches your aesthetic preferences and personality. How lucky is that?!

Every photographer in New Mexico is talented in their own unique ways, too, so there really is no wrong decision when it comes to choosing someone in-state. But there are a few who we can say, from personal experience, go above and beyond to capture your celebration of love in all its grandness — and all the important, tiny moments too — with collaborative hearts and full dedication. You see where we’re going here?

Meagan and James are the husband and wife duo behind the respected name, Shutter Force Photography, and when we say dedicated, we mean dedicated. Now, of course the couple had their own wedding photographed, so they’ve been on both sides of the lens and know how to move and operate within the bustling business of a wedding day without being obtrusive or missing a special moment. This, paired with their adventurous and fun-loving personalities, makes Shutter Force Photography feel more like a couple of your close friends, Meagan and James, who happen to be supremely skilled behind the camera. Which you can see, through the candid smiles, comfortable postures, and wide open hearts of everyone who collaborates with them.

We could talk endlessly about Shutter Force Photography‘s particular strengths and aesthetic style, but no matter how heavily we lean on the thesaurus, nothing comes close to describing their ability to capture sweeping landscapes and delicate details like, well, their photos of sweeping landscapes and delicate details. So we’ll let them take it from here.

To book Shutter Force Photography for your wedding, you can contact Meagan and James here.

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Outstanding, caring and enthusiastic photographers, who do an amazing job of catching the big and little details that make up a special day!

-Mark, local + newlywed

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