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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Spilling the Beans {Part Two!}

You might remember our post Spilling the Beans: Wedding Vendors’ Best Kept Secrets from last month — super sneaky budgeting tricks ring a bell? Or never-before-heard pro-tips? Well, we’re back with more! In a never-ending quest to make dreams come true for New Mexico’s wedding professionals and local engaged couples, we decided throw even more wedding planning advice at you.

Coming straight from the mouths of Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s top wedding vendors, the following tips are money-saving, stress-reducing, fun-inducing guaranteed. But don’t take our word for it, scroll on, then call up your local vendors and put them to use!

Maura Jane Photography
Maura Jane Photography

Your Photos

When choosing a photographer first look at the different styles that each photographer offers and narrow it down to ones that really vibe with your taste and personality. A lot of photographers offer beautiful trendy photos with lots of filters and moodiness which is something we do not do. While our shooting style is natural and romantic, our editing style is clean and classic, so when you look at your photos 10 years from now you still love them just as much as the first day you saw them.

Maura Jane Photography

 

Pennysmiths Paper

On Paper

We can do as little or a much as you need for your wedding invitations. You can buy the paper from us and print them yourself. You can even bring in your own design that we would be more than happy to print.  You can have us design, print, assemble, address and even go to the post office for you!

Pennysmith’s Paper

 

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The Experience

One of our biggest secrets is centered around your event experience. We always strive to give more value than contracted. Sometimes it includes additional gear for sound or lighting, or maybe it’s a custom monogram or our 360 media guru footage. It’s always something that enhances your event experience beyond the original scope. Going the extra mile isn’t extra, it’s who we are.

Cutmaster Music

 

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Last, but certainly not least!

For big weddings, an open air photo booth is a must. Whether you’re taking a quick snap with your bestie or capturing your entire wedding party, it’s the versatility you will depend on. On the other hand, a traditional, enclosed booth may be more fitting for an intimate celebration. Never be afraid to ask for references from either your venue or your photographer and be sure to follow up with an interview! Book early because typically dates fill up fast.  And give your guests a challenge + have fun with it! Have your guests do things like tell a story in three pictures, get a picture with the mother of the bride or the loudest person at the wedding. It gets the guests to laugh more and branch out to mingle!

Selfie Sensations

 

Check out our first set of tips + tricks for more advice on your big day 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!}

 

 

Relax with a Romantic Spa Date Before You Say, “I Do”

In the midst of all the wedding planning excitement, it is always a good idea to slow down and remember what’s really important — your love for each other and your soon-to-be new life together. One of the ways couples are staying grounded is with a relaxing spa date or “pre-moon,” if you will.

Depending on your idea of relaxation, however, there are many ways to recharge in New Mexico, and some at little to no cost. For instance, you can go for a hike at one of our beautiful national preserves like the Valles Caldera or melt your cares away in one of our crystal clear hot springs.

Of course, a luxurious day at the spa is always a convenient option to slip away for a romantic mini getaway and perfect for pampering pre-wedding day! If you would like to unwind before your big day, slip away to one of these beautiful spas right here in the city or just a short drive away.

Photo by La Fonda on the Plaza

Five of Our Favorite Spas Across the State

  1. Green Reed Spa at Sandia Resort & Casino, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  2. The Spa at La Fonda on the Plaza, Santa Fe, New Mexico
  3. Spa Botanica at Sanctuary on the River, Ruidoso, New Mexico
  4. The Spa at Isleta Resort & Casino, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  5. Bliss Salon & Spa, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Photo by Sanctuary on the River

For more on everything Wedding + Wedding Planning, visit us at: PerfectWeddingGuide.com

Earthy Autumn Inspo at El Nido Farm

Nestled in the charming and agricultural landscape of the south valley, the old world architecture and natural elements of the Rio Grande fashioned the perfect setting for this earthy styled shoot at El Nido Farm. Captured by our very own Briana Nicole Photography, I can’t think of a better place to inspire true love than El Nido Farm — which literally means “the nest.”

Like an all-star cast, it is a treat to see these local wedding professionals merge with a kaleidoscope of creativity and talent to design this modern, yet romantic styled shoot to compliment our iconic New Mexico surroundings. This lovely group of ladies who collaborated on this one-of-a-kind shoot are among our faves here at Perfect Wedding Guide.

From the mouthwatering cake by Small Cakes to the antique-style stationery by Funky Olive, the moody color palette is so romantic and timely for this time of year. As we embrace the darker colors of fall, the stained walnut tones of the vintage decor by Darling Details, paired with fig and golden accents against a forest green backdrop creates the perfect mood for autumn inspo.

The inspiration for the cake was vintage romance. We chose a cream and rose gold color palette with a classic design to compliment the warm earth tones of El Nido Farm.

— Brigid, Small Cakes

Photos by Briana Nicole Photography

Meet the professionals who made this styled shoot possible:

Venue: El Nido Farm | Photographer: Briana Nicole Photography | Decor: Darling Details | Planner: Just Lovely Wedding & Event Planning | Floral: 21 Flowers | Cake: Small Cakes | Stationery: Funky Olive | Hair + Makeup: Gypsy Trail Makeup and Hair | Attire: Forever Yours

For more on everything Wedding + Wedding Planning, visit us at: PerfectWeddingGuide.com

Registry or Money Tree? The Pros + Cons

As you plan your wedding, you may be wondering whether you should create a registry or ask for money. While both options are beneficial in their own way, the benefits of one far outweigh the other. In fact, in my own experience, the registry proved to be a waste. To help you figure out which option is best for you, we’ve come up with a few pros and cons of registries and money trees. At the end of the day, however, it all comes down to what you really want.

The REGISTRY

  • Con: You may not know what style of décor you want for your house, so registering for random stuff can make your new home together feel cluttered. *Tip for New Wives: Remember, your new home also belongs to your husband so you want to make sure to choose things you both agree on and that he would feel comfortable living with. Some men may not care, but most aren’t going to feel comfortable with pink and white shabby chic everything.
  • Con: Chances are, you will register for a bunch of trendy items that in a few years will make your house look outdated. *Tip: If you decide to go with a registry, make sure to register for classic, timeless items that will go with any décor and will never go out of style. As your style evolves as a new couple, the items you registered for will blend right in.
  • Con: To add to the first two, if you don’t know exactly what you want or need, a registry may prove to be a waste of time and money.
  • Con: You may not have a home together, so if you register for items without knowing what your future home will look like, this could be a problem.
  • Con: Not to mention, items may look a lot different in the store or on the internet than they do in your house or in person.
  • Pro: If there are specific essentials you know you will both need for your new home and new life together a registry can be a life saver.

The MONEY TREE

  • Pro: Instead of just putting “money tree” on your invitation, you can get specific and ask your guests to contribute to one big purchase. For instance, you can ask your guests to contribute to your honeymoon, a down payment on a new home or even a charity. For example, a friend of mine asked guests to contribute to their honeymoon to Scotland. When I received my “thank you” in the mail, she included a picture of her and her new hubby on their honeymoon in Scotland.
  • Pro: Asking guests to contribute to a money tree for a specific purpose, can help eliminate the chance of receiving an expired basket of sausage and cheese from old aunt Liz.
  • Pro: If you’re not sure what you want, you can save the money until you both figure out how you want to decorate your new home together. Instead of having random stuff (that looks a lot different in your house than it did in the store or on the internet), later on, you will have a nice stash to purchase the things you really want when you’re ready.
  • Pro: Not only will you save yourself time, but you will also save your guests time and money, from having to go out and purchase your registered gift or buying online and paying for shipping.
Photos by Arielei Kinzer Photography

What are your thoughts on creating registries or asking for money? Personally, I can’t think of any cons for a money tree, can you?

For more on everything Wedding + Wedding Planning

Mountainside Elopements: Nature’s Sanctuary

One of the many things I love about New Mexico are the varying landscapes within its borders. As you travel along the highway, you can pass through everything from deserts, farmland and open meadows of the Valles Caldera to majestic mountain peaks of the Sandias and Sangre de Cristos, all within a matter of hours. With such beautiful scenery across our diverse state, there is ample opportunity for romantic elopements.

If you’re planning a wedding on a tight budget (or not) and would rather bypass all the stress of a large wedding anyway, a whimsical outdoor elopement is perfect for you! Mountainside elopements are one of the hottest trends on the wedding scene — and for good reason. Not only are they naturally beautiful and fun, they are completely budget friendly. And with a wide variety of climates and landscapes to choose from in our gorgeous state, you don’t have to be limited to mountainsides.

First off, you still get to plan all the fun stuff like a wedding dress, bridal bouquet, photographer and wedding cake to complete your epic celebration. Lucky for you, New Mexico is home to amazing photographers and officiants who live for adventurous moments like this. Secondly, you get to save a ton of money on decorations because nature provides the best and most beautiful decor (no setup necessary). More importantly, your venue will cost so much as a day pass, if anything at all!

Another cool thing is that you get to share this special occasion with your closest family and friends — if, that is, you decide to include others. With a mountainside elopement, the pressure is off and you are free to plan and execute your wedding however you see fit! Check out this amazing mountainside elopement captured by Matt & Tish Photography at the Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Photos by Matt & Tish Photography

For more on everything Wedding + Wedding Planning, visit us at: PerfectWeddingGuide.com

The Minimoon: A Local Honeymoon Staycation

Want to go on a luxurious, romantic honeymoon, but don’t want to break the bank? Minimoons, or local honeymoons, are the perfect solution. Rather than spending thousands of dollars to fly across the country (or the world) to stay a short time together in a foreign land with jet lag, invest in your future and go on local honeymoon instead — it’s just as fun and romantic without all the stress of traveling. Plus, you get to relax from all the wedding festivities!

Once you find the perfect minimoon spot, you can still do all the fancy things you would normally do on a conventional honeymoon far far away. You can still have a beautiful candlelight dinner, get a his and her massage or go sightseeing and discover new things about each other and your city on bike, horseback or trolley. Best of all, you don’t have to spend the first few nights as a married couple in crowded airports and rental cars!

Lucky for you, we have some of the most beautiful and relaxing honeymoon spots right here in New Mexico! Some of our favorites include Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm, Hyatt Regency Albuquerque, Sandia Resort & Casino, Hotel Andaluz, Girliebird & Co, La Fonda on the Plaza and Isleta Resort & Casino. And many of these gorgeous locations offer all the amenities you would want on a romantic honeymoon getaway and then some.

For instance, Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm offers a beautiful farm-to-table breakfast and dinner. Not to mention, they can make arrangements for a couples massage or local bike tour. If you would like a more intimate setting, Girliebird & Co is the perfect option. Like a home away from home, they offer a cozy honeymoon cottage and delicious homemade breakfast. It is so charming you won’t want to leave.

What about a romantic weekend at La Fonda on the Plaza in Santa Fe? Explore the historic sites of Santa Fe by day and relax with a rooftop dinner overlooking the city by night. Whether you’re staying in a friends cabin, a family vacation home or one of our honeymoon favorites, you don’t have to go in debt to have a romantic minimoon staycation. Besides, just being together is what a honeymoon is all about! ♥

Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm, Photo by Kevin & Amanda
Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm, Photo by Mike Crane Photography
Girliebird & Co
Girliebird & Co
La Fonda on the Plaza, Santa Fe
La Fonda on the Plaza, Santa Fe

For more on everything Wedding + Wedding Planning, visit us at: PerfectWeddingGuide.com

Trending: The Gift Lounge

Favors and gifts for guests are one of my favorite things about weddings. They give you the perfect opportunity to share your love and gratitude with all your friends and family. With so many options and ideas, however, it can be hard to narrow it down to one item. Thankfully, that’s where the gift lounge comes in! You no longer have to limit your gifts to one item. You can dedicate a whole area, or room (depending on your venue), to gifts for your guests. Best of all, they have the freedom to pick and choose the things they like most.

Similar to bars beyond cocktails, gift lounges are simply a “gift bar” — and the sky is the limit when it comes to assembling your perfect gift lounge. For instance, you can have gourmet sodas and candy, local goods, handmade or personalized items and even fresh local fruit. With so many local vendors in the area, planning a fun and gorgeous gift lounge couldn’t be easier. Some of our favorites include Chocolate Maven, Thirty-One Gifts, Pennysmiths Paper and American Pie Company, just to name a few.

Take a look at some of their amazing favors and treats!

American Pie Bakery
American Pie Bakery
Brandon Kidd Photography
Chocolate Maven, Photo by Alicia Lucia Photography

Gift lounges may sound extravagant and intimidating, but if you think about it, we’ve been doing gift lounges for years — with gift bags! Whether you would like the help of a local professional or a completely DIY gift lounge, you can keep it simple, affordable and best of all, creative. Simply allow your guests to assemble their own gift bag, and — voilà — you have a gift lounge!

For more on everything Wedding + Wedding Planning, visit us at: PerfectWeddingGuide.com

Trending: Cake Designs to Take Your Breath Away

Most of us usually don’t think of the amount of skill and work it takes to create one these beautiful masterpieces when we think of wedding cakes. And yet, that’s exactly what they are — a masterpiece. Creating one of these modern marvels is like creating an edible work of art. Especially with the endless styles and designs people dream up, wedding cakes are no longer limited to the buttercream frosting and fake pearls of old.

Cakes have only become more intricate with modern trends including metallics, ruffles and polka dots, sprinkles, fruit and edible flowers and one of my favorites, hand-painted. Wherever you draw your inspiration, however, we have the best local wedding cakes artists who are always up for a challenge. To help you decide on a cake for your wedding, here are some of the trending masterpieces sweeping bakeries around the world.

I. Dripping & Metallic Cakes

Metallic and mouthwatering dripping cakes are perfect for brides and grooms who are trendy and all about modern design. These cakes are classy and edgy all wrapped into one delicious concoction!

Cake by Hansel & Gretel Cakes. Photo by Tennille Fink
Cake by Chocolate Maven, Photo by Alicia Lucia Photography

II. Ruffled & Polka Dot Cakes

For a softer touch, ruffles and polka dots are perfect for a romantic wedding with soft colors. No matter what trends come and go, these classic styles are always a beautiful option.

Cake by Chocolate Maven
Cake by Savory Fare, Photo by Maura Jane Photography

III. Fruit Topped & Edible Flower Cakes

Coinciding with the farm-to-table movement, cakes mounded with fresh fruit and edible flowers are perfect for those of us who prefer an organic-style cake inspired by nature.

Photo by We Are All Stardust
Cake by Chocolate Maven

IV. Sprinkle Cakes

You can never go wrong with sprinkles! With a modern twist on sprinkles these days, they are sophisticated and fun. Give your inner child the option to have sprinkles or not and you will always choose sprinkles!

Cake by Bespoke Bride
Cake by Style Sweet CA

V. Hand Painted Cakes

As an artist, it’s only natural for me to love hand-painted cakes. If Leonardo da Vinci were still alive, I’m certain his inbox would be flooded with requests for one of these original works of art!

Photo by Cake Ink
Cake by Bobbette & Belle, Photo by Vicki Bartel Photography
Cake by Olofson Design, Photo by Anneli Marinovich Wedding & Lifestyle Photography

As you can see, many of these cakes are a combination of modern trends and styles. Have fun and play with different styles to create your own original wedding cake masterpiece!

For more on everything Wedding + Wedding Planning, visit us at: PerfectWeddingGuide.com