Vendor Love

Perfect Southwest Weddings

Guess what? Matt and Lorena are on the cover of the 2018 Perfect Southwest Weddings magazine from the Las Cruces Bulletin! 

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Throughout the wedding guide our wedding photography is featured alongside articles full of wedding planning advice and ideas. I thought it would be fun to post the photos that are published in the magazine with some behind the scenes details.

Madeleine and Colt were married in scenic Ruidoso. They are both from Texas and planned a destination wedding that included their families and closest friends. Their wedding was simple and intimate with touches of elegance like the fur stole Madeleine wore for keep warm. After the church ceremony they held a wedding dinner and reception in a large vacation rental home. Family photos, white rose petals, and string lights were easy and stress free reception decor. 

Celina loves the fall season so we made sure to schedule her engagement portrait session when the pecan tree leaves were changing colors. She included a chalkboard sign with her and Jammal’s wedding date and then used her engagement photos in their Save the Date cards.

Celina’s wedding dress is from David’s Bridal. As a sweet gift to her father, Celina had a heart patch embroidered with a special message which she then attached to her dad’s tie. As a mom of two daughters, these daddy daughter moments at weddings always get me. 

Jammal and Celina were married in the courtyard patio of the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum by Pastor Conrad from Living Waters church. It was a perfect sunny afternoon with a gorgeous view of the Organ Mountains. 

I think Celina was ahead of this year’s Pantone color trend. She used shades of purple in her bouquet which was created by Fiesta Flowers. Wedding day coordination and planning was assisted by Elegant Events.

Benny and Melanie were married at Sonoma Ranch Golf Course on a warm summer day in August. I love summer skies. For me, nothing beats a bright blue sky with puffy white clouds. The covered patio at the clubhouse made the perfect dance floor for the rest of the evening. 

Lorena and Matt also used purple as one of their wedding colors. Since they were planning a wedding for October they used oranges and maroons as accent colors. Look at all those deep lovely colors in Lorena’s bouquet from Barb’s Flowerland. Stunning!

Nate and I always highly suggest sunset photos to our clients. If you plan ahead it’s easy to sneak away from the wedding reception for a few moments. The garden patio area of the Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces looks incredible at night. If I didn’t know better I could be fooled into thinking we were miles away at an island resort. And look how well those sunset colors complement Lorena and Matt’s wedding colors?!

Garett and Gabrielle were married in one of the region’s most historic churches, the Basilica of San Albino on the Mesilla Plaza. Their getaway car was a vintage Porsche owned by Garett’s dad that was brought out of the garage for just this occasion. Jewel toned floral goodness and shotgun cased boutinerries was created by Calhoun Flower Farms. I have seen bridesmaids have matching hairstyles before but never groomsmen. The beards are a nice touch, well done gentlemen. 

Thankfully Garett and Gabrielle were up for more photos when sunset time rolled around. Big thanks to Garett’s brother and best man for holding my light and assisting me! Garett and Gabrielle held their reception at the Grapevine Plaza. Gabrielle and her bridesmaids had their hair and make up done by The Fixx Salon

 

Desiree had one of the most unique dresses I saw in 2017. Those flower details are so beautiful and she looked amazing on her wedding day! Before we wrapped up photography for the night, Nate convinced Desiree and Lucio to take one more photo. Nate loves photographing at night and he clearly had a vision in mind when he set up this photo. I think this photo of Desiree and Lucio, at the end of their wedding day, in the empty courtyard where they were married just a few hours prior will always carry a deep level of sentimentally with it. 

Dalina and Tony's summer wedding was very detail oriented. Which makes complete sense when you know Dalina. She's an auditor and is comfortable in the thick of details, details, details. And these details had a purpose and told a story. For instance, the pearls Dalina wore were from Tony's late mother. Tony's boutonniere was adorned with a small photo of his mother, which was a special way to have her close. 

Dalina's hair was done by Meghan Avilucea from Salon de Mesilla and her make up was done by Laura Juarez. After the church ceremony, their wedding reception was held at the picturesque Rio Grande Winery in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Everything at the reception was beautifully and romantically decorated by A Catered Affair. Dalina and Tony's cake was made by Deliciously Creative Cakes. A side note about the cake: During the cocktail hour of the reception Nate and I were photographing all the reception decor and details. Winds were starting to pick up and the sky was deepening to a grayish, thunder-storm-coming color. We hastened our step to get the detail photos we need as quickly as possible. As I was photographing the cake, the storm showed up in full force. You can actually see how the mountains are blocked out by the dust in the picture of the cake.  The winds were so powerful that the whole cake started to move. AH! I grabbed onto the base to stable it and Dalina's uncle ran over and we both hauled that beautiful cake inside. Moments later the freak storm everyone talked about for the rest of the summer (known as a haboob, you learn something new everyday!) rolled through the reception. Luckily, Dalina and Tony were able to stay in good spirits as the venue and catering crew got to work putting things back together. Weddings in New Mexico, man, you never know what is going to happen!

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Luis and Sabrina live in Germany. Sabrina is originally from the area and when Luis proposed they both knew they wanted to plan a wedding in the desert. Determined to do things their way and with no stress involved, they planned a very small, intimate wedding with just a handful of friends present. They were married by a judge on a small tucked away corner of Cattleman's Ranch in Fabens, Texas. For the traditional wedding toast they brought champagne that was made right in their hometown in Germany. Their wedding was featured on IntimateWeddings.com, click on over to read more about it and see more photos, like Sabrina's cacti bouquet!

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Jennett and Armando also dealt with a little bit of weather during their summer wedding. Not the freak storm kind, but just enough to make a moody dark sky. Which I don't mind at all! Jennett's hair and make up was done by Brenda Tarango. Gorgeous bouquets were created by Barb's Flowerland. Details and coordinating by Elegant Events

I am so pleased that a few images from the Los Portales styled shoot were featured in the magazine. This was such a fun shoot to collaborate on with a ton of the area's most creative wedding vendors! You can read all about the details, there are a ton, on this blog post. Or see the wedding blogs this shoot has been featured on: The Glittery Bride and The Coordinated Bride

You can find a copy of the Las Cruces Bulletin's 2018 Perfect Southwest Weddings around stores in Las Cruces.

Thanks to all the wonderful wedding vendors who make these special moments even more special and of course thank you to the editorial staff at the Bulletin for featuring our wedding photography!

Vendor Love: An Interview with Letters and Such

We first met Adriana from Letters and Such when she collaborated on our Los Portales Wedding photo shoot. Adriana is full of energy for life and is on a journey to fill the world (and blank Starbucks cups) with custom hand drawn calligraphy. She described her style of lettering as modern as compared to the traditional, more formal script you may be thinking of when you hear the word calligraphy. Her art is fresh and feminine and compliments a myriad of wedding themes. Nate and I sat down with her to discuss all the details of wedding calligraphy.

Here’s an introduction video to Adriana and how she became a calligrapher.

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What are some ways brides can incorporate calligraphy into their wedding details?

"I think the most common thing is signs, which is a huge trend right now. Welcome signs, menu boards, seating charts, dessert table signs. I also can do envelope addressing. Addressing envelopes with hand lettering and calligraphy is a really fun detail you can put on the outside of the envelope to reflect how beautiful it is on the inside. If you are writing your own vows you can have them calligraphed and lettered on special paper with colors and ink to match your wedding theme. Then your vows can be a keepsake forever and you can keep them in a scrapbook or photo album. You can customize anything!"

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What are the advantages of working with a local calligrapher instead of finding something online from a site like Etsy?

"Of course you can find anything online. The advantage of going local is you can sit down and talk with me and I can show you actual examples of my work and what I do. You can show me examples of what you like. I am right here so I can also deliver and come on site to your venue if necessary. There’s also the benefit of supporting local business which I think is a good thing. You could go online and search to have a sign or envelopes made but there is the complication factor of waiting for your envelopes or sign to arrive and then having to ship them to your calligrapher and again wait for them to come back to you when the project is finished. Some people rent signs and cannot ship them to a calligrapher."

"The thing about calligraphy and lettering for weddings is that it is custom. It is for you. You can’t go to Hobby Lobby or Wal Mart and find a sign with your names on it or your favorite saying or quote. It won’t be exactly what you want and you should have exactly what you want for your wedding."

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What advice can you give Las Cruces brides?

"If you want a sign or something personalized, don’t do it yourself, go to a professional. A wedding is special and once in a lifetime. You are going to cherish these memories and your wedding photos forever so you want it to look really nice. It is worth it to have it done by a pro. Weddings and wedding planning can get really stressful but it doesn’t have to be."

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Thank you Adriana for chatting with Nate and I about all you do! You can see more of Adriana's beautiful work on Facebook and Instagram

Vendor Love: An Interview with Let Them Eat Cake

Nate and I caught up with Stephanie from Let Them Eat Cake to talk about something delicious: wedding cakes (and cupcakes)! Stephanie is not only a professional, she is an artisan. Her devotion to her craft and clients shines through every cake she makes. Throughout our interview it was clear to me she knows what she is doing, she loves what she is doing, and she is a great asset to any bride and groom because she cares about their happiness. 

Here's an introduction video on how Let Them Eat Cake came to be.

Now on to the interview! 

What trends are you excited about this year for wedding cakes?

"I get this question every year and I dread this question because what I think weddings are about are the combining of two different people, their personalities, their likes, and what they deem they want to experience at their event. So to pigeon hole that into what’s trending right now; I dislike that. I think the cake should represent the couple getting married. I guide people towards defining what is unique for them. I commit myself completely to creating a vision that somebody has and I help people find that vision."

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When should a bride and groom book your services?

"As soon as they know they are interested in possibly working with me, give me a call. Let’s set up a time to sit down. The sooner they start the process, the less stress on them. My goal for my clients is for them to be happy. For them to be happy that means they are happy with look, taste, and price. I am very willing to work with them to figure out how we can get all three of these components to make them happy. If I cannot make them happy I would rather help them find someone who does. As much as I would love to be a part of their event, my goal is for their happiness."

What is a cake consultation like at Let Them Eat Cake?

"This is my life. I have been doing this professionally for about 16 years now. I know a whole bunch of things that I would love to tell the couple. A sit-down consultation is more of information exchange, it’s a no more pressure kind of thing. Consultations are complimentary. I know I do this a lot more than they do. I am very willing, able and happy to help guide them through different things. There’s so many possibilities in the realm of cake decorating that it can get a little bit overwhelming but I am happy to be that Sherpa, to be that guide."

 "I love it when brides come in with pictures. What I ask brides and grooms at a consultation is what is your overall theme, what is the overall feeling you want to invoke in your guests? With the pictures they have brought, I look and ask, “What did you like about this?” By looking at so many different things we can pick out what stands out to them and then create what is unique for them and their event. People come in with different concerns and different focuses and we always try to address the individual and that’s why consultations are so great. I do also offer tastings where we can try different cake flavors."

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What advice can you give to Las Cruces brides and grooms?

"We have over 450 flavor combinations, but that doesn't mean that you should have a cream cheese cake outside in July in the desert. Don't be afraid to ask questions, I am here as a resource."

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"Be true to yourself and what you want. A lot of times I see people forget, push down, or suppress their desires to please another. Be true with yourself and be true with your partner with what you want. I know it sounds so big and grandiose for something like cake but it’s a small reflection of everything."

"A lot of times people ask me, “How can you have people destroy it (the cake), you spent hours of intensive hours working on it?” and my response is part of the consumption of the cake is the visual: you need to see it, but then you also need to follow it up with eating it. It’s edible artistry. In that way, it’s kind of a temporary art installation. Your wedding cake has a different kind of importance because it is temporary and it’s not going to hang on your wall. You’re enjoying it for that moment and it’s kind of Zen really. You need to try to be in the moment."

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A big "Thanks!" to Stephanie for taking a moment to chat with us about wedding cakes! If your sweet tooth is needing some attention stop in to Let Them Eat Cake (located at 1001 E University Avenue) and try a cupcake, or two. 

Los Portales Styled Wedding Inspiration

Sometimes it is fun to play. To just create. Even though I know that, and have seen how beneficial it is to devote time to make photographs simply for the thrill of creating, it is still a struggle to actually make that happen in real life. You know what I am talking about. When you have your head down and are slogging through #adulting, whatever that looks like for you. Emails, deadlines, the dishes in the sink, yada yada. Whenever I can break free of that, even for a moment, and step out of the routine and make some magic happen, it is a wonderful experience. An experience I want to tell everyone about and sing from the roof tops. Here it is, some magic!

Our wedding photography business has allowed me to meet some other creative entrepreneurs and professionals. Hanging out with these people and their imaginative spirits is an exhilarating experience. After a few phone calls, texts, emails, and many Facebook messages an amazing team of vendors assembled and started the heavy lifting of brainstorming and planning this styled photo shoot. I have said it before and I will continue to say it, when you can find creative, capable people to work with, the best thing you can do is get out of their way and let them do their thing. I think this photo shoot is that mantra come to life. We decided to design the style of the photo shoot based on the enchanting landscape of southern New Mexico. New Mexico is after all the “Land of Enchantment.” A color palette of turquoise, sand, terra cotta, burgundy naturally emerged from this focus. Metallic accents of silver, wrought iron, and antique gold accompanied the desert inspired colors.  

I knew I wanted to photograph at a authentic southwest location, something true to the area. Location plays a large role in my planning and how I envision photographs in my mind. I first heard about Los Portales at the Las Cruces Bridal Showcase and then stumbled across the wedding venue's Instagram account and was captivated by the grand doors that accent the space. I am so glad the team at Los Portales was excited to participate in this wedding inspiration photo shoot. This space is absolutely beautiful; white walls, hardwood floors, unique string lights, red accent pendant lights, an adobe exterior, and of course those big architectural doors. Los Portales was first built in the 1930’s and for many years served the local community as a church. If you are looking for a wedding venue in southern New Mexico, you need to see this place with your own eyes.

The floral concepts and arrangements were designed by Susannah Calhoun of Calhoun Flower Farms. She created a show stopping table piece with air plants, succulents, and cacti. Individual stems also decorated the length of the rectangle table in turquoise and brown glassware. I love how the asymmetrical heights and colors of these individual pieces work together to form depth and create an eclectic feel. For the design pieces of the table setting to shine, they needed a strong foundation. Deanna Greene of Enchanted Occasions Event Rentals used sand, terra cotta, and turquoise colored linens to fuse the colors from our color palette. These bold colors stand out against the calmness of the white walls and hardwood floors of the room.

What would a wedding be without the details? Ariana Salcido of Letters and Such, provided gorgeous calligraphy with a menu card, invitation stationery, and a welcome chalkboard sign. She chose papers specifically thinking of the color palette, wood elements of the venue, and charcoal grey suit of the groom. Nate and I are both jealous of her mad lettering skills. She created the chalkboard lettering on the spot the day of the photo shoot!

Roxanne of Renee’s Bridal selected an Allure Bridals wedding gown that completed the vision of the shoot seamlessly. See what I did there? :) The bridal gown featured lace details over a blush undertone lining. The blush undertone hints to the sand color used throughout the wedding design. The bodice of the dress is adorned with silver and crystal beading. Our model, Elizabeth, looked stunning, as if that dress was made for her! Even though silver is the main metallic color of the details of this dress, who says you can’t mix metals?  I love how the antique gold bracelet and earrings provided by Heather Richman’s Chloe and Isabel boutique mesh together with the silver to accentuate the metallic element of this bridal look. Plus, the subtle burgundy and turquoise hues in the jewelry pair perfectly with the photo shoot color concept.

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Brenda Tarango of Make Up by Brenda gave the bride a natural and cool toned make up look. The soft light shade she selected for the eye shadow balances against the bold colors used in the tablescape and bouquet while the berry lip color brings just a touch of drama to the look.  Brenda spent nearly an hour braiding Elizabeth’s long hair into the most intricate and romantic braid I have ever seen! The soft loops and delicate weave of the braid is highlighted in contrast to the tight and intricate detail work of the living hair piece Susannah created using florals and cacti.

Let’s talk about the bouquet for a moment. Susannah is such an artist. And she is a visionary floral farmer. The florals and greenery featured in this southwest wedding design were locally grown. Bright pops of color and textures grab the eye's attention in this beautifully overflowing bouquet. 

And now for our dapper groom, Dustin. Everyone agreed the charcoal grey Michael Kors suit Roxanne suggested was the perfect choice to give the groom’s style an air of sophistication without sticking to a standard black suit. Continuing with the nontraditional sophistication vibe is the intricate live pocket square Susannah created. Tiny succulents and cacti sit proudly atop the suit’s breast pocket in place of a traditional boutonniere. Look at the detail complexities held in such a small space! Pure magic, I say. The brown shoe in this look helps to break up the grey and pairs nicely with the wood aspects of the venue.

During the photo shoot planning process, a few members took a field trip to visit Los Portales. As soon as we saw the hand carved wooden bar area we knew exactly where the cake should be photographed. Stephanie of Let Them Eat Cake approached the southwest wedding theme with the conviction to portray the desert and New Mexican landscape in a way that was true to her perspective and avoided any trite or kitsch representations. Using the southwest theme’s color palette, she created a collection of elegantly decorated cakes. By using the sand and turquoise hues, the cake’s design hints toward the relationship between expansive earth and big sky that New Mexico is so well know for. The showcase cake also has an attention grabbing metallic pattern that mimics the rising and setting sun with it’s accompanying rays of shine. The varying heights and styles of the cakes create a cohesive style with the eclectic shapes and sizes of the glassware used on the tablescape.

What began as a styled wedding reception look with the grand tablescape blossomed into a full wedding inspiration shoot with the addition of a lounge area and ceremony site. Three Sisters Wedding Services provided the vintage rentals and unique styling of each of these areas. In the lounge area, wood pedestals and distinctive furniture pieces mingle with burgundy candles on antique gold candlesticks. 

The lush turquoise settee cannot be overemphasized in the luxuriousness it brings to this wedding lounge set up. But it takes a close second to my favorite item Three Sisters included in the photo shoot. Using the outdoor lawn area that faces the impressive doors of the exterior of Los Portales, church pews were used for ceremony seating. These 10 feet long pews were salvaged from the historic Fort Boulevard United Methodist church in El Paso as it was being remodeled. I think this ceremony set up is so spot on for this venue. The church pews match the grand details of Los Portales’ exterior doors with their sturdiness and bring a sense of reverent tradition. Rugs were placed at the aisle’s end to root the ceremony look with southwestern texture and patterns. The rugs also add an element of softness to contrast the strong rustic features of the wood pews and doors.

I am so pleased with how wonderfully everything (and everyone!) came together for this styled wedding photo shoot. I realize how much time and effort every one of these wedding vendors put into this project: from the many planning sessions, the set up and clean up, and simply being away from their everyday business owner tasks. For that my heart is FULL of gratitude. What a superb community of creative professionals we have here blessing New Mexico brides and grooms!

Wedding Vendor credits:

Venue: Los Portales

Photography and Videography: Taylor'd Photography

Floral: Calhoun Flower Farms

Wedding Dress and Suit: Renee's Bridal

Cakes: Let Them Eat Cake

Calligraphy: Letters and Such

Hair and Make Up: Make Up by Brenda

Vintage rentals and styling: Three Sisters Wedding Services

Linens, chairs, flatware: Enchanted Occasions Event Rental

Jewelry: Chloe and Isabel

Models: Dustin Llanez and Elizabeth Reyes

 

Las Cruces Wedding Vendors

We are excited to have our work featured in the Las Cruces Bulletin's 2017/2018 Wedding Guide! This is the third year in a row we have had one of our couples snag the cover! But hey, who's counting?!

We love showing off our amazing couples and the beautiful weddings they have planned. Besides highlighting our New Mexico brides and grooms, the wedding guide also features the talent of other Las Cruces wedding vendors and the many gorgeous photo locations the southwest has to offer. I want to take a moment and give the vendors we work with a shout out because we believe in cultivating our local community. Luckily for us, we get to work with SO many talented people. Somehow, just posting  the hashtag #shoplocal doesn't cut it.

Here are some of the fabulous local wedding vendors behind the scenes of our featured photographs. If you are planning a wedding, this is a great list of wedding vendors to reference!

Allison and Justin's October 2016 wedding at Josefina's Gate in Old Mesilla, New Mexico

Ben and Dom's bridal session

Photo location: Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument

Vince and Megan's November 2016 wedding, Photo location: Basilica of San Albino

Cake and cupcakes by Deliciously Creative Cakes

Hotel Encanto ballroom

Tiffany and Zach's September 2016 wedding

Venue: Josefina's Gate in Old Mesilla, NM

Hair and Make Up: Brenda Tarango, Makeup by Brenda

Cake and Cupcakes: Let Them Eat Cake

Dan and David's January 2016 wedding at St. Clair Las Cruces

Linens, Chair, and Tent: Enchanted Occasions Event Rentals 

Cupcakes by Stephanie at Let Them Eat Cake

Catering and reception venue: La Posta de Mesilla

Danny and Alejandra's September 2016 Wedding at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum

Invitation suite by the Funky Olive Design

Music and party shenanigans by Grupo Classe

Photo Location: Mesilla Valley

Derrick and Jackie's October 2016 wedding at Red Hawk Golf Club

Custom invitations and wedding planning and coordinating by Elegant Events

Suits by Renee's Bridal 

Chairs, linens, dance floor and bistro lighting by Enchanted Occasions Event Rentals

Cake by Simply Sweet

Trevor and Annie's June 2016 wedding

Chair and ceremony set up by Enchanted Occasions Event Rental

Dress by Ella Blu

Photo location: the desert at sunset with the big beautiful New Mexico sky :)

To help you plan your wedding, we thought you might be interested to know some of the wedding vendors behind the scenes of our featured photographs.