Love was in the air Feb. 25 at the El Monte Sagrado Living Resort & Spa in Taos.
More than 250 people attended the 2017 Taos Wedding Expo, according to Susan Cady, executive director of the Taos County Chamber of Commerce, the producers of the event.
“We really enjoy the venue,” she said. “It’s intimate, fun and so beautiful. No wonder so many couples now consider getting married here.”
Planning every detail
The Wedding Expo had everything couples needed to plan a wedding, starting with the right make-up and hairstyling for the big day.
"We offer quality hair and skin care not only for the bride and bridesmaids, but for the oft-forgotten groom," said Linda Cameron, owner of Spirits of Beauty, who had come to the event to introduce her new hairstylist, Jennifer Harley. “We make sure that everybody looks their best on that special day.”
Those in search of the right wedding dress, modern or vintage, gathered around Karen Lievense. The Chamber board member was in charge of a wedding and formalwear boutique.
“We have very affordably priced new and gently-loved dresses for proms and weddings,” she said. “Students get a discount on a dress purchase. We want to support the young women of Taos and help them feel and look great.”
Sales from the wedding boutique benefited Community Against Violence, Stray Hearts Animal Shelter, and other organizations.
Wedding cakes could be ordered from Jocelyn’s cakes and Cakes by Mariel.
Bouquets and beautiful floral arrangements were showcased by Enchanted Florist, Elegante Florals and The Taos Flower Diva, Margaret Palmer.
“I love the wedding expo,” Palmer said. “As usual, I’m here with a big display of beautiful pieces and I am looking forward to enjoying the event.”
Sarah Dzieweczynski, of Zia Event Design, says that her mission is to make life easier for the prospective couple.
“I can help them plan their wedding from the beginning to the end or I can come in on the wedding day and help everything go smoothly,” she said. “Call me if you want a stress-free wedding or any other celebration.”
Gifts and more
Among the wedding and gift registries, a beloved local store was there. Franchesca Zoppe, owner of CTF Décor and Gifts (formerly Country Furnishings of Taos) had samples from her eclectic inventory.
There was also a Dillard’s team. Vincent McKinley, a store’s representative, said they were able to register fifteen brides at the event.
“It was very successful,” he said. “We look forward to seeing all our prospective brides and grooms at our Santa Fe store.”
Dillard’s of Santa Fe gave away a $500 gift certificate. Its lucky winner was Nicole Nyznyk, who said she was looking forward to a big shopping spree.
Even before she won the prize, Nyznyk was already having a great time. “The Expo is a great place for future brides to get ideas in order to have a phenomenal wedding in Taos,” she said.
Other door prizes included gift cards from several exhibitors and a honeymoon package at El Monte Sagrado (a two-night stay with a breakfast in bed and celebration champagne on arrival).
'Straight out of a fairytale'
Many prospective brides and grooms were already eyeing El Monte Sagrado as a possible wedding venue.
“I would love to have the reception here in the summer,” said Carmen Fayette, of Phoenix, Arizona. “This town is a lovely wedding destination and El Monte is straight out of a fairytale. We will be back.”
But for those who felt inclined to have a more bucolic kind of reception, Taos Goji offers open barn weddings at the 40-acre property in the San Cristobal Valley.
What people were saying
Not all attendees were couples wanting to get married. Angelina Romero, real estate broker with Dreamcatcher Real Estate, was there helping her friend Eileen Montoya, of Damsels in Defense.
“This is fabulous for all people, vendors and attendees,” Romero said. “So many happy faces.”
Gaby Valencia, who was a bride in 2015, said that coming to that year’s expo had been “tremendously helpful.”
“I got many good ideas,” she said. “I found my crew camera, Razor Sharp Productions, here. They were excellent and very professional.”
After the wedding day
After the wedding, of course, comes the honeymoon. Bill and Sue Leslie of Dream Vacations, operate a full-service travel agency and wanted to let people know about their offers.
“We can help you plan romantic destinations, land vacations, all-inclusive packages, adventure travel, you name it,” Bill Leslie said. “We’ve got something for everybody.”
Humie Leshem, owner of Leshem Diamonds and Gold, offered for the third year in a row a beautiful wedding ring set to a lucky winner. This time it went to Alanna Vigil.
"My boyfriend and I have been together for six years," she said. “I am so excited. I think that it was meant to be.”
When asked when they were planning to get married, she responded, “Hopefully soon!"
“Giving away a ring at this event has become a tradition for us,” Leshem said. “We love to support the Taos County Chamber of Commerce and to give back to our community.”
Along with the Chamber, event sponsors included The Taos News, El Monte Sagrado, Leshem, Taos Mountain Casino and the town of Taos.
El Monte Sagrado is located at 317 Kit Carson Road.