A baby shower with cupcakes that reveal the infant’s gender. A wedding with cookies instead of cake. A party recorded with a flying drone and edited to look like a music video. These trends are currently popular on the Albuquerque celebration scene.
Sage magazine asked local event planners, recent celebrators and area vendors how milestone events are being celebrated around Albuquerque and found out festivities also involve being budget-conscious.
Cinderella, with a twist
One recently married Albuquerque couple sparked a trend all their own. For her wedding to 24-year-old corrections officer Adrian Garduño this past October, Rudolfo Anaya Elementary School kindergarten teacher Lynn Lopez Garduño decided to take charge of the planning. She picked a white ball gown, a Cinderella theme and a purple and gray color scheme. Out of the ordinary was her maid of honor’s tailored suit – gray like the groomsmen’s, with a lavender blouse underneath.
“I have never seen her in a dress, ever,” says Garduño, 25, of her maid of honor, Kimberly Cordova, 25. “I asked her (to be in the wedding and) she was all, ‘Do I have to wear a dress?’ We went to a couple different stores for her outfit – she made sure I was there to pick out everything.”
Other unique touches to the reception, held at the Sheraton Albuquerque Airport in a ballroom: water in the floral centerpieces tinted gray to match the color scheme; a blow-up of the invitation stationed at the ballroom entrance; and, for souvenirs, a canister of bubbles to blow that looked like their wedding cake from A Cake Odyssey in the village of Los Ranchos.
By the time Garduño and her father shared a teary first dance to a country version of “Stealing Cinderella,” she was confident things came out right. “I had control of it and was able to get exactly what I wanted.” The bill for the 230-guest wedding came to about $16,000, she says.
She tried not to let the bill get too high, which reflects another local celebration trend: Keeping events affordable.
“People are more on a budget than they were in the past,” according to certified wedding planner Edith Shelton, who works in the University of New Mexico’s event planning and scheduling department. “In the past … it was ‘china this and china that,’ but now a lot of brides are using disposable dishes to save money.”
Taking the cake
Another trend is introducing cookies to either substitute or supplement the traditional wedding cake.
“What people like to do is get three cookies per person, wrap them up with cellophane and put it down (on the table alongside) everyone’s cups to have with their food,” explains Chris Morales, co-owner of Golden Crown Panaderia, a bakery in Albuquerque.
“The cookies are like an appetizer at the beginning, when people are all sitting down,” Morales says. “Some people will do just the wedding cookies instead of the wedding cake.”
Taking the pictures
Celebrators are also investing in more extras for their visuals, such as special effects in their videos, according to John Ortiz, who videotapes weddings and other events for Avista Video Histories in Albuquerque.
“Some want every minute (of the event); others want a seven-minute trailer – more music video-ish,” he says. “We have a drone that can fly up and do high shots, and then we incorporate that into a montage.”
Depending on the request, his videos cost between $800 and $2,100, he says.
The big reveal
At baby showers, a purpose-driven celebratory trend is emerging: the reveal cake, which has a neutral exterior, and either a pink or a blue center that indicates the baby’s gender.
“We can do it one of two ways in cupcakes or in a cake,” says Kendall Harris, who owns Cake Fetish in Albuquerque. “You can choose to be surprised yourself.”
In that case, “we can take the details of what you want the outside to look like, and then after you go to the ultrasound, you can bring in a sealed envelope that lets us know what to do for the filling.”
The other option: “If you want to surprise your family, you can tell us the gender. Once you cut into it the center, everyone finds out – or you can have everyone bite into the cupcake at the same time.”
Angelica Salazar, 22, and her fiancé, Jesus Martinez, 30, heard about reveal cakes on Pinterest and loved the concept. For $68, they ordered from Cake Fetish a square vanilla bean cake with butter cream frosting decorated with a pink and blue question mark. They invited 50 guests to their December baby shower, held at their Northeast Heights home two weeks after the ultrasound.
No one but the cake decorator and the ultrasound tech knew the baby’s gender. “It was very nerve-wracking,” she says of her wait to learn whether she would have a girl, which her intuition told her, or a boy.
At the shower, after calling her father, who was working in Taos that day, on FaceTime, she and Martinez cut into the cake together. When they saw it had a raspberry, instead of blueberry, jelly filling, she was thrilled. “I screamed! I was like, ‘Yes! A girl!’ Everyone was very happy.” Their yet-to-be-named baby girl is due April 8, and the couple plans to marry one year after she’s born, Salazar says.