The Top 10 Best New Mexico Wedding Venues in 2022-2023

Hey there! Welcome to my latest blog post featuring one of my favorite wedding destinations in the United States: the stunning state of New Mexico. It’s the perfect location for any couple who is at their happiest in the desert, whether that be exploring out in the wilderness through epic hikes or through lounging at a luxurious desert resort & spa. Check out 10 of the best New Mexico wedding venues below that you definitely need to consider for your big day!

Top 10 Best Wedding Venues in New Mexico

1. White Sands National Park

I couldn’t start off this list with anything other than one of the most epic national parks in the entire country: White Sands National Park. The park covers over 100,000 acres of land in the Tularosa Basin and features the most insane wave-like dunes of bright white sand. It’s seriously one of the most incredible landscapes you will ever see that makes you feel like you’re on another planet, and is a must-visit when you’re in New Mexico!

To hold your wedding at White Sands National Park, you’ll need to make sure you get a Special Use Wedding Permit, which you can request up to six months in advance of your date & no later than 30 days prior. You can reserve the park’s group use area for your wedding, which is somewhat private and slightly away from the more popular areas that the general public uses, so you won’t have to worry about too many strangers in the background.

Here are some things that are restricted if you hold your wedding in the park:

  • Living plants/live flowers

  • Balloons

  • Open flames

  • Throwing of confetti, rice, etc.

  • Glassware

Depending on the size of your group & intricacy of the decorations you want to set up, here’s what’s typically allowed for weddings in the park:

  • Silk/dried/fake flowers

  • Candles

  • Bubbles

  • Tarps/tents

  • Chairs/tables/carpets/runners that don’t harm vegetation

To apply for a White Sands National Park wedding permit, follow the process below:

  1. Complete & submit this permit application between 30 days & 6 months in advance of your wedding date

  2. Sign the General Permit Conditions form

  3. Submit your application & general conditions form along with a $50 non-refundable reservation fee to the office via an appointment (contact them here to make one, using the subject line “Appointment”)

  4. Wait for your permit request to be processed & approved (typically between 2-4 weeks)

  5. Wait for any final details from the park office

Fun fact: more than 10 feature films have been shot at White Sands National Park, including a Star Wars movie back in 1997. So cool!

Average cost to get married at White Sands National Park: $50 non-refundable permit fee, potential additional fees 

Top features of the venue:

  • Otherworldly landscape

  • Many wedding decorations allowed (more than typically are allowed at national parks)

  • No park entry fee required for your wedding guests

  • Opportunities for backcountry camping, hiking, biking, and horseback riding

Permit(s) needed: Special Use Wedding Permit (see details above)

2. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

This is another iconic location in New Mexico that you’ve probably seen in photos on Instagram: the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta! This hot air balloon festival is held every October on 78 acres of land in Albuquerque and is such a unique event to witness, with an insane amount of unique hot air balloons floating through the sky, rodeos, delicious food, and plenty of fun for visitors of all ages. The festival is actually celebrating its 50th year this October (2022), which is pretty cool, so no doubt it’ll be extra amazing this year! 

The festival is an amazing place to have an intimate ceremony, or to simply take some super unique & fun wedding photos during your time in New Mexico! Enjoy the hot air balloons lighting up the sky above you and your partner in your wedding attire, and you could even plan in advance to take a ride in one of the balloons once you say “I do!”

Average cost to get married at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta: N/A – nothing official available online about weddings at the festival

Top features of the venue:

  • Unique balloon-filled, colorful backdrop

  • Beautiful views of Albuquerque if you’re overlooking the festival

  • Opportunity to ride in hot air balloon

Permit(s) needed: N/A

3. The Desert Compass

The Desert Compass is a crazy cool desert retreat located in the heart of Old Town Albuquerque, featuring 6 adobe suites filled with luxurious amenities, dreamy desert decor, local artwork, and so much more. Not only is it an awesome place to stay during your time in New Mexico with a pool, multiple lounge areas, beautiful gardens, and fire pits. It’s also available to rent out for your wedding! 

The garden area at the retreat can fit up to 25 people for an elopement or intimate wedding, and the property suites can host 25 guests overnight, so all your loved ones can stay on-site. This is also an amazing venue because it’s really close to Historic Old Town Albuquerque, so you can literally walk into town to experience the local culture! You can contact the retreat to inquire about renting it out for your wedding & to find out what it will cost you here

Average cost to get married at the Desert Compass: N/A/ – contact for rates 

Top features of the venue:

  • 6 luxurious adobe suites

  • Cowboy pool

  • Lounge areas

  • Antique & designer furnishings

  • Fire pit for s’mores

  • Communal-style hospitality

  • Close proximity to Historic Old Town Albuquerque

4. Pecos National Historical Park

Pecos National Historical Park is an incredibly cool national historical park located in the San Miguel & Santa Fe counties of New Mexico, preserving over 12,000 years of history and encompassing thousands of acres of stunning desert landscape. The park preserves the ruins of Pecos Pueblo, and is home to Glorieta Pass, where many Pueblo & Plains Indians, Spanish conquerors, Mexican & Anglo armies, and Santa Fe Trail settlers passed through long ago! It’s a really cool place to learn about, and it’s definitely a unique & super beautiful place to hold your wedding at.

In order to hold your wedding within the park, you’ll need to get a Special Use Permit through the park office. You can apply within one year of your desired date, and should apply as far in advance as possible, since processing can take up to 4 weeks or sometimes longer. You’ll pay a $100 non-refundable application fee, and your intimate ceremony can take place at the ruins church as long as the size/details of your ceremony are approved by the park office.

Here’s what’s not allowed during your ceremony at the ruins:

  • Loud music/noises

  • Blocking off areas to the general public

  • A large number of vehicles

  • Receptions

  • Throwing of confetti, flowers, rice, etc.

  • Food/drink

Here’s how to apply for the permit:

  1. Email the Special Park Use Coordinator here to get the documents you’ll need to fill out at least 4 weeks in advance

  2. Fill out & return the forms to the coordinator along with your $100 non-refundable fee

  3. Wait for your permit request to be approved

  4. Wait for your permit to be sent to you in the mail

Average cost to get married at Pecos National Historical Park: $100 non-refundable application fee, potential additional fees based on party size/desired location/ceremony setup

Top features of the venue:

  • Unique desert landscape

  • Fascinating historical background

  • Opportunities for hiking, fishing, & ranger-guided tours

  • Leashed pets allowed

Permit(s) needed: Special Use Permit (see details above)

5. Ghost Ranch

Ghost Ranch is a super awesome retreat & education center in north central New Mexico, and was actually the home & studio of Georgia O’Keeffe. Such a cool place to hold your wedding at! Encompassing over 20,000 acres of desert landscape, this ranch shows off gorgeous dramatic yellow & red cliffs, textured bluffs, and year-round blue skies. Choose from the breathtaking outdoor space or the stunning glass backdrop of the chapel overlooking Cerro Pedernal, both incredible options to host your guests, whether you’re planning an intimate celebration or want to rent out the whole property for all of your favorite people. 

Average cost to get married at Ghost Ranch: N/A – contact for rates 

Top features of the venue:

  • Accommodates up to 400 guests

  • On-site bridal suite

  • Provided day-of coordinator

6. La Posada de Santa Fe

If you’ve been scrolling through this list looking for a place where you can not only get married but also enjoy luxurious spa services in the desert, then the La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa may be perfect for you! This resort features a village of beautifully-designed adobe casitas where you can experience both the rich history of New Mexico as well as gorgeous modern amenities & furnishings. It’s a dream getaway for couples who want a place to celebrate that truly gives them that Southwestern experience. You can also stay a little longer at the resort and have a unique, romantic honeymoon here in Santa Fe!

Average cost to get married at La Posada de Santa Fe: $6,000+

Top features of the venue:

  • Full-service wedding planning

  • A variety of ceremony & reception venues

  • Luxury spa services

  • Delicious food menus

  • Honeymoon offerings

7. El Monte Sagrado

Located in the mountains of northern New Mexico, this luxury hotel is located just minutes from the historic downtown Taos Plaza, and has so many incredible, glamorous features to offer to couples. The grounds of El Monte Sagrado are insanely well-kept, highlighted by luscious gardens, waterfalls, and ponds, as well as stunning architecture and mountain views. You can enjoy the luxury Living Spa in addition to the Wellness Center, which includes hydrotherapy tubs and a beautiful saltwater pool with views of the outdoors. This hotel is truly a desert dream filled with opportunities for the R&R you deserve on the days surrounding your wedding!

Average cost to get married at El Monte Sagrado: N/A/ – contact for rates 

Top features of the venue:

  • Outdoor ceremony & reception spaces with mountain views

  • Indoor reception site option

  • Personalized planning

  • Luxury spa & wellness center

  • Vibrant gardens and well-manicured grounds

8. Blame Her Ranch

What would New Mexico be without tons of stunning ranch options for your wedding venue? 

Blame Her Ranch is a private home that the owners have turned into an amazing event & wedding space as well as a perfect place to stay out in the true desert. You get to take advantage of the sunny Santa Fe climate, enjoy the “cowboy chic” design and accommodations of the ranch, and celebrate with all your loved ones, as the ranch can fit up to 250 people. It’s easy to customize your wedding at the ranch because it can really be turned into a space for either a casual ranch wedding with your closest loved ones after your ceremony or a full-on black-tie event with a large guest list.

Average cost to get married at Blame Her Ranch: N/A/ – contact for rates 

Top features of the venue:

  • Dedicated “Party zone” barn

  • Outdoor covered gazebo

  • Views of the scenic Gonzales Valley

  • Space to accommodate up to 44 people to stay overnight (or for the weekend)

  • Free 4-hour time period on-location for a session before or after your wedding with your photographer

9. Casa Rondeña Winery

A world-class winery located in the quiet north valley of Albuquerque is pretty hard to beat! The Casa Rondeña Winery is a wedding & event venue that has so much to offer to its guests, from a rich heritage and culture to a delicious tasting room to three different spaces for wedding celebrations. Whether you want to get married in the Great Hall, the Founder’s Garden, or the 1629 Club, you’ll receive nothing short of an amazing experience hosting your wedding at this winery. The lush vineyards and stunning lawns are easy to decorate & turn into a romantic setting for you and your guests, and you can even hold your rehearsal dinner here!

Average cost to get married at Casa Rondeña Winery: N/A – contact for rates

Top features of the venue:

  • On-site bridal suites & groom’s rooms

  • Chairs & tables

  • Three venue spaces

  • Stunning stone architecture

  • Wine bar & server

10. Santa Fe National Forest

Finally, the Santa Fe National Forest is a beautiful option for your wedding ceremony in New Mexico if you want to hold it outdoors rather than at a formal venue. The forest covers more than 1.5 million acres of land and has tons of cultural & archaeological sites that are really cool to learn about, in addition to the stunning landscape! 

If you want to get married in the Santa Fe National Forest with a group of 75 or more people, you’ll need to get a Special Use Permit. To apply for this permit, fill out this form and email it to the Recreation Permit Administrator, and they’ll help you from there.

Average cost to get married in the Santa Fe National Forest: fees vary based on wedding details 

Top features of the venue: 

  • Beautiful mountain, river, & canyon views

  • Campgrounds available to stay at

  • Opportunities for hiking, biking, horseback riding, & 4-wheel drive exploring

Permit(s) needed: Special Use Permit (see details above)

FAQ’s About Getting Married in New Mexico

Now that you’ve got a solid list of awesome venues to choose from, make sure you also familiarize yourself with New Mexico’s marriage laws, so you know exactly what you’ll need to do to make your marriage legal in the state. I’m answering some of the most important questions below. You can also take a look at this website for further info!

How much does a marriage license cost in New Mexico?

A New Mexico marriage license costs $25.

Who can legally marry a couple in New Mexico?

A wedding in New Mexico must be officiated by an ordained minister, whether that be a priest, a non-denominational registered officiant, or one of your family members/friends who gets ordained online via an organization such as the Universal Life Church.

How many witnesses do you need to get married in New Mexico?

You’ll need two witnesses over the age of 18 to make your wedding ceremony legal in New Mexico.

How long does it take to get a marriage license in New Mexico?

Once you visit a County Clerk’s office and apply for your marriage license, it’ll be issued immediately.

What documents do you need to get married in New Mexico?

When you visit a County Clerk’s office to get your license, you’ll need to bring proof of your Social Security number and a valid government-issued photo ID (such as your driver’s license, passport, or birth certificate). 

Is there a waiting period to get married in New Mexico?

Nope - your New Mexico marriage license can be used immediately!

How long is a New Mexico marriage license valid for?

Your New Mexico marriage license is valid as soon as you get it, and does not expire.

New Mexico Wedding Packages

Now that you’ve got a really great list of the best New Mexico wedding venues to choose from. You’ll most likely start the hunt soon for your New Mexico wedding photographer. I’d love to be considered for the job and would be so stoked to work with you & capture your beautiful wedding day in New Mexico!

My wedding packages begin at $7500 and I’d love to chat with you to figure out what your needs are & what your ideal package would look like. You can reach out to me here, or take a look at some of my other helpful blog posts and resources below first. Make sure to include which New Mexico wedding venue you picked in your inquiry to me, or let me know your top few if you haven’t quite decided yet!

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