I want to become a society lady Rockin' a new rock?!

It was Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Lavender Farm, Sara and Ben’s beloved venue that established the mood of their wedding celebration. The landscaping, architecture, and overall aesthetic of the historic property combined with design by Sarah Beth Powers, jewel toned florals by Floriography and hand-touched details by the bride made for an authentic and lovely day. Sara, Ben and all the authentic moments of the day are captured beautifully by Matt & Tish Carlson and we know you’re going to love it!


What made the wedding special and unique?

I’m not sure many people can say this – but I honestly can: The venue, Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Lavender Farm, is what made my wedding so special and unique. It was a match made in heaven. Ben and I knew we wanted to wed amongst the landscape and magic that one finds in Santa Fe, NM. We hopped in the car two weeks after getting engaged and were on our way to look at venues. In my research prior to venue shopping, I had stumbled across Los Poblanos’ website and immediately felt drawn to every single thing about the property. It was historically preserved, beautifully authentic, charming, unique; I could go on and on. My favorite part though, was the amazing Spanish accent throughout the property – something that truly captured my heart.

Needless to say, Ben and I had to make a pit stop in Albuquerque, New Mexico to see this place before heading on to Santa Fe. We did so hesitatingly because we both knew our hearts were ultimately set on Santa Fe – but boy, did that change. From the moment we arrived at Los Poblanos, we knew this was the place we would marry. The rest of the weekend we browsed other venues in Santa Fe, and while many of them were absolutely lovely, none held a candle to the magic found at Los Poblanos. So, we compromised. We decided to have our Welcome Party/Rehearsal Dinner in Santa Fe and our Ceremony/Reception in Albuquerque. The truly perfect setting coupled with all of our loved ones was absolutely unforgettable.


Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!

After several failed attempts to find something in store or online, I decided I would go ahead and design my dress myself. The gown I would eventually wear on my wedding day was a gown that had lived in my head for months and months prior and truthfully, it wasn’t until 4 days before the wedding that I had finally tweaked the dress to how I wanted it. In hindsight, I remember being relatively calm about that while those around me thought I was nuts. (I definitely was!) I worked with the sweetest local seamstress and a dear friend of mine to create the dress I wanted – a simple, ethereal gown. I decided to make the tulle skirt detachable and underneath revealed a more form fitting silhouette so by the time we hit the dance floor, I was able to toss aside the skirt and dance freely and comfortably.


What were some touches added to make the wedding personal? 

In planning the wedding, I was able to build upon what Los Poblanos already provided in their landscaping, architecture, and overall aesthetic. I wanted the whole weekend to feel natural, easy and seamless – and most importantly, well thought out. Because of that, I tried to have a hand in almost every detail of the wedding.


The ceremony was set up in such a way that it felt intimate despite the amount of people. Each person was given programs I had designed – each tied with a tiny silver heart Milagros. Because it was initially sunny and warm at the start of the ceremony, guests also had the option of using paper parasols to shield themselves from the sun. For the dinner part of the evening, I wanted everyone to feel as though they were at a dinner party (that just happened to include 175 guests!). I chose to set up three long banquet tables formed into somewhat of a horseshoe. Each long table sat around 50-70 people so the feel of the dinner was cozy and conversations were easy to have from across the table. To complement the greenery and florals along the center of each table, I collected around 40 thin brass vintage candleholders to be interspersed throughout. My coordinator Amy and I decided on long tapers for each candleholder, which added just the right amount of height. At each place setting was a menu, a note from me and Ben, a sprig of lavender, and a handmade jar of Strawberry-Rhubarb preserves that I had made several weeks before the wedding to honor my father who adored Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie. I also had hundreds of tin heart Milagros made by a dear friend of mine who runs a workshop in Haiti. These were used throughout the arrangements, given as gifts in our welcome bags, and two in particular were on our wedding cake which featured two enlarged Mexican Milagros – one featuring a bride and groom and the other was a Golden Retriever pup.

After dinner, guests were invited to enjoy dessert, dance, and visit the historic library where I had set up a homemade photo booth inspired by the “Paper Moon” images from the early 1900’s. We found that the library became a wonderful setting to wind down the evening in. It was cozy, comfortable and inviting. Right outside the library stood a table with a vintage candelabra, our guestbook, and bowl of the most delicious Mexican wedding cookies (my favorite) labeled “Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight!”



What was the most memorable part of the day? 

My father passed away suddenly three years ago and very simply put, my dad was everything to me. My best friend, my rock, my mentor, my hero. He represented all that was good in the world and needless to say, not having him present during our wedding weekend was something I wholeheartedly feared and dreaded. But the way he was brought into the weekend through spoken word and little details was unforgettable and quite emotional for me – particularly during our ceremony. Beforehand, I stood waiting in the dining room while everyone in the procession proceeded out the door. Suddenly I was the only one left and my heart could have burst out of my chest. My brother, in my father’s place, came into the room and was ready to lead me down the aisle – a very sweet moment for me. How special it was to see everyone’s faces as we both rounded the corner! I felt like I made eye contact with so many loved ones until I finally caught Ben’s eye. Soon I was handed off to Ben and there we stood with our beloved pastor (whom I truly trust and adore). 10 seconds into the ceremony, a loud round of thunder hit and all I can say is, it was magical. Strangely, with the sound of thunder, my focus suddenly shifted away from my feelings of nervousness and a calm fell over me. As the ceremony went on, we continued to hear little rumbles in the sky and everyone there had to have been thinking the same thing. “Uh oh!” But by God’s grace, Ben and I exchanged our vows, said ‘I do’ and just as we were headed back down the aisle hand in hand – BOOM! Thunder struck at its loudest. Simply put, I knew, and many agreed that my dad had shown up once again. The short rain storm that soon followed only added to that night and acted as the sweetest backdrop while guests enjoyed their dinner.


Tell us how you met and became engaged.

Ben and I met when I was in 7th grade and he was in 8th. I was new to the middle school and immediately took a liking to him in the only way a 7th grader can – through constant staring, passing notes, and maybe a hug here and there. We deemed ourselves “boyfriend & girlfriend” until he went off to high school. After an 8-year hiatus from one another, we rekindled our relationship during my last semester in college – a much different stage in life to say the least. It took about 4 years for the guy to pop the question but when he did, it was magical! He proposed to me while on a hike in a valley amongst the Franklin Mountains in El Paso, TX. It was probably the coldest day of the year and the clouds had dropped so low that day that it felt like we were in the sky. I took a quick water break and sat on a rock only to see Ben kneel down in front of me moments later. I truthfully thought he was giving our pup, Anna, a drink of water but soon I knew he was up to something different.


Sarah Beth and Ben Shapleigh Wedding from 82/92 Productions on Vimeo.

Photography: Matt & Tish Carlson // Wedding/Event Design: Sarah Beth Powers // Floral: Floriography // Wedding Coordinator/Prop Rental: Amy Gallegos // Paper Goods: Austin Press & Sarah Beth Powers // Videographer: 82/92 Productions