A Rustic New Year's Eve Wedding at Sanctuary on the River in Ruidoso, New Mexico

When Alexa Harper (27 and a content strategist) and Matthew Ferris (31 and a field engineer) decided to marry, the date they chose—New Year’s Eve—was one of great meaning. “My parents were married in 1986 on New Year's Eve in Peru,” Alexa says. “My mother passed away a few years ago, and I wanted to bring a bit of happiness back for my dad. He was honored that I chose to share his wedding day with him.” With a holiday-inspired palette of deep burgundy, green and gold, Alexa and Matthew held their ceremony at Sanctuary on the River in Ruidoso, New Mexico, between Albuquerque and their home in El Paso, Texas. They exchanged vows in a string-light-covered gazebo, where a wintery forest served as a stunning backdrop. At the cozy indoor reception they treated their 80 guests to comfort food appetizers—think nachos, mac and cheese, meatballs, bacon-wrapped jalapenos—plus a hot chocolate bar stocked with crushed peppermint and freshly made marshmallows. The newlyweds ended the night with New Year's flash, exiting through a tunnel of glow sticks held by jubilant family and friends. —Carolyn Meers