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If your partner is into bridges, lush gardens and beautiful flowers then you should definitely consider proposing at the Zilker Botanical Gardens. But there are two locations that make for the best backdrops so which should you choose for your Zilker Botanical Garden proposal?

Austin is a natural, casual town so getting dressed up to go to a nature center doesn’t really make a lot of sense. However, if you combine a trip to the garden with dinner or brunch downtown, putting on nicer duds than just workout clothes makes sense.

STEP 1: CHOOSE YOUR FIGHTER.. ERR.. LOCATION.

Does your special person like bridges? I mean, what’s more romantic than a garden with a bridge?

The first place I like to photograph proposals is in the Japanese Gardens.

Ooh boy I love this photo from Sam & Ariana’s morning proposal so much. It was so incredibly humid that day, I had to cut the session short or else we would all end up as 1 melted sweat puddle.

The Japanese Gardens are a serene place with beautiful ornamental flowers, trees and a cute gazebo. This area is narrow and windy and one of the first areas you go to in the park. It gets crowded on weekends so choosing a Monday or Tuesday is best for low foot traffic. The location you’re looking for is a hidden wooden footbridge that crosses over a koi pond.

This particular area took a hit after the 2021 Austin Freeze and is not nearly as green as it used to be. Much of the area is cut back and is regrowing slowly.

ROSE GARDENS

There’s another more open spot amongst the roses in the background of this photo. I really like the rose gardens since they’re right next to another iconic location and are easy to locate and do a non-surprise proposal.

This Keyhole wall is taken from a historic Austin building and is a great spot for photos or for your surprise proposal at the Zilker Botanical Gardens.

ICONIC WATERFALL

Did you know Dinosaurs once roamed Austin? I definitely did not until I read about this location at a recent proposal. In 1992, amateur paleontologists discovered dinosaurs once roamed the grounds of Zilker Botanical Garden.

Another popular place for guys to propose at the Zilker Botanical Garden is in the Prehistoric Garden with the waterfall as a backdrop. This is one of the more popular photography spots and we will likely have to deal with on-lookers. With luck and timing, we’ll have it all to ourselves for your surprise proposal.

THE FIRST MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION: WHAT TO WEAR?

When you work with me, I always encourage color and texture that go well with your location. The ZBG is mostly greens and tans, so wearing a sundress with pops of pinks or reds would definitely stand out. Or look ethereal in soft pastels like lavender, blue and cream.

THE SECOND MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION: PARKING

Austinites love to complain about parking. Most popular south Austin locations have small lots and not a lot of street parking. This is where my suggestion for taking a ride share comes in to play.

Parking for Zilker Botanical Garden is available at the main entrance, located at 2220 Barton Springs Road. This lot is very small and yes it will fill up on a nice weekend.

Overflow parking is located on Stratford Drive, to the east of the garden. Directions to the overflow lot will be given to visitors when you arrive at the gates if necessary. To give you a visual, the parking is located directly north of the garden across from the “Rose Gate” at the entrance to the Hartman Prehistoric Garden.

The “Rose Gate” is opened when the overflow lot is opened, however during DST the “Rose Gate” closes at 5:00 p.m. (Yes it’s confusing, and yes the botanical gardens close too early for summer proposals)

During the winter (non DST – November through March), the gate closes at 3:30 p.m. Plan your session time accordingly and let me know if you have any questions.

SOME BASIC LOGISTICAL INFO YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFOREHAND

  • Admission is $6 for residents, $8 for non-residents. (They don’t check- play it cool)
  • $50 photography session fee includes 1 additional admission
  • HOURS: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Last entry at 4:30pm
  • No alcoholic beverages allowed.
  • Pack out what you bring in.
  • The grounds are uneven and there are lots of narrow stairs.

Austin Proposal Photographer

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So you’ve read this far, and want to hire me to photograph your proposal; I answer tons of questions about how to propose, what to expect, and more about what’s included on my Austin Proposal Photographer page.

Most weekdays are available with enough notice. Saturdays and Sundays require at least 14 days’ notice.