web analytics

Planning an intimate wedding in the Austin area.

The Austin and Hill Country area is rife with wedding venues but what if your guest count is under 50? Under 20? When you’re not having a big wedding, what is the perfect venue? Consider this is your natural light loving photographer’s guide to choosing the perfect intimate wedding venue in Austin.

You’re looking for the Goldilocks of Austin elopement venues. You don’t want a place that’s too big, making you feel like no one showed up to your party, or a place that’s too small and lacking pretty backdrops.

It’s gotta be just the right amount of space and most importantly – it has to fit your vibe. Are you more about crusty old buildings or are you hoping to spread out a little and enjoy the Hill Country views?

Thankfully you have the option for either or both for your Austin Elopement.


The definition of “small” is hard to define since there are no hard and fast rules with weddings, especially these days.

For me, I consider a “small wedding” (or intimate wedding, micro wedding) to be less than 50 people (Martha Stewart Weddings agrees) but typically has reception elements of some sort. I love micro weddings the best. A little champagne, a little cake… not having to face 150+ people while I do my first dance…

An elopement is less than 10 people, often without a reception but doesn’t have to be a secret like a lot of people in the past have defined it as!  After you say your vows, the day is yours to enjoy without any pressure from wedding traditions. Typically we’d end our coverage after the ceremony and portraits.

For reference, most “regular weddings” I photograph are between 75-150 people, and large weddings are 200+. 

Austin Elopement Venue Ideas

The Sanctuary Event Space is a mostly open air venue in the heart of South Austin

Restaurants & Private Venues

  1. Malverde / La Condesa
  2. Justine’s Secret House
  3. Mattie’s at Green Pastures
  4. The Belmont
  5. Central Library
  6. Miraval Spa

The Barr Mansion is hands down, my favorite Central Austin venue. The light, the natural beauty of the grounds and of course, the beautiful unique ballroom with a wall of windows. It’s unlike any other venue anywhere I’ve been.

Downtown & historic buildings

  1. The Carrington
  2. Allan House
  3. The Grand Lady
  4. Woodbine Mansion
  5. One Eleven East
  6. Mercury Hall – closing June 2021- get in while you can!
  7. Barr Mansion
  8. The Texas Women’s Federation Club Mansion

austin elopement photography
Have your first dance under a canopy of string lights at the Allan House

Hill Country Venues with views

I feel like I need to put a caveat here. Austin has a ton of venues with sweeping panoramic hill country views but most of them either aren’t set up for smaller weddings, or are too big to feel like you’re using the venue enough.

Additionally, when choosing a venue you need to think about the weather and time of year you’re having your wedding. Fall & Spring are the most popular because of temperate weather but they might come at a higher price because “peak season.” If you choose an off season date in summer or winter, consider where you might be able to duck inside for some A/C (or rent portable heaters!)

  1. Prospect House
  2. Ma Maison
  3. Lucky Arrow Retreat
  4. Vista West
  5. Pecan Springs Ranch
  6. Contigo Ranch Fredricksburg
pecan springs ranch wedding photography, pecan springs ranch weddings, dripping springs wedding photographer
Pecan Springs Ranch is just outside Austin not quite to Dripping Springs and yet it’s a world away. They are a photographer’s favorite for being so nice and having multiple really great ceremony and portrait location options. Plus the light is really nice. They are offering small wedding packages as of now.
creative and warm austin wedding photography, pecan springs ranch wedding
Contigo Ranch is a hipster, fancy-ranch loving couples’ dream.

Hill Country Wineries & Breweries

  1. The Hall at Jester King (below)
  2. Allstadt Brewing
  3. Hye Meadow Winery
jester king hall wedding, wedding at a brewery, austin wedding at jester king, alt girl wedding photographs in austin, austin modern wedding photography
The Hall at Jester King is just across a field from the brewery itself and has a gorgeous rustic industrial vibe to it. A perk when booking this venue is the opportunity to celebrate with strangers and all the great JK beer next door!

Modern/ Unique

  1. Sekrit Theaterbooking calendar
  2. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (pictured below)
  3. Umlauf Sculpture Garden
  4. Vuka
Small wedding ceremony at the wildflower center, wildflower center weddings, elope in austin
The Wildflower Center is one of my favorite fall and spring venues in Central Austin.
wildflower center wedding photographer