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Tips for 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 a variety of photo opportunities.

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.

ELOPEMENT VS SMALL WEDDING

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 (or mini pies)… not having to deal with 150+ people watching while I do my first dance… you get the picture.

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. It can be just the two of you plus an hour of epic adventurous portraits. Want to change into a jumpsuit or a colored wedding dress after you’ve said your vows? This is the perfect excuse.

For reference, most “regular weddings” I photograph are between 75-220 people, and large weddings are 300+. 

Austin Elopement Venue Ideas

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

Restaurants & Private Venues

  1. Malverde (above La Condesa downtown)
  2. Justine’s Secret House
  3. Mattie’s at Green Pastures
  4. The Belmont
  5. Central Library – Downtown Austin is so chic! Perf for a short wedding.
  6. Miraval Resort
  7. Rosewood

These types of locations are more about having it all in one place rather than ceremony & reception in different locations. You can show up and get married wham bam! With a venue like Miraval Resort, you are staying at a world class all-inclusive resort, without having to leave Central Texas.

Downtown & historic buildings

  1. The Carrington
  2. Allan House
  3. The Grand Lady
  4. Woodbine Mansion
  5. One Eleven East
  6. Barr Mansion
  7. The Texas Women’s Federation Club Mansion

Looking for crusty buildings and a more formal or classic wedding venue feel with a smaller guest count? Barr Mansion is hands down the best one, however my second favorite intimate wedding venue goes to One Eleven East.

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 doing small weddings, or are too big to feel like you’re getting your money’s worth out of the space. There are tons of tiny, older, more generic summer camps which can be great for the outdoorsy couple, but not having access to power for music, lights or for your catering company can be difficult.

Additionally, when choosing an outdoor 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 on the weekends because it’s “peak season” in Central Texas.

Keeping your guest count below 50 will help keep the cost down.

If you choose an off season date like a Wednesday or Friday in summer or winter, consider where you will need to duck inside for some A/C or 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 publishing this article
Contigo Ranch is a hipster, fancy-ranch loving couples’ dream.

Fredricksburg Wineries & Breweries

  1. The Hall at Jester King (below)
  2. Allstadt Brewing
  3. Hye Meadow Winery
  4. Agusta Vin Winery
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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. Laguna Gloria
  3. Umlauf Sculpture Garden
  4. Vuka
  5. Camino Real Ranch
  6. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (pictured below)
  7. Union on Eighthoffering $500 off all remaining Jan-May 2021 dates
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The Wildflower Center is one of my favorite fall and spring venues in Central Austin. You can book your event by following this link.

Elopement rates start at $950

Shoot me a message through this contact form and let’s begin the discovery process! I hope to hear from all of you, no matter your wedding size. xo