As the number of COVID cases dwindles, Austinites are breathing a collective sigh of relief, especially engaged couples who are planning (or rescheduling) their big day. Large gatherings are making a comeback, and the city is brimming with local wedding venues to suit all visions and budgets.
A silver lining in the uncertainty of recent years was a desire to think outside the box. Couples got creative to celebrate on their own terms. Sometimes that meant compromising their vision to comply with COVID restrictions; often that meant taking a clearer look at traditions and expectations, embracing the pandemic as an excuse to make quick decisions that felt right.
Hotels and places of worship don’t need help getting the word out. You can’t beat the Driskill, or a meaningful religious gathering place that doesn’t break the bank. These six wedding venues cover common themes across traditional, contemporary and low maintenance, keeping in mind the only thing that really matters: having a good time.
Country: The Creek Haus
Texans have the luxury of capitalizing on the barn wedding trend — and doing it the authentic way. In Dripping Springs, a family-friendly place called The Creek Haus invites guests to a rustic four-day retreat. The main event barn has beautiful exposed wood and a tin roof, a very rare opportunity to pray for rain at a wedding. There is room for 150 guests with on-site accommodation for 70, including a honeymoon cottage. This one is ideal for far-flung travelers, country people who love nature, or city dwellers looking for a chance to get away from it all.
Urban: Contemporary Austin
There are few more modern venues for an Austin wedding than The Contemporary Austin. Featuring a 3,300 square foot rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the cityscape, the iconic downtown museum can accommodate up to 250 people. With plenty of parallel lines and cool lighting built into the bridge itself, the venue provides a clean and exciting backdrop for photos. As a gesture to patrons of the arts, the booking includes a one-year supporter-level membership.
History: Barr Manor
Tilly and William Braxton Barr built their farm in 1898 on over 200 acres of pre-Austin land called Sprinkle, Texas (yes, seriously). As Austin has outgrown the small town, recent renovations have updated the historic mansion without sacrificing its old-fashioned charm. Now offering the perfect balance of proximity to and distance from the city centre, the site features beautiful countryside scenery, a modern glass-enclosed ballroom, secluded garden paths and all-organic catering with bee honey on square.
Bizarre: Sekrit Theater
Austin’s secrets are getting harder and harder to keep, but most of them seem to find refuge in little pockets of East Austin. Nestled between the Boggy Creek Greenbelt and US 183, this abandoned brick-and-tile greenhouse is both minimalist and full of character. A welcome sign made of trash welcomes visitors to the site, which also features photo ops like a vintage Ford truck and a school bus converted into a cozy lounge. It’s quite a small space, so intimate, DIY weddings are the way to go. For any request, send an e-mail to [email protected]
Affordable: Sanctuary Event Space
Another small place with big potential, the Amala Foundation is a local non-profit organization that promotes social-emotional learning for young people and adults. The group operates one of Austin’s most affordable and welcoming yoga studios, Sanctuary Yoga. The venue exists in its own little world behind Odd Duck on South Lamar, with a main house, studio and perhaps the most impressive ancient oak tree in town, spreading its branches across the grounds. Not only will hosting your event here save you money, but what you spend comes back to making the city a more conscious place.
All stops: Villa Antonia
For a European-style wedding less than an hour from Austin, seek out Villa Antonia. This sprawling architectural triumph has made The Knot Hall of Fame and its Top Weddings list every year since 2018. With over 5,000 square feet of interior space, two terraces, a gazebo, courtyard and more, there’s plenty of space for 300 guests to celebrate in style. With smaller magical moments in the rose garden, waterfall, koi pond, and grand staircase, it would take some real work to exhaust all the possibilities here.