As COVID case numbers decline, Austinites breathe a collective sigh of relief, especially engaged couples planning (or rescheduling) their big day. Large gatherings are making a comeback, and the city is awash with local wedding venues for every vision and budget.
One silver lining in the uncertainty of the past few years was a willingness to think outside the box. Couples got creative about celebrating on their own terms. Sometimes, that meant compromising on their vision to comply with COVID constrictions; often, it meant taking a clearer look at traditions and expectations, embracing the pandemic as an excuse to make snap decisions that just felt right.
Hotels and houses of worship don’t need any 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 the traditional, contemporary, and low-maintenance, keeping in mind the only thing that really matters: having a great time.
Country: The Creek Haus
Texans have the luxury of capitalizing on the barn wedding trend — and doing so authentically. Out in Dripping Springs, a family-owned venue called The Creek Haus invites guests for a rustic four-day retreat. The main event barn has gorgeous exposed wood and a tin roof, a very rare chance to pray for rain at a wedding. There’s room for 150 guests with onsite accommodations for 70, including a honeymoon cottage. This one is great for travelers from afar, country folk who love nature, or city folk looking for the chance to escape.
Urban: The Contemporary Austin
There are few more modern venues for an Austin wedding than The Contemporary Austin. Featuring a 3,300-square-foot rooftop deck with panoramic cityscape views, the iconic downtown museum accommodates up to 250 guests. With lots of parallel lines and cool lighting embedded in the deck itself, the venue provides a clean, exciting backdrop for photos. As a gesture to arts patrons, the booking includes a one-year supporter-level membership.
Historic: The Barr Mansion
Tilly and William Braxton Barr built their farmhouse in 1898 on over 200 acres of pre-Austin land called Sprinkle, Texas (yes, seriously). As Austin grew to overtake the small town, recent renovations updated the historic mansion without sacrificing its old-fashioned charm. Now offering the perfect balance between proximity and distance from downtown, the site includes a beautiful country landscape, a glassy modern ballroom, secluded garden paths, and all-organic catering featuring honey from onsite bees.
Weird: Sekrit Theater
Austin’s secrets are getting harder to keep, but most of them seem to find refuge in little pockets of East Austin. Tucked between the Boggy Creek Greenbelt and US 183, this abandoned brick and checkered tile greenhouse is somehow both minimalist and full of character. A welcome sign made of junk greets guests to the site, which also feature photo opps like a vintage Ford truck and a school bus converted into a cozy lounge. This is a pretty tiny space, so intimate, DIY weddings are the way to go. For inquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Affordable: Sanctuary Event Space
Another small venue with big potential, the Amala Foundation is a local nonprofit promoting social-emotional learning for both youths 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 city’s most impressive ancient oak tree, stretching its branches over the entire lot. Not only will hosting your event here save you money, but what you do spend goes right back to making the city a more mindful place.
All the stops: Villa Antonia
For a European-style destination wedding not more than an hour from Austin, seek out Villa Antonia. This sprawling architectural triumph made The Knot’s Hall of Fame and its Best of Weddings list every year since 2018. With over 5,000 square feet of indoor 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 real work to exhaust all the possibilities here.