Planning a Wedding in Austin

A week and a half ago, my boyfriend became my fiance in the lovely city of San Francisco. So now we’re planning a wedding. I was bound and determined to enjoy our engagement for at least a week before starting in on the business of planning. We enjoyed excellent happy hour prices on refreshing drinks and tasty appetizers at 219 West (I recommend the Apple Mojito and the chipotle macaroni and cheese) and an open house at our place complete with sparkling wine and good friends. But now, we move onto the business, and weddings are big business. Rumor has it that the typical (or average, I can’t remember) Austin wedding costs $30,000. Ahem. Excuse me, what? More than our house down payment? A LOT more than our down payment? Part of me is practical and wants to save the money and elope. A bigger part of me wants to revel in the girlie-girl-ness of a traditional evening wedding. So that’s the part that wins out. Lucky for us, Austin is awash in beautiful locations for weddings and receptions, some out in the surrounding Hill Country, some downtown, and some somewhere in between. Surely we can find one we like for the date we want and still stay within our budget (considerably less than $30,000). And just in case we need help shopping around, the Austin Bridal Extravaganza is a mere three and a half weeks away.

5 Comments so far

  1. Veronica (unregistered) on August 30th, 2006 @ 10:54 am

    I got married about a year and half ago and we had a civil ceremony at mayfield park. We kept it small – immediate family and small handful of friends. Needless to say it was much less than $30K and most importantly we were able to enjoy it along with our guests.

  2. Constance Reader (unregistered) on August 30th, 2006 @ 11:32 am

    I would think very long and hard about elopement, or at least a small destination wedding with about a dozen guests. I was married in one those great grand celebrations (including full nuptial mass at a cathedral). I am told that it was the most beautiful wedding and reception anyone had ever attended — and I don’t remember a moment of it. The groom remembers a little, but hardly anymore than I do. Even the photos and video don’t do much to trigger memories.

    A year later we went to Vegas and renewed our vows at the Little White Chapel, with a dear friend who was unable to attend the wedding-o-rama the year before. It was a lovely, romantic little service that moved my husband and I to tears. Veronica has exactly the right idea. I would also look at Laguna Gloria or the One World Theater. Both are lovely little venues.

  3. Patrick (unregistered) on August 30th, 2006 @ 12:51 pm

    I got married in Austin and it cost much less than $30K. And it was classy, too. Go to the Bridal Extravaganza and get the coupon from Men’s Warehouse for the tuxes. It’s something like order the groom’s tux and each one afterwards is $50. Any style tux, too, not just the simple cheap style.

    Ceremony, reception, food and cakes done at the Barr Mansion: I can’t tell you how professional and easy to work with they are. The chef and baker are on-site and the food was exquisite.

    Music: we did it on my iPod and plugged it into the sound system there. We made a playlist for each part of the ceremony: pre-wedding, processional, bride’s entrance, recessional, reception part 1, bride’s dance, groom’s dance, party.

    That’s it. Just remember: it’s about you two. Have fun.

  4. ttrentham (unregistered) on August 31st, 2006 @ 9:48 am

    I’ll second the iPod as DJ idea. We went that route for my wedding 5 years ago. The Wall Street Journal had an article about the trend last week.

  5. Laura (unregistered) on September 1st, 2006 @ 2:29 pm

    I just got married here in Austin a few weeks ago and we were able to have a beautiful wedding for MUCH LESS than $30,000.

    My Tips:
    -Yes, is a great place to scope out venues and prices. I used the Caswell House at 15th Street and West Avenue. I think it was ~$2500 for the whole day
    -Courtney’s Catering (not sure on the price…it was one of the lower-priced caterer’s and they did an EXCELLENT job.)
    -Austin Cake Lady or Ginger’s Custom Cakes (ref. from Austin Cake Lady)
    -Central Market Westgate for floral
    -We had friends who are professional photographer’s and dj’s that are starting out do our dj’ing, photography for the actual day for real real cheap (contact me for their info); some family members who are professional photographers did our engagement and bridal portraits for free. Ask the minister or whoever is officiating your ceremony if they can refer you to someone in their congregation who does photography/dj/etc
    -Do a fun and inexpensive Austin location for the rehearsal dinner (liiiike The Oasis) rather than a more expensive place. The hoity-toity resteraunt we used for our RD was as expensive in the wedding and turned out to be rather disappointing.
    -I used Camille at Avant Guarde downtown to do my hair and make-up; that was a splurge though (~$150 for the day; no free test-run).
    -Serendipidy Bridal has some good deals on dresses…
    -Keep an eye out on CraigsList b/c I’ll be selling a bunch of decoration and possibly my dress soon
    -If you have alumni connections with sororities, fraternities, or other college student groups in the Austin area, ask them who they use for dj’s or photographers. Who knew sororities partied on a budget…

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