Mercury Hall Wedding

Perfect Wedding Venues for Your Outdoor Austin Wedding

“The stars at night are big and bright…. Deep in the heart of Texas.”  Indeed, they are.  If you have never heard of that song, two things:  You either did not attend elementary school in Texas where you were required to sing it for nearly every school performance, or you have not visited the Lone Star State during Texas Independence Day.  Either way, if you want the ultimate romantic backdrop for your wedding, look no further than the great outdoors, in the great state of Texas, specifically, in the city of Austin, which is in the actual heart of Texas.  Or, as my mother refers to it: The Holy Land. Austin offers an array of outdoor venues that set the perfect scene for your special day. Here are two outdoor Austin wedding venues that are worth checking out:

outdoor Austin wedding venues

 

 

Mercury Hall

The Scene:

You can find Mercury Hall on a secluded hilltop in the middle of the city.  This unique venue is just a few minutes from downtown Austin, but when you enter the property, you feel like you are in a small country town.  The venue features both an indoor and outdoor space, so there’s no need to fear the sometimes-problematic Texas weather.

The Important Stuff:

Wedding packages feature the venue rental in 5 or 10-hour intervals.  The rental includes both Mercury Hall (1400 square feet) and the outdoor courtyard (1800 square feet). Combined they seat up to 250 people.  If the weather is feeling extra angsty that day however, the hall itself will comfortably seat about 150 guests.  There are 75 parking spaces available, so you may need to consider renting a shuttle for guests or creating a carpooling system.

outdoor Austin wedding venues

Summary:

Mercury Hall may be the perfect venue for you if you are planning a smaller more intimate event and you want guests to be in the city near downtown and hotels. This location also provides you with a backup plan for your outdoor ceremony, in case the weather does not cooperate that day.

outdoor Austin wedding venues

The Inn at Wild Rose Hall

The Scene: If you ever dreamed of becoming a fairy and frolicking through the enchanted forest, then this is the venue for you. The Inn at Wild Rose Hall is a 4500-sq. ft. ranch about 20 minutes outside of Austin in the Texas Hill Country. The venue is both eclectic and charming and is surrounded by a forested area of Texas oak trees. Every inch of space seems to be set up for the perfect photograph.  To add to its appeal, it’s the former home of Tommy Shannon, the bass player for Stevie Ray Vaughn!  Oh, and did I mention there are farm animals?

The Important Stuff:

There are two main wedding packages available at the Inn. One is the full day option, which includes access to the property for your full wedding day. The other is the weekend package, which gives you lodging for up to 12 people (5 bedrooms plus a sleeper sofa) for two nights and access to the property from 2pm on Friday until 11am Sunday morning.  The venue is mostly outdoors, with a small indoor area so, fingers crossed here for great weather (choose your dates wisely). The owners truly value the care of the property so from March to November, the maximum guest count is 150 and from December to February, the maximum number of guests is set at 100. There is parking for up to 100 cars on the property and shuttle service is allowed.

outdoor Austin wedding venues

Summary:

The Inn at Wild Rose Hall is one of Austin’s best kept venue secrets and is ideal for you if you are planning a wedding during months of anticipated perfect weather or if you’ve ever had fantasies of being a character in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”  It’s a magical place where you can be certain to catch the twinkling lights of the Texas stars.

Outdoor Austin Wedding Venues

Final tips for having an outdoor wedding in Austin, TX

These are just two of the unique outdoor venues that Austin offers. Keep in mind that these would be most ideal in perfect weather.  Texas’ weather however, can be a bit unforgiving certain times of the year, and late June-September in Austin tends to be extra sweltering. So, unless the idea of seeing sweat in the armpits of all of your groomsmen in your wedding photos sounds creative to you, when planning a wedding in those months, do your guests a favor and consider a venue that also includes an indoor space (with a fully functioning air conditioning unit).

outdoor Austin wedding venues

Trinity Overlook Park Portrait

Bishop Arts District Engagement | Dallas, TX | Ashley + Tim

I was thrilled when Ashley and Tim told me they were interested in having their engagement session done in my hometown of Dallas, TX and even more ecstatic when they picked the shooting itinerary that I secretly was the most excited about: a romp around the Bishop Arts District in Oak Cliff.  I’d been wanting to photograph a Bishop Arts District engagement session for years because of it’s quaint shops and bright colors and textures.  I had a feeling that it was going to be fun, urban and colorful and it totally paid off.  I always like to start sessions off with an adult beverage and this one was no different.  Unfortunately, our original plan was to meet at the uber colorful and outdoor space of the Foundry but I arrived to discover it was closed for a special event.  Womp, womp.

Instead, we ended up at the beginning of the district at Parker Barrows, which had fantastic open windows, local beers on draft, and cool subway tile.  We wandered our way through the district, stopping when inspiration struck and sampling chocolate (a must do!) at Dude, Sweet Chocolate, where the employee went above and beyond to let us sample almost everything in the shop.

We finished up at the Old Kemp House where local artist Eric Mancini has given it his colorful make-over and created a work of art.  There was a swing!   Finally, we drove over to the nearby Trinity Overlook Park to capture some golden hour goodness and the Dallas skyline.

No trip of mine to Dallas ever goes without a stop at Fireside Pies for dinner, usually in the company of my mom and her sisters.  My aunts weren’t available but Ashley and Tim accepted my invitation and we had an awesome evening over amazing pizza and great wine!

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Family Portraits at Lake Tahoe

Fallen Leaf Lake Portraits | Shreves Family

Matt and MC are two of my oldest friends.  They met me before I was even legally allowed to drink or dance until the wee hours of the night in clubs with them (but still managed to do so, of course).  We were young and irresponsible and now we’re old and probably still irresponsible.  Matt and MC spend a number of years away from Austin, right about the time that I moved to Tahoe, and started a family.  They are now back in the central Texas and have three hilarious girls who are as goofy, rambunctious and uninhibited as their parents are.  They brought the girls to Tahoe this summer for a family vacation and I was not only excited to meet the spawn of my friends who I had heard so much about, but to also show off my town.  I took them to see my friend Alex Ramon’s magic show (he’s the best!), we had breakfast together and, of course, took family portraits while they were here.

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Austin Family Portraits

Austin Family Portaits | The Hilder Family

Sometimes the stars align and shit just works out.

The day before I was set to fly to Austin to photograph Lisa and Michael’s Mercury Hall wedding an old friend and former co-worker reached out to me on facebook, asking when the next time I was coming to town was going to be.  They wanted family portraits while their youngest, Ranger, was still a roly-poly mess of adorable babyness.  Conveniently, I was basically en route and we scrambled together to find a time to meet while I was there.  When the world feels totally random and chaotic, there’s a sort of beautiful poetry in everything coming together just like that.  I guess that’s fate.  I am so thrilled I was able to see Stephen after so many years (10?!?) and meet his amazing rockstar wife and accommodate their request some awesome Austin family portraits for their family.  I had a blast!  Their eldest son, Maverick, is a spitfire of spunk, sass and hilarity.  He was pure entertainment the entire morning: hooting like an owl, spraying like a skunk, and generally just strutting his stuff.  When the internet has me feeling dismayed and sorrowful, all it takes is a few glances at the photos of this family to make me smile.

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Mercury Hall Wedding

Mercury Hall Wedding | Austin, TX | Lisa + Michael

You couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful Texas summer day than the one Lisa and Michael were graced with for their Mercury Hall wedding in Austin, TX.  Perfect bluebird skies brightened up their day and although it was warm, by Texas standards it was downright pleasant, especially in the shade.  Their wedding featured an outdoor afternoon lunch catered by Hoover’s with some of the best brisket I’ve had in quite some time, beers from Real Ale brewing company (Fireman’s 4 is my Texas summer jam), and a traditional Reiki ceremony from her maid of honor Katie.

Lisa was incredibly stunning.  Two wedding dresses were double the fun and I was head over heels for her Watters ceremony dress.  It was flowy and delicate – a great compliment to the Austin afternoon.

I hadn’t been back to Mercury Hall in quite some time.  It’s such an incredible venue right in the heart of Austin, TX!  Despite the fact that a very important basketball game was on simultaneously, the dance floor eventually got going and even grandma couldn’t keep her feet still.   I’m so happy I was connected with this rad couple via Thumbtack – I had such a blast dancing with their friends and family.  We all know that I love Austin and I can’t wait to return for more weddings at Mercury Hall!

Also, super huge thanks to my good friend and fellow wedding photographer Lisa for stepping in and being my second for the day.  This was an adventurous weekend and I actually photographed a wedding the day before in the Bay Area, took a red eye to Texas and slept on the plane and then went straight to Lisa and Michael’s wedding for more wedding fun.  It was an absolute blast of a whirlwind weekend!  I knew when I made arrangements that it was either going to be amazing or terrible and it was amazing.  Working is always more fun with a good friend alongside you!

Venue: Mercury Hall | Officiant: Reverend Jacqueline (Jackie) Hammett | Florist: Petals, Inc | Bakery: Coco Paloma Desserts | Catering: Hoover’s Cooking |  Guitarist: Josè Manuel Tejeda | DJ: Toast Entertainment | Bride’s Attire: Watters and Pronovias  from Serendipity Bridal | Bridal Party Attire: BHLDN | Groom and Groomsmen Attire: JC Penney and Bows-N-Ties | Makeup: Rachel George at W3ll People | Hair: Bethany Lessick | Hairpieces: Aya Jewellery | Second Photographer: Lisa Hause

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Montesino Ranch Wedding

Montesino Ranch wedding | Wimberley, TX | Kelley + Neal

This Wimberley TX wedding venue has everything an outdoor Texas gal could want: beautiful hill country views, a sweeping ranch, greenhouses, a huge rustic barn, and most importantly, goats!  I loved it so much I can’t wait to return!  In short, I feel incredibly grateful to be Kelley and Neal’s photographer of choice to capture their incredible wedding day.  They pulled out all the stops, and I would, of course, expect nothing less from this stylish couple.  Contigo (and their new restaurant Chicon) have long been some of my favorite Austin haunts so I was overjoyed to learn that they’d be roasting a pig for dinner!  Kelley and my best mate Haley (and I, it should be mentioned) grew up with a love of deep dark house music so as expected, there were plenty of bright flashing party favors passed out to bring the dance party to the next level.  The only thing I regret about this wedding is that it’s over and done with – I wish we could hold it all over again!  Congratulations Kelley and Neal!

Venue: Montesino Ranch | Planner: Couture Details | Caterer: Contigo Catering | Bakery: Sugar Shack Bakery | Florist: Rosehip Flora | Invitations: Crane & Co | DJ: Greenbelt DJ | Music: Davey Schrank | Bride’s Attire: Winnie Couture | Veil: John’s Alterations | Groom’s Attire: Sid Mashburn | Makeup: Stacey Matthews | Hair: Danaan Patrick | Rentals: Loot Vintage Rentals and Marquee | Second Shooter: Alejandro “Tico” Mendoza

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Montesino Ranch Wedding

Montesino Ranch Wedding | Kelley + Neal | Sneak Peek

I think that we all were incredibly excited about Kelley and Neal’s Montesino Ranch wedding.  And then the forecast came out: Texas was going to get so much rain over the course of the wedding weekend that flooding was not only possible, but highly probable.  Montesino Ranch is an incredible venue, but offers a few unique challenges: wedding ceremonies are generally held on a gorgeous hilltop overlooking the Wimberly countryside.  Receptions are held down below, outside on the lawn and in the barn on the ranch property (goats included).  As such, folks have to be shuttled by bus up to the ceremony site but if it rains at all, the buses can’t get up the road.

Kelley was nervous.  I was nervous for Kelley.  One of her bridesmaid’s emphatically assured us that she had been praying for a long time and that she knew without a doubt that even though it started pouring as the girls were getting ready, that everything was going to be fine and that it was going to stop and that the ceremony would go as planned.  I, frankly, thought she was blowing smoke up our asses.  She was not.  Ashley, your prayers do not go unheeded: way to make it un-rain.

In the end, Kelley and Neal had a beautiful ceremony and the rain held off for most of the day.  I can’t wait to share more from their Wimberly, TX ranch wedding!

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White Sparrow Barn Wedding

White Sparrow Barn Wedding | Quinlin, TX | Teddy + Janet

Teddy and Janet are awesome.  I’m 110% certain that you can’t mention Teddy in my family without someone exclaiming, “I LOVE JANET!”  Teddy, this is your future: being overshadowed by love for your wife.  To be honest, I’m also 110% certain that Teddy is absolutely overjoyed for this to happen.  He will be the first to tell you that Janet is not only the most important person in his life, but the best thing that’s ever happened to him.  I know he’s secure in himself enough to be okay with the situation because frankly, there’s no lack of love for Teddy in my family, or any of the families that surround him.  And now, this love extends and envelopes Janet as well.

Teddy grew up with my “little” brother and they have a very tight knit group of friends to this day.  Despite Teddy’s distance and independence from the rest of the group, most of whom still live in Dallas, everyone adores him.  Woe be upon the friend who moves away from the group!  They now all also adore Janet.  I can’t imagine what it was like for Janet to meet Teddy’s boisterous friends for the first time, but I can say with confidence that I’m glad I grew up with them, instead of having to be introduced to them.  As my brother would say, “Dukes for life.”

It was hard to pick just a few frames to share from Teddy and Janet’s wedding.  Teddy’s family hails from Liberia, Africa and with almost 200 people in attendance, half of which were in traditional African wedding attire, it made for an incredibly colorful wedding.  My mother makes an appearance below, learning how to twerk.  The infamous plastic vuvuzela made an appearance not only to introduce the ceremony, but through out it.  Teddy’s mother and her church members catered the entire dinner, offering some traditional African dishes that were amazing!  She made the best cabbage I’ve ever had!

I’m so happy for Teddy and Janet.  Much like the rest of my family, I absolutely adore both of them.  They are an incredible powerhouse dynamic duo: bright, smart, adventurous go-getters that remind me of myself.  I know that they will achieve each and every one of their lofty dreams in life, together.

Venue: White Sparrow Barn | Invitations: Papersource | Florist: Whole Foods | Bakery: Sugar and Ice Custom Cakes | Bride’s Attire: Bridal Warehouse | Veil: Alain Patterson Couture | Bolero Designer: Alter My Heart | Groom’s Attire: Jos A. Bank

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Denton Texas Wedding

Dinosaur Themed Wedding | Denton, TX | Rachel + Mark

What happens when two university professors decide to get married?

A dinosaur themed wedding.

“We’re supposed to have a wedding theme,” Rachel told Mark after researching wedding planning on wedding blogs.  “A theme?” Mark was confused.  “Like dinosaurs?”  In the end, Rachel and Mark were wed at a small intimate ceremony at the Little Chapel in the Woods at TWU in Denton, TX, followed up with a reception at the Denton Arts Center.  There were tiny dinosaur details hidden everywhere – from the centerpieces that held candies for the guests, to the Texas themed pint glasses stuffed with mini-plastic-dinos and dino temporary tattoos, to the inflatable beyond large dinosaurs that became quite a hit with the youngest reception guests.  In true off-beat fashion, they had donuts instead of cake, which I absolutely loved!

Rachel and Mark love their town, Denton, TX and really wanted to highlight some of their favorite things about it in their portrait session.  We cruised around the town square and grabbed ice cream during the session.  After exploring with them, I can 100% see why people love this small, unique liberal college town in Northern TX.

Ceremony Venue: Little Chapel in the Woods | Reception Venue: Denton Arts Center | Donuts: Hypnotic Donuts | Florist: Flower Garden |Boutonnieres: Eucca Floral | Hair: SoHo Salon | Catering: Flatlanders Tacos | Bride’s Attire: Lord & Taylor | Alterations: Ana’s Alterations | Groom’s Attire: Banana Republic 

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Trois Estate Wedding

An Enchanted Rock Trois Estate Wedding | Aaron + Ellen

Nestled in the shrubs and mesquite trees of central Texas, just past the vast pink granite domes that make up Enchanted Rock State Park is a bed and breakfast that is EVERYTHING a traveler looking for a quite respite wants in their bed and breakfast.  The Trois Estate is quiet and picturesque; it’s an eclectic mix of quaint Southwest, comfort, and the downright bizarre, all the while surrounded by the expansive beauty that this part of the Texas hill country has to offer.  The estate’s cathedral is a sight to be seen, with an antique fireplace and wooden pews underground, but what’s really interesting is the attached hidden heated grotto, perfect for a midnight skinny-dip.  You didn’t get that idea from me!

The resort offers an intimate, relaxing experience in one of the most beautiful parts of Texas and I can’t imagine a more perfect place for Aaron and Ellen to wed at.  Aaron has been a prolific climber for as long as I’ve known him (which is a long time) and Ellen is a climbing convert and an avid trail runner.  They were seeking an cozy private venue for a small wedding and the Trois Estate was the perfect location.  Most of the guests were able to stay on-site (we had the run of the place).  The ceremony was held in an enclosed tree-filled outdoor patio, a cocktail hour on an upper outdoor deck overlooking the landscape as the sun set and the dinner in a private interior dining room filled with large overbearing furniture filled with Texas charm.  It was a dream venue to photograph at as well and my only regret is that I had such a busy weekend (three weddings in Texas in three days!) that I wasn’t able to sincerely enjoy the awesome that this quiet location and landscape had to provide.

The wedding was simple and absolutely reflective of Aaron and Ellen and their personalities.  It was attended by immediate family and the closest of friends only and followed up with an amazing multi-course BBQ meal from Chef Jay and his incredible staff at Chef Jay Events.   I can imagine a more beautiful, touching and poignant way to celebrate the love of two people I hold dear and I’m honored to have been able to photograph their day.

Here’s a few of my favorite frames from their Trois Estate wedding.

Venue: Trois Estate at Enchanted Rock | Officiant: Rob Lohmeyer | Catering: Chef Jay Events | Bride’s Dress: Badgley Mischka | Groom’s Attire: Joseph Abboud | Hair and Make-Up: Brandy Pate of Jay and Co | Rentals: Whim Rentals

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