Trois Estate Wedding

Chapel Dulcinea: The Free Austin Wedding Venue (and Other Places to Have Your Wedding That Are Cheaper Than One Month of Austin’s Rent)

Forty-Five million dollars. That’s the cost of one month’s rent in Austin, TX.  Just kidding (though it feels like it more and more everyday). That’s actually the estimated cost of the most recent Royal Wedding. Can you imagine what you could do with forty-five million? Here’s a short list to get you thinking:

  1. Have P. Diddy host your company party for the next 45 years (yes, his event fee is $1 million).
  2. You can buy almost 2 super yachts that come with super cars and a parking dock for the cars (The Strand Craft Super Yacht will cost you about $25 million).
  3. Buy (40) 300-year-old Bonsai trees (The most expensive Bonsai tree in the world cost about $1.2 million).
  4. You could buy 35 bottles of the most expensive champagne in the world (Gout de Diamants Champagne, which was sold for $1.2 million).

Okay, so if you have no desire to spend that much money on your wedding or on P.Diddy’s hosting abilities, then this blog post is for you. Unless you are on your way to becoming the next Duke or Duchess in the U.K, your wedding doesn’t need to cost $45 million dollars.  In fact, one of the most expensive bills in your wedding planning, (the venue), doesn’t have to cost you anything.  Below is a list of venues in Austin that are free or at least cheaper than one months’ rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in Austin.  With all that money you save, you can hire me!

Trois Estate Wedding

Chapel Dulcinea

Location: 16221 Crystal Hills Drive, Crystal Hill Dr, Austin, TX 78737

Fee: $0

None, absolutely free.  However, there is a $200 no-show deposit required for weddings Monday-Thursday and a $400 no-show free required for Friday –Saturday weddings.  The fee is refunded the day you show up for the wedding but can also be given as a donation.

About:  

In 2005, Chapel Dulcinea became the first Free Wedding Chapel in the world. When Roy and Pennie were married in 1976, they held their rehearsal dinner in an Oklahoma Pizza Hut and it took all the money they had. Their dream of a free wedding chapel is one of the ways they’ve chosen to lend a helping hand to happy couples in love who may be starting out as financially strapped as they were. The venue is located in Southwest Austin and overlooks the beautiful Hill Country.

Reasons you should use this venue:

First of all, did you hear that it was free?  Okay, but seriously the place is gorgeous, it overlooks the hill country and there is a room available to get dressed in prior to the wedding.  The only two downfalls I can see is for one, the fact that it is an outside venue and you are totally dependent on the weather, so with the unpredictable Texas climate, you have to choose your date wisely.  The second issue is that this venue is really only for you if you are planning a small intimate wedding.  There is not much seating available, so if you have more than 25 or so guests, they have to be prepared to stand.  If a quaint wedding in outdoors is in your plans with your nearest and dearest, this might be the spot for you.

Mercury Hall Wedding

Zilker Park Clubhouse

Location:  Zilker Clubhouse Rd, Austin, TX 78746

Fee:  $1350 for ceremony and reception. 

This included includes 12 hours of event time including set up and clean up time. A refundable security deposit of $300 is required. A $20 private party permit is required for amplified music.

About:

Zilker Clubhouse is a beautiful stone clubhouse with a rock patio and spacious concrete terrace. With the views of downtown Austin as your backdrop, and a rustic ranch-style lodge as your indoor space, it’s a beautiful location to host a wedding. The location is designed to host up to 150 guests and there is both indoor and outdoor space.

Reasons you should use this venue:

Reason #1, the venue fee is cheaper than the cost of one month’s rent in most of the city.  But also, if you want a venue that is set up for both indoor and outdoor events and is still in the city overlooking beautiful downtown Austin, this is your spot.  If you can afford a little more than free.99, this should definitely be in your top 3.  One downside of this location is the fact that it does not include a dressing room, but with all the money you save for the venue you could book an Airbnb nearby and that takes care of that. 

To Hyphenate or Not? What to do with Your Surname After the Wedding

Angel Mountain Events

Location:  178 Pine Tree Loop, Bastrop, TX. 78602

Fee: $1500-$2600

Monday-Thursday are the best days to reserve this venue (or any venue) for the best price. Weddings on those days will run you about $1500.  For weddings held on Friday the rate is $2600 and for Saturdays the event center will run you closer to the price of a really, really nice 2-bedroom apartment ($3000).

About:

From the website: Angel Mountain Event Center has approximately 5500 sq. ft of indoor space, to include a Candlelit Chapel, a separate Reception area for dinner & dancing, dressing areas for your wedding party, a caterer’s kitchen, & a scenic 1500 sq. ft. patio, perfect for your outdoor ceremony.

Reasons you should use this venue:

You get a lot of bang for your buck.  This location has both indoor and outdoor space and is slightly outside of Austin so it gives you a more relaxed and quiet location.  The indoor space offers plenty of room and you have a space for dressing. There is a $250 cleaning fee required and a $250 refundable damage fee that will be collected, but even with those prices, the venue still gives you all that you could ask for at a reasonable price.

Choosing one of these venues is sure to keep you away from totally blowing your wedding budget and hey with all that money saved, maybe you could hire P.Diddy for entertainment after all.  But no, really, just hire me.  Or get some goats.  Or both.

Outdoor Austin Wedding Venues

Lauren Lindley is a destination wedding, event and portrait photographer.  She splits her time between Reno-Tahoe in the summer and Austin, TX and New Orleans, LA in the winter.

Austin engagement photographer

Austin Engagement Photographer | Halie + Price

Once upon a time in my past life, I was a camp counselor at Camp Mystic for Girls.  I was a counselor there for six years.  Camp Mystic is a magical place where every summer, girls return again and again to spend either two weeks or a month of their summer with their cabin-mates, which stay the same all of their years spent there.  I was always the counselor who was left alone on my co-counselors’ nights off with dozens of children under the age of 10 to corral.  My cabin almost always had the privilege of getting out of rest hour early for commissary due to the fact that I consistently threatened to throw anything they left on the cabin floor out the front door.  I taught swimming and diving as my activities, training girls to do inwards and gainers and one-and-a-halfs despite their fears and worries.  I met and watched amazing young women grow up before my eyes and to this day, thanks to social media, I still keep in touch with many of them.  One of them lives in Mexico City, one studied abroad in London, some are married, a few are engaged, a few already have children.  I am so proud of all of them and who they have become.  

And then the day came that one of them got engaged and then asked me to photograph their wedding and that made me feel incredibly, unbelievably esteemed.    

You wouldn’t have to press me hard to say that Halie was always one of my favorites.   She has turned into the beautiful, smart, engaging woman I expected her to become.  There has always been a spark of laughter in her eye and to no surprise, she’s found the most amazing partner for her life.  Price is charming, respectful and clearly loves her.  I am so honored to photograph their wedding, which will be held just down the street from Mystic at Camp La Junta, and even more excited to share their Austin engagement session, during which I basically just made them go everywhere. At least we did have cocktails first though. Thanks for accomodating me, y’all and thanks for the highest honor you can bestow on your camp counselor.

Austin Engagement Photographer Austin Engagement Photographer Austin Engagement PhotographerAustin Engagement Photographer Austin Engagement Photographer

 

If you’re wondering, the umbrellas are an art installation on Aldrich Street in the Mueller neighborhood.

 

Austin Family Portraits

Why Fall is the Best Season for Family Photos in Texas

About three years ago, after gaining a new writing client, I thought it was time to finally get some
professional headshots taken. The timing was perfect. I was updating my website and had created some
marketing materials so things were falling into place.  Everything was great, except for the fact that it was
the end of June, in Texas. Of course, the photoshoot needed to be outside to catch some of the amazing
natural light, which meant that I spent about three hours in the sun on a 103° day. Keeping the river of
sweat on my forehead from photobombing my professional shots proved to be more work than the mile-
long hike it took to get to the location of the shoot. I survived that shoot, but later on I thought about how
it could have easily been avoided had I planned for a shoot in the cooler months. Hopefully this post will
convince you to do the same.

So, Texas is finally getting some fall weather, which in the South typically means anytime the
temperature drops below 70 degrees.  Southerners have waited an excruciatingly hot six months (yes, six
months) of summer for these cool days. Now is the perfect time to get out there and take those family
photos. Why wait until the winter season to have your holiday card photos taken? Here are a few reasons
why the fall season is best time to line up little Timmy and Tanya or Rufus the labradoodle outside and
create photos that will last a lifetime

 

Tahoe family portraits

1. You Won’t Melt into a Puddle of Sweat.

Please see my story above.  Let’s face it, it’s hot as Hades in Texas between the months of June-October.
 Around the end of October we finally start to see glimpses of what I like to call, “Cold Front Season.”
 It’s not quite a normal fall in terms of getting cold and staying that way, it’s more like a cold front that
drops temperatures below 70 degrees for a few days, and then it jumps back up to 85°-90°. Either way,
you have to take advantage of the ability to actually sit (or stand) outside for longer than 30 minutes,
which means the photo shoot won’t leave you burned and applying aloe vera to your skin several days
later.  You can actually pick a shoot location outdoors and get some great natural lighting without melting
your face off!

family photos

2.  The Colors Duke, the Colors!

Summer is nice, but in Texas it tends to get so hot, that things just turn brown and die without some
diligence in watering. However, fall seasonal colors are the best.  The foliage is no longer getting beat up
by the unbearable summer sun and the leaves finally begin to realize that winter is coming.  What that
means for you is that there are lovely colors everywhere, and lovely colors mean lovely pictures.  Because
fall colors tend to be neutrals, you can color coordinate to your heart’s content.  In addition to the color
coordinating, the weather is cool enough to add in some additional matching accessories.  Try hats,
mittens, gloves or scarves for additions to your holiday card.

3. Holiday Props

In addition to cooler weather, the fall season welcomes in what the internet lovingly refers to as
“HallowThanksmas,” or the season in which we celebrate or prepare for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and
Christmas/other holidays. What this means for you is that you have the ability to use lots and lots of props
of your choice in your photo shoots. Feel free to pull out that Menorah and Dreidel, plant yourself in a
pumpkin patch or pull out the famous ugly Christmas sweaters and lawn snowman. Try variations of all
of those things if you are feeling adventurous this year.  Just know that fall is the perfect season to take
advantage.

Hopefully this article encouraged you to go ahead and book your family photoshoot now. Take advantage
of the cool breezes, the awesome fall colors and the opportunity to pull out the Christmas tree early.  The
cool weather might not last for very long and come Christmas, we may very well be looking at a sunny 90
degree day.

Tahoe Family Photos

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.

Austin Family PortraitsAustin Family PortraitsAustin Family PortraitsAustin Family PortraitsAustin Family PortraitsAustin Family PortraitsAustin Family PortraitsAustin Family PortraitsAustin Family PortraitsAustin Family Portraits

Austin Portrait Photographer

Anytime Light Workshop Sneak Peak

I don’t even know where to begin with this.

But I think this sums it up:

MY MIND IS BLOWN.

I’m pretty good at lighting up really delightful sunset portraits, but damn, there are things you can do with light that I just hadn’t even considered.  As Miche said after I showed her the photo, clearly, “the limits are kind of boundaries.”

I present, exhibit A: turning day into night.   We shot this in the middle of the afternoon with the sun high in the sky.

I fooled you.

More to come from the Anytime Light Workshop I attended with AzulOx in Austin, TX.

Foxygen concert photo

Austin Event Photographer | SXSW

Every March for the past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to head down to my hometown Austin, TX to work for SXSW.  I started off as a Volunteer Photographer and today, work for the SXSW Sales Team.  Just last month, I returned to be an Austin event photographer for a 2nd time this year for their amazing environmentally focused event SXSW Eco.

 After a few years of working at SXSW, my photos are finally starting to show up on their website.  I’m not sure if the excitement of seeing one of my photos in use will ever wear off and frankly, I hope it never does!  I was particularly thrilled to see this one up from SXSW Bites.  I actually can’t take all the credit for it though – although I snapped the shutter, Erik Moore was sitting across from me while we were eating lunch, saw the opportunity and pointed it out.

SXSW runs the show with more than 3,000 volunteers a year in all sorts of capacities.  If you have any inkling of attending but can’t afford it, volunteering is an amazing way to visit this event.  SXSW Volunteer Registration for 2015 just opened and out-of-town volunteers are accepted.   If you are a beginning photographer, joining the photography team is a great way to hone your skills in a variety of very tough lighting situations: from low lit convention centers to red-lit concert stages, there is nothing that progressed my early skills faster than they consistent daily shooting for two weeks at SXSW.

That being said, photography volunteers are only a fraction of the volunteers SXSW needs.  They need folks to run registration, work at the gaming expo, check badges, the list is endless!  If you are only interested in music, head down and volunteer for interactive or gaming and trade your time for a music badge.  If you’re interested in interactive, work the music portion so that your schedule is free.

This shot of Foxygen in use on the website was one I took my first year, as a volunteer, while not on assignment.  Foxygen recently released a new album (it’s great) and some of the shots from that night at the Hype Hotel are still some of my most favorite concert shots ever.

Anne and I are already looking forward to returning to Austin in March for another great year at SXSW.  It’s quickly become my favorite music festival to discover new bands, great films and meet really cool people like Lindsey Loon, a super rad actress at the helm of an Australian film festival, that I still keep in touch with.

Crossfit Photography, Crossfit Promo Photos, Crossfit Texas, Austin Commercial Photography

Austin Freelance Photographer | CrossFit Texas Sneak Peek

I’m so excited for my friends Liana and Terry Collie!  They are following their dreams and just bought a gym after their own passion: CrossFit Texas in Pflugerville.  Since I was traveling all the way to Texas to shoot a San Antonio Wedding a few weeks ago, they requested that I make a stop in Austin to help with new marketing photos for their small business.  Here’s a sneak peek of what’s to come!  Congrats to my friends, whose awesomeness knows no bounds.

SXSW 2014 Preview

I’m back in Texas to photograph for SXSW for the 2nd year in a row.  I know what’s coming for me: loads of amazing new music, beer, and very little sleep.  It’s an awesome time and it all starts this Saturday.

I’ve been attempting to prepare myself by drinking a lot and pre-listening to the SXSW “Four on the Floor” Preview Lists.  Here are a couple of acts I discovered on there that I’m super excited to see:

  • I became super obsessed with Juliette Ashby’s voice the moment I heard the first song.  Her blend of R&B, Reggae and Neo-Soul isn’t something I would have ever pegged myself for being attracted to, but I’m hooked.

  • The Mighty Oaks may be confused since they are playing Americana-Folk but hail from Berlin, Germany but I’m not confused about how awesome their music is.

  • Ski Lodge: pop fun for a bluebird powder day.  Right up my alley.

  • Pompeya is a pop blend of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

  • Shakey Graves has been making headlines outside of his hometown of Austin, TX: headlines loud enough that his reputation precedes him and he’s now on my must-see list for the week.

  • Elle King mades waves last year at SXSW but I unfortunately missed catching one of her shows.  I will not make the same mistake again this year!

SXSW Wrap-Up: Final Thoughts

Miscellaneous other thoughts on SXSW 2013

Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale: aka the two “best dressed men at SXSW.”

  • Paste Magazine’s day party during SXSW Music was consistently the best line-up.  I missed quite a few shows that I would have loved to see at the Stages on Sixth, like the Zombies (!) due to assignments, but overall, almost every day I knew I could show up there and be guaranteed a great line-up of stellar bands.  You can see all my photos from the Stages on Sixth shows that I caught via this link.
Paste Magazine, SXSW, Stages on Sixth, Austin

A little girl peeks into the show at the HGTV and Paste Magazine Stages on Sixth Show.

  • At the Paste + Sennheiser Interactive Lounge at the Blackheart during SXSW Interactive there was always someone interesting being interviewed, plus I had a friend who interns for Paste that was always stuck hanging out guarding equipment so it was rad to know that I could always find him in his corner.  Plus, they have good beer at the Blackheart.  Anne got to take a photo with Marcel the Shell and we got to listen to Aisha Tyler get interviewed.  She’s awesome.  I missed the Elle King show there but got to watch Seryn one afternoon, which happened to be absolutely perfect afternoon porch music.  You can check out all my photos from the Paste + Sennheiser Interactive Lounge via this link.
Seryn, SXSW, SXSW 2013, Paste Magazine, The Blackheart on Rainey, Austin

Seryn: perfect tunes for a Southern front porch.

Matthew Lesko, SXSW, SXSW 2013

Oh yeah, THIS happened. That’s right, that’s the infamous infomercial man Matthew Lesko.

Have an inkling to go to SXSW?  SXSW runs the show with more than 3,000 volunteers a year.  Trade your time for credentials.  Check here in November 2013 for information on next year.

Previously in my SXSW wrap-up:

Intro to SXSW

#12: Devendra Banhart

#11: PHOX

#10: Social Studies

#9: Guards

#8: Zeale

#7: Red Baraat

#6: Josh Ritter

#5: Pickwick

#4: Reignwolf

#3: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

#2: The Orwells

#1: Foxygen

SXSW Wrap-Up: Other Memorable Shows

Guards, SXSW 2013, SXSW, Concert Photography, Reno Tahoe Concert Photography

My Top SXSW Acts: #9

My favorite new artists from SXSW 2013

#9: Guards

SXSW, Guards Music, Guards Band, Stages on Sixth, Paste Magazine, HGTV,

Guards’ Kaylie Church.

If you like the Cults, you’ll like Guards.  Guards frontman Richie James Follin is brother to Cults’ frontwoman Madeline Follin.  While both bands have a similar foundation, Guards’ music is more stripped down and raw than that of the Cults and what you’re left with is an edgy modern 60’s pop sound.  Their show, even in the middle of the day, is intensely earnest, even in it’s cool calculated transcendence.

Previously in my SXSW wrap-up:

Intro to SXSW

#12: Devendra Banhart

#11: PHOX

#10: Social Studies

SXSW, Stages on Sixth, Paste Magazine, HGTV, Guards, Guards music, Guards Band

Guards frontman Richie Follin.