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.

Camp La Junta Wedding

Camp La Junta Wedding | Hunt, TX | Halie + Price

I think that almost everyone has incredibly fond memories of their time at summer camp. My best memories come not from when I was an actual camper, but from when I spent years as a camp counselor at Camp Mystic for Girls. Nestled among the cypress,  live oak, and pecan trees in the hill country of Texas, Mystic is located in camp haven along the banks of the Guadalupe River. It’s flanked by a number of other camps, some co-ed, some not.  It’s a veritable summer camp-land, with dozens of camps lining the river.

Mystic is a magical place where you eat fried chicken every Sunday and the cabins have names like Wiggle Inn and Chatter Box.  The girls remain with their initial cabin members for the duration of their camp lives. Since I was a counselor there for six years, I watched my campers grow into women and I still, to this day, keep track of many of them.  Particularly those in my first cabin ever and those who year after year, signed up to take diving with me as an activity, as Halie did.  Today, many of those young campers that I knew as 7 year olds are now getting engaged, married and starting families of their own. I feel incredibly lucky to have not only had the opportunity to be part of such rich and lifelong tradition, but then to have watched, helped create and been a part of such long lasting relationships between these women who are doing incredible things with their lives.  I couldn’t be more proud and it’s the highest honor to be asked to be their wedding photographer!

Halie’s relation to summer camps lie not just with Camp Mystic, however. Her family is tied to the nearby Camp La Junta, which for 80 years has been encouraging the growth of self-confident and independent young men through their camp traditions.  It’s a beautiful property and it provided an incredible backdrop for her wedding. Price also grew up in the area and although he and Halie went to the same high school, they didn’t reconnect until their post college years. As such, Camp La Junta was the perfect location for all their families, friends and loved ones to watch them wed.

The camp sits adjacent to Bridget’s Basket, an incredible market, bakery and farm in the area. Ingram, Hunt and Kerrville are getting kind of hip y’all!  The Market stocks artisanal items from local, regional and small US producers and carries anything you might need for a wine country weekend picnic. It offered an incredible reception venue space for a wedding! Everyone was able to dine on the lawn, dance under the string lights and watch the sunset in the warm Texas night.  It was the perfect location to close out Halie and Price’s Camp La Junta wedding!

I love the Texas hill country more than I can put into words. In addition to holding a very special place in my heart because of my summer camp ties, I just find it to be breathtakingly beautiful. The pace of life is a bit slower, not only because you can’t drive too fast because of the deer: the beer is colder, the trees seem to be extra shady, and the people have that special Texas friendliness that I love so much. I get to return in November for another summer camp wedding at Vista Camps and I am counting down the days.  Can I just lock down that Kerrville wedding photographer market and only do summer camp weddings? Because that sounds like a dream come true.

Halie and Price, I love you to the banks of the Guadalupe River and back. I can’t wait to watch your family grow!

Wedding Venue: Camp La Junta | Reception Venue: Bridget’s Basket | Florist: Showers of Flowers | Bakery: The Market at Bridget’s Basket | Catering: Rudy’s BBQ | DJ: Patrick Sifuentes | Bride’s Attire: Amsale | Grooms Attire: Marc Jacobs | Wedding Party Attire: Etsy and Marc Jacobs | Hair: Michelle Rios | Make-up: Collin Korenek

Camp La Junta WeddingCamp La Junta WeddingCamp La Junta Wedding