My Gorgeous Austin Venue

While the Monica Geller in me imagined my wedding looking a thousand different ways over the years, one element remained a constant: I would be married – come hell or high water – in my home town of Austin.  There’s no other city like Austin in the world – the energy of the people and the natural beauty of the landscape are beyond compare, and we wanted our wedding to reflect that same energy and beauty.

With the locale firmly cemented, choosing an Austin venue was one of the first tasks tackled.  My mom and I visited several different venues and were overwhelmed with the options.  It seemed (and looking back, I think it was) like the biggest wedding decision of them all – the one that completely sets the tone for the whole affair.  I’d visited Laguna Gloria (part of the Austin Museum of Art) before but never as a bride-to-be, and something clicked the minute I looked at it from my new perspective.  Laguna Gloria boasts a historical Italian-style villa that provides a stunning backdrop without being stuffy.  The archetecture compliments the stunning grounds instead of competing with the natural environment.  The entire property maintains a certain elegance without giving up that organic vibe that is so “Austin.”

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The sunken amphitheater overlooking one of Lake Austin’s many lagoons provided the perfect ceremony location.  Having an outdoor wedding was definitely my ideal – and the amphitheater offered a naturally gorgeous space requiring little decoration, thus allowing us to allocate our decor budget towards the reception where we got much more bang for our buck.  My favorite large-scale decor elements were those that highlighted the venue itself – the lanterns and floral garlands overhanging the dance floor and the lighting splashed against the walls of the villa.

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We totally lucked out with the weather – March 28, 2009 was crisp and cool with blue skies.  We did have some blustery wind gusts but thankfully all of our guests came prepared for outdoor weather, and between the space heaters, the dancing, and the wine, everyone stayed comfortable outdoors for the entire evening.  Had it been rainy or colder, Plan B involved a large tent on the front lawn, with the ceremony held inside the villa.  While it would have been beautiful either way (one of my venue requirements was a Rain Plan I liked equally or nearly as much as Plan A), I am so, so, so glad we were able to have the outdoor wedding we’d envisioned!

My favorite quality of our venue is its transformative ability – while Laguna Gloria is a venue that offers spades of natural beauty, its also a complete blank canvas; ie: when you choose Laguna, nothing comes with it – the entire design is up to you!  This seemed a daunting task in the beginning, but bolstered with the guidance and experience of our magnificent coordinator, puzzling all the pieces together became a whole mess of fun for me!  I loved not being tethered to Package A or Package B; I loved the freedom of choosing vendors who I clicked with instead of blindly picking off a list; and in the end, I loved that the wedding held 24 hours before ours looked nothing like our celebration – each was unique to the couple and those closest to them.

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{All photographs courtesy of Stacy Sodolak and Stacey Simpson of SMS Photography}

Tomorrow… Wedding Party Lookbook!