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Non-traditional "Austiny" venue for wedding ceremony and reception

My fiance and I are looking for a very "Austiny" type of venue for our upcoming wedding in April 2011. We are both (almost) natives of Austin and want to have a casual-elegant wedding for our friends and family. Particularly interesting in having this out doors, but preferably a contingency for rain. Approximately 100 guests. Does anyone have suggestions for restaurants, coffee houses, wine bars, etc. that can accommodate this number of guests and has a nice outdoor area to give the Austin feel?

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  1. Went to a great outdoor evening wedding and reception at the Salt Lick's Pavillion near the restaurnat in Driftwood.

    Very elegant decor with flowers, lights and candles and the reception was under a covered building.

    Nicely done@

    2 Replies
    1. re: amykragan

      Thank you! I was (am) initially trying to stay inside of Austin, but this is definitely an Austin insitution and worth looking into. I appreciate it!

      1. re: amykragan

        Yep, that's the first place I thought of too. I went to a reception there and it was really really nice.

      2. I've been doing similar research for an event in the same time frame. are you looking for a venue or a turn-key, restaurant-type-deal?
        checked out city of austin venues yet? there's a lottery system in place which may rule out an april date, but the mayfield house and zilker clubhouse are about the right size. the allan and caswell houses are pretty too, and centrally located. however, these are all just venues, with no onsite food service.
        If you're looking for restaurants, mansion on judge's hill is surprisingly cost-effective, as is the austin club. snack bar on s.congress has a great covered patio, and casual light fare (the owner is terrific). paggi house might also work, but not sure about capacity. la condesa is *super* chic, and does private events.

        4 Replies
        1. re: zenshine

          Be aware Caswell House is VERY strict and has lots of rules; wouldn't call it casual by any stretch.

          Went to a party at the Zilker Clubhouse one spring (you have to have it catered in) and the view off the patio was wonderful, but I found the interior kinda dark and dank.

          What about the One World Theater in Bee Cave. Spectacular view of the hill country and I've heard the food is fantastic.

          1. re: amysuehere

            amysuehere: agreed on caswell house — it's a faithful victorian restoration, aesthetically. definitely formal, but they have two huge kitchens, an elevator, and plenty of indoor space for 100 (and if I were a non-profit renting out my house to a bunch of partiers, I'd probably insist on tabc certified bartenders, too). allan house only seats 75 *inside,* but is a lovely modernized restoration. it's also substantially pricier.

            smrsmr: not sure how closely our events align (april, casual-elegant, nontraditional downtown), but the venue we settled on is owned by the german-texan heritage society. they're relatively new to the venue-rental scene, but dealing with them has been really great. their space has a caterer's kitchen downstairs and a smaller kitchen upstairs (no food service of their own). near the capitol (10th @ red river). beautiful shady garden. very reasonably priced. it will be cozy inside for 100, but probably do-able.

            the gths website doesn't indicate rental availability, but there's an email listed on their site.
            good luck!

            1. re: zenshine

              What is the name of the venue owned by teh German-Texan heritage society? That sounds very interesting!

              1. re: smrsmr

                the building is called the german free school. there's not much of a web presence, but if you google it, a few exterior/garden photos come up.

        2. I got married at Star Hill Ranch, just outside of Austin at Bee Caves. It's a venue and not a restaurant/coffee house, but it otherwise matches a lot of the criteria you mention.


          1. While it's not a restaurant/bar/etc., Mercury Hall, just off of South 1st is indoor/outdoor, casual and, if things haven't changed too much in the last 11 years, none too pricey.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ret3

              mercury hall it's about 4 grand now, for a high-season saturday night. that's just for the roof and floor. and the kitchen is reputedly troublesome, from a caterer's perspective.

            2. We had our reception at Z-Tejas on west 6th. They have a completely separate carriage house for receptions so your are not mixing with the other restaurant goers. Then we got married at Umlauf Sculpture Gardens. the Z Tejas reception was nice, but the Umlauf wedding was incredible. Just a beautiful pavillion and great grounds.

              1. We had our wedding reception at Laguna Gloria, and it exceeded our expectations in pretty much every possible way. Beautiful and Austiny.


                We had Primizie cater our wedding, and they did a great job collaborating with us on the menu. (This was actually before they opened their restaurant, RIP. Their restaurant was decent, but they really went all-out for the catering.) I'm not sure if they're still running their catering business, but I recommend them, at least, I recommend what they did for us. We collaborated on the menu, they hosted a delicious buffet, and their service was friendly and gracious throughout the reception.

                Michelle's Patisserie provided the cakes, which were gorgeous, affordable, and most-importantly delicious. Michelle crushed the recommended wedding cake joints from both flavor and cost perspective. We've called on her a couple times since the wedding, but not recently at all, so I'm not sure if six years of sustained success has changed her approach or her pricing, or if she is even still doing this, but it was worth the drive to North Austin to meet her and sample.

                2 Replies
                1. re: tom in austin

                  How about Green Pastures?

                  Green Pastures Restaurant
                  901 W Live Oak St, Austin, TX 78704

                  1. re: tom in austin

                    We also had Primizie cater our wedding and they were awesome. I totally agree with everything Tom says about Primizie.

                    1050 E 11th St, Austin, TX

                  2. Hotel St. Cecilia is beautiful, and I think it'd be a gorgeous wedding venue.

                    Some of the city's club houses don't have a/c systems, so be aware of that. Even though the wedding is in April, it could be hot, especially with 100 people in the room.

                    1. The Wild Onion


                      amazing. Located in far south austin.

                      1. We had our wedding at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - catered by Primizie (who were wonderful to work with - highly reco). The Wildflower Center is beautiful and has both outdoor and very nice indoor contingency area. You bring in all your own caterers (must be on their approved list) and alcohol (which helps with cost).

                        1050 E 11th St, Austin, TX

                        1. We are getting married at Cedar Street Courtyard and doing our reception at Malaga Tapas and Bar. While, the wedding hasn't happened yet, so far it is looking to work out great logistically and with awesome food. We are looking at 135 people. The nice thing about doing it at a bar or restaurant is that they just require a minimum food+beverage order... so the whole rental cost of the venue goes toward food+drink. You could do the whole thing at Cedar Street and have Peche cater the food... but what you get for the cost goes much further at Malaga than Peche. We are having a few appetizers from Peche during cocktail hour at Cedar Street then moving to Malaga for more appetizers and Tapas for dinner. Our rain plan is to move the whole thing to Malaga.

                          We wanted to have our wedding downtown. I did a major search of restaurants and venues downtown... and there arent many. While there are a lot of restaurants the bigger ones that can hold a bunch of people tend to be on the more expensive side or not have good food.

                          208 W 4th Street, Austin, TX 07739

                          1. Thank you all for your tremendous responses. This has given me so many more ideas and options!!!!

                            1. Barr Mansion. I was married there in April 3 years ago, organic venue, beautiful gardens and indoor spaces, people are STILL talking about the food...

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: lshoes

                                The only problem is, this summer lightning struck their reception hall, and the fire caused severe damage. The house is fine, but it's pretty small. I'm not sure when they'll have the hall re-built.

                              2. I recently went to food event (not a wedding) at Hummingbird House in south Austin. They had a gorgeous outdoor area complete with a tent. May be worth looking into!

                                1. one more thought: Threadgills hosted a friend's wedding a few years ago. Quite casual, but really fun, with the wedding out in the concert venue and dinner inside.

                                  Threadgill's Restaurant
                                  6416 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78752