5 Cheap Wedding Venues in Texas

by Harper Jones

There are a few reasons you may be hunting for a free or cheap wedding venue in Texas. You and your fiancé may have a low budget due to limited funds, or you may have simply decided not to spend too much on your wedding in order to save for your future.

If you’re planning a wedding in Texas and need to keep costs down, here are 5 free or inexpensive wedding venues in Texas:

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1. Chapel Dulcinea

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Ofcourse I have to make Chapel Dulcinea, the FREE* Austin Wedding chapel, the first on this list. This is a beautiful rustic chapel, perched on the edge of a cliff in southern Austin.

The chapel can seat about 12 on its permanent stone benches, but if you need more seating, Chapel Dulcinea has white wooden folding chairs that can be added, increasing the capacity to 50! (Up to 100 outside of the cover of the chapel’s roof)

A separate covered pavilion is available on the cliff side for a short mini-reception if you choose, where you can have a quick cake cutting ceremony and first dance.

*This venue requires a $200 “no-show fee” to schedule your wedding for a Monday-Thursday, or $400 for weddings on Fridays-Sundays. As long as you check-in at your scheduled time on the date that you have booked, you get that money back.

2. Lake Bastrop South Shore/Osprey Point Hall

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Here is a wedding venue option that I never would have known about if I hadn’t had the lucky opportunity to photograph a wedding there.

Lake Bastrop South Shore is actually a camp ground, but in this camp ground are two small event halls which can be rented out, one of which is called Osprey Point Hall.

Osprey Point is equipped with a full catering kitchen (you bring in your own caterers), a large stone fireplace (a perfect spot to place the alter for an indoor ceremony!), and comes with the option to rent out tables and chairs.

My clients held their ceremony outside of the hall, with the lake off to the side of them. They strung fairy lights from tree to tree, and brought in a wooden alter and folding chairs.

After the ceremony, Osprey Point Hall was lightly decorated in woodsy accents, and twinkle lights.

The Hall can seat 80+ people, and is only $175 to rent out!! You can call the park office for more information at 512-498-1922.

3. The Charles S. Cock House (San Marcos)

This cute little cottage, built in 1867, is located in San Marcos, Texas, near the historic downtown square.

This is a unique option for a small, intimate wedding, as the house features 3 separate rooms which seat 12-16 people each.

Rental of the house is only $100 for 4 hours!

Outside of the house is also an ornate white Gazebo, which offers another option for your ceremony. The only downside to this option is the traffic noise.

4. Landa Park Gazebo (New Braunfels)

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Another spot that I had the luck of shooting a wedding in; this amazing intricate wooden Gazebo is made from polished branches, and sits beside the crystal-clear waters of Landa Lake.

The rental fee for this ceremony space is only $75 for one hour, and can fit up to 50 guests.

You do need to bring in your own chairs, and there is no reception space available. It’s also important that you make sure you are reserving the gazebo on the lake, and NOT the gazebo next to the park’s administrative building.

Reserve a nearby restaurant for your reception dinner, and this amazing gazebo is a perfect place to hold an intimate ceremony!

5. Marriage Island (San Antonio)

Marriage Island is a one-stop wedding venue located on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas.

This venue offers a range of packages, but the most basic one (Marriage island rental + officiant) is only $431.55.

I have my first wedding at this riverside venue later this summer, so keep an eye out for photos of it here on the blog, and on my facebook page!

Texas Wedding Venues for Small Budgets

Weather you’re planning an intimate wedding by choice or necessity, these 5 cheap wedding venues in central Texas are amazing options that you may not have known about!

Are you looking for an affordable wedding photographer in Austin for your small intimate wedding? I offer affordable wedding photography options for couples on a budget, by offering hourly packages at a minimum of 2 hours (OR ask me about payment plans!)

Call me today at 512-831-1900, or contact me by email to talk about your wedding plans and book me for your wedding!


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How to: Dress for Your Engagement Photos

by Harper Jones

How to: Dress for Your Engagement Photos

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I know from personal experience how overwhelming it can be to figure out what you and your fiancé should wear for engagement photos.

Austin, being as hot as it is during certain stretches of the year, can narrow your choices down even further.

Decide What Look You Are Going For

Do you want a high-end, more formal look? Casual, light, and natural? Fun and quirky?

It all starts with the location.

  1. Urban: Is achieved by selecting locations with more concrete and buildings than grass and trees.

This is a great choice if you want to dress up and take more formal engagement photos. Downtown Austin is a great location choice.

  1. Airy/EarthyIs achieved by choosing a park, field, garden, or other natural space.

This works wonderfully with flowing dresses, light colors, and more relaxed hairstyles. Some great Austin area locations for this look are:

The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, Austin, Texas

Stagecoach Park, Buda, Texas

Mayfield Park, Austin, Texas

  1. Cozy/Casual: A fun and intimate option is to dress in a way that you may on any typical day, and do an in-home engagement photoshoot (if you live together).

This gives you the chance to capture not only the two of you, but gives you a snapshot of your home at this stage of your life.

Cozy up on the coach with a blanket wrapped around your backs, a couple of cups of coffee, and let your photographer create images that capture the way you feel when you have a day-off to just be together.

Start with What You Already Own

Before you go shopping, check your closet and look for pieces that may already work for the look you’ve decided on. After you have gathered things that you know you want to wear, you can purchase anything else that will make the look come together.

Of course, you are free to go out and buy entirely new outfits if you choose, too.

Start with One Base Item, and Build from It

Choose one color family, and add a few pops of one or two accent colors.

For instance: Everyone could be in shades of grey and black, but add gold accents with a gold scarf and gold hairpiece on one person, a gold wrist watch on another person. Just be careful not to get be too matchy (this isn’t prom).

Do you have a favorite dress that you definitely want to wear for your engagement session? Base the rest of you and your partner’s looks on that dress!

Choose Colors That Will Complement the Location

1. Parks/Green Spaces/Gardens

  • Blues
  • Pinks
  • Yellows

2. Urban Spaces, Downtown

  • Reds
  • Metallics
  • Black
  • Neutrals

What to Avoid

There are definitely exceptions to these rules, but some things that may be best to avoid are:

  • Denim (The exception would be dark-washed jeans with a nice blouse and heals)
  • Graphic Tees
  • Too many large prints
  • Matching shirts

You Can Always Ask Your Photographer for Advice

Don’t be afraid to ask your engagement photographer for help. They will have insight on choices that will work best for your specific location, looks, and personalities.

Have you scheduled your Engagement Photos yet? Check out my pricing page, or contact me to talk about your session!


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How to Get the Best From Your Wedding Photographer

How-To-Get-The-Best-From-Your-Wedding-Photographer-Harper-Jones-Photography-Austin

Are you worried about how you’ll look in your wedding photos? Maybe you tend to feel like you just aren’t photogenic, or you aren’t sure how your wedding photographer will pose you to hide your insecurities.

You’re not alone. The number one thing I hear from my new clients after their first photoshoot is how nervous they had been beforehand (and how relieved they were to find out how easy it was)!

You don’t need to worry, as long as you’ve chosen an experienced photographer with a portfolio that speaks to you, but there are things you can do to get the most out of your wedding photographer! Austin brides, read on to learn some helpful insider tips!

5 Tips to Getting Better Wedding Photos

Obviously, the first step to great wedding photography is an experienced, skilled, and creative professional wedding photographer. But what else can you do to help your photographer capture the best possible images of you, your partner, and your love?

1. Meet with Your Wedding Photographer Before You Hire Them

I can’t stress enough the importance of finding a photographer for your Austin wedding that you and your partner have chemistry with.

You may love the work of an artist, and come to realize that you simply do not click well together. It’s going to be difficult for the two of you AND your photographer to bring out your personalities and capture the joy in your relationship if you’re feeling awkward.

Things you can do to make sure you and your photographer are a good match are:

  • Ask to call and get to know them a little bit before booking. A simple 5-minute conversation may be all you need to judge whether or not you have chemistry with this person.
  • Ask for a free in-person consultation. Bring your partner with you and sit down to talk about your wedding plans. This gives you a chance to warm up to each other, and decide whether or not you are a match.

2. Take Engagement Photos

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Think of an Austin Engagement Session as not only a chance to capture your relationship before you begin life together as husband-and-wife, but as a chance for you and your photographer to get to know each other better.

Another major benefit of taking engagement photos is…

It’s a Test-Run for Your Wedding Day: Unless you frequently use a professional photographer, you may discover after you get your engagement photos back that there were things you wish you had done differently, like allowing yourself to smile more naturally, or stand up straighter. You may notice small things, like the way your lipstick looks on camera vs. real life.

This can help you to catch the small things you may want to fix, before it’s time to take your wedding photos on the big day.

Engagement photos can be retaken, but for most people your wedding photos are a one-shot thing.

3. Relax

You never want to look tense or unnatural in your wedding photos. But how can you be the best model you can be, while still looking genuine and relaxed?

Crinkle Your Eyes: When people smile for a photo, instead of as a reaction, they tend to lack that sparkle that they’d normally have. Why? Because they’re not crinkling their eyes! A contrived smile tends to be stiff, smooth, and too focused on keeping the eyes open, while a genuine smile has a little bit of eye-squinting. Ways that your photographer may attempt to bring out your natural smile:

  • By having you smile at the end of a countdown (“3-2-1-SMILE!”)
  • By making you laugh

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Straighten Up…But Not Too Much

You want to try not to have terrible posture in your photos, but you also don’t want to be too stiff. Try standing (or sitting) as straight as you can, and then relaxing just a tiny bit. This is where you look your best.

4. Trust the Photographer

If you’ve chosen a professional wedding photographer who has plenty of wedding experience, good reviews, and you feel that the majority of their photos seem to be flattering captures of the people in them, then you can feel confident that you can trust your photographer to make you look your best.

  • Don’t Worry Too Much About Modeling, because most likely your wedding photographer is going to position you in ways that will make you look great. They will tell you were to stand, what to do, and how to do it.
  • Don’t Worry About Coming Up with Photo Ideas. This is the photographers job, and you can count on them to have plenty of ideas for composition, and creative poses. There is no need to send your photographer a list of photos that you want to recreate in order to get a variety of beautiful and striking captures.
  • It is, however, a good idea to tell your photographer your preferences regarding posing styles (playful, quirky, romantic, etc) so that they can give you more of the types of photos that you will be the most excited about.

5. Focus on Each Other, Not the Camera

You may find that your absolute favorite images are the candid ones, where you and your partner were having a genuine moment together. These are the images that truly capture your relationship, and the way you feel about each other.

You won’t be getting many of these kinds of photos if you are too focused on the camera. Try to ignore the camera as much as you can, especially while your photographer has you in a contrived pose. This can produce amazing half styled-half spontaneous images. This is where the magic really happens.

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Follow This Advice and You’ll Love Your Wedding Photos

No matter what, you’re not likely to be disappointed when you hire a good wedding photographer. Austin, luckily, is full of plenty to choose from, all offering a wide range of styles and package options. You just have to find the photographer that best fits your style, personality, and budget!

If you’re searching for the right photographer for your wedding, I would love to be considered! Contact me asap to talk about booking!