Texas Hill Country Weddings
The wedding business is flourishing in the Texas Hill Country according to Canyon Lake resident Ellen Livingston, who just opened Hill Country Wedding Belles, a wedding-coordination business.
Livingston was looking for a second career after retiring from Comal ISD, where she taught school at Morningside Elementary. A wedding in an old barn in Dripping Springs piqued her interest.
The self-described “extremely organized person” soon discovered brides from around the country – not just Texas – are flocking to areas around the so-called Hill Country Wine Corridor.
New Braunfels and Canyon Lake make great places for destination weddings because there’s so much to do over a weekend, like tubing and visiting wineries and micro-breweries.
Hill Country Value
Value plays a big role, too. The average cost of a big wedding in Manhattan, New York, is $75,000. In the Hill Country, high-end celebrations top out at $33,000.
So Livingston and her New Braunfels-based business partner Vanessa Simpson decided on a business model that helps out-of-town brides coordinate with local vendors so everything goes smoothly on the big day.
Wedding venues, she says, are just places to get married. Their staffs aren’t the experts in setting up décor or choreographing the actual ceremony or making sure the photographer and DJ do exactly as-requested. Makeup artists and hair stylists also must show up on time and get brides and bridesmaids picture-perfect for the long walk down the aisle.
“I start out about two months before the wedding,” Livingston says. “Then we work with vendors to make sure everyone knows where and when to be, and coordinate everyone so the actual wedding day is as smooth as brides planned.”
Brides, she adds, increasingly favor some unusual wedding venues over churches.
“A lot of people are attracted to places that look like barns that have been converted,” she says. “They look for something rustic with an elegance done to it also.”
Her advice to brides?
“The first thing I would suggest for a couple to do after engagement is find a venue first,” she says. “Honestly the most-popular months to get married in Texas are April and October. It makes a lot of sense because it’s not too hot and not too cold and everybody wants an outdoor wedding.”
Brides should visit as many venues as possible.
“They’re all very different. Each offers something different in look and style even though they’re all the same price range. Some of them are on the river. Others are on the east side of I-35 where it feels like a farm.”
“There’s anything you want,” she says. “This part of the country is now a huge wedding destination.”