Head for the Hill Country

By Natasha Garber | Make Favorite

Photo: Bloom Photography | Venue: Ma Maison

Deep in the heart of Texas sits a region that has found its way into the hearts of photographers, adventure-seekers, wine-lovers and true romantics across the country. This geographic gem, nestled in the rolling terrain between San Antonio and Austin, is Texas Hill Country—and for Houston couples it is, simply, the most magnificent (and accessible) wedding destination on the map.

The magic of a Hill Country wedding begins with landscape. If a river backdrop is what you seek for your destination “I do’s,” you’ll find it hard to beat the gentle Blanco River, meandering through the popular town of Wimberley. For glorious sunset views, lovely Dripping Springs, with its Live Oak woodlands and sweeping steppe prairies, is pure wedding perfection. Wine aficionados and their wedding groups, meanwhile, will find much to love about the area around Johnson City, which marks one end of the revered Texas 290 Wine Trail, and features spectacular wildflower displays come springtime.

Dotting Hill Country’s scenic expanse are some of the state’s most coveted venues for weddings that blend old-fashioned charm with Southern elegance and gracious service. For couples seeking a rustic, laid-back wedding with vintage Texas touches, Hill Country is a treasure trove of venue options. Set your al fresco ceremony against a backdrop of live oak, bringing in a touch of special-occasion sparkle with a vintage chandelier suspended over your altar.

Then venture into a decked-out pine barn draped with delicate ceiling swagging and filled with flickering lantern light, for a kick-your-heels up party—followed by scotch and cigars under the stars. For incredible photo ops, and a rugged Texan feel, host your celebration at a sprawling Hill Country ranch, where grazing horses are part of the landscape, and winding flagstone paths may just lead you to a candlelit courtyard or lavish, flower-filled lodge.

And, of course, there’s nothing quite like a scenic Hill Country estate, where vast picture windows look out upon acres of pristine natural beauty, while indoors, elegance abounds, in the form of stately staircases, limestone walls and crystal chandeliers.

Whatever Hill Country setting you seek, you and your guests will appreciate the ease of the region’s proximity to Houston—drive time to most venues is less than three hours, and excellent local accommodations abound. Which means that you need not limit your guest list to the handful of invitees destination weddings typically entail.

There is no better way to enjoy a Hill Country wedding than to make a weekend of your special event. After all, this famed region boasts some of the most enticing diversions and activities in the entire state of Texas—many of which can, and should, be enjoyed over the course of several days. Fans of fine wine will find endless opportunities to sip, savor—and add to their cellars, courtesy of the huge range of wineries that dot the region, many of them producing award-winning wines to rival California’s prized vintages. For a pre-wedding or day-after treat, arrange for guests to enjoy a limousine or luxury-SUV wine tour to a handful of nearby wineries, followed by a catered picnic lunch under the rustling oaks. The outdoor enthusiasts in your wedding entourage will appreciate an excursion to one of the region’s legendary swimming holes or tubing creeks—or, for a more substantial water outing, there is always the fun of fishing, waterskiing or sailing on one of the area’s picturesque Highland Lakes. Eager to keep your entourage entertained? Check local calendar listings for gigs at Hill Country’s legendary dance halls, or at the many clubs in nearby Austin’s super hot music scene. For shopping enthusiasts, excellent antiquing, unique art and home decor, custom boots and leather goods, and handmade goods aplenty are all within a short scenic drive from just about any Hill Country wedding venue. Add to these Hill Country attractions championship golf, exceptional spas…and, yes, killer barbecue, and you’ve got yourself a wedding destination that is tailor-made for the Texas wedding of a lifetime—yours.

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