Sara & Viktor's Sunflower Spring Wedding

Sunflowers were the perfect theme for Sara and Viktor’s spring nuptials, not just because they are the bride’s favorite flower and the official flower of her home state, Kansas, but because they also reflect the day’s atmosphere of warmth and happiness.

Sara was positively stunning in a gorgeous champagne gown and cathedral-length veil, while Viktor was dashing in a navy blue suit (his favorite color) and bowtie. The most impactful accessories for both bride and groom however, were their smiles because their joyful love for one another was so clearly visible there.

Their spring wedding was full of other meaningful personal details including a welcome table featuring a collection of photos of their life together, a German dinner (Viktor’s native country), and bubbles for their entrance and first dance. The amazing photos below, were even taken by one of Sara’s longest friends (Pure in Art Photography), who traveled from Kansas to capture their day.

Please enjoy the gallery below, and we dare you to try and not smile while you look through it, because Sara and Viktor’s joy is truly contagious!

The other fantastic vendors who made their day possible:

Wedding Coordinator, Simply XO Events | Florist, Foxglove & Grace Flowers | Cake, Cakes by Lori | Catering, Lily Grace Catering & The Salty German | DJ, Complete Weddings | Hair, Hayley Groll | Makeup, Dolled by V





How to Make (Lasting) Memories on Your Wedding Day

Most brides and grooms will tell you that that their wedding day went by in the blink of an eye.

Surrounded by friends, family and loved ones (some of whom you are meeting for the first time from your spouse’s side) there’s pressure to spend time talking to everyone. Then there’s portrait sessions, cake cutting, dancing and a plethora of other fun activities — all packed into a relatively short amount of time. Finally, before you know it, it’s time for the send off. Where did the day go?

Jessica Scott Photography

Jessica Scott Photography

This is why there are two pieces of advice we always offer to our brides and grooms: 

1. Hire a really good photographer. 

2. Set aside some time during the reception to make a memory 

As a Doctor of Psychology, I cannot stress the importance of the latter enough. So maybe you’ve hired a fantastic photographer, but how do you actually make a memory on your wedding day? 

Find a quiet place

ML Photo & Film

ML Photo & Film

At Garden Grove Austin, this is typically what we have actually started calling “the make a memory room.” It’s a small dining room located just off the bridal/honeymoon suite, away from the hustle and bustle. Some of our couples choose to have their photographer also capture this moment, and some choose to just spend it together. 

Eat! 

Local Embers & Co.

Local Embers & Co.

Eating dinner in a quiet place with just your spouse is important for so many reasons, including remembering the day. You likely spent a significant portion of your budget on the food, and it’s typically one of the focal points of a wedding, but I cannot tell you how many married people (myself included) barely even tasted it on their wedding day! 

The five senses are a critical part of forming lasting memories, and food covers four of them: sight, smell, touch and taste! 

Reminisce with your new spouse 

Cecilia Harvard Photography

Cecilia Harvard Photography

Your vocal chords may already be a bit fatigued, but talking with your spouse about the day prior to this point, is huge. Discuss how you felt when you saw each other for the first time and your favorite moments during the ceremony. How did you feel when you walked down the aisle, newly husband and wife? 

This covers sense #5 (sound), plus repetition shortly after an event acts as a sort of mental file labeling process that tells your brain that these memories are important and belong in the long-term memory drawer. 

Be affectionate

Whitewood Photography

Whitewood Photography

Take a few tender first moments as husband and wife, because you might not get another chance to until the festivities are all over. Your new spouse will likely be wearing cologne or perfume. If you focus on that while you embrace -- even if just for a minute -- that scent could bring you right back to that very moment the next time you encounter it. 

Think about the memory forming process like carefully wrapping a precious gift, taking careful mental note of what it smells, tastes, looks, feels and sounds like. The more you wrap your memory in these different layers, the more preserved it will be when you go to “unwrap” it later. 

Garden Grove is a family owned and operated venue; as such, we are truly invested in each and every one of our couples’ days, and helping them make lifetime-lasting memories of their day is so incredibly important to us!

Gabby & Matt's Fairytale Fall Wedding

Whether or not you’re prone to wedding waterworks, it’s definitely a good idea to have some tissues on hand for this one. There were so many moments that had us blinking back more than a few happy tears — from the bride’s parents’ emotional first look at their gorgeous daughter, to the tenderness shared between the newlyweds. Then there was the exuberant joy that radiated from every single one of the 250 guests; at times I thought that Garden Grove’s 12 acres might not be able to contain it all. Of course, we wouldn’t be able to share any of this beauty with you if it wasn’t for the insanely talented folks at Feather & Twine.

With 36th Street Events at the helm, this day was also made possible by an army of awesome vendors including Sweetwater Stems, who was responsible for the stunning florals, the Memphis Train Revue band, who kept the guests moving on the dance floor literally the entire night, and Sherpa Lux who provided the vintage Bentley that carried the bride to and from the ceremony at St. Mary Cathedral in downtown Austin as well as the transportation for over 200 guests. Last but not least, Lady Quakenbush’s Cakery created the cake that was just as pleasing to the tastebuds as it was to the eyes and Gabby and her bridal party’s elegant hair and makeup was done by Kiss by Katie.

Hope you enjoy these photos as much as we did. <3


Ringing in Spring at Garden Grove Austin

Spring wedding season is officially in full swing! Garden Grove Austin has hosted two absolutely STUNNING weddings for fantastic couples this month, with more beauty on the way! Below are a couple sneak peeks from both Stefanie & Bobby and Gretchen & Chris’ weddings, and we are so excited to see the rest!

Photos by  Sophie Epton  • Design/Floral by  Merville Events  &amp;  Pearl Events Austin

Photos by Sophie Epton • Design/Floral by Merville Events & Pearl Events Austin

Photos by  Amy Gawlik  • Design/Floral by  The Flower Girl  &amp;  Kismet Flowers

Photos by Amy Gawlik • Design/Floral by The Flower Girl & Kismet Flowers

So as we continue into Spring Wedding Season 2019, let’s look back at some of the other gorgeous Spring nuptials that have graced Garden Grove!  

GardenGroveAustin_SpringWeddings.jpg

The venue is already taking bookings for Spring 2020, so if you feel inspired by any of these beautiful weddings,  it’s never too early to reach out and schedule a tour.

Why We Love the Wedding Gown Portrait Trend

Look through any collection of wedding photos from the past half-decade and you are almost certain to find what is now an essential portrait: the wedding gown on a hanger. Over the years, this iconic trend has transcended the bridal suite closet to idyllic settings both indoors and out,  resulting in shots that are just as beautiful as they are unique.

LeahJeffers_GardenGroveAustin
Leah Jeffers Photography

But why take the time to pose and photograph a vacant wedding gown when the bride is going to have her photo taken in it all day anyway? The answer varies depending on which bride or photographer you ask -- and there are no wrong ones of course -- but the one I love the most is this: The unoccupied gown represents anticipation.

AmyGawlik_GardenGroveAustin
AL Gawlik Photography

The dress, not yet animated by the bride, reflects the calm before the hustle and bustle of the day. After many months or more of so much planning and preparation, getting dressed is the final step before beginning the next chapter of her life. I cannot think of a more perfect way to not only immortalize the dress she may have spent many months saving and searching for, but also the hope, excitement and anticipation directly preceding “I do.”

JessicaFrey_GardenGroveAustin
Jessica Frey Photography 

Hopefully this doesn’t sound too cheesy, but if I wasn’t a hopeless romantic, then I wouldn’t be in this business! <3

Garden Grove’s 12 sprawling acres and 10,000 + square feet of luxurious interiors offer limitless ways to beautifully display and capture the perfect wedding gown portrait! Contact us to schedule your tour today.

LeighanneHerr_GardenGroveAustin

Andrea and Danny's Poolside November Nuptials

You may remember Andrea’s absolutely GORGEOUS bridal portraits, posted on the blog in November. Well, her wedding photos are here and they are equally lovely!

November weather doesn’t get much more perfect than it was on Andrea and Danny’s Fall wedding day. Her seasonal bouquet from Kismet Flowers perfectly complemented a deep burgundy and navy color scheme. A perfectly fall-themed garland adorned the parogala where the couple sweetly exchanged vows. (Only in Austin, Texas can you have a poolside wedding in November!)

Enjoy these beautiful photos taken by Vanessa Anne Photography!


How to Plan Your Dog-Friendly Wedding in Austin

If you’ve visited Garden Grove Austin, you will have noticed by our five pint-sized greeters that we absolutely adore dogs. Shon and I understand that they are important members of the family for many people just like us — which is why we welcome our couples to include dogs in their weddings. It is such a joy to witness furry children hang out with mom or dad while they get ready and then accompany them down the aisle!

Are you thinking about including a four-legged attendant in your big day? Here are a few things to consider first.

Photos by Leighanne Herr

Calm in a Crowd

Is your dog comfortable around a lot of people, or do they suddenly stop listening to you and get over excited or anxious? If you aren’t sure, it’s important to find out as far in advance as possible. If Fido isn’t a fan of crowds, but you have your heart set on including him in your wedding day, start working with an experienced trainer ASAP. A trainer can help get your pooch prepared in plenty of time, and ease both his and yours anxiety as he gets acclimated to being in busy environments. If a trainer isn’t in the budget, but time is especially on your side, there are lots of great resources online. Just make sure that when the big day does arrive you are 100% confident it will be stress free for both of you. If not, there are still other ways to include Fido in the wedding like naming a signature cocktail in his honor, or setting up a family photo display the venue.

Either way, wedding planning can get hectic, so training sessions are also a great way to ensure you and your partner have some quality time set aside to spend with him!

Photos by The Mill Photography Studio

Paw-fect Attire

You may have already said “yes” to the dress, but what should Rex or Roxy wear?! Spend some time scrolling through #weddingdogs on Instagram and you’ll discover just how many ways there are to dress your four-legged best friend. Can’t decide between a tux, tutu, bow tie or floral collar? Whichever you choose, it’s important to remember that comfortable attire is just as important for them as it is for you. If opting for garb of the floral kind, make sure that it’s of the non-toxic variety. Also, be realistic when it comes to how long you expect Roxy to rock her tutu and/or flower collar. Brides will often change into more comfortable shoes after the ceremony and photos, and your furry maid of honor might also require a wardrobe change too. We’ve also had several dogs proudly join mom or dad down the aisle in their everyday wear -- nothing! If your pup is more comfortable in just her collar, then that’s perfectly fine too. Let’s face it, if your dog is in your wedding they are likely to steal the show no matter what they wear!  

Photos by Whitewood Photography

Sit. Stay. Dance?

There will be a lot of activity on your wedding day, and you’ll be pulled in a lot of directions. The last thing you want is to do is spend it worrying about where your dog is, who has him, whether or not he is behaving himself, and if he’s eating something he’s not supposed to. If you can trust your pup to stay dutifully by your side all evening without getting distracted by all of the hustle and bustle, great! (Believe it or not, we’ve witnessed this more than once!) If not, ask one of your human groomsmen or bridesmaids if they would consider this part of their duty. Make sure it’s someone who both you and your dog trust. It’s not a small request, so first ask yourself it’s a duty you would be comfortable taking on if the roles were reversed. If you can’t find someone in your wedding party or a trusted guest to take on the responsibility, there are actually pet sitters who will come to weddings! If it’s in the budget, this might even be the best option. A dedicated pet sitter’s attention won’t be split between taking care of Rufus, while also trying to enjoy the festivities. Their only focus will be on the happiness and safety of your pup, so you and your spouse can enjoy the night worry-free.

Photos by Local Embers

Location. Location. Location.

Last but definitely not least, make sure your wedding venue not only welcomes your dog, but is also an ideal setting for them as well. Garden Grove Austin has over 10,000 square feet of interior spaces set on 12 gorgeous acres. (Not to mention our lower green, which is the perfect place to play a quick round of fetch to get the jitters out before the festivities!) Contact us to schedule your tour of the property today!

Photos by Leah Jeffers

All four-legged wedding attendants must be friendly and current on all vaccinations.

Kelsey & Jacob's Winter Hill Country Wedding

This terrific couple’s wedding was the last of 2018, and it could not have been a sweeter event. Guests laughed, cried and then laughed some more. What an incredible day!

Photos compliments of Cecilia Harvard Photography

2018.11.10 Kelsey&Jacob-266.jpg

Getting Ready

The stunning bride, and dashing groom

A beautiful outdoor ceremony on a clear Texas Hill Country Day

The most fun wedding party portraits we’ve ever seen!

Celebrating the night away

Happy New Year from Garden Grove: A look back as we look ahead

It’s been a tremendous year at Garden Grove, and we are thrilled to be entering our third year as a wedding venue in Texas Hill Country (aka “The Wedding Capital of Texas”). We are truly blessed to host couples from all over Austin, the United States and the world, as they commit their lives to one another in front of their loved ones. We cherish the relationships that we build with each and every one of them, and by the time their day arrives, cannot help but feel a little emotional ourselves as they exchange vows.

My husband Shon and I consider ourselves especially fortunate to be in this business because Garden Grove was not originally intended to be a wedding venue at all. Sixteen years ago, I purchased these 12 acres -- nestled just outside of Austin -- site unseen. I was recently divorced, and wanted to make a fresh start. Everyone told me I was crazy for taking such a risk, but I’m so glad that did. It put me on the path for a second chance at true love: Shon. Fast forward several years, and we decided to build our forever home on this land. It took two years to design and two years to construct the 6,700 square foot villa, 3,400 airplane hangar-style bar, pool area and the landscaping that surrounds it. It’s worth noting that not only did Shon design much of the landscaping, he helped plant it with his own hands. Garden Grove was truly a labor of love in every sense of the term.

One weekend while I was out gardening three years ago, a young couple pulled up the drive and politely asked if our property was available to rent out for their wedding. They’d visited multiple venues in the surrounding area, but nothing had felt quite right. Despite being located in “the Wedding Capital of Texas,” hiring our property out for weddings and events had never crossed our minds. The couple was so sweet, and after talking it over with Shon, we agreed to host their wedding on the property as a one-time thing. We had all of this land that wasn’t really being put to use by just the two of us, and both properties on either side of ours were empty or the house was far enough away to give us privacy ensuring  no one would be bothered by the activities. .

It was a spectacular event, and the rest is really history. “Garden Grove” the wedding and event venue was officially born in 2016. Since then, we’ve invested our time, resources and passion into making Garden Grove the best private wedding and event venue Texas Hill Country has to offer -- an option for couples that is not only luxurious, but also provides excellent value.

Hoping to remove some of the stress of wrangling rentals from the equation for our couples,  we purchased 400 mahogany colored fruit wood folding chairs, 30 round tables, and 8 banquet tables, use of which is included in the price of the venue.

The massive 100+ year-old Heritage Oak Trees that surround the villa are beautifully wrapped with lights year round and more than 400 LED festoon lights adorn the pool area. Of course, we never considered charging a fee to turn them on -- something that we’ve heard some venues actually charge hundreds of dollars to do!

We promptly had six custom cabanas built on the property so that Garden Grove could truly be a Texas Hill Country escape. Use of these is also inclusive in the fee. After working with the State Comptroller we learned we do not have to charge sales or hotel taxes. Regardless of whether the venue is booked for 8, 12, 24 or 48 hours, we never book more than one event per weekend. Your wedding should be as stress-free as possible, and we cannot imagine anything worse than having to watch the clock on one of the most important days of your life. This way, couples who live in town can also drop off things at the venue in the week leading up to the wedding. No rushing the morning of, and no asking vendors to pick up linens or other rentals at 2 am.

There are a few items that are not included in our fee, which are available for rental;

  • Elegant high-peaked sail cloth tents and lighting that can be adjusted for both for small or large

  • A 24x24’ dance floor

  • Movies on the Green

The fees that we do charge for the use of these items is for set up and take down only. Couples are never pressured to use them, they are there purely for convenience. We’ve had couples use all, some and none of them and each wedding was equally lovely.

Above all, Shon and I strive to provide a personal touch and attention to detail that we feel is impossible to put a price tag on. In addition to helping our brides and grooms find the right vendors, working with planners, making the property available for engagement photos or bridal portraits, we are present on the actual day (or weekend). We are there in the background should anything come up. For example, I’ll never forget Shon racing to pick up a few scattered leaves that had just fallen from the tree onto the aisle prior to an outdoor ceremony in the Fall last year, so that the photos of the bride’s walk down it would be perfect. Garden Grove is a wedding venue, but it is also our home, which also makes our clients our guests. As hosts we want our guests to have an incredible and unforgettable time. Booking only a limited number of events each year allows us to do this, and we are thankful to be able to do so.

All of the couples and visitors to Garden Grove have heard this first-hand, but with the reflection that the New Year often brings, I couldn’t help but put it down in writing. So if you’ve made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read it! We are looking forward to a busy 2019, and witnessing more love stories unfold.

If you’re planning a wedding in 2019 or beyond, we invite you to stop by take a tour and experience Garden Grove for yourself!

Happy New Year!

Warmly,

Jani Saliga

A few photos of Garden Grove in progress…

Make Your Austin Wedding Unique and Delicious with Tasty Local Food Trucks

Make Your Austin Wedding Unique and Delicious with Tasty Local Food Trucks

The food is one of the most crucial ingredients of every wedding, but Austin food trucks are proof that it doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated to be totally fabulous!

Garden Grove's circular drive makes a perfect spot for any Austin food truck! Booking weddings and events through 2020. Schedule your tour today!