Outdoor Wedding

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…