From sprawling resorts and charming ranches-turned- inns to sleek city spots, the southwest state has got them all. There’s also plenty of world-class dining, photo-ready settings and activities to thrill guests of all ages. Whether your celebration is going to be intimate or Lone Star-sized, these three year-round favorites will help make it unforgettable.
The Inn at Dos Brisas
About an hour from Houston sit 313 lush acres that, over the years, have held everything from cotton farms to horse trainers. Since 2004, they’ve been home to The Inn at Dos Brisas with nine luxe accommodations (four casitas and five haciendas), a wide array of on-site activities (think fishing, clay target shooting and a world-class equestrian center) and an award-winning restaurant that sources ingredients from the private 42-acre organic garden. The Inn’s intimate size allows for couples to take over the property and customize a wedding to suit their vision. Most everything is included, too: there are no ceremony location fees, no nickel-and-diming over chairs or tableware, no cut-off time — even the cakes are baked here. Popular ceremony locations for up to 100 guests include the pool terrace, the horse pastures, a garden-view patio and the show stables, each with a uniquely Texan feel. Tented or open-air affairs can also be held on the main lawn or in the rose garden. Here, the sky really is the limit: whether you want to upgrade to something exclusive from the 7,000 bottle-strong wine cellar or — as one bride did — surprise her groom with a fake snow-covered “ski slope” in the middle of the summer, it can be done (wedding reception rates start at about $75 per person, plus bar charges; dosbrisas.com).
Photo Credit: Girls with Pearls Photography
Photo courtesy of the Inn at Dos Brisas
Hyatt Regency Lost Pines
The Hyatt Regency Lost Pines is set on 405 scenic acres that connect to the 1,100-acre McKinney roughs nature Park, meaning there’s plenty of space for guests — as well as the resident horses, alpaca and Longhorns — to roam around. The activities here are robust — from golf and horseback riding, to birding, live music events and nightly s’mores roasts — and the overall vibe is relaxed. The resort houses 491 guest rooms, but despite its size, the attentive staff’s ability to create any type of personalized experience keeps legions of couples happy. Top location choices include the LBJ Pavilion (an outdoor patio and amphitheater with stone fireplaces and views of the Lower Colorado river); the Pecan court (a secluded patio tucked among pecan groves); the golf course’s 12th hole and Litton House, a historic-style home overlooking a pond and “wedding tree.” With the help of the dedicated team, couples have been able to have the property’s alpacas and Longhorns on hand as greeters and to bring in a vintage car as a reception centerpiece. Wedding weekends can include tequila tastings, glow-in-the-dark putt-putt and more. Fun foodie touches like grilled-to-order stations, taco bars and retro candy buffets keep the celebration going strong (outdoor ceremony fees start at $3,000; reception fees start at $1,000; lostpines.hyatt.com).
Photos courtesy of Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa
Located on downtown Dallas’s revived Main Street, next to the original Neiman Marcus department store and near the noted Arts District, The Joule is housed in three interconnected historic buildings: one is a classic revival style from 1913, another a former Salvation Army built in 1911 and the third a neo-Gothic style former National Bank. Though unique architectural touches remain, the hotel is thoroughly sleek and contemporary, with hip lobby boutiques, high-tech touches in the 161 rooms and artwork by known and emerging artists displayed throughout. The rooftop terrace houses a pool that cantilevers off the side of the building, has a retractable roof and is equipped with heating and air-conditioning, making it a favorite with brides who dream of an outdoor wedding but don’t want to worry about weather. Two stunning ballrooms, an array of sleek duplex penthouses (including top pick #2001) and several on-site outlets are also available for events (typically for up to 325 guests), leading many couples to host all wedding activities at the hotel, each with a unique feel. The lobby-level Taschen Library’s signature Champagne Tea service is a fun bridal shower choice; the subterranean ESPA spa can be booked for pre-ceremony relaxation and couples can take over the Midnight Rambler bar for rock-and-roll-themed after-parties. The bar’s expert mixologists can also serve signature cocktails or create different bar set-ups, while The Joule chefs work with couples to customize the menus; some foodie favorites include mini-shrimp tacos and barbecued brisket doughnuts as passed appetizers and fish-and-filet duet entrées for seated meals (wedding package rates start $125 per person; thejouledallas.com).
Photo Credit: Eric Laignel
In Texas, marriage license fees range from $31 to $71 and are payable in cash only (however, the fee is waived if the couple takes an eight-hour premarital class). To apply, couples must submit proof of age, along with an application. They must be presented together and co-signed in person by a witness. After a three-day waiting period, a license is valid for 30 days.