Wedding Budgets in Central Texas

One of the hardest, yet most important discussions I have with my couples regarding wedding planning is “What is your wedding budget?” This is the starting point to where we begin finding you what you need for your wedding day. It tells me what venues to consider and what price point I need for the other vendors. All florists, lighting, video, transportation, caterers, and venues are not created equally. The same is true for Austin wedding planners. We are all different price points and all offer different services as well as experience.

I have brides contact me daily and when I send them my pricing, I often hear “Oh, you are too expensive” and that is okay. I am not the right planner for all couples. Yes, you can find planners less expensive and far more expensive than Barbara’s Brides. I spoke with a newly engaged couple today with a budget of about $28,000 for 250 people. Even though I would love to work with them and we’ve started a good communication through e-mail, I know what all the other details add up to within the Austin wedding market.

A fellow vendor recently said “They have a dollar store budget with a David Tutera vision” and that is happening more and more. I understand how beautiful the weddings are on The Knot, Style Me Pretty, Pinterest and TV, but that does not mean every couple can have those weddings with a small budget. I try very hard to make sure couples that contact me realize what it means to want something and need something for their weddings. Not everyone can have specialty lighting, a limousine, peonies and the list goes on. I love working with couples and seeing them happy on their wedding days. So yes, I have worked with lower budgets because we were all on the same page from the very beginning regarding what they could afford and what we could deliver for that price point. We created a fantastic wedding in the $25,000 range on a Sunday afternoon between 1:00pm-5:00pm with 50 guests and an overall casual atmosphere with all the details. Having a planner allowed them to know where to cut and what they still needed to create a wonderful day.

I had a discussion with an Austin wedding venue recently and she said that couples are just shocked when she tells them their budget should be at least $40,000 before they consider having their wedding at her venue. Why? Because as an Austin wedding vendor we hear all the stories and concerns from couples when they can’t find a band for $3,000 or a florist for $2,500 and they did not hire a planner who laid out the expected costs for them. A little tough love here, but just because you expect your DJ to be $500 doesn’t mean they will be. The same is true for the brides cutting out hors d’oeuvres from her menu because they are too tight on the budget and she doesn’t think anyone will miss them. There are other areas to cut that the guests won’t notice, but hors d’oeuvres will be missed.

Another couple asked me if all my weddings are over $150,000 and I said no, not at all. I just try very hard to make all our weddings reflect what that the couple wanted within their budget which may have been between $50,000-$100,000 which varies each time.

If you don’t know where to start or what your vision will cost, give us a call and let’s see if we can help you create your wedding day even after the scary budget discussion.

Here is the latest CNN post on wedding costs from The Knot. Very interesting info.

Happy planning,


512-257-8100 office



Wedding Cake Styles by Barbara’s Brides

Ah, the amazing beauty of a wedding cake. As an Austin wedding planner, I see all kinds of cakes. I am very blessed to work with so many amazing Austin bakeries that range between light and fluffy to rich and dense. We see stacked cakes, square cakes, lopsided cakes, butter cream, fondant, cakes without frosting, white cakes accented by flowers and colorful cakes with intricate details and so many other combinations. As you can guess, I love wedding cakes.

When my sons were little they thought all to-go food boxes had wedding cake in since I would bring home a piece after each wedding for them to enjoy. They are quite the cake experts after all these years. They know what they like and what they don’t. So that tells you that not all cakes are created equal.

I do believe in ordering enough cake to have a slice for each guest and the love of chocolate has not faded. I am from San Diego and had worked for many years in weddings without ever seeing a groom’s cake. In California, they are all just wedding cakes. Marrying a Texan and having his family ask me where my cake was very perplexing to me. “Our” cake was chocolate so they were expecting a white cake to accompany it. Very funny to me, but now that I live in Texas I can see the confusion.

We are seeing more dessert tables with wedding cakes or instead of cakes. You can add all your local desserts or homemade family favorites.

To save the top layer of your wedding cake or not? I know that a box that size in my freezer would drive me nuts. I suggest ordering an anniversary cake in your favorite flavor on your anniversary, not just your first anniversary. Still sentimental, but not stale.

My intention was to post photos of my favorite cakes, but when I tried to narrow down my selections I realized there are just far too many gorgeous cakes to pick my top 10. Instead I am going to add my Pinterest link to my wedding cake pins so you can see a fraction of the ideas out there 

Happy planning, now go out and eat cake.


Texas Women’s Federation Mansion Winter Wedding

January can hold a variety of different types of weather. When a couple decides to get married in the winter in Austin we can have a gorgeous 70 degree day, clear skies with a blustery wind or a cold, nasty, wet day when we truly hope we have an indoor wedding planned for everyone’s comfort. Fortunately, we had a stunning beautiful day for Tiffany and Landon for their January wedding.

We planned everything long distance even as far away as Russia for part of the time due to Tiffany’s job. With minimal trips to Austin we booked all their vendors and had a great ceremony at Central Christian Church followed by a celebration with their family and friends at the wonderful Mansion, also known as Texas Federation Women’s Club. Thanks to for capturing the day.

TiffanyLandonWedding05 TiffanyLandonWedding07 TiffanyLandonWedding12 TiffanyLandonWedding11 TiffanyLandonWedding09 TiffanyLandonWedding17 TiffanyLandonWedding18 TiffanyLandonWedding22 TiffanyLandonWedding01 TiffanyLandonWedding29 TiffanyLandonWedding32 TiffanyLandonWedding33 TiffanyLandonWedding34 TiffanyLandonWedding41 TiffanyLandonWedding46 TiffanyLandonWedding45 TiffanyLandonWedding53 TiffanyLandonWedding54

Thank you to all the vendors:,                                                                 ,                                                                                                                                                   

Are you planning your wedding long distance or do you live close to Austin? If you are looking for a day of planner, a full service Austin wedding planner or something in between give us a call to see if we can be of service.

Happy planning,



Find Your Austin Wedding Planner and Vendors at the Extravaganza

We are very excited to be participating in the Austin Wedding Guide’s biggest bridal show of the year, The Bridal Extravaganza. You can visit with many florists, photographers, bakeries, DJs and of course, wedding planners.  Come see our beautiful setup at booth 255 near the stage.

BE 10891804_10152612913515735_6354035379191925689_n

We will have stunning booth thanks to the following vendors:

Come by and see us,



December Driskill Wedding by Barbara’s Brides

Alison has a very busy work schedule, her mom lives in Florida and her fiance is active duty military. She wanted more than day of wedding planning and wanted to still be involved in the planning. The most challenging part of the planning was keeping the band a secret in order to surprise the groom. They were his favorite so we did all that we could to keep it a secret until the great reveal. The groom was stateside in October which made everything better for Alison.  Nothing like having a military fiance on home soil. Tyler Schmitt did a great job with all the photos and is just fun to have at a wedding . Melanie Tipton with did a wonderful job on the flowers.

penland 10404850_10204223565687386_2672791714402151290_n penland 10857874_10204223565607384_4414404398149801967_n penland 10392443_10204223565567383_92720565672220452_n penland 10402722_10204223587607934_8072380115299404550_n penland 10173672_10204223568127447_8572583205523827367_n penland 10257689_10204223569087471_3286827333412977400_n penland 10609524_10204223567647435_8462456217606205180_n penland 1375872_10204223569767488_2909220795797488958_n penland 10686595_10204223566887416_2539371801570066192_n penland 10410418_10204223571047520_6874218337037085232_n penland 10377237_10204223590768013_8329614553809695138_n penland 10868031_10204223571087521_5956875898413091527_n penland 10881544_10204223572287551_5574943131820472161_n penland 10299970_10204223592088046_1577686928199910639_n Penland 10636122_10204223572567558_8281324071037679033_n penland 10885133_10204223572247550_4011820436589400900_n penland 10858479_10204223571887541_1623523188254294327_n penland 1779873_10204223573487581_3586363179648883920_n penland 10325621_10204223588967968_5921058426533180968_n penland 10390133_10204223570167498_3377837739505733259_n penland 10462476_10204223568607459_8741525816334419499_n penland 10628403_10204223573727587_5468417345979844588_n penland 10858458_10204223595648135_7181251602066017205_n penland 10521370_10204223578287701_5213764818254747095_n penland 1779190_10204223580487756_1860836717459925785_n penland 10494823_10204223585167873_8822775990569282165_n penland 10857917_10204223567887441_4224437599778054120_n penland 10881667_10204223594088096_6955877394955704060_n penland 10881663_10204223576887666_7567251338739829187_n penland 10881551_10204223580527757_7896416269920268463_n penland 1012945_10204223587527932_2552444084870067144_n


I love December weddings with all the extra decor on site. Festive times had by all.

Barbara Austin wedding planner for busy brides

Happy 2015!

As you ring in the New Year I hope something sparkly comes your way. We love the excitement that comes the first week in January as we begin to hear from our couples that are newly engaged. We’ll be celebrating with friends and family to end 2014 and welcome in 2015 full of hope. Let the countdown begin!

NYE clock images

2015 NYE images


We look forward to hearing from you, Barbara


An Austin Wedding Planner’s Point of View

I am sure there are many excited couples out there that are newly engaged after the holidays with more to follow in the coming weeks. There are so many wonderful parts of planning your wedding day, but I wanted to give a few pointers on what will make your wedding run smoothly as well as making it enjoyable for you and your guests.

1.  Don’t over spend. Know your budget and hire a wedding planner. We know what is a
need vs. a want. There are many extras that are not necessary, but other items you really should not skimp on.  I am told often that hiring me was a couple’s best decision. You need someone who knows the ins and outs of planning a wedding. Be sure you connect with them and are confident they can take care of the numerous details ahead.

2.  We can’t assign seating for you since we do not know your family and friend associations with one another. There really is not a right or wrong answer whether or not you should assign seating at all. It is your preference. What I do encourage is that you at least reserve bridal party and family tables since they are usually socializing and don’t think about their seats. If you have a family members with 6-8 people in attendance, be sure you have a table for them so they are not upset when they can’t sit together at one table.

3. Font styles may seem very unimportant, but people need to be able to read your invitations, menus and their seating cards. Choose a large enough size so that it is not too small to read and don’t make it too swirly that they can’t tell a T from and S or F.

4. If you are watching your budget, consider an hors d’oeuvres cocktail style reception. You will not need to provide a meal for every guest, but be sure the invitation states “Cocktail Reception to Follow”. You can also have an afternoon event with lighter alcohol and food. You don’t need a really long event either. Having a 6:00pm ceremony, with cocktail hour and dinner followed by dancing can end at 10:30pm. You don’t have to dance until midnight.

5. Find a venue that fits not only your style, budget and location preference, but also the capacity. Do not rely on a formula of 70% or even 90% attending, be sure your venue can accommodate the number you are inviting.  Austin is a huge draw for your guests to attend your wedding and if you invite them, they just may come even if they don’t attend many family events. You don’t want to be in the situation of not having the space for your final guest count.

6. This is the time for you and your fiance to start your lives together, so please don’t bicker over small things. Come to an agreement on things and compromise on what doesn’t really matter that much to you. If you really love a color scheme or certain touches then stick with those ideas. If your fiance really loves certain music, then do what you can to make that happen. Learn to compromise with one another.

7. Don’t let the stress get to you. A lot of emotions escalate during the planning. Share this with your planner to see if they can find a solution for you or at least help you to not feel isolated. We want your wedding to be wonderful and as stress-free as possible. I see a lot of tensions rise between couples, with their parents and with their bridal party. This too shall pass. Hang in there and enjoy this time.

8. Listen to the experts. We know the venues and what the best flow is for the guests regarding the setup. Isolating a band in a separate room will not work as well as having the guests in the main room with the music.  We have experience with florists, musicians, bakeries, caterers, transportation, officiants, photographers, etc. We cannot recommend someone we have not worked with so while there are less expensive options out there that you may choose, we won’t be the one to recommend them until we know how they perform or deliver in product and services. You are welcome to hire a less expensive option, but we have seen quite a few disappointed couples that hired a florist that skimped on the volume of flowers or the caterers with less than stellar food and service.

9. There is no such thing as a quality day of planner. It is more of a phrase than an actual description. Having a consultant show up only on the wedding day with no prior time with you by phone or e-mail won’t make your day less stressful. Make sure the consultant is at least a month prior planner that gets to know your vision, timeline and communicates with your vendors. They need to know what you are expecting for setup and you are confident they can handle any complications the day of the wedding. We provide a wonderful stress reliever called the Wedding Advisor that gives couples access to us by phone and e-mail from the time they hire us until the end of their wedding so we can make vendor suggestions, notify you of local vendor sales and make sure the timeline flows.

10. Be flexible in our wedding date. If you are planning short-term, consider a Friday or Sunday wedding. If you have your heart set on a spring or fall date, try to plan a year out or you may not have many Saturday options.  Holiday weekends are still big wedding weekends, including Thanksgiving Saturday, Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend.

I hope you are excited about your wedding and all that the coming months have in store for you. If you haven’t started pinning yet, create a wedding board for your style, stationery, and flowers. You can see many of our different boards with countless wedding ideas.

We’ve been working with Austin brides and couples on their weddings for over 20 years and we’d love a chance to assist you whether as a full service planner, day of consultant or something in between. You know what you need and we can bring it all together for you.

Best wishes on your engagement,