Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, founded in 1982, is the state Botanic Garden of Texas.
It also happens to be one of the most stunning locations for a wedding in Texas.
Conveniently located 12 miles south of downtown Austin, at 4801 Lacrosse Ave., the Wildflower Center sits on the transition zone between the Edwards Plateau and Texas Blackland Prairie regions. That means you’ll see unbelievable wildflowers, stately oaks, and more on this incredible piece of property.
Best Time of Year to Get Married at The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Although it’s beautiful all year long, the biggest draw of the Wildflower Center is bluebonnet season. Hosting your wedding in the middle of glorious fields of bluebonnets (and Indian paintbrush and firewheel) is an unforgettable experience.
Bluebonnets and other wildflowers are tricky to predict, but your best bet is to plan your wedding for early April to hit peak bluebonnet season.
Why Have Your Wedding at the Wildflower Center
There are dozens of reasons to have your wedding at the LBJ Wildflower Center. It's a place of incredible natural beauty as well as themed gardens with jaw-dropping landscaping and peaceful natural backdrops.
The Center has 9 acres of indoor and outdoor ceremony and reception space for up to 200 guests. The event space is available every day of the week for weddings, from 4:00 PM to midnight (including setup and breakdown time).
The advantages of hosting your ceremony here are numerous. You get:
• Exclusive use of the window-lined Great Hall, Courtyard, Theme Garden, Auditorium, Family Garden and Lawn, and the Little House
• 8-hour facility rental
• 1-hour rehearsal
• 2-hour photo session (perfect for a bridal or engagement session)
• 1-hour vendor meetings prior to event date
• On-site manager and security officer
• Changing room
• Free 1-year dual membership for you and your fiancé
• (250) fruitwood folding chairs, (25) 60” round tables, (8) 6’ rectangular tables, (6) 8’ rectangular tables and (8) 30” round cocktail tables
Although the Wildflower Center only allows catering from a list of pre-approved vendors, that list is extensive and includes some of my favorite catering companies in Austin.
The only big drawback to having your wedding at the LBJ Wildflower Center is the cost. However, with all the benefits that they include in the price, and taking into consideration what a unique venue it is, it's an exceptional value. My advice: if you can afford it, go for it. You won’t be sorry.
As of October 2019, rates for the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center range from $3000 Monday-Thursday to $6500 on Saturdays during the busy season. A signed contract and a 50% deposit are required to book your date.
Load-in for your event begins at 4:00 PM. The center closes to the general public at 5:00 PM.
The Wildflower Center does allow tents for your event in certain areas with prior written approval.
Music must stop by 11:00 PM.
If you cancel your event or change your event date after signing the contract, you do forfeit your 50% deposit.
The Wildflower Center also requires that you work with a professional full-service day-of coordinator.
The Lady Bird Johnson wildflower Center has a capacity of 200 guests. This also applies to their indoor ceremony spaces.
One of the great things about the Wildflower Center is their built-in rain contingency plan. In case of inclement weather you have access to the Great Hall, which is beautiful and lined on both sides with floor-to-ceiling windows. The Great Hall can accommodate 200 guests.
It’s pretty amazing when you think about it; their Plan B is more stunning than many venues’ Plan A.
The wildflower center is ADA compliant and wheelchair accessible. Although moving along the gravel paths would prove difficult, access to the ceremony and reception sites is level, paved, and has ramps where appropriate.
The wildflower center does not allow pets on site. They do allow service animals.
You and your wedding guests will love having the reception in the Central Complex, under the wide Texas sky and surrounded by sandstone archways, the observation tower, and limestone buildings. As the sun goes down and the stars come out, the Wildflower Center shows a whole different side of its magic.
If you or your guests are coming in from out of town, there are lots of hotel options not too far away.
Residence Inn has a 4.6-star review on Google and is just 7 miles away. It’s a bit generic, but it is pet-friendly and has a pool.
The Hotel San Jose is further away, at just over 10 miles, but is a true Austin original. With eclectic rooms, intricately-landscaped courtyards, an on-site bar and pool to lounge in, it’s something to experience. It’s also located right in the middle of the South Congress (SoCo) area of Austin, which is a must-see for out-of-towners.
There are lots of restaurant options for visiting guests.
Torchy’s Tacos is one of my personal favorites and they have a new location just 2 miles from the Wildflower Center. Service at this particular location can be slow and the employees aren’t as sunny as at other locations, but the tacos (and queso) are worth it.
Salt Lick BBQ is the best place to take folks who have never experienced Texas barbecue. Going there feels like an event. It’s BYOB and the food is served family-style, with solid barbecue and excellent sides. It’s a 20-minute drive into Driftwood, but absolutely worth it.
Cypress Grill is an unassuming but lively Cajun restaurant 4 miles away. Their food is outstanding and their desserts are worth the trip alone. Try the bread pudding.
If you want a truly unforgettable wedding for you and your guests, you owe it to yourself to look at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.