I’d shown off the ring and told the story of Ian’s romantic proposal more times than I could count—I was engaged! Let the planning begin…
After touring venues near home, nothing felt right. Our perfect wedding venue was out there, I just needed to find it!
Then my fiancé had one of his best ideas ever.
“How about looking outside the bigger cities? Maybe around the Brenham area?” he asked.
The second he said it, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before.
Ian was right, we both love the Brenham area and the small town’s charm. We’d spent a few getaway weekends there antiquing, visiting music venues, and devouring new dishes at gourmet restaurants. I hoped Brenham’s relaxed vibe and juxtaposition of old and new would be reflected in the wedding venues. Soon, I was researching online and planning a trip to visit my top choices.
“I hope your wedding day is as beautiful as today,” Deanne, my soon-to-be mother-in-law said from the back seat of the car, pointing out the sunshine, cool breeze, and wispy clouds as I drove. Beside me, my mom nodded in agreement as she stared out the open windows at the rolling hills dotted with wild flowers.
The first stop on our wedding venue search was The Barnhill Center. The idea of being married in the Historic Simon Theatre lent a level of glamour and authentic 1920’s sophistication, but I wanted to see it in person before forming my own opinion.
It did not disappoint! We toured the totally restored facility, admiring how the sunlight filled the Bullock Ballroom through the second floor windows that surrounded us on three sides. I imagined our friends and family dancing the night away on the original (pristine) wood floors, under the intricate crystal and brass chandeliers. We headed downstairs to see the completely restored Vaudeville theatre, where the building’s history came to life among the modern updates.
“What do you think?” Mom asked me as we walked down the carpeted center aisle.
“I know Ian would love it, and it’s a great place for the reception.
After stopping for a light lunch, we visited Giddings Stone Mansion. The hilltop location offered views of the entire town and gave me a feeling of being surrounded by Texas history. The stunning architecture of the historic mansion and large manicured lawn created a dreamy backdrop for a wedding ceremony and reception.
We toured the mansion’s indoor spaces, and were especially impressed by the gorgeous mahogany grand staircase. Eleven rooms, including suites for the groom and bridal parties to prepare for the big event were available for rent. Up to 165 guests could be seated for dinner inside, while the outdoor space could accommodate up to 1,000 people. Do I even know 1000 people?!
We hopped back in the car and headed back downtown to the Ant Street Inn where we would be staying for the weekend as well as touring the facility. The friendly staff checked us into a room that overlooked Brenham’s historic downtown. We unpacked, freshened up, and were ready to explore the inn’s wedding venues.
In addition to the 4,000 square foot ballroom that accommodated up to 250 guests, the reception space included access to a covered veranda. Deanne, Mom, and I made our way outside to the Garden Arbor, where I pictured our ceremony taking place. I loved the tall trees, trickling fountain, and greenery surrounding the platform. We also learned that all 15 rooms of the inn could be rented out for a wedding weekend at a discounted rate, making the wedding set up and clean up extremely convenient. I liked the idea of not needing to travel from place to place on the day of my wedding, and knew the Ant Street Inn’s venue would be a strong contender.
The next day, we traveled further north into Washington County to see the last couple of venues on my list. Our first stop was at the Antique Rose Emporium, an 8-acre garden where you wouldn’t be completely surprised to find fairy tale creatures hidden among the flowers.
“You wouldn’t need to do much decorating if you had the wedding here,” Deanne said.
She was right. The ambiance of the location was romantic enough—arches with climbing vines, pathways lined with flowers, and a chapel with vaulted ceilings were just the beginning. The facilities also included an outdoor pavilion featuring a fountain, a gazebo covered in a variety of roses, and a restored 1904 Victorian home called Champney’s Green. The rustic, vintage feel and lush greenery made my decision more difficult than I anticipated.
Our final trip took us down a long country lane, past fields of wildflowers and idyllic ponds. I knew much of it belonged to Rockin’ Star Ranch—the venue included 140 acres of picturesque pastures, forests, and scenic vistas. I loved the idea of our wedding being tucked away, a hidden paradise to be shared only with our family and friends.
But beyond the lush countryside, it was really the spectacular ballroom that had drawn us here. It boasted 7,000 square feet for dining and dancing and was complete with 28-foot vaulted ceilings, elegant iron chandeliers, seating for 300 and a long staircase perfect for a grand entrance.
I was impressed by the many amenities of Rockin’ Star. It had a commercial-grade kitchen and a long granite bar, a large fireplace at the room’s center, and a private bridal suite. The rest of the property proved to be just as grand. I could have my pick of ceremony venues in addition to the ballroom, ranging from the sweeping lush lawn to a stately pecan tree by a pond. There were even guest quarters available, including private cabins and cottages that could accommodate our entire wedding party.
The air was sweet with blossoms as I snapped a few more photos on my phone to share with Ian. Leaving Rockin’ Star, we decided to stop at a coffee shop to refuel for our journey home. As I sat, I scrolled through the weekend’s collection of images, Deanne and Mom peering over my shoulder.
Each venue offered up so many beautiful details that would add to our wedding day. But what did I want? Vintage elegance? Historic grandeur? Awe-inspiring nature?
The best surprise of all… each and every beautiful venue was affordable, a fraction of what I’d seen close to home. I could have the wedding of my dreams without breaking the bank!
I couldn’t wait to share the photos and the details of each place with Ian. This was going to be a hard decision. But, no matter what we chose, it would be the perfect place to start our life together.Find your happily ever after in