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She found her passion through a rom-com. Then, she lived one.

Wedding planning helped Kim Hanks, co-owner of Camp Lucy and Whim Hospitality, both build a business in Dripping Springs and find her husband.

The exterior of a Vietnames church at Camp Lucy.

Camp Lucy houses seven antique Vietnamese buildings and one 1800s Amish barn.

Photo by Jerry Hayes Photography

Just half an hour from Austin, at the first dips and grooves of the Hill Country, lies the official Wedding Capital of Texas.

Dripping Springs wasn’t always known for weddings. In fact, just a decade ago the town was only home to ~2,000 people and three venues. Now, more than 35 venues in the area host 1,000+ weddings each year.

Kim Hanks, co-founder of Whim Hospitality and Dripping Springs venue Camp Lucy, saw it all happen firsthand. In fact, she’s been advocating for it.

As a venue owner, Kim has a personal interest in supporting the industry. But weddings also mean a lot to her — and they helped her find her own love story.

A headshot of Kim Hanks

Kim Hanks co-founded Camp Lucy with her husband, Whit Hanks.

Photo provided by Camp Lucy

Thank JLo

“I always say that Jennifer Lopez ushered me into the hospitality industry, which is really bizarre to say,” Kim said. “But it’s actually the truth.”

In the early 2000s, Dallas-born Kim was living in Puerto Rico, working in the biotech industry. She turned on Lopez’s rom-com “The Wedding Planner” — which happens to feature Austin darling Matthew McConaughey — and something snapped into place.

“In my body, I felt this voice, you know?” Kim said. “It was saying, ‘You’re going to be a wedding planner.’ … It’s so interesting how your life can change on these kind of trivial things.”

Kim packed up her things and moved to Dripping Springs to live near her parents and get some help with her children.

“Every Texan moves back,” Kim said, laughing.

But getting started in this new career wasn’t easy. She was intimidated: she’d only ever seen two weddings before in her life.

She started by opening a company renting out tables, chairs, and linens, but knew she wanted more. That’s when — like a rom-com in itself — her future fell into place.

It began in Vietnam

Kim’s love story starts years before she met her husband, in Vietnam.

Whit Hanks was an antiques dealer, traveling for treasures when he came across some 1800s-era churches and town halls that were at risk of being torn down, carved up, and turned into trinkets.

Instead, he bought them, and shipped them back to Texas.

“I heard that this guy was building something in Dripping Springs,” Kim said. “Everyone was talking about these mystery churches from Vietnam.”

Kim made an appointment to meet with Whit, and he asked her if she wanted to help him turn the space into a wedding venue.

“It was not love at first sight,” Kim said. “We worked together for about five years. But you know, we were just always together. … Now, we’re coming up on our 10th year wedding anniversary.”

Camp Lucy

Today, Camp Lucy houses seven salvaged Vietnamese buildings and an 1800s Amish barn that was once part of the underground railroad system.

“When you walk through these buildings, you actually feel all of those stories that are compounded,” Kim said. “You have this sense of peace.”

The venue offers wedding ceremony and reception space in some of these antique buildings, in addition to food, beverage, and accommodations. The resort — which hosts ~160 weddings per year — also contains local favorite Tillie’s restaurant and is in the process of adding a spa. On the day we spoke with Kim, she had even just released a gaggle of baby geese in the creek on the property.

Kim was a fierce advocate for building the wedding industry in Dripping Springs, and some have even called her the “queen of the wedding capital.” And for good reason: she loves weddings.

“I love the way that weddings bring people together,” Kim said. “It’s more than an opportunity to celebrate each other, it’s almost like a family reunion. This is the first act of service that this couple will do.”