Frequently Asked Questions

  • Photo by Lindsey Morgan Photography

Where do guests park?

There is limited parking at River House but there is ample parking directly across the street in a well-lit lot located beside and behind our other day-use facility, the Coastal Community Center. All parking is free.

How many guests will the Grand ballroom hold?

We can accommodate 240 guests seated or 400 reception style.

May I bring my own food?

All food and beverage service (except for cake or desserts) must be provided by one of the approved caterers on our list.

How long is the rental time?

Rental time varies between 7-9 hours from the start of setup to the end of breakdown, based on the package selected. Up to two hours of early access time may be arranged at the cost of $500/hour. One additional hour of extra event time may be arranged in advance only for $1,000.

How do I reserve a date?

A 50% non-refundable deposit reserves your date and a contract must be signed shortly thereafter. All deposits can be made by cash, check made payable to “COA”, or any major credit card.

When is the remaining balance due?

An additional 25% of the rental fee will be due six months prior to your event, payable by cash, check, or any major credit card. The remaining balance is due 30 days prior to your event, payable by check only made out to “COA”.

How and when should I apply for the insurance coverage?

No later than 2 weeks out. You will need to get a 1-day $1M host liquor liability insurance policy with St. Johns County Council on Aging as the added insured. Please have a copy of the certificate emailed to us.

Information on obtaining coverage can be provided upon request.

How is the lighting outside at night?

Out front – the fountain area is spot lit, the covered entryway is illuminated, and there are lanterns on the either side of the front doors.

In the back – the building, terrace and stairs are lit. The observation deck has Edison string lights along the railing, and the edge of the terrace bulkhead also has inlayed rope lights.

When do I have my “walk through” appointment?

They take approximately 60 minutes and are scheduled in advance for Tuesday –Friday 10am-3pm. A walk-through form will be emailed to you prior to your appointment so that you can prepared for what will be discussed. We kindly ask that you fill out any details you already know prior to the appointment, and the rest will be completed that day. We require your day-of coordinator to be present for this appointment.

Will someone from River House be present during my event?

Yes, two River House staff members are present for the duration of each event. They are responsible for handling any venue-related issues, but do not assist with any vendor or personal décor setup.

Where are ceremonies held?

We have two spaces available for your ceremony. Outside on our stone-paved terrace is the most popular choice, however you may also plan your ceremony inside our Grand Ballroom on our 32ft round hardwood dance floor. Both spaces include our breathtaking view overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway and the St. Augustine Lighthouse.

How many ceremony chairs are included?

River House can provide 200 white garden chairs.  The set-up and breakdown is provided by River House staff. For indoor ceremonies, we use Gold Chiavari chairs with ivory cushions.

When are the ceremony chairs set up and broken down?

As general rule, they are set up 2 hours prior to the ceremony start and taken down at the end of the evening. This is also when a decision is made whether or not a ceremony will be moved inside due to inclement weather.

How many chairs can the ceremony space accommodate?

We have had up to 230 chairs set up for ceremonies. We also have chairs and tables on our Library terrace which guests can use to watch the ceremony.

How many people are in each row for the outside ceremony?

Depending on the final guest count! Usually 10-12 guests per row on each side, with the 1st row on each side having the exact number of seats needed for the immediate family.

May I use an arch or other décor outdoors?

Yes, you may use any décor as long as it is set up and removed the same day and does not leave any permanent marks or damage to the pavers or building. Please be sure all décor is secured sufficiently to withstand any gusts of wind.

Are there any restrictions regarding ceremony music?

There are no music restrictions. Many weddings have live music for the ceremony and cocktail hour or have their DJ bring a separate smaller sound system to use outdoors. There are plenty of outlets available to accommodate any electrical equipment.

Will the officiant need a microphone?

That is your choice. Depending on the breeze on your wedding day, it may be more of a hindrance than a help. Most opt to not use a microphone.

May I have a rehearsal the day prior?

You are entitled to a one-hour rehearsal the day prior to your wedding. The timing, however, is subject to other events scheduled at River House that day. The exact time will be set up with the River House Sales & Marketing Manager.

Do I need a wedding coordinator?

Yes, we require that you have a licensed and insured professional day-of coordinator to ensure proper care and use of our building, as well as to facilitate a smooth execution of the event. This person will represent the client to oversee setup and vendor arrivals, sign for deliveries, place any personal décor, etc.

* Please note that your coordinator may not be someone who is a guest at the event.

Where is the cocktail hour held?

Weather permitting the cocktail hour takes place outside on our stone paved terrace. In case of inclement weather, a bar may be set up in our Library or our Conservatory depending upon the package you have selected.

Where is the buffet set up?

Caterers typically set up the buffet/stations in the Conservatory which is directly off our Ballroom with easy access for both the guests and catering staff.

May I have a longer reception?

You may arrange in advanced only for one additional hour of event time for $1,000. Please keep in mind that in doing so there will likely be additional fees with all your other vendors as well.

What types of tables are available?

Guest tables are 72″ rounds with ten guests per table. We also have 30″ rounds, a 36″ round, a 48″ round, 36″ squares, and 2-60″ squares that may be utilized for the head table, gift table and/or cake table. An 18×96″ table is available to display escort cards. Four highboy cocktail tables for cocktail hour.

We also have 13-6′ banquet tables, 2-8’ banquet tables that caterers may use.

Are candles permitted?

No open flames are allowed, but candles with the flames enclosed in votives or hurricanes are allowed.

What décor is allowed? Do I need to take it all that night?

You may use any décor as long as it is set up and removed the same day and does not leave any permanent marks or damage. In order to preserve our hardwood floor, we do not allow any dance floor decals. Please bear in mind that it must be put up and taken down within the allotted time. All décor must be removed the same day unless a previous arrangement has been made with the River House Events coordinator.

May I move the Baby Grand piano?

We request that the piano stay in place due to tuning. However, the piano may be played, or you may use it to feature your cake.

Are linens included in the rental fee?

Linens are not included in your rental fee. However, we can give suggestions on where to rent them.

What is allowed for the couple's “send off” at the end of the evening?

You may use bubbles, ribbon wands, bells, LED lights and glow sticks.

Sparklers, confetti, streamers, tinsel, rice and birdseed, in addition to fireworks or Chinese “wish” lanterns are prohibited.

May I use a caterer not on the approved list?

You must choose a caterer from our approved list, as they are familiar with our facility and have had successful events here.

How is the bar (alcohol) handled?

All River House approved caterers will allow you to do a “host” bar. This means you can supply the alcohol and they will provide the professional bartenders or recommend a bartender service.

Self service or cash bars are not allowed. In addition, kegs or serving of alcoholic shots are not permitted.

Does River House have snacks/drinks available prior to the ceremony?

We do not provide any snacks or drinks so we recommend that you bring your own refreshments to enjoy while getting ready.

Reviews of River House

Christa M.

The Knot

River House in St. Augustine, FL is an amazing venue! From the beginning, Constance and her staff were very professional, responsive and accommodating. You can't beat the view of the river and the lighthouse which made for excellent pictures! They also have plenty of free parking which is a huge plus when it comes to venues in St. Augustine. Highly recommend!

Emily S.

Wedding Wire

We had our wedding reception May 25th, 2019 and it was perfect! My husband and I live in Jacksonville but all of our guests were coming from Pennsylvania. We picked the River House because if he indoor/outdoor flexibility! We wanted our guests to embrace the Florida lifestyle! We didn’t have to worry about the weather and got to enjoy the beautiful views of the river and lighthouse. There also have their own dock where we took amazing sunset photos. Lastly, Constance and her staff were a joy to work with and always willing to help!

Miranda W.

The Knot

St. Augustine is such an amazing destination for your special day and River House is no exception. Truly a hidden gem away from downtown that is right on the river that offers you amazing views and service for your wedding. Allison was so communicative throughout the planning process and even on day of with rain in the forecast she was ready to jump to have our ceremony outside if we had the chance. Such a beautiful day with a beautiful venue to match.

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