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 8-9 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 $150/hour. One additional hour of extra event time may be arranged in advance only for $500.

How do I reserve a date?

A 25% 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 50% 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 do I view the linen choices that are included in my package?

Most of our packages include floor-length solid polyester linens in 59 colors to choose from. The linens are rented in for each event from Connie Duglin Linens. Click here to view the solid color choices that are included in our packages. You may also request a swatch sample to be sent to you by mail if desired.

* Please note that upgraded specialty fabrics are not included, but may be rented through us for an additional fee.

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 60-90 minutes and are scheduled in advance for Tuesday –Friday 10am-4pm. 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.

Do you offer valet parking?

Valet parking can be arranged upon request.

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?

The “Grand” package includes 150 white resin folding chairs with padded seats. The “Premier” package includes 200 chairs. Additional chairs may be rented for $4 each. This fee includes set-up and breakdown 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?

Weddings with less than 140 guests typically set up the buffet/stations in the alcove of the Grand Ballroom. Larger weddings usually have a double buffet in our 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 $500. 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. Five highboy cocktail tables may be rented for $25 each, including the floor length tablecloth.

We also have 14-6′ banquet tables, 2-8’ banquet tables and 2-8’ serpentine tables that caterers may use but they must supply their own linens for food and bar tables.

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?

ou 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.

Do I have a choice of linens? Can I upgrade?

We rent all our linens so you may choose any of the solid colored linens that are included in your package. There are many other options available but at an additional cost. Please ask the River House Sales & Marketing Manager to see the sample book or visit the Connie Duglin website and request swatches.

What is allowed for the bride and groom’s “send off” at the end of the evening?

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

The use of sparklers must be pre-approved by management, and a waiver must be signed by the client as well as the day-of wedding coordinator.

Confetti, streamers, tinsel, rice and birdseed are not allowed. In addition, the use of  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 are not allowed and shots may not be poured.

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

Ashley S.

Wedding Wire

My wedding at River House was a dream come true! If I could do it all over again I would choose to do it there again. Everything about the venue was beautiful and perfect. The dance floor is big and beautiful. The library and outdoor area were perfect for cocktail hour. My guests loved the amazing river view and dock. The staff there is amazing and they helped me out with so much. If you are thinking about checking out river house DO IT!!

Shannon G.

The Knot

The River House was the venue for my recent wedding and it was absolutely perfect! They were wonderful to work with and very accommodating. Not only is this a beautiful location the staff was so friendly and welcoming. Constance was a dream to work with, she made everything so easy. Her and the staff stayed in touch with me throughout the planning process and made the wedding day a breeze. I didn't have to worry about anything. Thank you for helping me to have the wedding of my dreams!


Wedding Wire

The River House Events venue is the perfect spot, especially for weddings. We had so many compliments on how beautiful it was, and we really didn't have to do much to decorate! It's already beautiful as it is. Constance and Sara are very easy to work with and they are very quick with responding to emails and phone calls for any questions. The price might seem high at first, but it includes so much and the vendors they work with are amazing - so take a look at their list before searching for your own. I am so glad we had our wedding at the River House. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Our day was perfect! Thank you, Constance!

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