Christine and Tom’s Engagement Session at Riverview Park

Update: To see a June 2018 Riverview Park Chapel Shelter wedding, click here for Lisa and Nate’s big day!

Certain blog posts always gather more inquiries and comments than others. Over the years, the blog post I’ve had the most responses to in terms of emails, blog comments, and messages is Nicky and Sean’s beautiful wedding at Riverview Park in Pittsburgh.

http://www.kristenwynnphotography.com/2014/10/nicky-and-sean-married-ceremony-and-reception-at-riverview-park-in-pittsburgh.html

This couple was married in September of 2014 and had their ceremony in the Chapel Shelter at Riverview Park. Their reception was on the same park grounds in the Activity Building. I’ve had so many posts and requests for more images of the Activities Building especially – and I think that’s because it is an affordable venue, but very difficult to find photos of online, especially of receptions in progress.

The Chapel Shelter in Riverview Park, Pittsburgh

I always aim to respond to all of these requests from engaged couples individually, but then I realized I probably should put out a blog post and give everyone what they are asking for – there’s a demand for images.

I also wanted to talk a bit about the pros and considerations of using these venues, just from what I’ve learned from Nicky and Sean. This information was accurate as of the summer of 2014 – please do check with the Pittsburgh Parks department for the most up-to-date information.

http://registerparks.pittsburghpa.gov/

http://www.pittsburghparks.org/riverview-park

Pros:

1. The venues are affordable! It’s perfect for a budget-friendly Pittsburgh wedding!

A photographer friend of mine even posted a photo of tents set up outside the chapel building for a reception – I thought that was a great idea too!

2. The ceremony location can be indoors in case of inclement weather, inside the chapel building.

The chapel was restored in 2006, so it’s nicely updated.

3. Riverview Park has beautiful scenery – it’s a huge park and there are so many photo locations we can go to!

My bride and groom zipped down to the Mexican War Streets too for some quick photos – it’s very nearby.

Mexican War Streets Wedding Photography

Mexican War Streets Wedding Photography

4. Riverview Park is conveniently located in town and there are hotels nearby for getting ready and for a room block.

My bride and groom used the hotels out on McKnight Road heading north, but the North Shore hotels are also very conveniently located.

5. You have flexibility with bringing your own caterer and alcohol – and the reception space can hold 300!

You have to purchase an alcohol permit, but it appears you can bring your own alcohol. For catering, barbecue seemed to work well! I’d also recommend Woody’s – they’ve been an amazing caterer at a great price for my brides on a budget in Pittsburgh. And as a wedding professional, we go to a lot of weddings – their food truly is delicious!

6. The venues are family and pet friendly.

This might be a great option if you want to have your dog in the wedding ceremony, for example! (I would keep the pets outside the actual main building, of course! But on the grounds seems like no problem)

Considerations:

1. If you are planning a wedding for a game day (Pitt, Steelers, Pirates) – traffic can be a bit heavy on that side of town and if you have many guests, the parking at Riverview itself may be a bit crowded, with people needing to walk down the road from their spaces.

2. The Pittsburgh Parks department booking process can be a bit complex, but there have been recent changes.

In the past, there was a permit day where you went and waited in line – I understand they’ve now done away with this and you can now rent online or in person at the parks office!

Rentals can be done up to 365 days in advance, and I know that planning just a year out can be difficult for some brides, especially for very popular dates and dates in the middle of graduation party season too!

3. The chapel shelter is best for smaller weddings.

I would say the chapel shelter indoors for a ceremony can only hold a max of 40 or so people. A tent on the lawn may work best for larger weddings.

4. The activities building has a rustic and DIY-feel to it.

This may or may not work for your event’s aesthetic. It was really pretty to have the garage doors of the venue open to let natural light in. The tables were long picnic style and I am not sure they can be re-arranged or moved around much. The event would be less formal and more reminiscent of a barn/warehouse/community center style reception, almost picnic-style. Most people will wear sundresses and dress shirts, rather than floor length gowns and tuxes.

My bride Nicky really embraced the look with lawn games too. She did a great amount of decorating as well. The activities building has a concrete floor and the floor space is a bit industrial, so she drew the eye and interest upwards – with lots and lots of market lights and yards and yards of fabric tassles. This made for great dance floor photos.

Nicky and Sean’s Wedding – Activities Building

Nicky and Sean’s Wedding – Activities Building

5. Due to rental time slots, I’d recommend lots of help in decorating and dropping off items from professionals or friends. You have to be comfortable with your party ending a bit earlier than some.

I believe the rental times are from 11am-9pm, so you will need to have someone decorate and bring in your alcohol, rental items, etc for you, as you and the bridal party, immediate family, and the groom will all be busy getting ready for the day.

I would recommend hiring day-of coordination and professional decorators and stylists to help with the space. My bride Chelsea (May of 2015) had her reception at a firehall near her hometown – it was one of the only spaces around to hold her 500 guests! She wanted to transform the space a bit and hired drapery, lighting, linen, chair, and styled items – it looked amazing and so different than the firehall normally does!

The activities building is so affordable and the flexibility in caterers might leave you with plenty of money to really decorate. But I’d definitely recommend others do the work for you so you can relax and enjoy!

If you are looking for an amazing stylist, I recommend Emily Cowey from the Virginia Lynn Company or Shayla Hawkins from SHE Events! They do phenomenal work!

So now, let’s get to more photos! Here’s Riverview Park, some ceremony images, some reception images, and even an engagement session held there so you can see the location. We wanted to show images that we don’t usually post here on the blog, such as wide shots and candids where we don’t control the background!

Christine and Tom’s Engagement Session

Christine and Tom’s Engagement Session

Christine and Tom’s Engagement Session

Christine and Tom’s Engagement Session

Christine and Tom’s Engagement Session

Christine and Tom’s Engagement Session

Christine and Tom’s Engagement Session

Christine and Tom’s Engagement Session

Christine and Tom’s Engagement Session

Christine and Tom’s Engagement Session
Nicky and Sean’s Wedding – Chapel Shelter
Nicky and Sean’s Wedding – Chapel Shelter
Nicky and Sean’s Wedding – Chapel Shelter
Nicky and Sean’s Wedding – Chapel Shelter
Nicky and Sean’s Wedding – Outside the Chapel Shelter
Nicky and Sean’s Wedding – Chapel Shelter
Nicky and Sean’s Wedding – Outside the Chapel Shelter
Nicky and Sean’s Wedding – Chapel Shelter
Nicky and Sean’s Wedding – Activities Building
Nicky and Sean’s Wedding – Activities Building
Nicky and Sean’s Wedding – Activities Building
Nicky and Sean’s Wedding – Activities Building
Nicky and Sean’s Wedding – Activities Building
Nicky and Sean’s Wedding – Activities Building
Nicky and Sean’s Wedding – Activities Building
Nicky and Sean’s Wedding – Activities Building
Nicky and Sean’s Wedding – Activities Building
Nicky and Sean’s Wedding – Activities Building
Nicky and Sean’s Wedding – Activities Building
Nicky and Sean’s Wedding – Activities Building
Nicky and Sean’s Wedding – Activities Building
Nicky and Sean’s Wedding – Activities Building
Nicky and Sean’s Wedding – Activities Building

If you are interested in wedding photography, please click “Contact” to the left, click here, or click “Contact Me” below! And happy planning!

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One Person has left comments on this post



Phillip krall said: | Feb 7, 2018 - 10:02:11 |

Hello,
We fiancé Carly and I are getting married in the river view activity center in Pittsburgh pa. I was wondering if you could provide some learning tips or ideas that could make our special day a success.

Thanks, philll krall



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