How To Get Married On A Riverboat: Featuring Michael and Brian

If you’re considering getting married on a riverboat you need to read this blog.  After the experience I had at this wedding, I recommend it.  Especially if you want to create a meaningful and memorable experience for your guests.  Taking a wedding cruise and being married on the deck of a riverboat just might be for you!

  I met Michael and Brian at my Twin Cities Pride Booth.  They were thrilled to run into a photographer at Pride, and I was also excited to meet them!  A riverboat wedding has been on my photographer wishlist pretty much since I started this wedding photography journey.   I love being on the water, and I love doing photography in non-traditional places that present a little challenge to find or create that perfect light.

We started off the day in St. Paul getting ready at their loft, and exploring the city for pictures of the couple together.  I wanted to give them modern pictures that aligned with their wedding aesthetic.  We found a black brick alley that complimented this perfectly.

lgbtq wedding photography st paul minnesota

We also had to stop at Mear’s park for the beautiful birch trees intermingled with the cityscape and get a shot of the couple with the Wacouta Street sign.  Because St. Paul!


mears park wedding photography wedding photography on wacouta street

After that we went out to Harriet Island where the boat would launch to meet the wedding party and put on corsages.  We did a few quick pictures on the riverfront.  Then, since we had a little time we decided to Uber over to Citizen for a cocktail.

Boarding a riverboat for your wedding.

One thing you should know about getting married on a riverboat is that boarding takes time.  Guests need to line up and check in when boarding.  Padleford and Michael’s great planning made this process easy for the guests.  The guests signed the couple’s signature photo when they boarded.  This was great because it made sure everyone got to sign it before activities aboard the boat started.

Riverboat Wedding Ceremony

By the time boarding was complete, it was time to launch.  Once we cleared the docks it was ceremony time. This was nice because no guests were waiting around too long.  Everyone boarded, went to their seats and by the time we reached the spot on the river where the ceremony was to take place, everyone was ready.  When you get married on a riverboat your photographer needs to be able to deal with wedding pictures in direct sunlight.  Unless it’s the perfect summer day and you’re departing at sunset, you’ll have direct sun in your ceremony pictures.

an lgbtq wedding ceremony getting married on a riverboat

What to expect for your Riverboat wedding reception.

One thing to know about your reception on a riverboat is that guests will be entertained. We went through the Ford Lock and Dam #1, which was an unforgettable experience both ways.  There were scenic views the whole cruise, and guests could stay in the ballroom, socialize and dance, or take a break on the upper deck with a cocktail from the bar.  Michael organized pretty much everything for the wedding, and he did a fantastic job.  His background in the wedding industry shows in the classic and minimal design of the whole reception.  Guests were treated to elegance, but the decor was not complex.  Minnesota ICE created a rainbow ice sculpture that stood out on the buffet table and glowed once it got dark.

lgbtq wedding with rainbow ice sculpture

Wedding After Party at Camp Bar in St. Paul

To complete the night Michael, Brian and their friends went to one of their favorite spots, Camp Bar, to see Mia Dorr and DiDi.  It was an excellent after party, another fun and challenging low light place for me to take photos in, and a great way to end the night.

professional photographer party at camp bar


Thank you to these amazing wedding professionals:

Padelford Riverboats Best Wishes Floral  | Minnesota Ice | Citizen | Officiant Cindy Seidal Arriaga | DJ’s Anastasia and Garrett | Camp Bar | Mia Dorr and DiDi

I’m a wedding photographer in Minnesota who celebrates every kind of wedding and believes Love is Love.  My wish is to support each couple with the best wedding photography for their unique day.

If you’re looking for a wedding photographer contact me here.  


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