Romance at Riverbanks — Stylish • Sophisticated • Simple

Engagement & Bridal Portraits

You’ve already shared a thousand moments.

Now to take that one photograph that summarizes your relationship better than a thousand words ever could. Wait until the Botanical Garden’s gates have closed to the public and capture your romance through a lens that lets in the Garden’s late afternoon light. A sitting fee of $150 gives you, your photographer and an attendant two hours to explore the Garden, creating the perfect photograph to begin a lifetime. Private portraits are only available after regular visitor hours.

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Photos courtesy of ©Judy Kay Bryan

Rehearsal Dinners

Celebrate your bridal party and out-of-town guests.

Riverbanks weddings have become a Columbia tradition since 1995, when our Botanical Garden opened to the public. Rehearsal dinners at Riverbanks, however, have quickly become a non-traditional favorite for brides, no matter what the time of year. Celebrate your bridal party and out-of-town guests, not to mention the next day’s vows, with an elegant dinner catered by Riverbanks’ executive chef. A variety of settings throughout Riverbanks Zoo and Garden let you decide the size and scope of your rehearsal party.

Call 803.978.1123 for rehearsal dinner location pricing. Discounts are offered to brides who have both their rehearsal parties and wedding parties at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden.

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Wedding Ceremonies

The picture perfect place to say “I do.”

Just as surely as some brides envision getting married in the church they grew up attending, others picture saying their vows under a beautiful blue sky. Sometimes the most sacred wedding spots can be the ones you find in nature. Riverbanks Botanical Garden offers the picture perfect place to say “I do,” overlooking elegant fountains and lush greenery and creating an unforgettable memory of your special day. Ceremonies are included in the cost of a Friday, Saturday or Sunday evening wedding reception; however, a Friday night ceremony rehearsal must be scheduled separately.

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Photos courtesy of ©Judy Kay Bryan

Wedding Receptions

Your wedding reception really is the ultimate party.

Never before and never again will you have so many friends and family together to celebrate something so extraordinary. As you prepare for your big day, deciding on a reception at Riverbanks is one of the simplest choices you’ll make. The beauty of Riverbanks Botanical Garden speaks for itself, and the cuisine of Riverbanks’ executive chef makes the decision even easier. Our staff works closely with you from the moment you say “yes” to long after you’ve said “I do.”

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Photos courtesy of ©Judy Kay Bryan

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View our Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Can I use my own caterer?

No. Riverbanks Zoo and Garden has an exclusive, on-site caterer. This special arrangement allows a portion of your catering dollars to support Riverbanks’ ongoing conservation and education efforts. Sample menus can be found under the Rehearsal Dinners and Wedding Receptions sections of this page.

Is there a minimum on food and beverage?

Yes. There is a minimum charge of $4,500 for food and beverage. Riverbanks Catering staff will help make your cuisine decisions easy.

When can my ceremony/reception begin and end?

Your event cannot begin until one hour after the Garden closes. Depending on the time of year, your guests may begin arriving at 6:00 or 7:00pm. Evening rentals end at 11:00pm, with last call and dance being made at 10:45pm.

How many chairs can be set up outside for the ceremony, and where can I get them?

White chairs can be rented through Riverbanks Catering, or they can be rented at any special events service facility. The chairs rent from $2–$4 each. Approximately 100–150 chairs can be set up in the ceremony area.

Can I bring in my own decorations?

Yes. Decorations for the Magnolia Room and outside areas may be provided and placed by anyone of your choice. Placement of decorations can begin after 3:00pm inside the Magnolia Room and after the park closes for all outside areas. Decorations and musical arrangements are restricted and require prior approval. Balloons, birdseed, rice and confetti are not permitted.

Are tables, chairs and linens included in the price of the Magnolia Room?

Please email the director of catering at for information related to this question.

What’s blooming in the Garden?

Our experienced horticulture department works year round to provide an exquisite exhibit of flowers and greenery throughout the Botanical Garden. There is always something blooming at Riverbanks Garden!

Is entertainment allowed in the Garden during a private rental?

DJs and small bands are permitted. Riverbanks has a list of preferred vendors who are familiar with venue layout, policies and procedures. If you do not choose someone on our preferred vendor list, your DJ or band is required to call us prior to your event date to discuss layout, policies and procedures. Due to space and electrical power limitations, only small bands are allowed in the Garden or Magnolia Room. A meeting is required when booking any DJ or band who is not familiar with our venue.

Can I have just a ceremony in the Garden, without booking a reception?

Ceremonies in the Garden cannot take place without a reception. Ceremonies can only take place during private evening rentals, after the Garden is closed to the public. All tables, chairs, linens and labor are provided by the Riverbanks catering team, and these costs are built in to the reception menus.

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