Lively Wedding at The River Center Des Moines

Let’s face it. A lot of Iowa wedding venues have a rustic feel. That can be beautiful, but what if you want a wedding venue with a more sophisticated city atmosphere? The River Center Des Moines is located close to downtown and has amazing options for modern weddings. The venue’s unique features (including a trolley) made it an ideal spot for Jeff and Amanda’s lively wedding. 

A bride and groom walk away from their wedding ceremony at the River Center Des Moines laughing and holding hands.

The River Center Des Moines

The River Center Des Moines is located in a beautifully renovated brick building near Principal Park. Big windows let in plenty of natural light. A spacious patio provides the perfect spot for cocktail hour after your ceremony. The clean lines of the industrial architecture make it an understated backdrop for any style of wedding.

The mothers of the bride and groom help them put on their wedding attire.

A groom stands beside a trolley waiting for the first look at a Des Moines wedding.

A bride puts her hands on either side of a groom's face and smiles outside the River Center Des Moines.

Generally, ceremonies are held in one of two locations inside The River Center Des Moines. It can be held at the foot of the stairs leading down into the main floor or against a beautiful antique wooden barn door. Jeff and Amanda went with the latter, and it added a nice organic element to their ceremony space. Whichever ceremony spot you choose, natural light illuminates the area. It makes photography easier and creates an airy atmosphere.

A bride and groom pose for a phone photo on a trolley with their wedding party behind them.

A bride stands in the middle of her friends wearing blue bridesmaids dresses.

A groom and groomsmen walk towards the camera from a Des Moines sidewalk.

Although The River Center Des Moines no longer lists its prices on its website, it previously posted packages ranging between $3,500 and $9,000. The prices include use of a gated parking lot for your wedding guests, bar service, and in-house catering tailored to your tastes.

A groom wipes a tear away when he sees a bride.

A bride laughs as she walks towards a groom at the start of the wedding ceremony at the River Center Des Moines.

At the River Center Des Moines, a bride and groom laugh while their officiant reads from a book.

An Iowa Wedding Venue with City Vibes

One of my favorite things about this Des Moines wedding venue is that it comes with the use of a trolley! On Jeff and Amanda’s wedding day, we took it around downtown for portraits. The River Center Des Moines is just blocks away from where the Raccoon River meets the Des Moines River. There’s so much to see.

A bride stands at the altar with her bridesmaids smiling in a line behind her.

A bride reads her vows in an Iowa wedding venue.

Wedding guests hold up their pinky fingers during the ceremony.

Jeff and Amanda had a great time snuggling on the trolley benches together then toasting with their wedding party as we drove around. We ended up with some really fun, sweet photos. It also gave everyone a chance to relax between things. 

A bride and groom hold hands listening to a family member read during their wedding ceremony at the River Center Des Moines.

A bride and groom kiss then hold up their hands to celebrate.

An elderly family member greets the bride after the wedding ceremony.

The River Center Des Moines was the perfect wedding venue for Amanda and Jeff for several reasons. They wanted an Iowa venue with the urban feeling of their current home, New York City. This venue also makes things simple so you can focus on being present with your people. The transition from the ceremony space into cocktail hour and then into the reception is so seamless. It takes a lot of guesswork out of the experience for you and your wedding guests. 

Wedding guests gather on the patio of the River Center Des Moines for cocktail hour.

Two wedding guests dance between musicians playing a violin and ukulele.

Wedding guests find their table numbers on a green wall lined with embroidery hoops.

Amanda and Jeff’s Lively Wedding

Amanda and Jeff’s path to their wedding at The River Center Des Moines was a little unconventional. They met while living in different states. After meeting at a mutual friend’s birthday brunch, they decided they liked each other enough to make the trips between Philadelphia and New York. Earlier in the pandemic, they moved into a Brooklyn apartment together. 

Amanda wraps an arm around Jeff's shoulders in the sunset.

The groomsmen lead Amanda and Jeff into the reception room.

Jeff’s proposal was as heartfelt as the rest of their relationship. They went on a drive to see the house Amanda grew up in. While they were standing in the front yard, he proposed.

Jeff lifts Amanda during a choreographed first dance at the River Center Des Moines.

A groom swings a bride around on the dance floor at the start of the Des Moines wedding reception.

A bride and groom cut a chocolate wedding cake and pull a slice away.

When it came to their wedding photography, Jeff and Amanda wanted to document that genuine emotion, not just the day’s events. They told me, “We wanted a photographer who would capture more than just the people who attended, but rather the emotion of the day. As we continued our search, we wanted to find someone who we could also feel comfortable with and who sees the value in the work they do in what they provide a couple or family on their wedding day.” 

A bride and groom clink their glasses at the end of a wedding toast while sitting at a sweetheart table decorated with flowers.

The bride and groom dance with their parents.

The bride watches the groom dance with his mother.

I’m so honored that Amanda and Jeff chose me to document their wedding at The River Center Des Moines! Documenting those candid moments came more easily because they went with the flow all day. The smiles never left their faces.

A bride dances surrounded by wedding guests at the River Center Des Moines.

In the distance, the River Center Des Moines is lit up against the skyline at night.

Would you like me to be your Iowa wedding photographer? I would love to document your joyful moments with photos that you’ll cherish for a lifetime. Inquire here

Thank you to the vendors who made Jeff and Amanda’s wedding amazing:

Venue: The River Center Des Moines 

Photography: Olivia Katherine Photography

Live Music: B2wins 

Florals: Midwest Blooms & Co 

Attire: Country Way Bridal 

HMU: After Glow Pro Studio 

Caterer: Trellis Cafe 

Rentals/Decor: Vintage Love Rentals 

See if we have your date open!

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Husband + Wife, photographer, videographer, artists,
cat parents, travelers,
inspired by family, joy, and you.

That's us on our wedding day. The part we loved the most? The big group hugs, the tears shed, the belly laughs, and getting to share all of it with our friends and family. 

We're Olivia + Christian

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