By Published On: April 6, 2021Categories: WeddingComments Off on A Gateway Clipper Wedding: What You Need to Know FirstTags: ,


Are you interested in having a wedding on the Gateway Clipper fleet? Boat weddings are a memorable way to tie the knot, but there are some differences to a traditional venue that you should be aware of. Here are my tips for brides looking to say “I do” on the Mon river.


Tip #1: Take Advantage of the Riverfront Scenery

gateway clipper wedding pittsburgh skyline at night

A Gateway Clipper wedding offers breathtaking views of Pittsburgh. Unlike a landlocked venue, you and your guests will be traveling up and down the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers, so you will get dynamic views of the city at all angles during your ceremony and reception. Your guests will be captivated by the changing cityscape and soak in that Pittsburgh sunshine. The city comes alive at night as the skyline lights up.

The Pittsburgh skyline will also make the perfect backdrop for your bridal party and guests. It is worth it to invest in a great photographer and/or videographer for your special day on the Gateway Clipper. Photographers refer to the window of time before the sun sets as the “golden hour,” and on the water this warm lighting cannot be beat. You do not want to miss this opportunity for your wedding photos.


Tip #2: Design with Space Limitations in Mind

gateway clipper wedding decor

While far from the smallest venue, space is limited on the Gateway Clipper. In the Gateway Clipper fleet, the largest boat is The Empress at 212 feet long and 50 feet wide, so that is your approximate maximum real estate for a wedding. You can make the most of these limitations by having the ceremony on the upper deck and the reception below deck. Keeping décor streamlined and minimal will offer maximum real estate to your guests.

That is not to say you cannot have strong visual impact with décor on the Gateway Clipper. See above my recent work for a wedding client.

Tip #3: Consider Making it an All-in-One Wedding

gateway clipper wedding dance

Unlike a traditional venue, you cannot freely leave a boat once you board. Use this to your advantage by making your wedding on the Gateway Clipper all-in-one. Guests can witness your ceremony above deck, have their meal in the dining area below, and party the night away on the dance floor. You can hit everything on your wedding checklist: scenic locations, catering, music, and more.

Tip #4: Take the Weather into Consideration and Have a Backup Plan

Unfortunately, there is no controlling Mother Nature. Although an above deck ceremony is preferred by most couples on the Gateway Clipper, it is a good idea to consult with your planner and have a backup plan if weather forces everyone inside. If this is the case, not to worry! An indoor ceremony can still be just as beautiful. Thankfully, the Gateway Clipper fleet offers the best of both worlds with both indoor and outdoor spaces.

And what about the time of year? Most couples get married in the summer, but we all know that late summer can become sweltering in Pittsburgh. Avoid the times in the year when sitting on a boat will be more of a frustration than a luxury.


Tip #5: Take Note of Rules and Regulations

Did you know that boat regulations do not allow for open candle flames? In Pennsylvania, regulations like this must be considered when planning a Gateway Clipper wedding. Also, the Gateway Clipper maintains a strict departure schedule, so make sure you communicate to your guests to be punctual.


Tip #6: You are on a Floating Island

Unlike a traditional venue, there’s no way to easily dismiss rowdy or rude guests on a boat. My recommendation? If you’re planning a boat wedding (or any wedding for that matter) and think someone will behave in an unbecoming manner on your special day, then don’t include them on the guest list! It is after all your day and no one should spoil that for you.



gateway clipper wedding princess

A wedding on the water with Pittsburgh as your backdrop can truly make for a beautiful day. Now that you know a little more about getting married on the Gateway Clipper, you will be able to make an informed choice on having it as your wedding venue.

If you are looking for someone to plan your Gateway Clipper wedding, turn to the Pittsburgh Wedding Planner that has experience planning Gateway Clipper weddings and events. I can navigate all the rules and regulations so that you can be completely stress-free.

Don’t take my word for it. Read the testimonial from a recent client who had their wedding on the Gateway Clipper

My wedding was AMAZING with the help of Tonya and her crew! I had a vision and they brought it to life for me! My day wouldn’t have turned out the way it did with them! HIGHLY RECOMMEND for any future bride! -Meg Kilcullen

Book a call with me at my online appointment form can’t find the time you need? Call my personal cell directly and leave me a message or text to introduce yourself 724-968-7135

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About the Author: Tonya