A Brief History
The history of Marriage Island dates back to 1691, where the Spanish Missionary, Father Damian Massanet, conducted the first Catholic Mass on June 13. He went on to rename the river after Saint Anthony of Padua to honor his feast day. However, San Antonio was not founded until 1718, when its first presidio and first mission were established at San Pedro Springs.
Over 100 years ago, a cypress tree was planted in that space, and over time the roots of this tree have formed a small island that extends out into the calm waters of the Riverwalk. The removal of this island would have resulted in permanent damage to the tree, consequently the City of San Antonio determined to leave its roots in place. This island has come to be known as Marriage Island. It is located in front of the Hotel Contessa and is a popular destination for lively and festive weddings.
In 1991, artist Rolando Briseño was commissioned to create a small statue commemorating the first Catholic Mass conducted on the river. Briseño created this steel sculpture near Marriage Island to memorialize the historic beginnings of San Antonio and its missions.
The tradition of marriage ceremonies on the island began shortly after the Mexican Revolution, after Mexican priests blessed the area. Some say it has even evolved into the shape of a heart and brings good luck to couples who are married there. The island belongs to the city and Downtown Operations oversees the use of the venue for a charge of $200 per 30 minutes.
For more information regarding Marriage Island, contact the Ministry at San Antonio at (210) 650- 2436 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.