Have you ever considered getting married on the same stage where Elvis once performed? Or how about The Rat Pack, The Rockettes or even Oprah? If that doesn’t strike your fancy, perhaps your parents graduated on that same stage.
Originally built in 1932 and opened in 1934, the Kiel Opera House was long “the heart of St. Louis,” says Angie Carr, manager of special events at the venue. Since its massive restoration and reopening in October 2011, the building, now known as Peabody Opera House, has reclaimed that status with a plethora of headline-grabbing public events, as well as private parties and weddings. “We’ve done everything from a Korn concert to a commencement and a wedding—all in the same weekend,” Carr says. “At most banquet facilities, you’re not going to get that type of experience—where you can say, Oprah was here last week, or Michelle Obama spoke on that stage, and I’m going to have my wedding here.”
But it’s not just the big-name celebrities that attract soon-to-be-wed couples, Carr adds. The building has been completely restored in grand style, from the marble floors all the way up to ornate chandeliers. “The railings are handmade and all the swirls in them are hand-bent,” she says. “The ceilings in both the ballrooms and the Grand Lobby were all hand-carved and hand-painted. In the Grand Lobby, there’s gold leafing, and in the ballroom, there’s paint, and they chipped down to the original paint colors and matched them. The windows and woodworking are original throughout.”
The Old-World charm is reflected in the two-story Grand Lobby, which seats 250 on one level, or up to 350 if both levels are used. In that space, an outdoor patio provides a secluded spot for guests to get away from the party bustle. “I’m one of those girls who has dreamed of my wedding my whole life,” Carr says. “I look at this building and say, This could make a lot of girls’ dreams come true.”
The expansive building offers venues of many sizes for any guest list or budget, including the theater, the ticket lobby and several ballrooms in addition to the Grand Lobby. “We’ve had two to three weddings in one day, and the guests would never cross paths,” Carr says. If multiple events are scheduled at once, guests enjoy entirely separate spaces, including private entrances and restrooms.
Not only harkening back to days gone by in its beauty, the Peabody offers services such as doormen to greet guests and elevator attendants that might make guests feel they’ve traveled to an earlier time. Customized options are available in all aspects of the event—take, for example, a groom who wanted to serve nachos as an evening snack. Since the venue’s caterer, Levy Restaurants, also does food for major national events like the Grammys and the U.S. Open, as well as the Scottrade Center, they were able to provide the exact same nachos served at Blues games.
“We really try to work with clients because we want everyone to feel special,” Carr says. “It’s their day and we want their guests to feel the same way. The service was one of the things you hear about the Kiel Opera House that people really loved. We still do those things to assist with making the experience great.”
On the Cover:
The beautifully restored Peabody Opera House is available for a variety of events, including wedding ceremonies and receptions. For more information, call 499-7619 or visit peabodyoperahouse.com.