Get ready to fall in love with The Brown Hotel! Are you a newly engaged couple in the Louisville area looking for your dream wedding venue? Green Apple Photography is on a mission to help you discover the perfect venue for your needs and this place may quickly make it to the top of your list!
Have you had the joy of experiencing The Brown in Louisville firsthand? If you haven’t, then you’re in for a treat!
Not only does The Brown wedding venue make the list on the National Register of Historic Places, but its Georgian-Revival aesthetic on the outside and English Renaissance interior, make it classy and elegant all around.
Oh and bonus? The Brown is also a hotel! But if you’re a Louisville local, you already knew that.
Dripping in history that’s been steeped for generations, almost 100 years to be exact, The Brown has had its fair share of up and downs.
Built in 1923, James Graham Brown set off to construct a building that would rival its neighbor, the Seelbach Hotel. He selected a plot of land located at the corner of Fourth and Broadway, a spot that would end up being so prominent it was dubbed “The Magic Corner.”
The building itself is 16 floors dripping in extravagant elements, with over 600 guest rooms, in addition to ballrooms, meeting rooms, shops, and restaurants. The Brown hotel project was completed a year later, no expenses spared and totaling $4 million.
The Brown Hotel was instantly popular attracting regal guests from all around the world.
Former Prime Minister of Great Britain, David Lloyd George, was the first to sign the hotel’s guest book when it opened.
Upon realizing the popularity of the hotel, Brown carried on additional plans, building the Brown Theater and Martin Brown buildings next door.
There are wild stories from that time, some so strange they sound fabricated.
Take for instance Lily Pons, a French-American opera singer, who let her pet ocelot – often called a lion cub – roam around her suite while performing at the theater.
Queen Marie of Romania visited and was treated to a full experience with entertainment in the Crystal Ballroom, adorned with a red carpet and a gold throne on a dais.
Let’s not forget to mention Victor Mature, who was an elevator operator at The Brown Hotel before he was ever a well-known Hollywood household name.
With stories such as these, it’s easy to believe that things at The Brown Hotel were always booming.
But rarely does it work out that way.
With The Brown Hotel opening in 1923, owner James Graham Brown was no stranger to hard times.
The hotel opened during the Prohibition era which lasted all the way through 1933. In 1930, the Great Depression ushered in unforeseen difficulties and Brown defaulted on his bank loan. Luckily financing was able to be arranged, but first Brown had to ask his employees to continue working without pay temporarily.
A few years later, a new catastrophe met The Brown Hotel. In 1937, the Ohio River rose and the hotel became flooded.
One person is even on record as saying they “rowed our boat in one door, went through the lobby, and rowed out another.”
The hotel was determined to show up for its city, and makeshift kitchens were set up to feed multitudes of people. On the second-floor lobby, a bell captain caught a 2-pound fish! Bucket brigades were set up so that water could be brought up all 15 floors so that toilets could still be flushed.
Of course at some point things have to turn around, and they did beginning with World War II. Both soldiers and residents sought relief from the war by getting away and the Brown Hotel is where many ended up.
Entertainers provided guests with distractions in the Crystal Ballroom, many of who would go on to make a name for themselves, Clyde McCoy, Dick Martin, Gene Krupa, George Gobel, and Dan Rowan to name a few.
However busy the hotel was, nothing came close to the bustle of the Kentucky Derby. The hotel became almost like its own box seats, with the same elite guests returning each year.
And as if we haven’t name-dropped enough yet, the hotel has also been a destination for many well-known names over the years such as the Duke of Windsor, Harry Truman, Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Young, Joan Crawford, Muhammed Ali, Jimmy Carter, George H. Bush, and Barack Obama.
Oh to hear the stories the walls could tell!
With all this history, it’s easy to see why The Brown Hotel would make an incredible wedding venue, right?
Not only will you feel that you have been transported to another decade, where you are among the elite, but you also get to share this experience with your favorite people!
Imagine getting to wake up the morning after your wedding knowing that all your loved ones are still there with you. It’s like a destination wedding without the expensive airfare! The best of both worlds if you ask us.
Some things that make this venue extra dreamy is that they specialize in multicultural weddings and rituals, and will help make your wedding absolutely perfect from the culinary staff, banquet team, and wedding coordinator.
Lastly, something we kept as a final bonus for you, The Brown Hotel has a stunning rooftop area where you can capture gorgeous sunsets and host one heck of a cocktail hour!
Part of what makes this venue so wonderful is that it’s all-inclusive. There are spaces for your reception, ceremony, luncheons, wedding suites, rehearsal dinners, farewell brunch, etc.
LEO Weekly voted The Brown “The Best Place for a Wedding Reception”
Pricing and Collections
Couples can request a proposal for pricing on The Brown Hotel website here.
You will feel inspired and swept away by the decadence of The Brown Hotel, we just know it.
Want to discover other Louisville wedding venues? Look through our other Louisville Venue Pages here.