I had the opportunity to do a photo session with Alyssa and Austin at Kiener Plaza in St. Louis, MO. They wanted some photos of them around the arch, and this was the perfect location. I love photographing engagement sessions for people who are about to tie the knot because it gives me an opportunity to get better acquainted with our clients before their big day! I was in St. Louis for a few different engagement shoots, so I had to visit the arch because it’s the most iconic landmark in St. Louis.
My Experience in St. Louis
As far as I can remember, I’ve maybe been to St. Louis two other times when I was younger. I think my parents took me to a St. Louis Cardinals game, and I know I was in St. Louis for a Christian concert on New Year’s Eve 1999 (talk about a flashback). I also made a trip to do engagement sessions in October at Queeny Park, Castlewood Park, and Forrest Park. My memories and experiences in St. Louis were very limited. I had this idea that St. Louis was this huge, crowded, and really dangerous place. Now, it might be all of those things, but I really didn’t experience any of that during my trip. I did engagement shoots in several places like Tower Grove Park, downtown St. Louis, and Lafayette Square, so I was all over the place, but I was pleasantly surprised at how different it was from my expectations.
A Gem in downtown St. Louis
The thing that surprised me most was Kiener Plaza. I travelled toward the more popular area of St. Louis, where the Arch and the Cardinal’s stadium is. There were big buildings all around like I expected and then, boom, in the middle of it all was Kiener Plaza. Parking was a bit confusing, but I ended up parking in front of the stadium and walking. Besides that, no problems.
What is Kiener Plaza Park?
Kiener Plaza is a open area, maybe 100 yards long (1.9 acre), with a garden area and greenery, a statue, a playground, and seats. From what I read, in 1962 the park was created and named after and dedicated to Harry Kiener in who was in the olympics and the statue is of him running track.
It’s the strangest thing because the cool area that looks like a park is right there in the middle of the city. There are streets and buildings all around it. It just really surprises me that they keep such a large area that is worth a ton of money as a open space for people. Good for them!
A View of the Gateway Arch
My favorite thing about Kiener Plaza is the view. From the grass area you have the perfect view of the gateway arch and the old courthouse, but there were still other areas for photos.
Alyssa and Austin’s engagement shoot
Enough about the space, let’s talk about Alyssa and Austin. I know I say it a lot, but I get to meet the nicest people. They were both very chill, but I loved how they made each other laugh.
These two actually met in high school and were together for 6 years before deciding to get married. It’s so cool to hear these stories because most couples meet in college or even later in life.
As far as other things about them, Alyssa is a dancer and actually did some coaching. They also love Bob’s Burgers, which is a show I really enjoy!
With the engagement shoot, I didn’t really have a plan when I arrived at Kiener Plaza park. I knew I wanted to get the gateway arch in some photos, but that was about it.
We started in the lawn and did several different shots with the arch. I did some wide ones, but I think I like the tighter ones better because it put the arch right behind them.
After that, we walked around to different spots. There were benches and some greenery, but the funny location was something they chose. There are these metal chairs and tables that look like something you might find in a backyard. They said they had something similar, so we made sure to use them.
Proposal at Kiener Plaza Park
This was such a blast, and we actually got to see some other interesting things while we in our visit to Kiener Plaza park. There were people all over doing photos, which makes sense because it is so popular.
When we were done, I looked over and there was a guy on a knee in front of a girl. At first, I thought they were just posing because she stood there so long. Eventually, they started hugging and she was looking at her ring, and I realized it was a real proposal! What are the chances of that? They walked down the street to a restaurant and she was so giddy.
I’m so excited to travel past St. Louis into Illinois for Alyssa and Austin’s wedding in 2023. They have the best personalities, and are just wonderful to be around.
Visit Kiener Plaza
Kiener Plaza was a wonderful surprise, and I will be using it when I come back to St. Louis in the future. If you are looking for a good view of the arch and want a good amount of space, check out Kiener Plaza. The address is 500 Chestnut St, St. Louis, MO 63101. Your gps should get you close but they did have a road closed when I visited. Either way, it’s easy to find, and well worth it