437 Main Street Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18018
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About Hotel Bethlehem
The Historic Hotel Bethlehem was built in 1922 at the site of the first Moravian built home in the area. The hotel is literally located at the site where the city of Bethlehem began in 1741. When you walk into the 125-room hotel you feel like you are transported back to the early 20th century. The towering palladium curved windows can be seen throughout the hotel lobby. The marble staircase and the colorful tile work in the terrace are absolutely stunning and not to be missed. The marque at the entrance of the hotel really comes alive at night when it is all lit up as is the “Hotel Bethlehem” sign on the roof of the building. Bethlehem is known as the “Christmas City” and the hotel is filled with the holiday spirit during that time of year because of the extensive decorations in the lobby. There are three ballrooms as well, all of which have their own style to them, that can accommodate your wedding or special event.
Where are the best places to take pictures? If there is one question I get asked, from pretty much every couple, it’s “where should we take pictures?”. Couple’s want to know where to have portraits with each other, their wedding party, and their family. Because every couple is different, not all couples will think that every location at Hotel Bethlehem is the “best” for them. So what I do is recommend a variety of locations and then allow my couples to decide what spots they like the most. I have listed a variety of places to shoot below and talk about why it’s great to shoot there.
The Main Lobby
Hotel Bethlehem has a variety of spots to shoot at that are all in close proximity to each other and all on the main floor. In the main lobby there are a few seating areas with leather couches and chairs that all work well for seated portraits with the couple and/or wedding party. This area is heavily decorated around the holidays so there will always be extra Christmas cheer if you want to incorporate that into your pictures. Most notably is the huge tree they have beautifully adorned with ornaments and all lit up. This is a great spot for full-length portraits of the couple. The lobby also has an elegant grand piano and beautiful arched windows. Although for the best arched window pictures I recommend the less crowded 1741 Terrace which I will discuss next. Speaking of crowds, the main lobby is sometimes a heavily trafficked area of the hotel so I always recommend some extra time for pictures in this area.
When available, this is the location at the hotel that really shows off the beautiful historic arched windows in all of their glory. It’s important to note that sometimes the 1741 Terrace is reserved for a special event or dining so during these times it would not be accessible for pictures. When it is available though it tends to be very private as most of the hotel guests are in the main lobby. The Terrace area is a great place for full-length portraits of the couple.
This area of the hotel is at the edge of the main lobby. It’s a great piece of the hotel’s history and is an ideal place for some walking or standing full-length portraits of the couple. There are a few different points of view to show off theses stairs which can give you a nice variety of pictures of the same location.
This outdoor location is the main entrance of the hotel and it shows off the architecture and design of the building in a beautiful way. It really defines the feel to Hotel Bethlehem. The best time to take pictures here is in the evening. When it is dark out you can see all of the hotel lights in a stunning fashion. There are also usually less hotel guests coming and going during this time. This is a great spot for full-length portraits of the couple.
This is probably the most iconic photograph to have because it shows off the “Hotel Bethlehem” sign illuminated with red letters that can be seen for miles at night. This is a great portrait to have to end the wedding day story and acts as the perfect book end to your photography. This is a great location for full length portraits of the couple.
About a half block up Main St from Hotel Bethlehem is the Star of Bethlehem. It’s a beautiful tiled design star that is built right into the road. While it might be a little tricky to take portraits here at night, with a little patience, it can certainly be done. I always make a point of getting all of my camera settings and lighting ready before the couple has to walk out on the street. That way the pictures are very quick. Most people driving down Main St in the evening are happy to stop for a minute to allow us to take some lovely night photography of you.
This is a large area that is to the side and behind Hotel Bethlehem. It has the remnants of a variety of historic buildings. There are a lot of stone and brick walls that remain and it has some really lovely textures that can act as a backdrop. Because of all the space it is a great spot for cropped and full-length portraits of the couple and wedding party. If you are interested in having pictures taken here you have to make sure to get a permit from Historic Bethlehem first. This area is sometimes reserved for other special events as well.
Across from Hotel Bethlehem and down the street just a few feet is part of the campus of Moravian College. There are a few walkways, steps, and churches that can all act as nice environments to shoot in. At certain times of the year there is a beautiful wall that is filled with greenery. There is a lot of space in this area and works well for cropped and full-length portraits of the couple and wedding party.