634 Hamilton St, Allentown, PA 18101
Have I Photographed Here?
About Vault 634
Vault 634 is a stunning venue filled with rich history! The venue used-to-be the Lehigh Valley Bank and Trust building. The front facade is a towering and grandiose entree adorned with multiple stone columns. The inside has a tall ceiling with an exquisite stained glass window. The venue is illuminated with chandeliers which are the original pieces that once hung in the iconic Hess' department store decades ago. There are multiple balconies which allow you to get a bird's eye view of the main reception area. There are still vaults throughout the venue which are used as a bar as well as locations for pictures to be taken. The basement area has been renovated to be a moody and dimly lit speakeasy with chairs, a love seat, books, games, and historic photographs.
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 Vault 634 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 Front Steps (Outside)
The façade as you enter Vault 634 is supported by beautiful towering columns and steps that lead up to the front doors. This location shows off the history of the building and it does it in a grand fashion. There’s plenty of room for the couple, family, and wedding party to all have portraits taken here. Even if it’s a cold day or there is some rain predicted in a few minutes, the front steps are literally 5 seconds from walking back inside. No need to worry about getting cold or rained on! Because of all of the space outside, this is an excellent location for full-length portraits and there’s room to walk around.
There are two small rooms when you first enter Vault 634 on either side of the foyer. These both can be used for the getting ready pictures. They are beautifully designed with ornate molding, gold trim, mirrors, and large windows. The windows act as a really stunning light source while you are getting ready. It’s also a great spot for close-up portraits. These are pictures that are more focused on the face, shoulders, and torso but not completely full-length.
The front balcony is directly above the couple’s suites and is on the opposite side of the venue from where the ceremony location would be. It’s a more private balcony as compared to the ceremony balcony because it’s really only used for the DJ to set up. The DJ will not be set up until later in the day so this location can be used for a lot of the afternoon. Because of its privacy, this is an excellent location for a first look. If you are not familiar with a first look, this is when the couple sees each other before the ceremony. More on first looks will be posted soon and I’m always happy to talk to couples about this! In addition to its privacy, the front balcony has multiple large windows that act as a beautiful light source for the first look. The front balcony also offers a stunning view of the stained glass ceiling as well as the beautiful chandeliers on the opposite balcony which would be the backdrop of your first look pictures. In addition to the chandeliers on the opposite balcony there are also chandeliers on the front balcony. Also, a really cool orange love seat, molding, and design elements on the walls act as another great backdrop for pictures. Many great points of view from one location and ideal for full-length portraits as well as seated portraits of the couple and wedding party.
This is the spot that makes you really feel the grandiose elegance of the interior of Vault 634. You have a great view of the stained glass ceiling, chandeliers, staircase, molding….everything really! This spot is ideal for full length portraits of the couple all while showing off the entire environment of the venue around you. This is what I would call an environmental portrait. This area can also be used for family and wedding party portraits and would offer the moldings on the walls as a backdrop.
These steps at Vault 634 are a beautiful sweeping cascade that are part of the main reception area. They are lined with ornate railings on both sides that have a beautiful organic feel to them. This is a great spot for full-length portraits of the couple.
This is the location where you would be having your ceremony, assuming you are not having it off-site. I do not usually do portraits here before the ceremony because the staff and outside vendors are usually working hard to get everything setup in the morning and early afternoon. This location can be used for family portraits after the ceremony and either offers the fireplace and mantle area as a backdrop or the view towards the front of the venue. There is a lot of space here for larger groups of people to be photographed.
This is a part of Vault 634 that has a really cool dimly lit mood to it. There’s the old phone booth area near the bar along with the brick archway walls. One of the many pieces of history in the venue. This is a great spot for some full-length portraits of the couple together sharing a high-top table together.
Another part of the Speakeasy is the lounge area. It’s filled with different places to sit and just really take in the relaxed ambiance. This is an ideal place for some seated portraits of the couple.
Last and CERTAINLY not least are the Vaults. I mean, how do you get married at Vault 634 and not have some pictures showing off the vault?!
There are multiple vaults at the venue but the one that most couples like and offers the most variety, is the one in the Speakeasy. This vault has the space for me to take pictures from the outside as well as the inside. From the outside you can see the historic vault door and lock mechanism. This spot works well for cropped portraits of the couple. The speakeasy vault is also large enough to go inside of and have some full-length portraits taken. The inside walls are all lined with the historic safety deposit boxes.
There is a smaller vault on the main floor which is too small to go into for pictures but does have a nice façade that can be used as a backdrop and shows off the door and lock mechanism. This spot works well for cropped portraits of the couple.
This last location gets an honorable mention because, while it’s not IN Vault 634, it IS very close by. A block and a half commute on foot will take you to the Art’s Walk in Allentown which has two very colorful murals. One mural has a lot of busy geometric zigs zagging lines going through it that offers a lot of warmers tones. The other mural has a bird in it as well as organic elements and shows off cooler tones throughout.
As I mentioned above, there are so many great spots at Vault 634 to shoot at. Not only are these amazing locations but they are all pretty much inside. That is a huge bonus because we cannot control the weather on the wedding day. Whether it’s rain, snow, or a 105 degree heat index, it’s nice to have the ability to stay inside for all of your pictures. The interiors of the venue look great all year round regardless of what the weather is doing outside.