Packer Memorial Chapel is one of the cornerstone buildings at Lehigh University’s Southside Bethlehem campus. It has a seasoned history – originally gifted to the university, met with protest by the student body, but soon after accepted and loved as a mainstay.
Today, Packer Memorial Chapel continues to offer Roman Catholic church services, as well as a selection of other university and private events like weddings.
Why It’s Great for Weddings
What we liked most about Packer Memorial Chapel as a wedding ceremony venue is the atmosphere of the place.
As wedding photographers, we’ve been exposed to many churches in a range of Christian denominations, and this has stood out to us as one of the more accessible and beautiful ones we’ve been too.
From the outside, the Gothic architecture is immediately recognizable and appealing – eliciting thoughts of medieval Europe. On the inside, the long walkway to the altar is easy to envision a bride with a dress train and veil walking to see her groom. Stain glass windows add colorful and artistic elements with religious iconography, natural light pours in from the sides, and (most notable to us) was the warmth of the light we took notice of, which is one area this church differs from others that often have too dark lighting or more sterile fluorescent light.
At it’s core, Packer remains a church wedding venue, and aside from the aesthetic – what you bring in your personal religious beliefs will be amplified here thanks to the attractive setting.
Of course, we would be wrong to ignore the benefit of its location and how that can complement a wedding day as well. Located on Lehigh Universities campus makes it a perfect ceremony spot, then allows for a quick ride to reception spaces such as Lehigh’s Iacocca Hall (right up the road), Steel Club (not far away), and countless others.
Depending on the wedding schedule for the day, Lehigh University itself also has many great locations as well for wedding photo opportunities. We would highly recommend making sure you leave some time to get beautiful portraits taken around the campus!
Things to Know About Having a Wedding at Packer Memorial Chapel
If you are considering having a wedding at Packer Memorial Chapel, it’s important to become acquainted with the restrictions in place that dictate who is eligible to use it for wedding ceremonies.
1. Lehigh students, alumni, faculty, and staff and their *immediate family members (*children of faculty/staff/alumni, mother, father, sister, brother, grandparents.) For a Roman Catholic wedding, bride or groom must be a graduate of Lehigh to be eligible. Children of faculty or staff are not eligible unless they themselves are graduates of Lehigh. This applies only to Catholic weddings.
2. Non-affiliated couples may reserve the Chapel, but must use the services of the University Chaplain, Rev. Dr. Lloyd H. Steffen. If the Rev. Dr. Lloyd H. Steffen is not available, another officiant will be assigned, or other consideration may be accepted as approved by the Rev. Dr. Lloyd H. Steffen.
3. Alumni requesting the Newman Center Chaplain, and for whom the university is considered their parish. See #1 for eligibility for catholic wedding.
4. The chapel is not available for non-religious wedding ceremonies by a judge or justice of the peace.
5. Weddings will be reserved only through the Office of the University Chaplain using the RESERVATION REQUEST FORM.
These restrictions were noted on Lehigh University’s Office of the Chaplain’s website. For more details and inquiries to use the space, please check out there site at this link.
At the end of the day, Packer Memorial Chapel is a great venue for a wedding ceremony for those who will be allowed to marry here. While the limitation to only those with close connections to Lehigh University may be unfortunate for Bethlehem locals looking for a good marriage location who haven’t attended, it’s most likely that alumni and others with this close connection will actually see this history at the school as a major reason for wanting to tie the knot here.
Wedding photos at Packer Memorial Chapel, Lehigh University:
Below you will find wedding photos we have captured to show you what a wedding here can look like. For more photos, be sure to check out the full wedding gallery.