Shadowland Blog

Shine Bright Like a….Sparkler

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Who doesn’t love a good sparkler? No matter how many times we see them or use them, there’s just something about playing with fire/sparks that is so much fun. This blog’s focus is toward those frequently asked questions about sparklers. So without further ado…

1. Does Shadowland allow sparkler send-offs?

Yes! We do allow sparkler send-offs. Due to city ordinances, lighting lanterns and sending them off into the skies is no longer allowed in St Joe city limits, but sparklers are allowed.

2. How do sparkler send-offs generally work at Shadowland?

Let’s go through the ideal situation! For arguments sake, let’s say the bar closes at 11 and the end of the night is at 11:30. Sparklers would be at 11:15. Your DJ would make an announcement for guests to exit the ballroom toward the sunset patio. Shadowland staff assists in handing out sparklers and we have to be the drink police…alcoholic drinks are not allowed past our patio (city rules again) and that is where guests need to line up for a proper send off. Staff works with your photographer to form two lines, about 10 feet apart from each other. Once the guests are in place, your photographer is ready to go and you newlyweds are set, Shadowland staff will help light sparklers. Then off you go! Take it slow, dip and kiss in the middle, and get some fabulous shots! If you choose, you can have someone pull your car around if you really are going to leave right after the send-off. When the sparklers go out, Shadowland also has a large bucket/trash can full of water ready nearby for used ones. By this time, it’s either 11:30 or a bit after and it lends nicely to starting the clean-up process. Read More

Beating the Post-Wedding Blues

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First comes love, then comes marriage, and then…what? After months (or sometimes years!) planning and dreaming up the perfect wedding day, some couples (but girls I’m talking to you here) can feel some post wedding blues. Why does this happen? Is it normal? Are you crazy for feeling this way? Is your newfound relationship doomed?! What can be done to fix it?!?

Okay, okay…deep breaths. In….and out…..once more….okay is your breathing back to normal or at least you’ve stopped hyperventilating? Good. So post wedding blues are VERY normal and common. It’s science. Almost 10% of women experience some form of depression during their first year of marriage. Two researchers, Allison Scott and Laura Stafford looked into this more and found that women ranged from being bored, but happy to blue and depressed. It seemed to be the trend that the happy brides felt their wedding marked a new chapter in their lives and the blue brides saw their wedding as the end goal. Is one view more right than another view? No! These feelings do not mean your relationship is doomed from the start. You’ve spent a lot of time and energy on planning on the details to arguably the biggest party you’re going to throw. Feelings of boredom and sadness once that is over are inevitable. And admit it, a small part of you is going to miss that spotlight and friends and family wanting to talk about shades of blush or the best canapes to serve during cocktail hour. But when the last bottle of bubbly has popped and the last sparkler has sparkled, what things can you do after the wedding to keep the Eeyore feelings at bay? Read More

Getting your guests to follow the rules!

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As strange as it may sound, rules are actually kind of a tricky thing. Of course, making rules is one thing; however, trying to follow them without being a damper is another whole story. You’re throwing the party of the century, and, understandably, want it to be the greatest event that your guests have ever attended, but you don’t want to make a giant announcement of the dos and don’ts of the venue and kill the entire vibe.  So, even though you’ve studied the rules inside and out and are following them to the T, how do you make your guests do the same? Well, luckily for you, we have already thought of four ways to (sneakily) get your guests to follow the rules, without becoming a dictator of the entire evening. Read More

Bridget and Mike 6.18.16

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Bridget and Mike Carmody have a different kind of love story, made up of the perfect accidental meetings. Their initial run-in was in a film class at their college, Western Michigan University. However, at this time the couple were just acquaintances, with the casual in-class talks. So, naturally, they fell out of touch after their class came to a close and went their separate ways. It wasn’t until four years after the two had graduated college that they randomly ran into each other. Bridget saw him and decided to say hi to see if Mike would remember who she was and, of course, Mike couldn’t forget her. It was almost too perfect that after some chatting Mike had mentioned that his department was hiring, and it just so happened that Bridget was looking for a new place to continue with her career. Well, soon enough, the former class acquaintances began to date, fall in love, and would start their lives together. Mike had actually always known that they would end up together, and later told Bridget that this is exactly why he was nervous to ask her out; he knew that they would never break-up.  He was right! They’ve been together ever since, living in LA for a few years, working on some feature films and rescuing an adorable dog, Walter. Read More

Where to Rehearsal Dinner in St. Joseph!

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Before the huge wedding day festivities can happen, there must be some practice. You have to rehearse who is going at what time and where exactly everyone is placed. So, after all of that rehearsing, you all want to go out and celebrate, and there is no better way to celebrate than with some delicious eats! If you’re looking to get married in St. Joseph (Aka the most beautiful place on Lake Michigan), than you’re probably looking for some good rehearsal dinner restaurants to celebrate the fact that you’re almost there. Well look no future, my friend, because here is your guide to some great, as well as tasty, places to host your rehearsal dinner! Read More

Wedding Transportation

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Limos, trolleys, and party busses oh my! These days there are more options than just a stretch limo for transporting the bridal party from point A to point B. Now it’s a growing trend to provide transportation not just for the bridal party for pictures, but for the guests as well. This blog will talk about the pros and cons of providing transportation and some tips to keep in mind when booking your wheels for your big day.


  1. If you have a lot of guests at one hotel, or have room blocks at a couple places, it helps guarantee guests getting to the ceremony and reception on time.
  2. If guests are from out-of-town or not as familiar with the area, it cuts down on people getting lost and driving around aimlessly.
  3. Providing transportation cuts down on the number of parking spaces required at a venue. (Shadowland has roughly 80 available spots so for larger parties, transportation around the area helps with the flow of traffic)
  4. There is less worry about guests over-indulging in drinks and then driving afterwards
  5. Depending on the type of transportation you go with, there could be some great photo opportunities with the vehicle
  6. Using it to tote you and your bridal party around helps keep everyone together and arriving at the same time, which will help stay on your wedding timeline for the day.


Cons (but really more like just things to think about while coordinating transportation):

  1. Even though there will be a designated driver, Shadowland bartenders will still adhere to MLCC guidelines and not serve overly intoxicated guests
  2. Transportation is an added line item in the budget for the couple to consider
  3. Guests who use the service may not be able to arrive or leave when they choose
  4. When does your contract time end with the service? Are they picking up/dropping off at certain hotels at certain times? Will they be doing a continuous loop between the venue and hotels until all guests have been accounted for? If the vehicle contract is over before your reception is over, you may run the risk of a lot of guests leaving before the party is over.

Other Tips to Keep in Mind:

  1. It’s recommended to start looking and booking about 6 or more months ahead of time; especially if you are getting married in a high volume wedding month, the earlier the better to book and reserve a vehicle.
  2. Like with all your other vendor contracts, read it over carefully to catch things like mileage requirements, damage charges, food and beverage policies, any service charges and such before locking in.
  3. Keep in mind packing up at the end of the night. You will have some gifts, you may have décor if friends and family are handling tearing the room down… in any event, you will have more to take out than you probably brought in at the beginning of the day. It’s good to have one or two larger vehicles on site to handle the bigger things at the end of the night.
  4. Make it known to guests a transportation service will be available and what times it will be running so they can plan to use it!

Providing wedding transportation is a nice service the couple can provide for the bridal party and guests. While it is an added investment in the day, it will most likely pay for itself when everyone arrives on time and gets a safe ride home at the end of the evening. Read More

Erica and Kyle 5.24.15

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Kyle Decker and Erica (Weidner) Decker wed Sunday May 24, 2015 at Dunes Pavilion on Silver Beach with reception at Shadowland Ballroom. Their story all started on a wintery December night in Angola, IN; where they happened to meet when they were out with mutual friends listening to live music. After talking and dancing a bit, they decided to stay in touch. As multiple days passed, talking, texting, and chatting on Facebook were frequent, but it was a little over a month before they were able to have our first date. The rest as they say is history. Read More

Bridal Shower Ideas

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So your best friend just got engaged, and appointed you as the maid of honor, congrats! This title comes with a lot of responsibility. Now you have two parties to plan, a bridal shower, and a bachelorette party. So let’s focus on the bridal shower. Coming up with different ideas is difficult, and you want to plan the perfect party that’s not your typical everyday bridal shower.

Wine tasting can be a fun idea, and most of the guests will love it. You can either choose a winery to host it at, or have the winery come to you for a private tasting. Customizing the tastings ahead of time can be a good idea that way you can pair food with the different tastings. When it comes to decorating for the party all you need are some empty wine bottles and some flowers. All you have to do is keep it simple. Read More

First Look?

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A growing trend in the industry is the couple having a “First Look” before walking down the aisle. For you traditionalists out there, you may be panicking at the thought of bringing bad luck to the already stressful day and be looking for the nearest salt shaker to throw over your left shoulder, so this route may not be for you. But for those wanting to be a little trendier, or may just be in a time crunch and need to move things along quicker, a first look may be for you.

Why all the buzz about bad luck?

Once upon time in a far off land a long long time ago, (or still in some cultures today), arranged marriages were all the rage. The fathers of two successful businesses would decide to marry off their son and daughter in an effort to grow the businesses and have both families prosper. Sounds like a win-win for everyone right? But the dear old dads didn’t always let the couple meet before the wedding in case the son didn’t think his bride-to-be was pretty enough and cancel the whole thing! (Pretty shallow if you ask me). So since I’m guessing this happened a time or two, somebody decided it was bad luck for the groom to see the bride at all before the big day. As times went on and the novel idea came about that people should be able to choose their own mates, the superstition got reduced down to the groom not seeing the bride on the wedding day before the big reveal walking down the aisle. Read More

Candles Do’s and Don’ts

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A lot of our couples have questions about the use of candles in the ballroom. Follow these simple do’s and don’ts when mapping out your décor for the big day:


Use real flame

It looks absolutely beautiful in the ballroom to dim the lights and rely on candle light to light the room later in the evening.

Contain them!

Having wax drip on linens, the floor, and walls is a big no-no. While we love candles, we love them being contained in some sort of vessel more.

Put them in the windows in the sunset room

The effect is just stunning! However, we recommend not putting them on the very top and bottom rows for safety and maintenance purposes. If the sun comes shining through we may need to blow out the candles and pull the blinds and since we can’t reach that top row without a stool or ladder, (and we don’t want to be pulling them out during your reception!) we ask no candles be put on that top row. Read More