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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- There is less worry about guests over-indulging in drinks and then driving afterwards
- Depending on the type of transportation you go with, there could be some great photo opportunities with the vehicle
- 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):
- Even though there will be a designated driver, Shadowland bartenders will still adhere to MLCC guidelines and not serve overly intoxicated guests
- Transportation is an added line item in the budget for the couple to consider
- Guests who use the service may not be able to arrive or leave when they choose
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are few things that put a smile on my face faster than books. I can’t get enough of books and anything that has to do with them. Because of me Barnes and Noble will always be in business. When it comes to weddings, sometimes a traditional book is the way to go. Sometimes couples are looking for other ways to personalize the day There are so many creative and personal touches that can come into play with the guest book area. Here are some of our favorite ideas that have come into Shadowland:
Incorporating the Couple’s Names:
Functional Art Pieces or Objects:
Liz and Ken got married at Shadowland on Friday, June 19, 2015. The happy couple have quite the history together, meeting when they were in 8th grade, sharing milestones like driver’s ed, and then after losing touch for awhile, rekindled their friendship that grew to love as adults. These two are quite the lovebirds and couldn’t have had a more beautiful day.
Liz and Ken opted to have both their ceremony and reception at Shadowland. Something that was unique about this set up was the addition of the family Chuppah, a special canopy used in traditional Jewish ceremonies. One of the most treasured family heirlooms covered the Chuppah- a quilt with pictures of every couple that had been married under the Chuppah, and now Ken and Liz get to add themselves to the family history. Another tradition that made its way to the ceremony was when Ken and Liz signed the Ketubah. Only family and a few close friends were witnesses to this. The Ketubah is a piece of art with special writing in Hebrew and English, akin to a marriage contract. A very important detail in the ceremony itself was expressing the couples’ views on marriage equality. Liz’ Dad wrote a heartfelt poem about this matter and a friend of the bride, Rachel, recited it. Another fun thing that Liz and Ken decided to do was rent out The Discovery Zone Children’s Museum and brought in their own babysitters to corral the youngsters into a kid-friendly area while the parents could enjoy the ceremony.
Maya and Paul was Shadowland’s first couple wedding of the 2015 season. These lovebirds actually met at a wedding and after a little prodding from Maya, the two danced the night away and led to them having a series of wonderfully awkward moments that brought them to their wedding day. Even though neither one of them grew up in the St. Joseph area and had different visions of what they wanted their wedding to look like (he wanted a converted bank venue with marble and pillars and she envisioned a casual barn feel), Paul found Shadowland online and after a visit, the rest is history.
Marshall and Liz met at Central Michigan University in 2008 during welcome weekend. Although he was very interested in Liz, she did not give him the time of day. For three months Marshall tried to stay in contact to ask her on a date but she ignored his requests. In November of 2008, Liz and Marshall connected again at the same apartment party where they had first met, except this time his efforts did not go unnoticed. That night Marshall and Liz kissed for the first time and the rest is history. In 2011 Marshall moved to Kansas City, MO while Liz stayed in Michigan. They lived apart for almost a year trying to better their careers. Marshall proposed while on vacation in Daytona, Florida in front of several members of Liz’s family.
Rebecca and Walt met in 2009 while out with their friends at Howl at the Moon in Chicago. At the time, Walt was stationed at Great Lakes Naval Base and was in the midst of training. He originally hailed from North Carolina while Rebecca was a Chicago native. From that first chance meeting, the two were inseparable and many train trips were made between the base and the city. However, after only a few weeks Walt had to leave for San Diego for more training. Knowing there was a real connection, the couple decided to try long distance. Six months lately and still going strong, Walt made the decision to pack up a U-Haul and move to Chicago in order to be with Rebecca. Nearly six years later, they were married in beautiful St. Joseph and chose Shadowland Ballroom to be there reception venue. We feel truly honored to be a part of their love story!