Shadowland on Silver Beach

WeddingWire Couples' Choice Award Winner badge The Knot Best of Weddings Hall of Fame badge

Shadowland News & Events

Builders' Bash Logo

Big City Build returns to Shadowland Ballroom

Posted on

Come watch professional LEGO® users at work as they take over the Shadowland Ballroom from March 4-5, 2023! 

The Western Michigan LEGO® Users Group will create a large layout of buildings and operating trains — all made from LEGOs®. The creations will take up the entire ballroom space, with tables of other specialty builds and items for sale, too. If you have seen the Big City Build before, you’re still in for a surprise as they upgrade the masterpiece each year. 

The build will run from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on March 4, and noon-5 p.m. on March 5. LEGO® enthusiasts are encouraged to watch, admire and ask the professionals for construction tips! Then, build with the colorful collection of LEGOs® that are out for tinkering.  read more

Shadowland Takes Vegas

Posted on

11072712_1221345197890931_2761155407726514078_nShadowland staff had an amazing opportunity last month to travel to Las Vegas for the Wedding Merchants Business Academy (WMBA). Executive Director Nicole Beltz and Event Coordinator Cheyenne Galbraith spent the week there attending classes and furiously taking notes to better improve our couples’ experience at Shadowland. After sitting down with them and reviewing the highlights of the conference here are some things we learned to advance our brand and be better equipped to give our couples the day of their dreams!

What was the purpose of this conference and who was invited?

The purpose of this conference was to meet with other wedding vendors and pros to discuss the business aspect of the wedding industry and to discuss new and upcoming trends. Anyone in the wedding industry was invited to attend and there were over 2,600 people present.

What sorts of classes were offered?

There were classes in marketing, technology, legalities, time management, social media, and inspirational classes, handling stress and productivity, international trends, and classes in how to break into the same-sex marriage market.

What are some tips you learned?

Social media is huge, it’s not going away and it’s one of the most important marketing tools in today’s society. Those planning and handling weddings keep getting older and more seasoned, but the clients are staying around the same age group, so it’s imperative to keep changing and evolving to be able to relate to them and stay current and fresh. Along those lines, it’s so important to continue to educate ourselves in the wedding industry, keep on top of trends all in an effort to make our couples the happiest and have a thriving business.


Why was it important for Shadowland to attend?

It gave our whole staff a renewed excitement for our jobs, even those who didn’t get a chance to attend. After a busy summer when we are all so tired it made us ready and geared up to start looking forward to the next season. Also, with all the great venues in the area and the amount of weddings Saint Joseph hosts every year, anything Shadowland can do to stand out will only help the business flourish.

Would you recommend other wedding pros to attend this conference next year?

Absolutely, it was well worth the money spent and the time away from the office during peak season.

What are some trends we will be seeing in the wedding industry in the coming season?

Wedding industry pros will be seeing more personality of the couple shining through in their wedding details. There will be lots of DIY projects to reflect the couple’s history together and their unique stories. Social media will continue to be a tool in helping couples plan; between Instagram and Pinterest, they have a clear vision of what they want from their day.

Nicole and Cheyenne absolutely loved their week in Vegas and brought back a renewed vibrant spirit to the Shadowland crew.

IMG_5394Photos: Shadowland Staff

Mock Wedding 2015

Posted on

On Saturday, March 21, 2015, Shadowland Ballroom hosted the annual Mock Wedding for the couples booked in the upcoming year. Our Mock Wedding is set up like a real wedding and allows our couples to experience the feel of a Shadowland Wedding and to enjoy the space without all the stress of their actual wedding. Nicole Beltz, Shadowland’s Executive Director, welcomed the lovebirds with a brief11079550_1108907875801331_862161891186812446_o history of the ballroom and introduced the management team including Cheyenne Galbraith (Events Manager), Amy Parnell (Assistant Manager), Samar Badreddine (Serving Staff Coordinator), and Mike Stone (Shadowland Ballroom’s in-house chef). After introductions, Nicole, the team, and the couples toasted to a great wedding season.  Chef Mike diligently worked all week preparing 50 menu items. This allowed our couples to taste a wide variety of the menu at one time.
DJ Drew Behringer from “Moments in Time” provided the music for the evening, Val from “Val’s10917791_1108911192467666_1088040612897250971_o Custom Cakes” in LaPorte, Indiana brought in delicious cake options for our couples to savor, and Ben Pancoast, Joshua Nowicki, and Jennifer Mayo captured all the great moments in pictures and video for us to remember for years to come. Our tables were spruced up with centerpieces from “Stella Event Design” and favors were provided by the “Soap Sisters & More.” One of the highlights of the evening was the photo booth provided by Ben Pancoast that allowed our couples to show off their wedding dates, dress up in crazy disguises, and take hilarious pictures with their other half. Shadowland also provided a wine tasting station and Watermelon Margaritas and Blueberry Vodka Lemonades were the signature cocktails of the evening. Our couples ended the night with a ride on the Silver Beach Carousel and dancing the night away in the ballroom.10960262_1108907879134664_1044352239765196517_o

Another spotlight of the event this year is the unique time lapse video being produced by Ben and Joshua. Starting on Friday, March 20th, these creative artists stationed cameras around the ballroom to capture all the behind the scenes set up of tables, linens, place settings, and centerpieces. Filming 11077013_1108911599134292_6746091787858735675_ocontinued through the evening on Saturday and followed into the night as the cleanup crew broke everything down and turned out the lights.  The purpose of this video is to show how an event is put together and to give clients an idea of how dedicated the Shadowland team is to provide them a special and unique venue to host their most important events. The Mock Wedding is a special event for our couples and we can’t wait for next year to do it all again! If you are a 2016 Shadowland couple, we look forward to seeing you March 19, 2016.


Lego build your way around town

Lego Brick Big City Build

Posted on

Bring your family to see the BIG Build at Shadowland Ballroom during the weekend of March 27-29, 2015.

Guests can see the finished model done by professional LEGO® builder Jason Spear and the Western Michigan LEGO® Train Club and talk with the professional building team. All ages are welcome – it is an amazing feat for everyone to witness! The model will be built prior to guests visiting hours.

The BIG Build is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! No pre-registration is required. Parking is free and available in the Silver Beach Center parking lot.

Event Dates and Times:

Friday, March 27, 2015  11:00am to 9:00pm
Saturday, March 28, 2015 11:00am to 9:00pm
Sunday, March 29, 2015 Noon to 5:00pm

For more information on other Build Your Way Around Town locations and events visit:


Fire and Ice 2015

Posted on

10986865_1076767852348667_1194749275268511057_oHot and cold elements collided last week for a night to remember in St. Joseph, Michigan. To kick off the 11th Annual Magical Ice Fest, Shadowland Ballroom hosted the 5th Annual Fire & Ice Party on Friday, February 6, 2015. Doors opened at 8 p.m. with a $10 cover, but ladies were free to get in until 9 p.m. Entertainment for the night included live music from Joshua and Jeremy Sprague, fire performers from The Barefoot Hawaiian, Neil Sauter on stilts making balloon hats, Ben Pancoast’s photo booth and a martini ice luge. Two of our sponsors, Silver Beach Pizza and Zick’s Specialty Meats provided delicious snacks for guests to munch on throughout the night.

Shadowland concocted many tempting cocktails located at their three bars for the evening. The tiki bar featured house made Margaritas and Raspberry Sangria. For the martini ice luge there was Coconut Creamsicles, 10945842_1076768345681951_4645186033458711881_oFlame Throwers, and Mai Thais to tantalize the taste buds. Also, thanks to Zick’s Specialty Meats we featured Micheladas, a spin off a 10945866_1076768445681941_1160672447292264686_oBloody Mary using beer instead of vodka. The Micheladas were garnished with a fire Zick stick to accent the spice. Shadowland’s main bar also featured Flaming Dr. Peppers and Fireball to warm up the evening.

The turnout was record breaking with over 500 guests being able to come out on the mild February night. One of the numerous highlights of the night was the two Hawaiian fire performances drawing huge crowds to watch their shows. We want to thank our sponsors The Boulevard Inn and Bistro, Blossomland Accounting LLC, Silver Beach Pizza, and Zick’s Specialty Meats for helping us throw the party of the winter. See you next year St. Joseph!


Silver Beach, A History

Posted on

Below the bluffs of downtown St. Joseph, Michigan, hugging both the Lake Michigan shoreline and the St. Joseph River lays an area where carnival music was once heard, merry-go-round carousel horses galloped in place, a rollercoaster roared, and Charleston dancers strutted their stuff.


The St. Joseph area was a hotspot for boaters. Canoes, rowboats, and riverboats provided scenic tours from St. Joseph to Berrien Springs. Logan Drake, owner of a boat livery on the St. Joseph River saw a higher calling of tourism in the area and began looking at ways to draw more people to the less-popular beaches of St. Joseph.

Romance has always played a key role on Silver Beach. During one of their moonlit courtship beach walks, Drake’s bride-to-be, Maude Schlenker, coined the name Silver Beach saying the water “shimmered like silver.” This inspired a new concept with Drake’s tourism aspirations.


In 1891, Drake and his partner Louis D. Wallace established the Silver Beach Amusement and Realty Company with the intention of giving tourists more to do in St. Joseph. Initially, ten cottages were built along the beach as rentals for vacationers. By the end of the amusement park’s run 80 cottages were available.

To make the beach more popular for renting, Drake and Wallace invited local concessionaires to sell novelties such as swimming caps and lemonade in a barrel. Within months games of chance and a photographic studio emerged to allow couples to have their portraits taken. By 1896, an ice cream parlor, souvenir shop, and a pavilion which hosted dancing and a big band music were erected. Wooden stand and white tents could be seen up and down the beachfront. A couple of water slides were anchored in shallow water for children around the turn of the century. This marked the beginning of the Silver Beach Amusement Park!

Photo Courtesy of Fort Miami Heritage Society, St. Joseph, MI

Photo Courtesy of Fort Miami Heritage Society, St. Joseph, MI

The park continued to grow as the years passed. A wooden boardwalk was built above the Silver Beach sands to allow lake water to rush underneath. This boardwalk was a common place for courting couples to stroll at night.

Along the boardwalk were three buildings. The first building, the Natorium, housed a bathhouse and swimming pool, a rarity for the time. This was a dream of Drake’s to give beachgoers the option of swimming in either the lake or the heated indoor pool. The second was an open-ended roller skating rink which also housed Southwest Michigan’s first pipe organ.


The third building is allowed Drake and Wallace to capitalize on the growing need for a big dance hall among the twin city area of St. Joseph and Benton Harbor by constructing a dance pavilion in 1907. The hall featured two stages for bands which urged the “Battle of the Bands” to become a popular event on the beachfront. In addition to the dance hall, the House of Mysteries was built alongside the penny arcade and concession stands to provide entertainment for all ages at the Silver Beach Amusement Park.

As the park’s popularity sky-rocketed, Drake and Wallace added a variety of amusements. In 1905 the Chase through the Clouds rollercoaster was built. Utilizing several separate one- or two-person capacity cars, the “Figure 8” coaster, as it was known to be called, became a staple of the amusement park until it was torn down in 1923 and replaced by the Velvet rollercoaster. Additionally, the merry-go-round carousel first appeared in 1916, a bowling alley opened around 1917, and several “firsts” event day activities such as the first all-male bathing beauty contest took place on the beach.


The last improvement, and my personal favorite, was the building of the Shadowland Ballroom in May of 1927. Once it was completed, it became one of the finest dance facilities in the entire country. The Ballroom was decorated with 5000 yards of silk pongee stretched between arches that permitted natural lighting throughout. Ballroom dances were held seven days a week and were usually free, unless it was a big band night. It wasn’t uncommon to have over a thousand dancers on any one evening, and Silver Beach Amusement Park even staged at least one of the fad marathon dances during the 1930s.



The old dance pavilion remained, but as ballroom dancing was becoming more popular, the Shadowland Ballroom was needed. The old dance hall was renovated into the Fun House. The House included a 35-foot Maplewood slide, revolving barrel, spinning saucer, sugar bowl, and a haunted house. The Mirror Maze was placed under the same roof as well.


Drake made every attempt to change the amusement park to keep the attractions interesting and up-to-date. Silver Beach expanded with the debuts of The Whip, electric bumper car house, beer garden, Ferris wheel, and miniature diesel train called The Century Flyer. By the late 1940s the park assumed the look that would be its final face until its official closing three decades later.

During the 1950s and 60s, the park continued to evolve to the times. Kiddieland was created and featured rides customized for children too small to enjoy the larger rides. Miniature golf, go-karts, and various other carnival rides also came and went during these two decades. It was not until the late 1960s that Silver Beach Amusement Park’s popularity began to dwindle. The crime rate of the park rose significantly due to out-of-town teen gangs and the park’s congenial atmosphere decreased. After a particularly violent season in 1970, local police closed the park.


Another factor fighting against the park was its age. Extensive repairs were needed for many of the buildings that had stood in the park for over 70 years. With a costly estimation for repairs and improvements needed for the park to open in 1972, the owners of Silver Beach were left with no other choice and the park was closed permanently.

Many of the rides were sold to interested amusement companies throughout the country. Parts of Silver Beach made their way to Indiana, Texas, New Mexico, and Virginia. The remainder of the park was left abandoned for three years before the owner cleaned up and threw the historical pieces away. It wasn’t uncommon, however, to see couples still walking the crumbling boardwalk hand-in-hand among the ruins of the once-prestigious amusement park.


The spirit of Silver Beach is alive and well, though. In 2010, the Silver Beach Center publically opened. Only a short walk from the expanse of beach sand and Lake Michigan, the Center offers a newly constructed Silver Beach experience. Walk through the doors and look up into Michigan’s tallest kaleidoscope. Take a stroll down memory lane by walking the boardwalk to the Silver Beach Carousel or Silver Beach Amusement Park Museum, or peek a glimpse of the Shadowland Ballroom. Curious Kids’ Discovery Zone offers excitement for kids of all ages with 15 water activities, a climbing wall, virtual reality fun, and traveling hands-on educational exhibits. Directly across the road from the Center is the Whirlpool Fountain which provides fresh, free fun to all the public. The community of St. Joseph is proud to continue a dreamer’s delight with this new vision of what Silver Beach is and will be.


Information found via Southwest Michigan Directory and the Silver Beach Amusement Park Museum.

Welcome to Shadowland!

Posted on


Bring your celebration to the shores of Lake Michigan!

You want a special location for the wedding you are planning. Shadowland on Silver Beach is that special place for no other year-round reception and meeting venue in Southwestern Michigan is so close to Lake Michigan.

Footsteps from Silver Beach, Shadowland offers you a picturesque backdrop of glistening water, crimson sunsets, a quaint lighthouse and Victorian-era downtown. It is a beautiful destination all four seasons.

Newly constructed, this place near the beach welcomes your intimate gathering for 50 to a lavish affair for 300 guests. It’s simple, yet elegant décor lets you create the ambience you want for your wedding.  Shadowland’s unique Silver Beach Center offerings let you entertain your guests with beverages on the Sunset Patio overlooking the lighted Whirlpool Compass Fountain, with rides on the magnificent, hand-carved Silver Beach Carousel or with the opportunity to explore Curious Kids’ Discovery Zone. This is your place for making memories.

Here on our blog you will see various topics such as wedding trends, tips for dream beach weddings, and ideas on how you can create an unforgettable celebration at Shadowland on Silver Beach. We are also open to ideas on blog posts, so please share them with us! We’re glad you stopped by and hope you enjoy the posts in the future!