I’ve been to just about all of them, wedding venues in and around the Roanoke Valley. I’ve been to ones in Charlottesville, Lynchburg, NOVA, North and South Carolina and in the Smokey Mountains. What I can tell you is that I keep coming back to one wedding venue and it’s right in our backyard.
Today, I want to explain why Silver Hearth Lodge is by far the best wedding venue in not just the region, but the country! Yes, the country.
Owner Bob Johnston started the wedding venue in 2010 on his 40-acre property. From the breathtaking view of the Blue Ridge mountains to the endless surprises throughout the world class venue, nothing ever seems to amaze me there. I took a trip up the mountain over the weekend (April 2019) to visit with Bob and see first hand what improvements he made this year.
For me as a wedding videographer, SHL is much like a Disneyland of wedding venues. The great thing about the venue, there are more than just one place to get married on the property, there are at least 5 or 6 from what I can tell. The amount of detail that Bob and his full-time staff do at the property each season. And each wedding season, the facility grows and changes.
What Bob does is very simple, he listens to his couples and does something about it.
“I remember one bride came to me and said something about needing tissues and wishing they had some throughout the property. So, the next day, we installed tissue stations throughout the facility. We also had a mother of the bride saying something about a charging a cell phone, so I came up with the idea of building a charging station for all types of cellphones. We strive to make the couples experience over-the-top at Silver Hearth, we go above and beyond to make it the most memorable experience for the couple and their guests” ~ Bob Johnston | Owner at SHL
When I went up to the facility this time, he was showing me all the new bells and whistles for this season. Stoke lights, laser lights and LED strands on the dance floor, along with a fairy-tale style buffet table that is suited for salads, appetizers and various foods. The leather couches surrounding one of the many fireplaces isn’t a cheap set, it’s a custom leather Ralph Lauren set of couches, I did some research, they cost about $5,000. From the custom décor all throughout the facility to those small details make the property simple stunning.
It’s All About the Experience
From what I’ve seen over my career, couples love the venue because it’s truly an amazing experience. What’s interesting for me, is that when I’m going through filming parts of the reception, I see family and guests simply being amazed at everything there is to see and do there.
I remember a few years ago I was filming at the venue and there was a group of guys there hanging out, tossing back a few cold ones at the Native American Fire Circle that they have. Well, after a while, Bob started the bonfire there which is attached to a propane system. The flames went up at least 15 feet high and the firs must have lasted for at least a couple hours.
I love seeing couples when I’m going through the footage and the expressions on their face when they enter the bridal suite, when they see everything there is to offer. My personal favorite is the Overlook Pavilion, it’s a covered patio at the end of the property that overlooks the Blue Ridge Mountains. That breathtaking view has tons of rocking chairs and seats, a fireplace, location for food and music too.
There’s also the commonwealths smallest church that honestly is just as amazing as the Sistine chapel with murals on the ceiling, real crystal chandelier’s and it’s called the Scared Heart Chapel, because the outside of the layout is in the shape of a heart.
Vista View Hall is the main facility where there is a bridal suite with so many amenities I just can’t even start to list them. There’s a private bath with a secret trap door that allows the bridal party to get into a private patio, where the bride and her party can see through a burlap style drape, a patio surrounding a large oak tree with a skeet shoot, a playground for kids, a small dog park, a permanent open bar area, bathrooms for the guests, a coffee and tea bar and even a desert bar where you can put your food. A flaming piano to make smores, a custom-built BBQ pit that’s int eh shape of a pig, and the list goes on and on.
On the way up to the 40-acre wedding venue there you’ll see many parks where you can stop along the way and little nuggets where you see silver “S” and a sign that says Roanoke is for Lovers.
Listen, if you are getting married and get a chance even to tour the property, do so. Compared to other venues it’s competitively priced and it’s worth a look.