Cheers! To Bar Menus

Today we’re sharing a cute accessory to wedding décor that we see at Castle weddings every now and then: Bar menus! While not a necessity, bar menus are a fun addition and helpful to guests. They can list either all drinks available at the bar, or just specialty drinks. Bonus! Using bar menus gives you the opportunity to create fun and personal names for any drinks you’re serving. Do keep in mind that while shots can be a ‘go-to’ drink (with easy recipes and featuring fun names), shots typically aren’t allowed, depending on which bartending service you hire. No worries. It’s easy to convert a shot recipe into an ‘on-the-rocks’ drink with the same fun customization. Here are some photos of past bar menus we’ve seen to help you get inspired. P.S. We’re not responsible if your mouth starts to water and you want to try one of these delicious drinks!

Bar Menus at Castle FarmsBar Menus at Castle Farms

Bar Menus at Castle Farms
Bar Menus at Castle FarmsBar Menus at Castle Farms

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Winter Fun at Castle Farms

While the sometimes bitter cold temperatures of winter in Northern Michigan often keep us caught indoors, there’s still plenty to see and do on a visit to Castle Farms! Our gardens may be covered in snow, but our historical collections and unique items are ready to be explored. Today we’re highlighting a few of the things you can see while touring the Castle during the winter months:

Our historical collections are truly worth a visit. They vary from the finest of delicate china depicting European castles and royalty, to toys dating back to the 1900s. Some of the most interesting items will be found in our 1918 Museum, where you can view pieces that were available for sale in the original Sears catalog in the 1900s-1920s, plus historical artifacts and uniforms from WWI. The collections are on display throughout the entire property, making an interesting find for any guest.

European Castle Display at Castle Farms, Charlevoix MichiganAntique Toy Collection at Castle Farms, Charlevoix Michigan
After viewing the historical collections, children can pay a visit to Norm the Dragon and Sid the Sea Monster, who still guard their castle homes despite being surrounded by snow! In the King’s Grand Courtyard, our Four Garden Maidens look regal and inspiring against the winter white backdrop. And while the snow prevents you from entering the Hedge Maze, you can still see Bob the Bear peaking out over the top as he awaits springtime and the buzz of activity surrounding him once the Train Garden opens.

Toast to Literacy at Castle Farms
Can’t make it out for a winter self-guided tour? No worries! There are several events put on by the Castle and local organizations which are fun to attend. The Castle hosts Santa’s Train Wonderland, New Year’s Eve Modern Day Masquerade, and Snowman Story Time. Events such as the Charlevoix Hospital Foundation’s Holly Daze, Third Day Fellowship’s Winter Gala, Char-Em United Way’s Toast to Literacy, Rotary Club’s St. Patrick’s Day Party, Charlevoix Chamber’s Business Expo, Knights of Columbus’ Cash Party, or East Jordan High School Extravaganza are also hosted at the Castle. By coming out for an event, you can still enjoy part of what the Castle has to offer.Norm the Dragon at Castle Farms, Charlevoix Michigan

And if you don’t make it out for an event or don’t have time for a tour, our Gift Shop alone can make a trip to the Castle worth braving the cold. It holds jewelry, toys, games, books, clothing and accessories, and even kitchen and home accents! So, take some time inside to warm up, then come visit Castle Farms!

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He Gave up his Throne for Love

It’s one of the most famous love stories in history: King Edward VIII of England and Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee who caught the king’s eye and captured his heart. After years of courting the twice-divorced Wallis, Edward was deeply in love. Having taken the throne in January of 1936 upon his father’s death, Edward decided to marry Wallis and make her his Queen. He insisted to his advisors and leading British politicians that he and Wallis be allowed to marry. They refused Edward’s request, advising that his marriage to a commoner—especially a divorcee—would never be allowed. Forestalling the constitutional crisis that was looming, King Edward abdicated his throne on Dec. 10, 1936, in order to marry ‘the woman I love‘. Edward was King of England from January ~ December, 1936. He was never crowned.

Edward and Wallis Simpson married in June 1937. The couple, who were informed by Edward’s family following their marriage that they were not welcome in England, made their home in Paris. They developed friendships with many high-ranking members of the Nazi party. Edward and Wallis even socialized with Adolph Hitler. The British government feared that Edward and Wallis would become sympathizers with Nazi Germany. At the start of World War II, Edward was forced by the British government to take a position as Governor of the Bahamas, mostly to keep him far away from his German friends. Edward and Wallis spent the war years in the Bahamas. After the war, they returned to their home in Paris, where they lived until Edward’s death in 1972.

The royalty collections on display at Castle Farms include memorabilia honoring Edward and Mrs. Simpson, as well as other members of the British royal family. Taking a Castle tour allows your guests to enjoy viewing these and other fascinating collections during their visit to Castle Farms.

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Snowman Story Time A Success

Castle Farms Snowman Story TimeWe had a successful Snowman Wonderland Story Time at the Castle last Saturday, and we wanted to share the event with all of you! Though the snow didn’t cooperate for great snowman making, guests had lots of fun exploring the Castle decked out in all its winter splendor, while also enjoying interactive train displays, hot cocoa, and cupcakes by Cre8tive Cupcake of Charlevoix. When the activities concluded, children were invited to gather for story time, and listened raptly as five different snowmen stories were read. We were excited to have so many guests join us at Story Time despite the snow and cold. We’re looking forward to next year’s Snowman Story Time event!


Castle Farms Snowman Story TimeCastle Farms Snowman Story TimeCastle Farms Snowman Story TimeCastle Farms Snowman Story TimeCastle Farms Snowman Story TimeCastle Farms Snowman Story Time

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A Real Wedding Feature: ‘Burch’ Wedding!

As a fresh layer of snow falls on us today, we thought we’d think back to the warmer days of summer and feature this cute Castle wedding that took place at the end of June in the Knight’s Courtyard and Knight’s Castle. With the last name of Burch, Katelynn and Troy thought it only fitting to have a birch themed wedding! They cleverly incorporated birch tree branches into almost every aspect of their wedding: from seating card holders and table centerpieces to the cake and cupcake holder. The best part? Every decoration was hand cut and created by the bride, groom and their family! Take a look at these photos to see how crafty Katelynn and Troy were with their birch wedding decorations!

Paxton Photography at Castle Farms, Charlevoix MichiganPaxton Photography at Castle Farms, Charlevoix Michigan

Paxton Photography at Castle Farms, Charlevoix MichiganPaxton Photography at Castle Farms, Charlevoix Michigan

Vendor Applause:
Ceremony Musician and Reception Entertainment: A+ Event Entertainment
Photographer: Paxton Photography
Officiant: Ed Remaly
Catering and Bartending: BJ’s Restaurant, Rentals and Catering

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Newly Engaged? Now What?!

Paxton Photography at Castle Farms

Photo: Paxton Photography

Along with food, gifts, and time with family, the holidays often result in another joyous moment: proposals! And after you’ve taken the time to enjoy the celebration and share the engagement news with family and friends, you probably start to wonder “what do I do now?”. The wedding team here at Castle Farms, including our certified professional wedding planner Johanna Alexander, is happy to share tips for the first steps to take in your wedding planning journey!

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Color of the Year – Pantone’s Marsala!

Pantone recently released their 2015 Color of the Year – “Marsala”! This rich reddish-brown hue is a versatile color, especially for weddings. Pair it with black and white to create sleek elegance, or combine it with pastels and greens for a rustic theme. Here’s some Marsala wedding inspiration from past Castle Farms weddings and past designs by Castle Farms Wedding Planner, Johanna Alexander!

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A Real Wedding Feature: Rustic Elegance – A Fall Castle Wedding

Kaitlyn and Daniel were married at Castle Farms this past November, and we were so captivated, we just had to share their charming wedding photos! The couple combined tree branches with delicate roses, transforming their Queen’s Tavern ceremony and West Garden Room reception into the perfect combination of rustic and elegant. During the reception, guests had the opportunity to write “Notes of Advice” to the newlyweds. Wedding guests received favors of customized candles chosen personally by Kaitlyn and Daniel. Their fall wedding day was blessed with sunny weather, allowing for stunning photos and great fun for their friends, family and loved ones!



Vendor Applause
Hairstylist: Last Tangle Salon and Tanning
Clergy: Reverend Jonathan David Mays
Photographer, Videographer and Entertainment: Mike Staff Productions
Catering: BJ’s Restaurant, Rentals and Catering
Cake Designer: Cake Connection TC

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Castle Venue Coordinator vs. Wedding Planner

Castle Farms CoordinatorsPlanning your wedding is an exciting, fun milestone in your life; however, it can also be a confusing task. Deciding you need help can lead to more confusion, since first you need to figure out exactly what type of help you’re looking for! Do you need a wedding planner or day-of coordinator? Do the services provided by your Venue Coordinator cover what you need? Curious as to what falls under each job description? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one!

Your Castle Farms wedding includes the assistance of a Venue Coordinator. Up until two months before your wedding date, any of the Castle’s Venue Coordinators will be happy to assist in helping answer any questions related to your wedding. Once you are assigned a personal Venue Coordinator, she will be your main contact. However, she does not plan your décor, vendors or timeline – those types of services are responsibilities fulfilled by a wedding planner. If questions do arise about those types of decisions, your Venue Coordinator can offer input from experience with past weddings. Two months prior to your wedding, the Castle will send you a Set-up Packet. By filling it out, you’ll let your Venue Coordinator know which vendors you have coming, which items belonging to the Castle that you would like to use, and exactly how you prefer the ceremony and reception area to be set. For your ceremony, she’ll be there to line up the wedding party, and coordinate the processional and recessional. She’ll also go over the specific details with you at the rehearsal held the day prior to the wedding. On your wedding day, your Venue Coordinator will make certain vendors have arrived, and will direct them to the proper location; however, she is not in charge of confirming your plans with vendors, or ensuring they meet your contract terms. She will then facilitate the cocktail hour and reception to help make everything run smoothly.

Looking for more help in planning your wedding? Need assistance in selecting vendors, choosing colors and décor, figuring out a timeline, or setting things up the day of the wedding? If you answered yes to any of the above, you should definitely think about hiring a Wedding Planner. What’s the biggest difference between a Wedding Planner and a Venue Coordinator? A Wedding Planner works for you, while a Venue Coordinator works on behalf of the venue. Wedding Planners often own and operate their own businesses, and their services and packages can vary. This works in your favor, for it gives you the option of selecting exactly the level of help you need, and the ability to hire the planner and package that works best for you. Overall, a Wedding Planner will offer in-depth assistance in selecting vendors and coordinating the services included in their contracts, plus help you select a theme and decorations for your wedding. On the day of your wedding, your Wedding Planner will be there to handle the set-up plus the decorating. She’ll also create timelines so everyone knows when and where they’re meant to be throughout the day. Castle Farms is fortunate to have a Wedding Planner on staff. Our very own Johanna Alexander is a Certified Wedding Planner through the Association of Bridal Consultants. When you hire Johanna, you receive the helpful assistance of a professional Wedding Planner who knows exactly what a Castle wedding involves, which makes the entire planning process and your wedding day itself run smoothly and stress-free.

We hope those brief explanations have proved helpful in highlighting the differences between a Wedding Planner and a Castle Venue Coordinator. Whatever you choose to do, we look forward to assisting at your Castle Farms wedding!

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Upcoming Winter Events!

Well, we’ve officially had our first snow here at Castle Farms, which means winter is upon us. But don’t let the cold season stop you from enjoying local winter events! We have quite a few exciting new events to announce for this upcoming winter season.

First up is our annual Santa at the Castle event on December 6th. Santa will be listening to children’s Christmas wishes from 11am to 3pm. Guests are welcome to take their own photos with Santa; for $2, a professional photo is available. In addition to the visit with Santa, the event features $1 wagon rides around the grounds, while games and activities, a photo booth, snacks, and hot cocoa will be provided. Kids can also enjoy the many trains that will be on display, including interactive and riding trains. One of the biggest draws besides the jolly old elf himself is the Polar Express train display. Guests can watch the model Polar Express train steaming through a Christmas village just like the one from the story! If you’re interested in a more exclusive visit with Santa for your child, we’re offering a V.I.P session from 10am to 11am. V.I.P attendees will enjoy story time with Santa, receive professional photo and gift, participate in a Christmas craft, and indulge in milk and cookies. The V.I.P session is limited to 20 children; tickets are $20 per child with one adult admission included per child. VIP tickets must be purchased in advance online at or by calling Brittany at 231.237.0884 ext 236. Regular event admission is $5 per person, children 2 and under free. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance online.

On New Year’s Eve, the Castle will be hosting its second annual Modern Day Masquerade Ball. Dress up in your finest party attire (masked, of course!) and come enjoy heavy appetizers, drinks, music and dancing. There’ll be a photo booth available to ring in the New Year. Adding to the merriment this year: fire spinning by Magik Mike! The Masquerade Ball starts at 9pm, and the unmasking will be celebrated after the clock rings at midnight. Tickets are $45 a person when purchased in advance online at or by calling Johanna at 231.237.0884 ext 225. Masks will be available for purchase at the door.

By January, the snow should be piling up. What better way to have fun in the snow than a Snowman Wonderland Storytime! From 1pm to 3pm on January 31st, children will enjoy winter activities and a story. Admission is $5 a person at the door.

Valentine’s Day marks the next event of the Castle’s winter season. We’re hosting our 3rd Singles Mingle match making event to celebrate Cupid’s Day. Locals aged 21 and up will participate in a speed dating event while enjoying music, appetizers and drinks. Singles Mingle will be Saturday, February 14th, from 7pm to 10pm. The price will be set soon; watch our Castle Farms event listings for more information.

Last up is our 2nd annual Toast to Literacy event – a wine, beer and food tasting event co-sponsored with the Charlevoix-Emmet County United Way foundation. The event, taking place on February 21st, benefits the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, a literacy initiative sponsored by the Char-Em United Way. The Imagination Library provides free books to children from birth to age five in Charlevoix and Emmet Counties. There will also be a silent and live auction at the event, along with live music, so come on out for a fun evening to support a great cause!

We hope the winter weather doesn’t keep you from coming out and visiting us here at Castle Farms for one of our many community events! Want to know more? You’ll find details for all our upcoming events listed on our Event Calendar at

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