A Castle Happily Ever After: Entry 1 – We’re Expecting!

Hi there! Remember me? My name is Peggy, and I’m Tour Director at Castle Farms. My daughter Kelly married her fiancé James on June 30th, 2012 here at the Castle. Since Kelly and James both lived in Seattle, I helped with some of the wedding planning, and shared some of our experiences with you in what came to be known as the “Peggy Blog”. The big day finally arrived, and Kelly and James were married in the Knight’s Courtyard, with reception following in the Knight’s Castle. It was a memorable event for all who attended. I thought I’d written the final chapter in the Peggy Blog. Kelly and James are living their happily-ever-after. But it’s about to get even better. Kelly and James are having a baby!

I’m no longer Mother-of-the-Bride. Now I’m preparing for a new role as a grandmother. Meanwhile, Kelly’s coming ‘home to Charlevoix’ for a baby shower, which I’ll be hosting here at Castle Farms on April 27th. Did you know that the Castle has all sizes and styles of rooms available? I’ve chosen the Queen’s Tavern for the baby shower. It’s a cozy intimate spot, perfect for a small celebration like a baby shower. The Tavern has original stone walls, hand-hewn wooden beamed ceilings, and antique herringbone-fashioned tiled flooring. It’s just the right atmosphere to relax with friends, and share lots of laughter and memories from when Kelly herself was a baby. She’ll always be my baby… and soon she’ll have a baby of her own.

Meanwhile, I’ll be checking in again to share thoughts on floral centerpieces, catering, and the like. Stay tuned!

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Styled Winter Wedding Photo Shoot at Castle Farms

We were lucky enough to be graced with the presence of Jen Kniivila of Visual Poetry this winter. This innovative photographer and her imaginative assistant created a unique and inspiring photo shoot. Utilizing the stunning floral work from Cardinal Floral Design and luscious cake design of The Dexter Bakery, Jen and her assistant fashioned this exciting photo collection for us all to enjoy!

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Fresh Takes on a Unity Ceremony – Part 1

A few months ago, we posted about traditional Unity Ceremonies and their significance, whether done as a Candle Ceremony or Sand Ceremony. Recently, we’ve seen more and more unique Unity Ceremonies at Castle weddings, with brides and grooms wanting to present their unique personalities and creative sides while showing their two lives uniting as one. In today’s post, we’re featuring two of these new ceremonies.

Water Ceremony
Just as sand can be used in a unity ceremony, so can water! The Water Unity Ceremony utilizes pitchers or glasses containing waters dyed in different colors. The waters are then poured into a larger vase. While many colors can be used, yellow and blue are the most popular. During the ritual, the officiant explains the meaning behind the colors. Yellow represents joy, happiness, and wisdom, while blue symbolizes confidence and trust; all necessary things for a peaceful marriage. Just as when two individuals and two families unite together in marriage, mixing the two colors creates green water, which represents stability, endurance, growth, and harmony — qualities which keep a couple and their new family together.

Tree Planting Ceremony
Another popular variation of the Unity Ceremony involves the bride and groom planting a tree together. It’s a little different, but the idea remains the same: to create something new from the joining of two separate individuals. Together, the bride and groom place a small young tree into a large pot. After filling the pot with soil, they then water the plant. Just as the tree will grow, so will the two families grow together as one. For an added touch of sentimentality, it’s a neat idea for the bride and groom each to start with a separate jar of soil which they join together in the pot. Even more special—using soil from each of their parents’ homes! 

These are just a few of the new Unity Ceremonies we are seeing in Castle weddings. We promise more to come! Keep watching our blog for parts 2 & 3!

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Canvas Guest Book Alternative

Want a cute, creative idea for a guest book that makes a great keepsake while still allowing guests the chance to sign their name and share their excitement? Look no further than the Castle Farms Gift Shop! We’re excited to showcase our new addition of Custom Canvas Prints designed, printed and delivered by Meg Paxton Photography. With two different size options for colored or black and white prints of Castle Farms, simply pick a tree with your chosen color leaves to make it truly your own. Add your names and wedding date, then let your guests do the rest by adding their personal signatures on each leaf. The result? A creative wedding memento you’ll be proud to display for years to come! (P.S. While ordering your Canvas Print, don’t forget that the Castle’s Online Gift Shop also has lots of unique wedding items!)

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Prom Countdown – Time to Accessorize!

With spring right around the corner, our Castle Farms Gift Shop is gearing up for prom season. We’ve expanded our jewelry inventory! From glitz-and-glam to timeless pieces, you’re sure to find the unique accessory perfect for your prom look. Visit Castle Farms and browse our selection!

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Wedding Planning at Castle Farms

Castle Farms is excited to announce the addition of its very own Wedding Planner, Johanna Alexander! Johanna, a Castle Venue Coordinator since 2012, is now offering wedding planning services exclusively to Castle couples. A graduate of Central Michigan University with a degree in Commercial Recreation and Facility Management, plus minors in both Event Management and Hospitality, Johanna is also a Certified Wedding Consultant through the Association of Bridal Consultants. With two different packages available to assist Castle brides and grooms in their wedding planning process, Johanna is sure to be a tremendous asset to those looking for some extra guidance from a professional in the field.














Why hire a wedding planner? There are many benefits. Wedding planners act as a support system and are there to assist in helping make your wedding planning decisions. Whether it’s dealing with contracting vendors, choosing colors and decorations, a planner has experience with running numerous events. You can count on her to ensure no details are overlooked or forgotten. Planning a destination wedding? A wedding planner can save you time and unnecessary travel expenses, for she’s already established relationships with vendors. She can research packages, attend meetings, or review contracts in advance on your behalf. Most important, a wedding planner serves as a ‘point person’ on the day of the wedding. That means that you, and all your family and friends involved in the wedding can simply relax and take it all in, exactly as you’re meant to do!








Hiring a wedding planner who works exclusively within your chosen wedding venue also includes a few additional perks. Johanna knows exactly what Castle Farms provides that is included with your reservation. She also knows what’s available for rent, and in what specific quantities. The end result? With Johanna as your Wedding Planner, you’ll save time and money. She’s also familiar with our reception halls. Having seen numerous different styled events in each venue, she’ll be able to assist in setting any room to best advantage for any possible guest count. She’s also worked numerous events with each of the vendors on our Preferred Service Providers list. Johanna knows what each provides, and what each requires from Castle Farms. Combine her skills and knowledge in Wedding Planning with the beauty and elegance of the Castle itself, and Johanna makes an excellent asset for your wedding day!











For more information on Johanna’s wedding planning packages, give her a call or send her an email. She’d love to discuss how her services can help make your Castle wedding even more special and memorable. Johanna can be reached by phone at 231.237.0884, ext. 225, or by email at Johanna@CastleFarms.com.

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2014 Trend: Hand Painted Cakes!

It’s that time of year again – time for upcoming trends! The top wedding magazines, blogs and websites are starting to post their lists of what will be hot in the wedding world for the upcoming 2014 wedding season.

One trend we’re watching (and love!) that’s very much in vogue is hand painted wedding cakes! We’ve already seen this once at a Castle wedding and we can’t wait to see it again. There’s something unique and awe-inspiring when viewing the rich details and artistic labor of hand-painted flowers on something you’re about to eat!

This cake was created by Bella e Dolce and photographed by Andrew Williamson Photography, both Castle Farms Preferred Service Providers.


For more unique and inspiring cake ideas, check our Pinterest cake board!

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To our Military Couples – Thank you for your Service!

It’s so easy to take for granted the freedoms we enjoy as American citizens. With the New Year upon us, we think it’s important to honor and remember those courageous men and women who fight to ensure and safeguard our freedoms. To do so, we’ve launched our Military Wedding Giveaway. And what better way to highlight the contest than to highlight some of our previous Military weddings at Castle Farms. We hope you enjoy these photos, and that you please remember to thank our military men and women for the service they give us in the work they do every day!



Additionally, for married military couples, this beautiful charm bracelet, which has since sold out in our Castle Farms Gift Shop, speaks to the heart of women whose husbands are engaged in active service.

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All the Magic of Disney…in a Wedding!

Sarah and Zach celebrated their special Castle Wedding day by throwing a Disney-themed ceremony and reception! From the Disney movie characters on guests’ name cards right down to the Hidden Mickeys (Mickey Mouse shapes hidden in the table layout, and even jewelry!), no detail was left without some piece of Disney flare. The theme was both fun for all ages and fitting for their Castle wedding location!

Photos by Paxton Photography

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The Unity Ceremony

Unity ceremonies have been a wedding tradition for many years. They symbolize the uniting of two families into one as the bride and groom join together in marriage. The two most popular and classic unity ceremonies are the Unity Candle Ceremony and the Unity Sand Ceremony.

In a Unity Candle Ceremony, one pillar Unity Candle Ceremonycandle (representing the bride’s family) and another (representing the groom’s family) are simultaneously used to light a larger candle in the center. To further represent the two families, it is common for the mother of the bride to light one pillar, and the mother of the groom to light the other. The lighting of the third candle is done together by the bride and groom, and represents the new family they are creating. Some couples choose to leave the smaller separate pillar candles lit in order to symbolize their individuality even as they create their new life together.

Unity Sand Ceremony for FamilyWhile the Unity Candle Ceremony remains popular, the Unity Sand Ceremony is becoming more favored, especially in outdoor weddings. It has the same significance of a Unity Candle Ceremony, but sand is used instead of candles. The bride and groom each have a separate vessel containing their own color of sand. The two colors are then poured into a center vase, representing the blending of their two separate families into the union of their new life together. An added significance to this ceremony is the notion of becoming inseparable; the newly married couple will be as difficult to separate as the different grains of sand in their unmixed state. The Unity Sand Ceremony also provides a unique opportunity for brides and grooms with children. By giving each family member their own color of sand to pour into the center vessel, the two families are symbolically incorporated into one.

Many couples today are opting to put a new spin on the traditional unity ceremony. Whether it’s planting a tree or splashing paint on a canvas, these twists on unity ceremonies are sure to add entertainment and meaning to any ceremony. Keep an eye out for future Unity Ceremony posts! We’ll highlight some alternative ways to show the bride and groom starting their new lives together as one.

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