A Fun-Themed Fundraiser!

Today, we wanted to highlight a recent fundraising event held here at Castle Farms a few weeks ago. St. Mary’s School of Charlevoix hosts their annual Northern Lights celebration at the Castle each June, and this year they really wowed attendees with a fun theme featuring Asian accents. Guests entering the room found Northern Lights Celebration - King's Great Hall at Castle FarmsAsian parasols hanging from the King’s Great Hall chandeliers. The food, all Asian-inspired, was served with complimentary chopsticks at each place setting. Another unique idea from the Far East: table centerpieces included votive candles wrapped in paper decorated with Asian symbols representing the words they stood for, plus vases filled with water and swimming goldfish! Here are a few pictures!

Northern Lights Celebration - King's Great Hall at Castle FarmsNorthern Lights Celebration - King's Great Hall at Castle Farms

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Fresh Takes on a Unity Ceremony – Part 3

And now, our last post for fresh unity ceremony ideas! These final two featured unity ceremonies have great meaning behind them, and you’ll have fun finding ways to make either even more unique to your personalities!


Tying a Knot and Hand Tying

Photo Credit: Northern Art Photography

Another unity ceremony idea: tie a knot while “tying the knot”. The bride and groom simply tie a knot, connecting two pieces of rope together. Their marriage is said to be as strong as the knot. Hand tying is a variation on this tradition. As a very obvious display of unity, hand tying (also known as “hand fasting”) involves the couple joining hands while the officiant wraps a rope around the couples’ hands, binding them together. 


Wine Box Ceremony

This ceremony is very unique and involves a bit of ‘pre-and post-ceremony’ design. Sometime before the ceremony takes place, the bride and groom will have written secret love letters to each other. During the ceremony, the couple place the letters in a box, accompanied by a bottle of wine. The box is then sealed and eventually buried until the couple’s 25th wedding anniversary, at which time they will dig up the box, drink the wine together, and read each other’s love notes. What a wonderful way to keep things exciting! And, should there be struggles in the marriage, the couple also has the option of opening the box early for an instant reminder of how and why they fell in love, and the true reason they got married.


And there you have it! From planting a tree, to creating a painting, to tying hands together, there are endless ways for the bride and groom to showcase their unity as they join together on their wedding day. Pick the unity ceremony that best represents you and your family, and provides you with a treasured memento for years to come. Or use your imagination and create your own representation of your two families joining as one as you start your life together!

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What’s Coming Up This Season!

Welcome to summer! The warm weather brings new and exciting events and tours at Castle Farms.

Gift Shop at Castle FarmsFirst, if you didn’t visit Castle Farms this spring, you are in for a big surprise: our Gift Shop has been newly expanded! Guests are thrilled with the new inventory, plus all the space the new Gift Shop offers as they enter the Castle. It is definitely worth a visit. With the new expansion, we’ve increased our inventory of Fairy Garden supplies as well!

 

Fairy Garden at Castle Farms Due to the growing popularity of these items, we’ve begun hosting Fairy Garden Make n’Take classes. Simply bring a container, then choose from an assortment of fairy plants and décor, and learn from an expert gardener on how to make your fairy garden a success. We have three Make n’Take classes coming up this summer: June 18th, July 8th, and August 13th. Classes start at 6:30 pm. Admission is free.

 

Antique Dress and Quilt Display at Castle FarmsOur 5th Annual Antique Quilt and Gown Display begins June 17th through the 24th. Over 25 wedding gowns dating from the 1750s to present day will be on display, along with an impressive collection of antique quilts dating back to the 1800s. Guests will be able to view the antique wedding gowns and quilts while taking a self-guided tour of the Castle buildings and grounds.

 

Story Time at Castle Farms We haven’t forgotten those little ones, either. The Castle will be hosting its annual Story Time parties again this summer. Bring your little ones out to the Castle, where they’ll hear stories, enjoy snacks, and take part in activities. The Castle’s Prince and Princess Story Time is scheduled for July 9th at 1:00 pm. The All Aboard! for Story Time will be held on August 6th at 1:00 pm. Admission is $5 per child.

 

Craft Show and Fiber Arts FestivalNew for 2014, we have combined our Craft and Fiber Festivals to make a three day long Craft Show and Fiber Arts Festival! Over 100 fiber artists and juried crafters will be showcasing and selling their one-of-a-kind works of art the 25th-27th of July. Admission is $5 a person (12 and under free) and the festival runs Friday 1:00 pm-7:00 pm, Saturday 10:00 am-5:00 pm, and Sunday 10:00 am-4:00 pm.

 

Twilight Tour at Castle FarmsLast, we’re bringing back our popular Guided Tours, which are now open to the public. During the months of July and August, the Castle will offer historic guided tours once daily, beginning at 10:00 am. Tour the beautiful stone buildings and gardens escorted by one of the Castle’s professional tour guides, who’ll share personal stories about the past owners, plus the history behind Linda’s restoration. For those looking for a unique view of the Castle, try out a Twilight Guided Tour. Every Wednesday evening from mid-July through August at 8:00 pm, our tour guides will offer a guided tour of the Castle at dusk. Reservations are required for Twilight Tours, so be sure to call ahead. 231-237-0884 ext. 240.

We hope to see you at Castle Farms for one of these exciting events! Our Event Calendar is constantly updated, so check back often for new events. As always, the Castle is open daily for self-guided tours. Tour the grounds and gardens at your leisure while learning information about the nearly 100-year history of the property. Regular Monday through Sunday hours are 9:30am to 4pm; end times may vary on event days so please check our website to verify hours. Have a great summer!

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A Real Michigan Castle Wedding – Nautical Theme

Today we’re sharing some nautical wedding inspiration. Meet Amber and Joseph, who were married mid-May in the Queen’s Courtyard, with reception following in the East Garden Room. They carried the nautical wedding theme throughout the ceremony and reception. Enjoy these photos from Amber and Joseph’s wedding, courtesy of Paul Retherford Wedding Photography, as well as some words from the couple themselves!


 

“We were one of the many modern couples who met through an online dating site. Our first date was spent walking around Michigan State University’s campus and enjoying some delicious MSU Dairy Store ice cream. We enjoyed about a month of getting to know each other before Joe flew out to San Clemente, California for his 10th year of summer lifeguarding. Although we did get to visit each other once, it was a very long summer. It didn’t take either of us long to figure out that we had found our missing pieces in one another. Joe proposed on July 17th, 2013 overlooking the pier in San Clemente.”

Paul Retherford Nautical Wedding at Castle FarmsPaul Retherford Nautical Wedding at Castle FarmsPaul Retherford Nautical Wedding at Castle FarmsPaul Retherford Nautical Wedding at Castle Farms“Joe stumbled across Castle Farms while we were frantically looking for a wedding venue, knowing that we didn’t want to wait more than a year for our big day. The Castle’s breathtaking beauty, combined with an outdoor ceremony location, made it the perfect location for us. We also felt very content knowing that we could rely on the expertise and planning of the staff to ensure our day was flawless. We were not disappointed. After selecting our venue, the next big task was choosing a theme for the wedding. Between Joe’s love of water, all our weekends spent sailing together on his parent’s yacht, plus our many adventures together involving water, a nautical theme seemed to be the perfect choice for our wedding.”

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Fresh Takes on a Unity Ceremony – Part 2

Time to feature more unique ideas for a unity ceremony! So far, we’ve detailed the Water Ceremony and the Tree Planting Ceremony as alternative ideas to a Candle or Sand Unity Ceremony. In this post, we have two additional types of unity ceremonies you can incorporate into your wedding.


Rose Ceremony

Rose CeremonyElegant and romantic! We love the idea of a Rose Ceremony, which can easily be done in one of several ways. In the first example, the bride and groom each hold a rose, state a wish for their marriage, and then exchange roses. Here’s another way to incorporate this unique ceremony: two small bouquets of roses (colors may be switched out for a variation in hue) are combined in one large vase. The roses can be placed on a unity table for the duration of the ceremony. They can also be carried up by the maid of honor and best man, or the mothers, other family members, and even close friends, creating an even more personal unity ceremony.     


Unity Painting

Unity Painting - Northern Art Photography

Northern Art Photography

This one is perfect for couples wishing to incorporate some fun into their ceremony. You get to splash jars of paint onto a canvas in front of your guests! The groom uses one color of paint, and the bride another. Some couples have brushes and paint actual designs, combining the two colors into one; others simply take jars of paint, pouring them onto the canvas, creating drips and splashes out of the two colors. Lots of fun! Just be careful not to get paint on your dress!


Still looking for something different? We have a few more ideas to share, so watch our blog for part 3!

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A Castle Happily Ever After: Entry 3 – Shower Success!

Hi there! It’s me again, Peggy. If you remember from last time, I promised to share details (and pictures!) from my daughter Kelly’s baby shower, which was held here at the Castle Sunday, April 27th.

Baby Shower at Castle FarmsThe shower, held in the Queen’s Tavern, was a great success. The theme, “Help Kelly Get Her Ducks in a Row”, was simple and fun. Naturally, we used little yellow rubber duckies to decorate the table. They were the perfect complement to the yellow duckie floral centerpiece display provided by A Touch of Spring florist. With 18 guests in attendance, I decided to seat everyone at one long banquet table, rather than use several smaller tables in groups of 6 or 8. Having worked at the Castle for a number of years, I’ve seen events in the Tavern set up both ways. There’s no right or wrong; they each work well. Kelly’s guests seemed to have a great time visiting with each other, playing the baby shower games, and enjoying the delicious gourmet luncheon provided by Grey Gables Restaurant and Catering. The Mimosa Bar proved a big hit, and everyone oohed and aahed over the yummy chocolate cupcakes topped with little yellow duckies.

In the end, everything turned out ‘just ducky!’ (as we all kept commenting once we got home). I’m glad we chose to have Kelly’s baby shower at the Castle. I didn’t have to fuss over the house, rent extra tables and chairs, plus handle the clean-up. All of that was done by Castle staff. Plus, the people I invited told me, “If it’s at the Castle, I’m definitely coming!”. The Queen’s Tavern was the perfect spot for a small, intimate party. Everyone was able to join in the laughter and excitement as Kelly opened her gifts. While she and her husband James haven’t settled on the name yet, they already have plenty of cute little purple and pink outfits waiting for their little baby girl!

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A Castle Happily Ever After: Entry 2 – Planning the Shower

Hi there! It’s me again, Peggy, popping in to share more news about my daughter Kelly’s baby shower which I’m hosting on Sunday, April 27th. The shower will be held here at Castle Farms in the Queen’s Tavern. Theme for the Shower: “Help Kelly Get Her Ducks in a Row”. Kelly, being an accountant, is a very organized person and has all the small details thoroughly lined up. But it’s always helpful to have more ideas and encouragement from other people. Plus, a new baby is reason to celebrate and have fun!

Baby Shower InvitationMeanwhile, I’m trying to get all my ducks in a row with planning this baby shower. The invitations were simple; cute little ‘duck’ cards I found on-line. With the invites stamped and ready to mail, I needed a caterer. Easy enough to find, for the Castle has a wonderful Preferred Service Providers List. The Preferred Service Providers at Castle Farms are all hand-picked. Not only do they provide high quality performance and exceed expectations, but they’re also experienced in working at Castle Farms. Reception rooms at the Castle have catering areas, but there are no cooking facilities. All cooking is done outside (either in catering trailers or at the restaurant, and then delivered in warming ovens) so as not to damage the Castle’s historic stonework.

To cater Kelly’s baby shower, I chose Grey Gables Inn Restaurant and Catering, a local business with an excellent reputation. Not only did they cater her high school graduation party, they also catered Kelly’s wedding reception. Their food is delicious, and Grey Gables is often at the Castle handling events. Guests attending the baby shower will be treated to a scrumptious lunch of chicken salad served on croissants, mushroom bisque (Kelly’s favorite!), salad, and scones. Instead of a traditional cake, I’ve chosen to serve gourmet chocolate cupcakes (a Grey Gables specialty); each one will be topped by a cute little duck.

Grey Gables also offers bartending services, which will come in handy for the Mimosa Bar I’m planning. Friends have been so helpful, giving me suggestions on games and party favor ideas. I’m sure everyone will enjoy playing shower games and helping Kelly open baby gifts. Meanwhile, for the floral centerpiece, I turned to a local florist recommended on the Castle’s Preferred Service Providers List. A Touch of Spring will make sure the Tavern is decked out (or should I say ‘ducked’ out?) for springtime and baby fun.

Everyone is excited about Kelly’s upcoming Castle baby shower on Sunday, April 27th. I promise to share some of the photos, and let you know how everything turned out!

 

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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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