2014 Grand Bridal Expo – Wrapped Up!

We just wrapped up our 10th Annual Grand Bridal Expo, and it was the best one yet! Juried wedding vendors from across the state came out to share their knowledge and services with over 150 brides-to-be. Five lucky winners received featured prizes from the following vendors: E.C. Campbell Photography gave away an engagement session; Cre8tive Cupcake gave away 150 cupcakes; A Matter of Taste gave away ten bottles of champagne; Holiday Inn Express and Suites of Petoskey gave away a night’s stay in their Jacuzzi suite; Darrell Christie Photography gave away a package of reception photo booth services. On top of the featured prizes, many attendees went home with door prizes that ranged from cookbooks, to champagne flutes, to photo frames. We love how our vendors joined together to donate so many prizes for our future brides!






















The most anticipated of the giveaways? The Grand Giveaway – a wedding package valued at over $15,000! The prize included: a ceremony and reception venue at Castle Farms; wedding catering by BJ’s Restaurant; rehearsal dinner catering by Grey Gables Inn Restaurant; wedding photography by Paxton Photography; reception entertainment by A+ Event Entertainment; guest transportation by Midnight Madness; men’s apparel from Petoskey Bridal; wedding cake by Tas T Creations; bouquets and boutonnieres by BLOOM; ceremony officiate services by Pastor Jonathan David Mays; reception photobooth by Shutterbooth; ladies hairstyles by Last Tangle Salon and Tanning; hotel accommodations for the bride and groom at AmericInn Lodge and Suites. The lucky winners, drawn live in a finale to the fashion show, were Lauren Gall and Ryan Kukulka of Gaylord. A July 2015 Castle wedding is planned. Congratulations again, Lauren and Ryan!





The Grand Bridal Expo also featured a Celebration Lounge, in honor of the show’s 10th anniversary. Beer, wine, specialty coffee, popcorn, and the Pita Cruiser food truck of Charlevoix were available to brides, guests, and vendors. Lounge furniture donated by Taylor Rental of Petoskey made the lounge a great place to sit, relax, and go over all the wedding planning details. The lounge area also served as the location of the vendor social on Saturday evening. Our show vendors had a chance to chat with each other about the past season and discuss the season to come. All of us involved in the industry love working together, and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate then being with each other!




















All in all, the Grand Bridal Expo was a great success. We’re so happy to be able to host it year after year. Despite the work, it’s definitely one of our favorite events to plan. We can’t wait to see what next year has in store!

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Modern Royal Affair – A Styled Shoot

When most people think about getting married in a castle, they immediately think of a fairy tale. But how do you pull off the fairy tale look and theme without going overboard or coming off as being a cliché? How do you pull off a royal theme without seeming outdated? Our exclusive Castle Farms Wedding Planner, Johanna Alexander, put her mind and skills to work when putting together this fabulous styled shoot. To go with the Castle, Johanna chose a royal look that incorporates elements of the fairy tale theme. After all, princesses live in a castle and are royalty! Johanna likes to call this shoot “Modern Royal Affair”.

Northern Art Photography - Styled Wedding Shoot at Castle Farms

Thanks to the assistance of many excellent local vendors from the Charlevoix area, the photo shoot came to life. With the stone walls and brick courtyard as a backdrop, the royal blue accents stand out against the muted gold and ivory table. A royal-inspired theme wouldn’t be the same without a pair of large throne chairs! It’s hard to believe this shoot took place on a day filled with rain showers. The crew worked fast in-between patches of rain in order to catch a majority of the shots. The rain couldn’t deter them from their royal duties in fulfilling their plans!


Northern Art Photography - Styled Wedding Shoot at Castle FarmsNorthern Art Photography - Styled Wedding Shoot at Castle FarmsNorthern Art Photography - Styled Wedding Shoot at Castle Farms

Northern Art Photography - Styled Wedding Shoot at Castle FarmsNorthern Art Photography - Styled Wedding Shoot at Castle FarmsNorthern Art Photography - Styled Wedding Shoot at Castle Farms

Northern Art Photography - Styled Wedding Shoot at Castle FarmsNorthern Art Photography - Styled Wedding Shoot at Castle Farms

Northern Art Photography - Styled Wedding Shoot at Castle FarmsNorthern Art Photography - Styled Wedding Shoot at Castle Farms

Although receptions are not held in the Queen’s Courtyard, this look can be easily replicated in any of the Castle’s reception rooms.

Interested in hiring Johanna for your wedding? Contact her if you would like more information about our Wedding Planning services, have questions, or wish to set up an appointment for a free initial consultation. Johanna can be reached at 231-237-0884, ext. 225, or by email Johanna@CastleFarms.com.

Northern Art Photography - Styled Wedding Shoot at Castle FarmsVendors Applause:
Planning & Design: Castle Farms Wedding Planner, Johanna Alexander
Venue/location: Castle Farms
Photography: Northern Art Photography
Florist: Thyme Hill Designs
Invitations & Menus: Vivian Elle Invitations
Cake: Cre8tive Cupcake
Wedding Dress, Veil & Tux: Petoskey Bridal
Bride’s Jewelry: Castle Farms Gift Shop
Linen: Castle Farms
Hair: Last Tangle Salon


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Michigan Made

Today we wanted to highlight the talented people of our state by featuring some great items for sale in our Castle Farms Gift Shop that are made right here in Michigan!

1) Novels by Michigan Author Kathleen Irene Paterka: We not only have a Michigan author’s books stocked in the Castle Farms Gift Shop, but we also have the author working at Castle Farms! Kathleen Irene Paterka has been writing since middle school, when her parents gave her a typewriter for Christmas. First published in July 2012, she has since written five novels, four of which are included in the James Bay Series, and available for sale in the Castle’s Gift Shop. Her sixth book, For The Love of a Castle, was co-written with the Castle’s owner Linda Mueller. It details the rich history and restoration of Castle Farms.


2) Bullfrog Candle Company Wedding Candles: Bullfrog Candle Company was a Charlevoix-based candle production company with their very own candle making technique. Their well-known ‘glowing candles’, when lit, glow from top to bottom. Though the company has stopped production, the Castle’s Gift Shop still has a remaining stock of wedding-themed candles perfect for unity ceremonies or wedding gifts.




3) Sand Castles and Lighthouses: These sand castle sculptures were designed and created in Michigan, and brought to sale by Castles of Enchanted Sand. First designed for family amusement, they’ve become a great production and include several different styles that can even be personally engraved.



4) Michigan-Shaped Wooden Cutting Board: We’re so happy to feature these cutting boards in our Gift Shop! They are created in Northern Michigan by Michigan Mapleworks and Michigan Wooden Spoon, a family run business and farm.





5) Little Green Guys: These cute little green monsters were created by Michigan artist Brittany Martin. The green guys happened by accident, but once everyone fell in love with them, she did, too! In addition to the plush stuffed monsters, she’s created little green monster sculptures, paintings, pendants and more.





6) Baby Hats: What could be more adorable than these little baby hats with bows, feathers and flower adornments made by Baby Bows 2 Toes?! You might probably guess we have a few moms working at Castle Farms, which is why we always have an assortment of these little hats and headbands stocked in the Gift Shop.



7) Hollyhock Seeds and Lavender Satchels: These packets of hollyhock seeds and lavender come straight from Castle Farms’ gardens! Our Knight’s Courtyard is known for the dark purple holly hocks climbing the stone walls, and our East Garden is always fragrant from the lavender surrounding the walk-ways. Now guests can take home pieces of the gardens!


8) Wooden Signs: These decorative wooden signs feature cute sayings for any part of your home! While the original creator, Gerald Hoffman from Alanson, MI, recently passed, his daughter plans to continue the business as a way to stay close to him.




9) Petoskey Stone Jewelry, Ornaments, and Wine Glasses: Probably the most well-known sign of Northern Michigan is the Petoskey stone. It’s always neat to see what local artisans create using them! We work with Archy’s Rock Shop and Lakeshore Stones to showcase these beautiful necklaces, rings, wine glasses and Christmas ornaments fashioned with Petoskey stones.




Not all of our inventory is online, so be sure to stop in to see what else we have!

The Castle Farms Gift Shop is open from 9:30am to 4:00pm, 7 days a week  through mid-November, Monday through Saturday through the winter months. Call ahead to verify hours as we close early on some event days. 231-237-0884 ext. 240.

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A Real Wedding Feature: Our 2013 Grand Giveaway Winners!

With fall upon us, we’re gearing up for our 10th annual Grand Bridal Expo here at Castle Farms. What better way to get excited for the Expo than to take a look back at the lucky couple who won our 2013 Grand Giveaway! Each year at our Grand Bridal Expo, vendors team up to put together a Grand Giveaway wedding package worth over $15,000. One lucky winner is drawn as the finale to the Bridal Expo’s Fashion Show, and this past year’s winners were Denelle and Kalob. They hosted their wedding at Castle Farms on May 9th, 2014. From their intimate rehearsal dinner in the Queen’s Tavern, to their beautiful ceremony in our Queen’s Courtyard right through their reception celebration in our East Garden Room, Castle Farms and select Preferred Service Providers came together to give them the wedding of their dreams.





Vendor Applause:
Rehearsal Dinner: BJ’s Restaurant, Rentals and Catering
Hairstylist: Last Tangle Salon and Tanning
Ceremony Musician and DJ: A+ Event Entertainment
Officiant: Jonathan David Mays – Charlevoix Wedding Pastor
Photographer: Meg Paxton Photography
Videographer: Style and Motion
Florist: A Touch of Spring and Other Things, Petals Custom Floral Designs
Reception Catering and Bartending: Grey Gables Inn Restaurant and Catering
Cake Designer: TasT Creations
Transportation: Midnight Madness, Mackinaw Shuttle
Table Linens and Chair Sashes: Castle Farms

We were so happy to host Denelle and Kalob’s wedding, and look forward to meeting this year’s Grand Giveaway winner! Come join us for the 10th Annual Grand Bridal Expo on October 26th, starting at 10am with the Fashion Show finishing out the expo at 3pm.

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The Little Details

We all know the first things that come to mind when it’s time to start planning a wedding: flowers, food, entertainment, to name a few. But there are a few must-haves that sometimes get missed until just before the big day. You don’t want to forget those special keepsakes such as champagne flutes and cake servers, and you want to make sure you give your guests somewhere to sign their name so you can look back to remember everyone that joined you to celebrate. The Castle Farms Gift Shop can be a one-stop shop for all of these items! From flutes and cake servers (that can even be personally engraved!) to guest books and garters, here are just a few of the items available at the Gift Shop.

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Baby’s Breath Weddings

If you’re in the midst of planning a wedding, you’ve probably seen photos and articles about a floral option that’s become quite popular: Baby’s Breath! We recently featured this fashionable trend in our Bridal Newsletter. Today we’re showcasing some photos of recent Castle weddings that featured this delicate affordable flower. From centerpieces to bouquets, and other striking décor details, enjoy these photos of Baby’s Breath as it lends a rustic elegance to each Castle wedding!

Baby's Breath Wedding at Castle FarmsBaby's Breath Wedding at Castle FarmsBaby's Breath Wedding at Castle FarmsBaby's Breath Wedding at Castle FarmsBaby's Breath Wedding at Castle FarmsBaby's Breath Wedding at Castle FarmsBaby's Breath Wedding at Castle FarmsBaby's Breath Wedding at Castle FarmsBaby's Breath Wedding at Castle Farms

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A Real Wedding Feature: Our Dream Military Wedding!

We’re so excited to showcase the wedding of Castle Farms’ first annual Dream Military Wedding Giveaway winners! Andi and Dwayne were married at the Castle this past Friday, August 22nd. Back in February, Andi’s mother nominated the couple after hearing about Castle Farms’ ‘Salute to our Soldiers’ wedding giveaway contest. The couple’s wedding plans had been put on hold due to Dwayne’s two tours of active duty. Now, Andi and Dwayne are happily married, thanks to a collection of generous vendors who chose to participate in the wedding giveaway.

Castle Farms Dream Military Wedding GiveawayCastle Farms Dream Military Wedding Giveaway

Castle Farms Dream Military Wedding GiveawayNorthern Michigan wedding photographer Paul Retherford captured the entire celebration, from arriving at Castle Farms after hair was completed at Last Tangle Salon, to DJ Ryan Rousseau packing the dance floor at evening’s end. Pastor Jonathan David Mays of Charlevoix officiated at the intimate ceremony, and Mackinaw Shuttle Company transported the wedding party to and from their accommodations at Charlevoix Inn and Suites. The vibrant bouquets and boutonnieres were provided by Thyme Hill Designs. Guests enjoyed a fabulous meal prepared by Grey Gables Inn Catering, a scrumptious cake designed by Tas T Creations, and had a blast with the photo booth courtesy of Northern Michigan Shutterbooth.

Castle Farms Dream Military Wedding GiveawayCastle Farms Dream Military Wedding Giveaway

Castle Farms Dream Military Wedding GiveawayCastle Farms Dream Military Wedding Giveaway

Castle Farms Dream Military Wedding Giveaway
A fun fact from the wedding: Andi first met Petra, her maid of honor, when she came to live with Andi’s family as a foreign exchange student. When Petra returned to Slovakia, she told Andi the next time they saw each other would be for one of their wedding days. After hearing about the Military Wedding contest, Petra gathered as many friends as she could to vote for Andi and Dwayne. She wanted to see her host sister again! For the wedding, Petra brought along a Slovakian wedding tradition: first, the bride must throw down a plate; then, together with her groom, they pick up the broken pieces to symbolize their cooperation as a couple.

Castle Farms Dream Military Wedding GiveawayCastle Farms Dream Military Wedding Giveaway

Castle Farms Dream Military Wedding GiveawayCastle Farms Dream Military Wedding Giveaway






We hope you enjoyed following Andi and Dwayne’s story during these past months. Castle Farms thanks all of our military personnel for their service to our country, and the family, friends, and loved ones who support them. The Castle will be hosting its second Dream Military Wedding Giveaway this fall!

Castle Farms Dream Military Wedding Giveaway

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Castle Farms Heroes Wedding Giveaway

Back in February, Castle Farms happily hosted the first Dream Military Wedding Giveaway contest. “A Salute to our Soldiers” featured local vendors teaming together, graciously donating their time and services to give one military couple the wedding they’ve always dreamed of. We’re excited to announce that the winning couple, Andi and Dwayne of Pellston, Michigan, will be hosting their Castle Farms wedding at the end of this month. We’ll be featuring the dream wedding vendors on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, but we wanted to share a little bit about Andi and Dwayne, too!

The couple was nominated by Andi’s mother after she heard about the ‘A Salute to Our Soldiers’ contest. Andi and Dwayne had been planning their wedding, but had to put their plans on hold due to Dwayne’s two tours of active duty as an Army Calvary Scout. After spending a year in Iraq, Dwayne was again called overseas for a second tour of ten months in Afghanistan. Now the couple is finally together again. Thanks to the help of some very generous wedding vendors, Dwayne and Andi are ready to have the wedding they’ve been dreaming about since 2011!

Follow all the fun on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at #castleheroeswedding!

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Ten Gift Ideas for Bridesmaids

Time to go in a different direction for wedding inspiration: gifts for your loved ones! Today we’re featuring these great bridesmaid gift ideas which we found in our own Castle Farms Gift Shop. We’ll be posting ideas in the future for groomsmen and parent gifts, so be sure to check back frequently!

Castle Farms T Shirt Bridesmaid GiftCastle Farms Bangle Bridesmaid Gift

Castle Farms Photo Frame Bridesmaid GiftCastle Farms Purse Bridesmaid Gift

Castle Farms Formal Necklace Bridesmaid GiftCastle Farms Bracelet Bridesmaid Gift

Castle Farms Scarf Bridesmaid GiftCastle Farms Glass Necklace Bridesmaid Gift

Castle Farms Watch Bridesmaid GiftCastle Farms Floral Purse Bridesmaid Gift

  1. ‘Castle Bridesmaid’ T-shirts: perfect for those who’ll be sharing in your Castle Farms wedding day.
  2. Print Bangles: a fun accessory you can pick to match each bridesmaid’s personal style.
  3. Hanging Photo Frames: vintage meets eclectic with these cute friendship frames!
  4. Beaded Handbag: your bridesmaids will be so thankful to carry this cute clutch throughout the wedding day.
  5. Formal Jewelry Sets: gift your bridesmaids with matching jewelry sets they can wear with their dresses.
  6. Metal Branch Bracelets: with silver, gold or bronze to choose from, these bracelets are sure to be memorable keepsakes.
  7. Scarves: because every lady loves a new scarf! Try different colors in matching patterns for each of your bridesmaids.
  8. Castle Sea-Glass Necklace: to remember the enjoyment of your wonderful day together at a Castle!
  9. Casual Bangle Watch: a fun and functional accessory for each of your bridesmaids.
  10. Floral Purse: Each of your bridesmaids will cherish their own unique leather purse that can be carried for a long time to come.
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Look What’s Blooming!

Our Castle gardens are in full bloom, and we wanted to share the beauty with all of you! From roses to lilies to holly-hocks, the Castle grounds are full of gorgeous colors this season!

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