Military Wedding Giveaway

Stay tuned for next year’s giveaway coming in February 2019

The 2018 Winners are…


2018 Military Wedding Giveaway Winners

There were 2 couples who received an amazing number of votes. One couple’s service was ROTC and the other couple’s service was in the USMC. Both couples had great support from their friends and family. This year is the first time we have had an ROTC member in the running, and we realize we don’t have any specific rules regarding that status. We want you to know that we have listened to your feedback and we appreciate the opportunity to be a part of such an important day. Before making the final decision to allow Katie and Sam continue in the contest, we spoke with several Army recruiters. With the information we collected from the couple and the representatives, we decided to allow them to participate due to the fact that Sam not only has a signed contract with the Army but also a report date. Since this was a first time for us, we did our diligence to collect information and make the best decision possible. Considering his report date, we chose to categorize his service as a reserve. We will create a specific rule for this case in the future.

Our intention with this contest is to celebrate the selfless dedication of our Military members and their families. Sam has made the decision to sign up and serve our country which we feel should be recognized because every military career starts with signing up. Connor, who has been a Marine for 4 years and is currently deployed is someone we are also extremely thankful for because he has sacrificed so much already to protect and serve our country. We feel it is right to honor both of these couples for everything they have done and are going to do, which is why we chose to have two winners this year!

Katie & Sam’s submission:

Taylor & Ryan I’ve known Sam since freshman year of college, but if you ask him, he’d say that I never gave him the time of day until December 8th of our sophomore year. It was that day that he finally worked up the courage to ask me to be his date to the military ball. I remember being so incredibly nervous, but I played it cool (sort of) and said yes. There was something so special about those months leading up to the military ball that made me realize two things: 1) I’m so awkward (ha) and 2) This is the man I am going to marry. I remember walking up the stairs to my dorm after the military ball and I just knew. Soon after, we started dating and now flash forward two years and we’re happily engaged college seniors! Sam commissions into the Army the day before we graduate from college on May 5th. Our plans are to get married soon after and then move to Georgia where he will begin the next part of his military training and schooling. Currently, we’re doing our best to balance classes, homework, capstones, and internships, all while working with a short timeline to plan a summer wedding in Michigan from our college dorms in Ohio! We would love to win this contest not only to make our lives easier for planning a wedding, but to be able to get married at the place of our dreams! We are both excited for all the adventures coming our way in the next year!

Wedding Date: May 18, 2018
Venue: Castle Farms
Accommodations: House on the Hill Bed & Breakfast
Catering: A Matter of Taste
Entertainment: DJ Ryan Rousseau
Florists: Thyme Hill Designs
Photography: A13 Studios
Photo Booth: Shutterbooth
Hairstylist: Talulu Beauty Lounge
Custom Signs: Harper Mae Designs

Natalie & Connor’s submission:

Natalie & Connor’s Natalie and I have known each other for as long as we both can remember, we were both born and raised in the small town of Memphis. We attended preschool together. Since then on there was a running joke in her family that she was going to marry me. Little did anyone know at the time they were right. Over the years we crossed paths occasionally, after pre school I stayed in Memphis and she moved to Capac, and one night after a few years without seeing each other it was love at first sight. I saw how beautiful she had become and thought I didn’t have a chance. Then she came up to me and from that moment on I wasn’t going to let her get away. We spent 4 short months together enjoying the summer before I shipped out to boot camp. I completely thought she was going to leave me due to the long distance and stress of a military relationship, but she had every intention of making it work. Over the next 4 years we went through a rollercoaster of events between me moving base to base across the country, long periods without seeing each other, and 3 deployment but through it all we have prevailed. No matter what situation the world threw at us, no matter how long we went without seeing each other, no matter how much the distance hurt we knew that the love we shared was something unique and worth everything. Shortly before this last deployment we decided we were tired of the distance and got married. This way we could finally live our lives together. She has been my support system and biggest fan. She is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever laid eyes on. She is my saving grace that keeps me going. I would do anything just to see her smile. After all this beautiful woman has been through and supported me through, she deserved the most romantic fairytale wedding ever, but due to the situation a courthouse with our parents was our special day, and special it was. I wouldn’t change our choice for the world. I married my best friend and the love of my life on September 8th, 2017. Natalie will say that she didn’t need a big shiny ring, elegant pretty dress, big fancy wedding or anything like that, but she deserves that and so much more. I am so happy we got married but I feel bad she didn’t get the wedding she deserved. With Natalie finishing up with school and working, planning for our move to California, myself being deployed 20 of the last 24 months planning and affording a ceremony of our dreams hasn’t been possible. This is the one way to make that dream a reality for us, and what better way to make that dream a reality then to renew our vows at the most romantic location, Castle Farms.

Wedding Date: July 28, 2018
Venue: Castle Farms
Catering: BJ’s Restaurant, Rental & Catering
Officiant: Glad Tidings
Photo Booth: Life Outside the Booth
Hairstylist: Bliss Salon & Spa
Entertainment: Ed’s DJ Service
Bartending: Tonic & Lime
Photography: Nikki Cashen Photography
Custom Signs: Harper Mae Designs

Taylor & Ryan“Prior to winning the Castle Farms Military Wedding Giveaway, I didn’t think that the average person (like myself) could possibly win something like this. Every vendor that donated their service has asked nothing in return, except to help us experience total bliss on our special day. We have moved into the planning stage and as you can expect, there are many decisions to be made. With Ryan and I living in two separate states and in different time-zones, everyone has been so helpful and supportive, working around the distance and our chaotic schedules with ease. In the past week Ryan and I have been showered with support from Castle Farms staff, especially Sarah and Rebekah, and the various other Vendors. We are truly blessed to be able to work with such an amazing group of people. It still hasn’t sunk in fully, but my excitement is growing with each passing day. Thank you to everyone who has read our story, to those of you who voted and shared, and to those of you still following us. We will keep you updated during this journey. My father would like to extend his gratitude to everyone, as well. He is floored by the response we received and cannot wait to walk me down the aisle!”

Taylor’s submission: We are a dual Active Duty Navy couple planning for June 2017 or sooner! Ryan and I met in 2015 while we were stationed at the Naval Hospital in Pensacola, Florida. Ryan was an energetic, thrilling and extremely handsome guy that everyone loved to be around. I had my eye on him since day one! I have always been someone who isn’t afraid to go after what I wanted, but any time he looked my way I could feel all of the blood in my body, rush to my cheeks. I finally mustered up the courage to talk to him and asked him to brunch where we immediately hit it off. I was addicted to his smile and contagious laughter. We had both recently ended our long term relationships and wanted to take it slow, but that was far from the case. I fell madly in-love with Ry. I have never thought I would marry someone or have children, but I found myself fantasizing about both these ideas on a regular basis. I knew he was the one for me. Our souls complimented each other and longed for each other’s companionship whenever we were away. Christmas eve 2016, he proposed to me and I am thrilled to be his partner in crime for our lifetimes. 19 months ago, at age 47 my father was diagnosed with Adenocarcinoma, a type of (evil) esophageal cancer. Fortunately, my parents live close to U of M, and in December 15 he underwent a successful 13 hour esophagectomy that held promising results. In March 16, while on a business trip to Orlando, just one week away from the “Cancer Free” celebration day, he underwent a routine CT scan after having a headache for a few weeks. Not only had the cancer metastasized, but to the worst of all places; his brain. It revealed roughly 13 tumors and my family was heartbroken. Ry, being the amazing supporter he is, and I drove to Orlando so I could be with my dad through this challenging time. This was the first time Ry and my dad met. It was awkward and emotional, but they both made the best of it. In November, the oncologist gave us the gut-wrenching diagnosis of terminal illness. In December we cruised to Mexico for an “End of Life” celebration, where Ry and dad developed a special bond and he gave Ry his blessing to marry me. It is so important to me to give my father a beautiful wedding where he can walk me down the aisle and give me away to the man I never thought I would find. The financial stress of sustaining two separate households (Ry is stationed in North Carolina) and visits home to Michigan when possible are making it nearly impossible to save. Winning this contest would relieve unreal amounts of stress and help make my dreams come true. This wedding is definitely for Ry and I, but I can’t wait to dance to “Butterfly Kisses” with my dad.

Wedding Date: June 18, 2017
Venue: Castle Farms
Catering: A Matter of Taste
DJ Entertainment: Ryan Rousseau Enterprises
Floral: A Touch of Spring and Other Things
Hairstylist: Last Tangle Salon and Tanning
Hotel: Weathervane Terrace Inn and Suites
Officiant: Northern Michigan Ministers
Photography: Paxton Photography
Photo Booth: Shutterbooth
Videography: 97 Films

Kenzie and JonathanJonathan’s submission: I am currently serving as a United States Marine, and I am deployed in Kuwait for the next seven months. My bride to-be is from Indiana and we met at my Marine buddy’s wedding; it was love at first sight. She is a tiny little thing that has the sweetest smile, the kindest heart, but is a spit fire too! I wish to give her the beautiful fairy tale wedding she has dreamed of but that I cannot afford on a military salary.  I don’t have a lot to offer my fiancée except a man with a good heart, a kind soul, a sense of duty to his country, strong hands to work a hard day’s work, arms that will never stop hugging her and loving her, my family who loves me to the moon and back and who will welcome her into our family and love her to pieces.  If I could write it on the moon for her I would; she completes me like no one ever has.  I would love to celebrate our wedding at Castle Farms but also to have our families there to marvel in the beauty also.  My mom was just diagnosed with Breast Cancer and underwent a mastectomy two weeks ago while I was overseas.  I couldn’t be there for her and she had to endure the operation and pain without me. She is the strongest person I know, stronger than any Marine. This wedding would be wonderful for my mom to attend all dressed up like the wonderful woman who raised me.  I would have two beautiful ladies on my arm that night.

Wedding date: June 3, 2016
Rooms: Queen’s Courtyard and Queen’s Tavern
Accommodations: Charlevoix Inn and Suites
Cake: Kingsley Cakes
Catering: Grey Gables Restaurant and Catering
Clergy: Glad Remaly
Hairstylist: Last Tangle Salon and Tanning
Photo Booth: Shutterbooth
Transportation: Mackinaw Shuttle

Crystal and IsaiahCrystal’s submission: Isaiah and I have been together for 10 years.  We met while I was in high school.  Isaiah was sent to Iraq during his first year in college.  He was deployed for 19 months. Isaiah  was also deployed to Louisiana to help during hurricane Katrina.  Isaiah and I have two wonderful little boys who would love nothing more to see us get married.  Unfortunately, almost every time we have tried to plan the wedding something has come up.  I am currently working full time and attending college full time.  With two little boys on top of everything else, planning a wedding almost seems impossible but we’ve decided to make it happen this summer.  I’ve always wanted to get married at Castle Farms, it’s our dream wedding spot.  Winning this wedding package would truly be a dream come true.

Wedding date: July 10, 2015
Rooms: Queen’s Courtyard and King’s Great Hall (paid upgrade)
Accommodations: AmericInn Lodge & Suites
Cake: TasT Creations
Catering: A Matter of Taste
Clergy: Judy Grimes
Entertainment: A+ Event Entertainment
Florist: A Touch of Spring and Other Things
Hairstylist: Chello’s Salon
Photography: Paxton Photography
Photo Booth: Shutterbooth
Live Musician: Sylvia Norris
Transportation: Mackinaw Shuttle

Andi and DwayneAndi’s submission: When Dwayne proposed, in 2011, we said that we would get married when he came home. We both agreed that we wanted a summer wedding so it was decided that we would do summer of 2013. Then I was accepted into the nursing program at Kirtland Community College and was either at school or working 12 hour days. There was no hope of planning a wedding. Then someone at the Veteran Affairs office told us about this contest. My mom nominated us. We both said that it would never happen.  We never would have dreamed that we had enough friends that would support us in this. Recently, we had even discussed just going to the courthouse so we could say we were married, and have an official ceremony later. Winning this wedding gives us the opportunity to complete the dream that we have both had since 2011. Neither of us ever thought that we would have the opportunity to get married at such a beautiful venue. We cannot thank Castle Farms enough for giving us that opportunity!

Wedding date: August 22, 2014
Rooms: Queen’s Courtyard and Queen’s Tavern
Accommodations: Charlevoix Inn and Suites
Cake: TasT Creations
Catering: Grey Gables Restaurant and Catering
Clergy: Jonathan Mays
Entertainment: Rousseau Events
Florist: Thyme Hill Designs
Hairstylist: Last Tangle Salon and Tanning
Photography: Paul Retherford Photography
Photo Booth: Shutterbooth
Live Musician: Sylvia Norris
Transportation: Mackinaw Shuttle

About the Military Wedding Giveaway


Castle Farms gives back to our military community by hosting a Military Wedding Giveaway. Castle Farms and participating wedding service providers donate a wedding in Michigan for up to 150 guests! The contest is open to Michigan couples with one or both people who are active members or veterans of the United States Armed Forces, and maintain a permanent residency in Michigan. Couples must be unmarried OR married and wishing to renew their vows.

Couples submit their information and love story to a contest platform on the Castle Farms Facebook Page. Finalists are selected and announced by Castle Farms. The public votes on posted Finalists and the couple with the most votes wins!


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