Bridie had no idea what to expect when she logged onto Facebook that night in 2010. Her mom had told her about a guy who was coaching Bridie’s brother’s basketball team; the kind of guy, her mom said, who would make the perfect guy for Bridie. She checked out his profile, thought he was cute, and sent him a message. Josh responded to Bridie, and they started chatting on-line. Soon they were chatting in person. In August 2011, Josh proposed, and they began planning their wedding.
The couple, who live in Indiana, knew they wanted to be married in Northern Michigan. Josh had visited often as a teenager, and Bridie quickly fell in love with the area. Bridie searched on-line for wedding venues, but quit looking once she discovered Castle Farms. “It was the perfect place,” she says, “reasonably priced and gorgeous!” Their destination wedding was held on July 14, 2012 in the Knight’s Courtyard. A reception following in the Knight’s Castle. The week leading up to the event had been beautiful, but their wedding day dawned overcast with cloudy skies. “Naturally, that had to be the one day it rained,” Bridie remembers. “Even so, it turned out great. We got out the white umbrellas, and everything was perfect. After the wedding, our wedding photographer, E’Lisa Campbell, took us around the Castle. We frolicked and played, just like little kids. I remember dancing through the train garden with Josh and our umbrellas. It was so much fun.”
Fast forward two years. On June 27, 2014, the young couple’s lives changed forever as they welcomed son Leyton into the world. They were no longer simply Bridie and Josh. With Leyton’s birth, they became a family. Bridie, a stay-at-home mom, also teaches dance choreography, while Josh, a real estate agent, still coaches basketball. And Leyton keeps them plenty active. “When he came along,” Bridie says, “the world became a playground again. We love taking him places, and letting him explore. It’s wonderful; like you’re experiencing the world all over again, but this time through the eyes of a child.”
One of the places they took Leyton was north to Michigan and Castle Farms. Though Bridie had visited the Castle once after their marriage, Josh had been unable to accompany her. This time, the family was all together. They visited on June 16th, and just like his mom and dad, Leyton fell in love with the Castle. Entering the Castle’s Welcome Center/Gift Shop, he was immediately taken with a Knight’s Cape and toy sword, which they bought for him. Leyton was delighted, and wore his cape all over the Castle grounds. They visited the Reflection Pond, where Sir Leyton helped feed the fish. Then Bridie and Josh took him to the Knight’s Courtyard. “It was so special,” Bridie said, remembering how they held their son as they stood in the exact spot where the couple had been married three years earlier. “We love being at the Castle. Even on a rainy day, it makes you happy inside, just like when you’re a kid. We were blown away by all the new things the Castle has gotten and put out since we were married. We can’t wait to see what’s here the next time we come.”
A return visit for this Indiana couple and their little family of three? “Absolutely,” Bridie promises. Leyton loves the Castle, and so do Bridie and Josh. The memories will draw them back. For them, visiting the Castle is just like coming home.