2017 Military Wedding Giveaway winners Taylor and Ryan Castle Farms

Military Wedding 2017 Recap- He Said, She Said

Our 2017 Military Wedding Giveaway winners, Taylor and Ryan, had a beautiful wedding in June 2017. As we gear up for our 2018 Military Giveaway, we want to take this time to look back at Taylor and Ryan’s experience and share some of their photos.

“Hey Everyone, Ryan here!

It is now, unbelievably, two months past the wedding day and everything still feels like such a wonderful dream, from which we have yet to awaken. Things have settled down substantially since the big day, with no wedding to plan for and just the blissful memories of our time there in Northern Michigan. Taylor met her service obligation with the Navy and is now in school full-time, as a Pre-Med student. I will soon meet my obligation and transition back to civilian life as well, which means we will be looking for a new place to call home! Where that is remains unseen, but after our time in Charlevoix, the mitten has made itself a strong contender for where we will decide to start our next journey. For now, we are still reminiscing about our big day.

I speak for us both when I say that Castle Farms and our Vendors put on a display for us that wildly exceeded our expectations. The food, decor, scenery, atmosphere, just about everything they touched turned to gold. We couldn’t have been more pleased with the final result. Like many other couples preparing for our big day, we worried about being too caught up making sure everything went smoothly (you know, the usual “wedding drama”), rather than enjoying our celebration. But the Castle staff (Specifically Sarah!!) really took the reins and ensured we were just two happy passengers on that wonderful ride. DJ Ryan Rousseau with his bubbly, calming demeanor, orchestrated a wonderful tempo for the wedding and we couldn’t be more pleased. I can’t express enough how well everyone worked together, allowing us to sit back and enjoy everything that was so graciously prepared for us. While we had a minor dysfunction with the cake (Taylor forgot to finish frosting it before the ceremony), Ginny and her team from A Matter of Taste, quickly came to the rescue and the wedding never skipped a beat! Judy, with A Touch of Springs, surprised us with several secret decorations and incorporated an extremely personal touch into every single arrangement, something we can hold onto for the rest of our lives. Ken Grimes, our Officiant, produced a heart-throbbing ceremony that truly described how Taylor and I feel about each other. I think a common fear for couples is after all the intricate planning, stress, excitement, tears, etc., they will be unable to enjoy what they had worked so hard for. I’m glad we weren’t that couple.

My advice to any couple considering or already planning a wedding at Castle Farms is this: loosen your grip, your desire to control everything that happens on your big day. Let the Castle Staff and your Vendors do their job, so you have more time to give your attention to what matters more than anything else that day: your spouse. These people know what they are doing and it brings them joy to work for/with you. Give them your trust and you’ll be rewarded with memories you will cling to for the rest of your life. And speaking of life, I’m looking forward to every day of mine, spent with my beautiful wife, cherishing every second we have together. I knew that my wedding day would be special, but it was literally, unequivocally, the best day of my life.  Lastly, a massive and sincere thank you to Castle Farms and the Vendors that participated this year, and prior years, for allowing military couples like us to have a dream wedding, when we otherwise could not afford to. There are not enough thanks to be given, but for now, this is goodbye.

Love, Ryan”


“Hey Guys,

Just a quick update from me, Taylor! I seriously cannot believe it’s been two months since our big day! How time flies when you’re having fun with your best friend. I just want to thank everyone (a million times) who helped make our wedding such an amazing event. I want to give a special shout out to a few, behind the scenes, people who really stepped up and significantly lifted stress off my shoulders:

Kelly, my Mother or more precisely, my closest friend. There is not a person on this Earth that I would have picked to be next to me throughout this process, other than her. Fun fact! Ryan flight was cancelled on the Friday night before the wedding (which was on a Sunday), and his Saturday morning flight was delayed by 2 hours, which gave him 6 minutes from touch-down to scheduled take-off of his connecting flight into Traverse City. The only other flight would put him into Michigan around 9pm Saturday. My mom called the Minneapolis airport and was able to have his connecting flight delayed (unheard of, right?!?!), in order for Ryan to make it to the last half of our Rehearsal and Dinner! When things seem impossible, somehow she is always there to save the day! I love you, Mom. Thank you for consistently being trustworthy and always having my best interest.

Stephanie, my sister, helped me tremendously throughout the process. From flying to Florida to help me pack my apartment and drive to North Carolina, to literally holding me when I was having a meltdown on Friday after Ryan flight was cancelled and a two hour phone call with Delta Airline hadn’t changed a thing. Although I’ve been physically absent, for the most part of the past 5 years, Stephanie and I have strengthened our relationship more than ever before. Love you, Seester.

Katie Simpoulos and Meg Paxton, I can’t even begin to thank you guys for everything you’ve done for us over the past 6 months. The memories that you two captured for us, means more than any amount of words can say. You two are both beautiful people. Thank you for fostering an environment that let us feel more like friends, than anything else.

Sarah Hagen, I feel a little sad that the wedding is over. I miss feeling the excitement after seeing a new email from you! Thank you, for going above and beyond for Ryan and me. You were so fluid and allowed us to let loose and enjoy the day! We will visit you anytime were in Northern Michigan! Lunch on us!

Last, but certainly not least…

James, my Dad. Where to begin…Thank you for staying strong, even on your worst days. Without you, this wouldn’t have been possible. Your encouragement and pride keeps me standing tall, every single day. I know that times are tough, but keep your head up. I promise, I will, if you will. You are admirable and inspirational to so many people around you. You are constantly in the back of my head, especially when I want to give up on something. Whenever I feel like giving up, you’re there in the forefront of my mind saying “Let’s go, Buggy!!!!!”  So if you ever feel like giving up, just know that i’m always rooting for you. ” I’m so proud that you’re my father. Love you, Daddy.

Well, enough sappy talk! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the entire process, even when I wanted to rip my hair out. As much I don’t want to say goodbye, the time has come. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. To everyone who voted for us, donated to my father’s cause, donated to our cause and everyone who was a part of our special day.  May love and peace fill your life.

With Much Love, Taylor”

All photos: Paxton Photography

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