by Scott Johnson

VanNieuwenhuise Wedding on 8/25/18 at Thornewood Castle in Lakewood, Wa

Music licensed from –
Song Freedom – songfreedom.com

Of all the weird oddities that makes Washington, well, Washington, the Thornewood Castle certainly has the most history behind it. Boasting the fact that it’s the only genuine private castle on the west coast, Thornewood was built a century ago on the shores of American Lake. Now the fact that a castle would even be built in Washington is already super rad, but when you discover that Chester Thorne (one of the founders of the Port of Tacoma) actually purchased an already four hundred year old Elizabethan manor and had it dismantled to rebuild over here, that’s where this story gets kicked into high gear. Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft both stayed at the castle, while several movies have been filmed around the grounds (we’re looking at you There Will Be Blood).

With as awesome as it sounds, it could be easy to get your hopes up and have them be let down—but we promise you they won’t be. Which is probably why the VanNieuwenhuises decided to tie the knot on the storied grounds of the castle. A morning at the Hotel Murano helped ease everyone into what was surely a “royal” day—I mean, getting married at a castle should count for some sort of royalty, right? The ladies got looking lovely in their lilac while the guys donned whites and light grays for a lovely contrast. Some celebratory Red Bull and coffee perked everyone up for the high energies of the day.

Once it was time for group photos, it became all the more clear how awesome this place is. With the guys strutting their stuff outside the castle, they looked incredibly suave—even while doing some rather silly poses. Unfortunately Wes was suffering from an injured foot, so we didn’t quite put everyone through the more outrageous poses, so decided we should save some energy for dancing later on!

In as romantic a spot you could find in an already hopelessly romantic venue, the ceremony space rested at the end of a little clearing, complete with a fountain and a stairway up to a gorgeous backdrop. If you want to see something truly beautiful, just get a shot of the entire scene of the wedding with the bridal party descending downwards and the arch enclosing the bride and groom as they share their first kiss as man and wife. Hearts will swoon—and you will also surely want to get married at your own castle!

Some group photos followed while tables and chairs were set up in a little clearing on the rear side of the estate. Soon they were filled with the three most important F’s: family, friends and food. The bridal party was full of excitement following the ceremony and the ladies decided it was time to show the guys up from earlier! The partying started outside but ended on the inside as the day wore on, though there was hardly a complaint to get to dance inside a castle!

Thank you again to Rhianna and Wes for choosing Best Made Videos® to film their wedding! We hope your first month of marriage has gone perfectly! Have any questions or comments? Leave them below!

Venue – Thornewood Castle

Photographer – Rebecca Jane Photography

Videographer – Best Made Videos

Coordinator – Erica w/ Town and Country Weddings

Officiant – Bill with Rev. Ray Van Winkle and Associates

DJ – SoundAbout DJ

Florist – Love Blooms

Cake – Celebrity Cakes

MUA – Makeup by Cece

Hair – Katie Tidwell

Rhianna and Wes’ story in their own words:

How did you guys meet?

Wes and I met in Sandlake, Oregon in September 2011. ( You can call for the full story very long!)

Tell us about the proposal!

Wes proposed to me after a fun day in Leavenworth in February 2017. It was amazing! Right in front of the gazebo below the sledding hill. So after I said yes all the parents at the top of hill clapped for us hahaha

Why did you choose your venue?

It’s old world charm! Beautiful gardens and it’s on American Lake.

What are you most excited to see in the video?

Wes’s face when he sees me for the first time!