Some might say that getting married on Mackinac Island is a dream come true! To me, it is one of the most special places on earth. Mackinac is a small island in Michigan’s upper peninsula and the only way to get to it is by ferry or plane. There are no motorized vehicles on the island, so everyone gets around via bike or horse and carriage. It’s truly a step back in time.
Why is Mackinac Island so Special?
From the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau: For centuries, visitors have enjoyed the national treasure that’s home to historic Fort Mackinac, world-famous Mackinac Island fudge, and car-free streets full of horse-drawn carriages. This ideal vacation spot is a paradise of exploration with incredible natural landmarks, awe-inspiring sunrises and unforgettable sunsets. There’s unique shopping, diverse dining and extraordinary nightlife, too. No wonder Travel + Leisure ranked Mackinac Island the Best Island in the Continental U.S.
And they aren’t wrong, this island has something for everyone. When I was a little girl, we would take our boat up to the Island and stay at the marina. I got my first tastes of freedom up there when my parents would let me take my allowance into town to go buy knickknacks and fudge all by myself! When I was a teenager, I would love to take our little dinghy around the island to explore. There are two light houses and a bunch of fun things to do on the water. As I got older, drinking took over and the night life on the island is hard to beat! There is great live music and tasty cocktails on every corner! Now that i have a toddler, I am finding new ways to enjoy the island by watching all the horses, taking Birdie out for yummy meals, bike rides, and last year we really enjoyed the butterfly house! So far, I haven’t hit an age where the island didn’t suit me.
Anywayyyy, now that I have sold you on how special Mackinac Island can be, let me tell you about my favorite Mackinac Island wedding venues!
The Grand Hotel
It’s hard to beat the Grand Hotel. Steeped in history, with stunning views of the Island from both ends of its 660 foot long porch, the Grand Hotel is an absolutely lovely location for your wedding. They handle small elopements all the way up to large, luxury weddings, and I have photographed everything in between.
You can choose to get married at one of the local churches on the Island or on one of the Grand Hotel porches. If you ask me, the East Porch is the place to be with a beautiful view of the lake and Cadotte Avenue, there is so much to see from this end! And if you are having a fall wedding, the tree lined street is just magical. Traditionally, people seem to choose the West Porch because of the views of the Straits of Mackinac and the Mackinac Bridge.
As for portraits, the sky is the limit when you are on Mackinac Island! I suggest renting a carriage to take you into town. My favorite spots to hit are the view of Main Street in front of Doud’s Market, Windermere Point, The Iroquois, and all around the grounds of the Grand Hotel. I always end with lots of portraits on the porch because it is just so stunning!’
You can view a larger gallery of my favorite images from a Grand Hotel wedding here.
One of my favorite things about Mission Point is that once you get there you never have to leave! I don’t recommend it, because Mackinac Island has so many fun activities to offer, but Mission Point is a total destination, if that is what you’re looking for! Lodging, meals, activities like bike rentals and putt-putt golf, it really covers all needs. A wedding at Mission Point is no exception; you can have your guests stay on the grounds, your ceremony overlooking Lake Huron, and your reception in one of four different spaces.
There are so many beautiful spots for portraits right on the Mission Point grounds! I still recommend renting a carriage to take you into town for a few shots on Main Street, and down to Windermere Point to capture the lake and lighthouses. But if you choose to forego the carriage ride, Mission Point has you covered. From their incredible landscaping, their tree-lined road, and the magnificent shoreline, you are sure to love your portraits.
You can view a larger gallery of my favorite images from a Mission Point wedding here.
The Inn at Stonecliffe
The Inn at Stonecliffe is such a special spot! You can rent out the whole inn, so all your loved ones are staying on-site with you. Being inside Stonecliffe has such a special feeling – the decor and vibe inside is like truly stepping back in time. Their ceremony space and sprawling lawn are the perfect setting for an all inclusive wedding day. Views of the Straits of Mackinac and the Mackinac Bridge on one side and a sprawling lawn and views of the gorgeous estate on the other, your portrait options are endless.
In 2023, the Inn has been undergoing a major renovation, so I am so so excited to see what is in store for 2024!