- A Wedding Trip to Mackinac Island
- by Lynn
- Copyright @ 2002
Lynn Conway.All Rights Reserved
- photo by Robert Jerstrom
- My husband Charlie and I were married on Mackinac Island
on August 13, 2002. This page describes the Island and our wedding
trip there, and links to pages of our wedding photos. We love
the Island and wanted to share our experiences with others who
might enjoy visiting, marrying or honeymooning there.
- Mackinac Island is an especially romantic location for weddings.
Going there is like going back in time: Most of the Island's
hotels, inns and cottages are built in Victorian architecture.
No motor vehicles are allowed on the Island, except for a few
emergency vehicles, and all transportation there is by horse
drawn carriages, horse drawn taxies, bicycles and foot. Much
of the Island outside the downtown area is one of Michigan's
many State Parks. Mackinac Island has long been a favorite summer
vacation spot for people from all over the world, and is renowned
for its quaint shops, romantic settings, beautiful gardens, and
breathtaking natural scenery.
- Mackinac Island is located in northern Michigan, in the Straits
of Mackinac that connect Lake Michigan with Lake Huron. The Island
is reached by 15 minute
rides in fast ferryboats from Mackinac City at the top of
Michigan's Lower Peninsula, or from St. Ignace at the east end
of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
- The two peninsulas of Michigan are connected by the mighty
Mackinac Bridge, the longest
suspension bridge in the Americas with 8614 feet suspended and
an overall length of 5 miles, and the bridge in the distance
is a prominent landmark from many Island viewpoints. In addition
to visiting the Island while in the area, many tourists also
visit the various historic colonial sites in and around Mackinac
City, including Fort
and the restored lumber mill at Mill
Creek. For Mackinac (Mack'-in-aw) tourist information see
the very informative Mackinac
Island and Mackinac
Island Tourism Bureau websites.
- Click for more maps: Downtown
Map ; Island Map; Interactive Map;
- Many of the Island's tourist just visit for one day - taking
a morning ferry over and a late afternoon ferry back to the mainland.
During the middle of the day in peak summer season, the downtown
area near the docks with its many quaint shops is often crowded
with these "day people".
- Mornings are a good time to take a carriage
tour of the Island. Getting an early start before all the
day people arrive is a good way to avoid long lines for these
popular rides. The carriage tours are a great way to get introduced
to the overall Island and see a lot of the important sites there.
You'll hear a description of Island history as you glide along,
and can plan to visit some of the sites later on by bicycle or
- During the middle of the day is a good time to take longer
walks, bicycle rides or horseback rides well away from the crowded
downtown area. Historic Fort
Mackinac overlooking the downtown is a great place to spend
some time, exploring the fortifications and watching the demonstrations
there. The Fort has a large veranda where you can buy a lunch
and eat while while enjoying a spectacular view out over the
downtown and the harbor.
- Bicycling is especially popular on the Island. You can bring
your own bike over on the ferry, and this is advisable if you
plan to do a lot of riding. Or, you can rent a bike at one of
several large rental outfits. However, be sure to rent one early
in the morning before the day people arrive, because by afternoon
they are all usually rented. There is an easy 8 mile well-paved
bicycle road all the way around the Island that is lots of fun
to ride on. There are almost no hills on this ride, and there
are many interesting places to stop and explore Island history
- all the while passing beautiful beaches and the clear waters
of the Straits of Mackinac. If you have some basic experience
in horseback riding, you can rent horses at several livery stables
and ride on your own all over the Island.
- Charlie looking south from
Fort Mackinac out over the harbor and downtown area of Mackinac
- You can see the mainland of
lower Michigan in the distance.
- (click on photo for more detailed
- If you ever plan to visit the Island, we highly recommend
that you spend at least two nights on the Island on your trip
there. During the early mornings, late afternoon and evenings,
the Island settles back into a more relaxed feeling, even in
the downtown area.
- Only by staying overnight a few nights, and taking time for
long strolls during the more relaxed times, can you really begin
to feel what the Island is really like to those who love it -
and to begin to sense its very special charms. Especially in
the evenings, when many couples and lovers stroll the quiet streets
together, the Island comes alive with a feeling of romance.
- It is great fun to take long strolls in the early mornings
and in the evenings along the tree and flower lined streets,
stopping off in the many little shops, and exploring the many
historical sites and tourist exhibits there. In the evening you
can also sample fine foods in many wonderful restaurants such
as the main dining rooms in the Mission
Point Resort, the Iroquois
Hotel, the Grand Hotel,
and the Island House,
and the Yankee Rebel
Tavern and many more. There are many wonderful hotels,
inns and resorts, bed
and breakfasts and restaurants to make your stay on the Island
comfortable and memorable. Almost all of these places are described
in the Mackinac Island website.
- Especially famous is the Grand
Hotel, with its spectacular grounds and golf course, and
its wonderful evening entertainment - including a world class
restaurant, a Cupola Bar on top of the Hotel where you can watch
the sunsets over Lake Michigan, and a ballroom with a dance band
where you can listen to music and dance every night in season.
Note that the Grand Hotel charges a $10 admission during the
day, for those who want to explore it and the grounds there.
However, after 6 pm in the evening you can get in free if "dressed"
(coat and tie for men, dresses for women) and thus have free
access to the Cupola Bar and the Ballroom. There is also fun
evening entertainment by musical groups most evenings in the
lounge at the Chippewa
Hotel and at Horn's Bar
in the downtown area.
- Most places in the downtown area are within a moderate walk
of each other, since the whole downtown strip is only about 3/4
mile long. If you are tired, or if the weather isn't perfect,
or if you need to go further outside the downtown area than a
convenient walk, you can easily get horse drawn taxi's that only
charge $3.50 to $4.50 per person for a ride. Note that the "taxi's"
aren't private, but are more like horse drawn busses that carry
multiple parties, so taxi's meander around while dropping off
people off at various spots.
- This is one of the many examples of "Island time",
where things may not happen on an optimal schedule but they do
eventually happen. Thus you need to allow some flexibility in
your schedule, and then relax about when things happen. If there's
something that needs to happen on a schedule, simply make allowances
for some extra time ahead of time.
- Most visitors who are used to the Island tend not to "overplan"
their days there, but instead kinda make it up as they go along,
doing whatever feels like fun at the time depending upon their
mood, the weather, etc. In a way the Island's habits reflect
the customs of a less hurried time a century ago. Once you've
been on the Island a while you'll get used to this idea, and
may even get to like it. After all this is one of the charms
of the Island.
- A ferryboat on its way in towards
Mackinac Island's harbor.
- It's just now passing by the
Church and the carriage road to the Grand Hotel
- Planning our wedding trip to
- Charlie had been to the Island for two weeks each of two
summers as a teen-ager, having been in a Boy Scout troop that
was selected for summer duty as guides in Fort Mackinac. Even
as young teenager, he sensed that the Island had a special romantic
attraction for couples. There's always a hint of romance in the
air, with lovers strolling almost everywhere you look. When we
got together back in 1988, Charlie was eager to take me to the
Island and show me some of the special places there. Over the
years we made several trips to the Island together and had wonderful
- When Charlie and I got engaged we'd been together for a long
time, almost 15 years. Many folks who knew us simply assumed
that we were married. Therefore, we didn't contemplate a "regular
Church wedding" with lot of folks attending. Instead we
wanted to go someplace special and enjoy a ceremony and honeymoon
that were designed "just for the two of us". We wanted
to celebrate our love for each other and create some special
romantic memories that we would carry for the rest of our lives.
We thought of all the special places that we'd been over the
years, including glitzy places like Las Vegas, places we'd visited
on our Caribbean cruise, and special locations in our favorite
cities. However, it wasn't long before we decided "let's
get married on Mackinac Island"!
Many people who get married on the Island have also seen and
been especially moved by the 1980 love movie "Somewhere
in Time". We hadn't seen the movie before we decided
to get married there, but our wedding planner put us onto it,
and after seeing it we can understand how many couples are inspired
by the movie to choose the Island for their wedding.
- The movie starred Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour, and
is the story of a very special, tragic romance. Although it was
panned by critics when it first came out, the film has
been elevated to cult status by people all around the world
who've been moved by its unusual story. Set in the Grand Hotel
in Victorian times, it evokes something special about the Island
and why it attracts to many lovers to visit there - and eventually
to be married there. If you haven't seen this movie, try to get
hold of the new DVD and watch it when you are in the mood for
a good story. Then you'll understand.
- For more information about and
- mementos of this movie, visit the official
in Time Web Site:
- To get an idea of how romantic a Mackinac Island wedding
can be, also take a look at the wonderful photographs on the
following web pages about Mackinac wedding
and carriage rides.
As we'll see, our wedding turned out to be as magical for us
as those photos suggested it might be.
- Making the arrangements for our simple "elopement ceremony"
was made easy by working with a very experienced wedding
planner who has arranged many ceremonies on the Island. We
met with our planner for one evening about six months in advance
to become familiar with the various options for our wedding,
and to learn a lot about the Island from a real authority. We
then did the rest of our interactions with our planner by e-mail,
which made it very convenient. Any couple interested in a Mackinac
wedding would be well advised to seek the help of a wedding planner
familiar with the Island. That way you can rest easy and not
worry so much about all the little details, and focus instead
on enjoying yourselves and having a great time.
are many wonderful sites for weddings on the Island - several
outdoor gazebos, the Little Stone Church, many beautiful settings
in the hotels and inns, and several full-sized churches too.
There are great places for weddings large or small, and great
places for receptions and entertainment afterwards. If you are
interested in exploring the possibilities of an Island wedding,
a good place to start is the Mackinac
Island Wedding Guide. Another good reference is the Mackinac
Island Weddings free online wedding consulting site, which
contains lots of wedding planning information and links to many
key wedding services on the Island.
- We decided to stay at the Harbour
View Inn during our wedding trip. The Harbour View is a very
historic old inn. It has beautiful, peaceful grounds including
a gazebo where we could have an outdoor ceremony. We wanted to
hold the ceremony in the same place we were staying in order
to simplify arrangements and to easily cover contingencies such
as the possibility of rain (at the Harbour View we could hold
the ceremony in the parlor or on the porch in case of rain).
Similar arrangements could be made at a number of other hotels
and inns on Mackinac.
- We made our hotel reservations early and selected Room 1207,
which is located on the second floor of the Inn just off the
front balcony. Our three large windows would look out over the
balcony to the harbor to the south and also out over gardens
to the west. We would have easy access to the porch on the balcony
where we could relax and watch the carriages and walkers pass
by on the street out front.
- Although the front portion of the Inn where we were staying
is in the old traditional form and doesn't have air conditioning,
we were willing to trade-off a little extra humidity for the
better views and setting in the older original part of the Inn.
The Harbour View does have some air-conditioned rooms (and do
some of the other hotels, inns and bed and breakfasts) - but
note that most rooms on the Island do not have A/C because the
summers are usually very mild there.
- The Inn is set back from the street just far enough to provide
a feeling of privacy and relaxation for those sitting out on
the front porches. Although it is within very easy walking distance
to the downtown area, it's just far enough outside the shopping
and tourist district that it is quieter and more peaceful than
at the hotels right in town.
- Our wedding assistant had arranged for the minister and
also for a great photographer, Robert
Resort Photography, to do our wedding photography. Our assistant also
gave us lost of great tips and hints for
special things to do not only on our wedding day but also during
our honeymoon stay on the Island. We also arranged for flowers, and
for a carriage ride after the ceremony.
- A long carriage ride is a great way to experience the Island, especially
on your wedding day. Our photographer
Jerstrom lives year-round on the Island, and is widely known for his
photos of Island scenes (photosonmackinac.com).
In addition to taking photos at the ceremony, Rob planned to follow the
carriage on his bicycle, taking photos of us at scenic spots all around the
Island. As you'll see, he created some truly wonderful mementos for us (see
the wedding day photos).
By deciding on a basic ceremony and obtaining assistance from a wedding
planner, the preparations for this trip were pretty easy. Other than the usual
worries about weather or whether some other contingency might arise, it was a
fairly non-stressful process. Other than these simple arrangements, all we needed
to do now was order my gown and arrange for a tux for Charlie - and look forward excitedly to our wedding trip
to Mackinac Island!
- For a day by day description and photos of our trip, click
on the following links:
- Our wedding trip, August 11-16,
Reset on 9-6-02
Page version of 3-14-03
Links updated 1-13-07