Plan A “Grand” Wedding On Mackinac Island

When you step off the boat onto the docks on Mackinac (pronounced “Mackinaw”) Island, you’re immediately struck but a few things. If its summer, the streets will be full of tourists, “fudgies” as they are affectionately called by the locals, for their affinity for the fudge that Mackinac Island has become famous for. Secondly, its the “clip-clop” of horses hooves. The island has outlawed cars since the turn of the 20th century, and the main modes of transportation here, are horses and bikes.

Of course, this all adds to the charm of this scenic island located in the straits of Mackinac at the very top of Michigan’s lower peninsula. Also famous for the film “Somewhere in Time”, starring the late Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour, Mackinac Island provided the movie its Victorian charm and beautiful scenery for a backdrop. If its an island wedding you want, and the Caribbean is out of your price range, than Mackinac Island may be just for you!

The island has many locations that would be suitable for summer or fall nuptials, but by far, the most popular is the Grand Hotel. The Grand Hotel is truly the “crown jewel” of Mackinac Island. Built back in 1887, it was designed to accommodate the Victorian era traveler, who sought after the relaxing natural beauty and pure, clean air of the island. Northern Michigan was touted as having definitive health benefits, especially for those with asthma and other allergy problems.

Railroads were built to take travelers from cities like St. Louis and Chicago to northern Michigan towns like Charlevoix and Petoskey, and steamships brought them to Mackinac Island. One of the Grand’s most famous attributes is it’s front porch. Running the length of the hotel, at 880 feet is is reputed to be the “longest front porch in the world”. Always known for its breathtaking vistas, impeccable service, elegant dining and warm hospitality, the Grand Hotel continues this tradition of treating visitors in a “grand” way.

The Grand Hotel’s Wedding Coordinator, Marty Haines, is more than happy to assist couples in designing the wedding and honeymoon of their dreams. One of the reasons the Grand Hotel is so popular for weddings today, is the many choices a couple will have for their ceremony location. The southern end of the front porch, overlooking the water, is a beautiful place for a summer wedding. Also, the Grand’s “tea garden” with its picturesque fountain, can provide a charming backdrop to a couples wedding vows. Inside the hotel, couples will find many dining and banquet rooms to choose from.

The Pontiac Room, which will accommodate up to 40 attendees, has an attached semi-circular porch which overlooks the Grand Hotel Gardens. The Cottage Restaurant, suitable for up to 70 guests, even features an antique credenza in which to display your wedding cake. The Terrace Room has Asian themed decor, and will accommodate up to 180 guests. The existing stage and ballroom sized dance floor would be suitable for a wedding with more formal musical entertainment. The Grand Pavilion, the hotel’s most recently added facility, will host 70-180 guests, and includes a veranda with a view of the Grand Nine golf course.

Guests at the Grand Hotel will find lots of choices for recreation and dining. The hotel’s golf course, The Jewel, is comprised of two nine-hole courses. Both a meticulously maintained and offer spectacular water views. There is also the Esther Williams Swimming Pool, which was made famous by the 1947 MGM movie, “This Time For Keeps”, starring none other than, Esther Williams. Tennis is played on four outdoor clay courts and racquets are made available for use by the guests.

Also available are bocci ball, horseshoes and croquet on the lawn as well as and exercise room and bike rental. A bicycle ride around the island is a must for visitors. Skirting the island and just 6 miles around, the road offers scenic views and plenty of photo opportunities. All you have to watch for is other bicyclists and the horses pulling carriages. Where there are horses, there is also horse manure…so watch out for that too!

The hotel can provide couples with lists of other ceremony sites on the island, such as the Mission Church and “Somewhere in Time” gazebo, another popular location at nearby Fort Mackinac. You will also find plenty of businesses on the island providing all the necessary wedding services a bride and groom may need. Guests will find lodging plentiful on the island including at the Grand Hotel, Mission Resort and many other smaller hotels and Victorian B & B’s. Peak times on the island are towards the end of June through the Labor Day weekend, as well as during the Island’s Lilac Festival, held this year June 6-15th.

The mild climate on the island allows for many beautiful days outside the peak tourist times, and a fall wedding here would be particularly stunning set against a backdrop of fall foliage. Mackinaw Island Carriage Tours, the oldest operating livery on the island, can provide the bridge and groom with beautiful white horse drawn wedding carriages, and also carriages for transporting guests.

There is nothing more romantic for a newly wedded couple to enjoy together, than a carriage ride around Mackinac Island. Warm breezes…island sunsets and bliss.

Find help with your wedding and honeymoon plans at

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