How to Plan a Mackinac Island Destination Wedding - degreesnorthimages.com

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I sat down with my recent bride Kelly to talk about how to plan a Mackinac Island destination wedding. We get into the nitty gritty of planning her out of state wedding in northern Michigan.

Kelly had been dreaming of a wedding on the island for years and when her Fiance Bobby agreed to it (even though he’d never traveled there before) they immediately began planning. They decided to host their event at Mission Point Resort over Labor Day weekend. Living eight hours away in Illinois, and not being able to visit the venues during the winter, they had to play some of the planning by ear.

We talk about:
– how they decided to get married on Mackinac Island
– how they choose Mission Point Resort
– their top wedding priorities
– the booking process
– guest list challenges
– their Mission Point Resort room block
– how they dealt with transporting decorations
– booking vendors
– their wedding day timeline
– why they did a first look
– their favorite memories
– what went wrong or didn’t turn out like they expected
– what seemed like a big deal but turned out not to be
– what they would have done differently
– tips and advice for other Mackinac Island wedding couples

View their photos here while you listen: Kelly and Bobby’s Mackinac Island Wedding
Listen to this episode directly on my Anchor.fm channel.

A quick intro to my thoughts about this episode:

For couples that would otherwise love to have a destination wedding, the logistics of how to plan one can seem overwhelming and even impossible.

There is so much information available about what is possible, but not a lot about the real behind the scenes work required to to make it happen. That mystery of the HOW, I believe, is a large part of the reason why a lot of couples pass on a destination wedding. If we could only peek behind the curtain to see how someone else did it, it wouldn’t be so scary!

Which brings me to this recording. Thanks to Kelly, today you’ll get to take that peek behind the curtain to hear the challenges they faced and the solutions and outcome. This recorded interview serves to help any couple considering planning a destination wedding, whether on Mackinac Island or elsewhere.

Bride at groom at Mission Point Resort wedding gazebo; just married carriage ride

About Mackinac Island

00:02:15
-located in Lake Huron on the eastern edge of the Straits of Mackinac (the area between the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan that connects Lake Huron and Lake Michigan)
-the entire island is a registered National Historic Landmark
-there is a ban on motor vehicles (except emergency and construction)
-can only be accessed by boat, small aircraft or Ferry from Mackinaw City or St. Ignace

How they decided on Mackinac Island destination wedding?

00:06:25
– Grandparents had always gone
– big family vacations were a happy memory
– Kelly said it would be her dream to have a wedding there and Bobby was onboard right from the beginning, even having never been there himself!
– they were initially going to do a small wedding near their home in Illinois, but Kelly’s parents encouraged them to have the wedding at their dream location

How they decided on Mission Point Resort?

00:09:15
– a little more secluded and away from the hustle and bustle of the downtown area
– there’s a big lawn overlooking the water and a wedding gazebo
– the walkway and landscaping at the gazebo is beautiful and helped save money on flowers

What were their top 3 priorities? Low Priorities?

00:11:13
– Venue: they wanted a good atmosphere for all our guests
– Photography
– DJ: they love dancing and wanted everyone to have a great time
– Flowers were a lower priority
– skipped a bouquet toss to save on cost of an additional bouquet
– simplified table decor
– Cake: Bobby hates cake so they went small and had a donut and cider dessert

The booking process with Mission Point Resort:

00:15:08
– booked in August (approximately 1 year in advance)
– no venue tours from October to May so they couldn’t go see the reception spaces
– there was another ceremony booked at the gazebo at their preferred time on the same day, so they had to accept an earlier ceremony time
– an earlier ceremony time worked out better because they didn’t feel rushed and had more time to get the photos they really wanted
– didn’t know what their rain plan reception venue would be at the time of booking

Handling the guest list:

00:19:30
– limited by the venue space (70 people max) and budget
– they didn’t allow single guests to bring +1’s
– only first cousins were invited
– they wanted it to be intimate so they could interact with every guest
– all guests were traveling 6+ hours

Mission Point Resort room block:

00:22:15
– Mission Point Resort provided a room block with a two night minimum and a discount
– there was no minimum requirement the couple had to meet with their room block (some resorts require a minimum number of room nights booked), it was just available to them if desired
– rooms were blocked to a certain date
– Mission Point Resort provided the couple’s wedding night for free!

Transporting decorations:

00:25:00
– transporting decor and event items was chaotic
– Kelly’s parents drove up to Michigan in a van packed with wedding items and decor
– the couple’s car was also full of decor
– at the ferry dock, Shepler’s put everything on a cart, transported it to the island and then over to the resort (there is a transport charge)
– some items were held at the front desk
– some items were shipped prior and able to be held for up to two months.
– the rest of the items had to be stored in the couple’s hotel room

Booking other vendors:

00:28:34
– DJ, officiant and florist were island local
– cake artist drove cake over on her bike!
– Kelly did hair and makeup for herself and her mom
– bridesmaids did their own hair and makeup
– Kelly and her mom fully road tested various mascaras!

The wedding day timeline:

00:31:18
– how the day played out from getting ready to reception send off
– the rained out first look
– rain plan initiation by Mission Point Resort staff
– rearrangement of the photography timeline
– what happened when the rain stopped just before the ceremony
– the carriage ride downtown
– reception took place in the rain plan location which was gorgeous!

Why do a first look?

00:37:13
– they were against it at first and wanted to be more traditional
– they decided to do it to lessen anxiety about walking down the aisle
– it made more time for photos in the morning which gave them time to go on a carriage ride after the ceremony
– why I’m a huge proponent of first looks

What was their favorite memory?

00:38:35
– Kelly loved her emotional first look moment with her dad
– taking the carriage ride down Main Street after the ceremony
– they felt like royalty and loved kissing in the middle of town with everyone cheering for them
– stopping at the mint green house for photos on the porch

Reflections on the day.

What went wrong or didn’t turn out like they expected?
00:40:45
– the rain scare which turned out okay
– announcements when there isn’t a wedding planner
– they lucked out with our reception venue change

What turned out better than they thought?
00:43:30
– wasn’t as nervous at the ceremony as anticipated

What they would have done differently?
00:44:50
– would have liked to have a videographer, but it wasn’t in the budget
– Kelly wishes she’d taken some of her own photos while dancing and having fun

Tips and advice for Mackinac Island destination wedding couples
00:45:57
– be prepared for drastic weather changes on the island
– plan to take a carriage ride for photos

How to plan a Mackinac Island destination wedding

Mission Point Resort Mackinac Island destination wedding
Mission Point Resort Summit Room wedding reception
custom wood guest book; ombre mint green wedding cake

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