A Michigan Destination WeddingWords by Kyra Goodman
Photos courtesy of Jenna Hidinger Photography
Abby and Oliver knew a Michigan destination wedding was perfect for them because Abby grew up vacationing on Mackinac Island and always dreamt of saying “I do!” in the peaceful location. “There is something about the slow pace of the island (no cars are allowed!) and the quaint town that creates a charm you can’t find anywhere else,” says the bride.
The couple knew the island was the perfect destination for their wedding, plus there were tons of venues to choose from. They ended up going with the venue that gave them a private and intimate feel for their big day. The Inn at Stonecliffe is up the hill, away from the busyness of town and has a beautiful view of the lake and sunset.
Along with a wedding planner, the couple used WeddingWire to help the process run smoothly. They were easily able to send invites, count RSVP’s and send "thank you" notes. Abby and Oliver used Zola for their wedding registry. “My favorite feature allowed us to schedule when something would ship or to exchange it for credit before it came to our house, which avoided a lot of trips to the post office and allowed us to pick the gifts we really needed over others,” says the bride.
One of the bride’s favorite DIY touches was the globe guest book. Instead of a traditional guest book, the couple wanted something unique that they could display in their home, without spending a lot of money. “I purchased a fairly simple [globe], sanded it down, painted it to match our colors and remove the text and drew on our names and the date. It turned out just as I had hoped and it looks amazing on our bookshelf,” says the bride.
To reach the wedding venue, guests had to drive or fly into Northern Michigan and then take a ferry to the island. The couple provided planning resources to make things easier for their guests. “We utilized our website to communicate the logistics of travel and places to stay, which worked really well for those who checked the website.” The couple’s families were also great with sharing information and answering any questions their guests had.
Planning a wedding when you are not in the physical location is a little challenging, but the couple relied on phone and email to ensure all of their visions were created. “Most [vendors] got back to me within the day or sooner, which was so great. We shared a lot of photos over email in order to convey our vision for things like flowers and the cake, which was so much easier than trying to describe over the phone,” says the bride.
Having a destination wedding wasn’t necessarily a more expensive endeavor for the couple; they just spent their money differently than they would have in their hometown. “Had we had a local wedding, we probably would have invited more guests or splurged more on decorations, but we ultimately wanted an intimate and simple wedding and that worked out perfectly with our budget and having the wedding on Mackinac,” says the couple.
The bride has some advice to anyone planning a destination wedding: "Stay organized and plan ahead. I am so thankful that my mom and I put in the time before we left home to organize everything we were bringing and had a master list of where everything was packed and where it was going once we got to the Inn. All of that was coordinated with the workers at the Inn as well, so when we got there things were able to fall into place. It allowed us to not worry about the details and just enjoy the day!"
Other vendors: Photography: Jenna Hidinger Photography; Wedding Location/Ceremony Site: Inn at Stonecliffe, Mackinac, Michigan; Florist: Weber's Floral; Stationery: Paper Source; Cake: Bella e Dolce; Hair and Makeup: Vintage Glam on Market; Gown Designer: Stella York; Groom’s Clothing Designer: JoS A. Banks, The Tie Bar; Bridesmaids Clothing Designer: Handmade; Groomsmen’s Clothing Designer: JoS A. Banks
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