5 reasons fairytale weddings on Mackinac Island are real

Published on January 15th, 2020

Last updated on December 6th, 2022

Certain dates tend to become popular times for couples to get married. Perhaps the most popular wedding date of all time was July 7, 2007 – or 07/07/07 – when tens of thousands of couples got hitched, hoping triple sevens would bless their marriage with a triple dose of good luck.

The year 2020 is another popular time for weddings. For starters, 2020 has a nice ring to it (see what we did there?). And since October is the most popular month of the year to get married, how cute is it to say your wedding date is 10/10/2020?

Plus, later in life, it’s easier to remember how many years you’ve been married if your wedding takes place in a year that ends in zero!

Those kinds of days are popular times for weddings on Mackinac Island, too. But here, the experience has more to do with the place than the date. Mackinac Island has a timeless appeal that gives weddings a special feeling you can’t quite match anywhere else – no matter when you get married.

Because cars aren’t allowed on Mackinac Island, for example, couples that get married here often take a horse-drawn carriage ride after the ceremony. In a world where everything moves at a slower pace, everyone notices the happy couple as they clip-clop around the island. It’s straight out of a fairytale!

“As they’re riding through town, people are cheering,” says Carole Erbel, a veteran wedding planner on Mackinac Island. “It makes them feel like royalty.

“Because Mackinac Island is such a historic place, it’s kind of set back in time. It’s a whole different feel.”

Newly-Wed Couple Riding in Horse-Drawn Carriage Outside Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island

Horse-drawn carriage rides are just one of many unique things that make weddings on Mackinac Island extra special. Here are four more:

Wedding Party Posed for Photo Around Newly-Weds in Gazebo on Mackinac Island

Ste. Anne’s is a beautiful place, and the inside of the Little Stone Church on Mackinac Island is just magical. In addition to indoor settings, there also are many gorgeous outdoor spots for a glorious wedding ceremony:

  • The Inn at Stonecliffe offers outdoor ceremonies on their Terraced Lawn, overlooking the Straits of Mackinac, or in the unique and hidden Woodland Grotto


  • Grand Hotel features the delightful Tea Garden or the world’s longest porch, lined with red geraniums


  • Island House, the most historic hotel on Mackinac Island, presents multiple ceremony settings including a veranda overlooking the Straits of Mackinac, a garden terrace with the harbor in the background and a private gazebo in Mackinac Island State Park


  • Harbour View Inn hosts ceremonies in their garden gazebo and the second story veranda overlooking the harbor. Or use the chateau as the backdrop and host a ceremony on the front lawn


  • Mission Point Resort has an expansive Great Lawn along the waterfront to accommodate large weddings, a charming gazebo overlooking Lake Huron and a more intimate outdoor spot for smaller ceremonies, plus a variety of on-site spaces for receptions


  • Mackinac Island State Park offers several outdoor spaces with stunning views, including Marquette Park at the foot of Fort Mackinac, British Landing right on the beach, inside Fort Mackinac or Fort Holmes, and the Somewhere in Time gazebo named after the 1980 movie starring Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve.

About half of the wedding ceremonies on Mackinac Island are conducted inside church buildings, with half at outdoor locations. Explore your ceremony options here.

Bride and Groom Kissing on Bridge Outside Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island

With the Straits of Mackinac as a backdrop and beautiful gardens throughout – not to mention features such as the Mackinac Bridge, Round Island Lighthouse, and Grand Hotel – there are lovely spots for wedding photos all over Mackinac Island.

Chairs and Arch Set for Outdoor Wedding Beside Shore on Mackinac Island

Erbel and other Mackinac Island wedding planners are available to help couples navigate the unique logistics of getting married in a place without cars – and surrounded by water. Their experience is essential to making any Mackinac Island wedding go smoothly, from big details including how to transport guests from the ceremony to the reception to little details such as how to get the wedding cake safely to the island.

“It can be a little bit daunting, but in the end, it all turns out beautifully,” Erbel says. “Relying on local knowledge is a huge thing, as is dealing with local vendors. We have florists in the area who are used to transporting flowers (via ferry and horse-drawn carriage).”

Four ways a Mackinac Island wedding consultant can help

Bride and Bridesmaid Standing Together on Bachelorette Weekend Looking Out to Water Surrounding Mackinac Island

Many couples might not think of heading north for a destination wedding. But you can have a one-of-a-kind destination wedding on Mackinac Island without leaving the country or flying your entire bridal party to Hawaii.

With more than 70 million people living within 500 miles, Mackinac Island is a close-to-home destination for many couples. And it’s a great experience for guests who will be more than happy to spend a few days enjoying the charm of Mackinac Island and exploring the natural beauty of what was once America’s second national park.

And don’t forget destination bachelorette parties. There’s a lot to do on Mackinac Island, including private Sip ‘n Sail outings that take you out on the water into the Straits of Mackinac.

Six unique aspects of destination weddings on Mackinac Island

Newly-Wed Couple Kissing in Back of Horse-Drawn Carriage on Mackinac Island

A couple of other things to keep in mind about weddings on Mackinac Island: world-famous Mackinac Island fudge makes the perfect gift for wedding favors, and you don’t have to worry about guests drinking and driving because there are no cars on the island!

Mackinac Island is a great choice for weddings of all sizes and budgets whether you’re getting married in front of everyone you know, celebrating with just your closest family and friends, or even eloping just the two of you.

Whatever day you get married – special numbers or not – Mackinac Island will be a memorable place for your wedding. And remember, the most special part of your wedding is you!

“This might sound a little corny, but one of my favorite things is how different the bride and groom look after the ceremony,” Erbel says. “They just have this glow about them. The joy that comes off of them makes everything worthwhile.”