Nora-Beth & Joey’s Mackinac Island wedding kicked off our 2019 summer season with more meaning and nostalgia than I can adequately express, in part because Nora-Beth & Joey and their families are incredibly gracious kind-hearted people, in part because we spent nearly two years planning for this weekend while Nora-Beth & Joey finished med school in Canada, and in very large part because I had spent twelve years living on Mackinac, had married my own husband there, and had gained my first fascination with destination weddings there, before moving to Colorado. Such a full circle profound kind of experience.
Nearly every couple who gets married in northern Michigan has some nostalgic ties to the area, memories of vacations north as kids or more recently as a couple. It’s the happy place that so many of our couples are eager to share with their closest friends and family when they get married. I love seeing guests revel in the natural beauty of the Up North and I know our couples experience another layer of meaning in their day, watching their people interact with such a special place. We spend months planning the guest experience and it’s incredibly rewarding to see them engage in the moments we’ve planned together. What Nora-Beth & Joey’s wedding showed me, is that marrying your best friend in a place so rich in happy life memories, not only makes for a fun guest experience, it truly adds so much depth of meaning for the couple, so much life perspective, so much fullness to one of the most significant memorable moments we get to celebrate as humans. The making of new memories in a place so alive with old memories takes the whole experience to a different level. Full circle profound.
N&J were our first 2019 wedding on the books (back in September 2017), our first Canadian couple, and our first Mackinac couple. Mackinac Island is 8 miles around, sits like a turtle in the straits of Mackinac between two great lakes, about 3 miles offshore. The Victorian era architecture and Fort are preserved, and in the summer, transportation is by horse carriage and bicycle. Automobiles are banned with the exception of a few emergency vehicles. One of my favorite memories of planning was the day Nora-Beth’s mom and I met on the island, visited a couple of venues, and then wrapped up our afternoon sipping tea on her yacht, chatting about the family business of tour boats in the Soo Locks and their annual summer yacht trip to Mackinac. Then we face-timed Nora-Beth in to talk about periwinkle bridesmaid dresses.
Wedding weekend kicked off with rehearsal dinner on the back patio of the charming Harbor View Inn, followed by casual drinks at the Round Island Bar & Grill with a gorgeous sunset as freighters passed thru the Straits of Mackinac. On Saturday, a TV crew stopped by Lakeside Spa & Salon where Nora-Beth & her bridesmaids were getting ready and the ladies landed on a short feature about the spa (hosted, as it turned out, by our friends at The Four on TV 9&10). After some photos by the tulips, N&J rode a horse-drawn carriage thru town and up on the picturesque bluffs for photos with Jesse David Green. (Booked with my sister-in-law, freshly painted by my brother-in-law, and driven by my brother) Meanwhile, guests rode carriages to the Little Stone Church on Grand Avenue, an historic gem with a delightful pastor and team. Joey’s son Aiden left his Iron Man in Grandma’s care for a few minutes during the ceremony to do a colored glass pouring unity ceremony with Joey & Nora-Beth. Precious.
Cocktails on the lakeside patio, dinner in a room decked out with the navy and peach palette that was both fresh and classic, SO much laughter and a few tears over toasts, so much dancing between the log beams bedecked in market lights, and so much love in that celebration. As I ate melted Mackinac Island fudge ice cream in a waffle cone towards the end of the night, I flashed back to that first trip to Mackinac as a kid with my grandparents and our stop at the ice cream shop. I flashed back to the summer when Kevin and I would do an ice cream date every payday, to the summer when I was the one driving wedding guests on horse carriages, to the summer my sister scooped a lot of Mackinac Island fudge ice cream so we ate cookies n cream instead, to so many other summer memories. So full circle.
We packed out the flower vases and Willow china plates and navy water goblets on Sunday, loading them onto a cart that got hitched to the horse-drawn carriage and taken to the boat dock from which we had loaded them all onto two days before. We added a couple bags of complimentary tulip bulbs from Mission Point Resort, a sweet momento of the weekend, checked out of our hotel, returned our bicycles, and left with a weekend experience that will forever enrich my memories of such a special place.
THE CREATIVE TEAM
Planning + Design + Coordination: Juniper & Lace Events | Ceremony Venue: Little Stone Church | Reception Venue & Catering: Mission Point Resort | Photography: Jesse David Green | DJ: Pluister Entertainment | China Chargers & Blue Goblets: Gigi & LaClede | Floral: 307 Events & Tents | Hair & Makeup: Lakeside Spa & Salon | Horse-drawn Carriages: Mackinac Island Carriage Tours | Table runner & napkins: Special Occasions | Officiant: Rev. Dr. Dan Hans | Rehearsal Dinner & Welcome Gathering: Harbor View Inn | Brunch: Mission Point Resort