“Fairytale weddings are made at the Grand Hotel.” Said by the bride, and truer words have never been spoken. For those of you who are naive to the magic that is Mackinac Island, we’ve got today’s wedding to bring you into the loop. The little island has no cars, just bikes and horses. It’s filled with gorgeous beaches, stunning views, and a hotel so grand, it is enough to inspire a wedding this gorgeous. You won’t want to miss this gallery from McCoy Made. It’s like a pretty, pretty, wedded dream.
From the beautiful bride … Don and I met when we were 18, in the fall of our freshman year at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. We were assigned to the same dorm, and even the same floor. By Christmas that year, we were inseparable. I’m happy to report that things really haven’t changed, since! He proposed on my birthday while we were vacationing in Florida. We had gone to an early dinner that night and I knew something was “up” when he almost chased the waitress down to get our check so that we could make it back to the beach in time for sunset! It was perfect.
Why Mackinac Island? For a girl born and raised in Cincinnati and a guy from Fort Wayne, Indiana, it didn’t seem the most likely of places to the majority of our friends and our extended family. But, I think we had a pretty good reason! Mackinac is one of those places that people either know of and LOVE or have never even heard of at all. A few months into dating, I happened to mention the island and how much I loved it. Don looked at me in disbelief and said “You’ve been to Mackinac?!”. We suddenly realized that, while our paths hadn’t crossed until college, both of our families had been vacationing to the island every year since we were, quite literally, babies. The common vacation destination turned into our yearly destination as a couple, shortly thereafter. When we got engaged, the location of our wedding wasn’t even really a question – we’re from two different cities, but we wanted the destination to have real importance for each of us separately and as a couple. Plus, I told my parents the only church I’d ever get married in was St. Anne’s on Mackinac…
Where to start with Grand Hotel? Well, for starters, I’ll mention the fact that prior to our wedding night, neither Don or I had stayed at the hotel-ever. Growing up, our families had either stayed off the island and visited on day-trips, or visited and stayed at Mission Point. Don is one of five kids and I’m one of three; staying at Grand wasn’t really in the family budget! So, Grand Hotel, for both of us, had always been a kind of magical, elusive place. When it came to our wedding, Grand represented a new start to our shared island experiences, as well as, truthfully, the only place on the island that could accommodate our 225 person wedding with style and grace. Plus, just look at the place! Fairytale weddings are made at Grand Hotel.
The inspiration for our wedding colors, invitations and overall “feel” was summer on Mackinac Island. We knew our reception location at Grand Hotel was dramatic, to say the least, so we wanted to make sure our wedding was as relaxed and fun as the island itself. More importantly, we didn’t want to compete with the decor that already exists at Grand Hotel – who are we to question the genius of Carleton Varney? So, we kept things pretty simple and preppy to counteract the over-the-top hotel embellishments! Our colors were navy blue and yellow to give a hint of nautical feel, and Don and the groomsmen wore J.Crew khaki three-piece suits instead of traditional tuxes. My fantastic bridesmaids wore Ann Taylor knee-length dresses and I wore “new” Anne Barge-with “old” pearls from my hubby, a “borrowed” bracelet from my mom and “blue” heels. One of the touches that has been complimented and is also apparently Pinterest famous is a photo of the display that my mom created for our reception welcome table-she gathered Pottery Barn lanterns, flowers, and framed our seating charts in a way that was just perfection!
The reception at Grand was equal parts classy, elegant and fun. We maintained most traditions – from the cutting of the cake to the first dance, ate a delicious five-course meal and then let our band take over from there. Don and I actually came across our wedding band, the NashVegas All Stars, while YouTube-ing wedding bands. We watched a couple of videos and knew that we had to have them for our reception. Looking back, that was a bit of a risk, as the first time we ever saw/heard them in person was at our wedding. BUT, we, and the rest of our guests, were blown away by their performance. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed a wedding where every last person was up dancing for the. entire. night.
Our wedding would NOT have been possible without our wedding planner, Carole Erbel of For The Love of Mackinac. For as much as Don and I know and love the island, there is no way we could have coordinated 225 of our closest family and friends from the church to the cocktail hour to the reception without a hitch! Or, our band, photographers, flowers and cake to one location when we were planning for 8 hours away! We were so impressed and Carole’s dedication allowed Don and I to relax and enjoy the day!
Photography: McCoy Made | Flowers: Margaret’s Garden at Grand Hotel | Event Design + Planning: Carole Erbel, For the Love of Mackinac | Ceremony Location: Ste. Anne’s Catholic Church | Reception Location: Grand Hotel | Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Dress: Anne Barge | Wedding Carriage: Grand Hotel Mackinac Island Carriage Tours | Hair and Make-up: Astor’s Salon at Grand Hotel | Cake: Bella e Dolce | Band: Nashvegas All Stars