If you’re looking for a stunning backdrop to outshine the one you love on your wedding day, Mackinac Island is certainly a contender. Judging by my email account however, this dream destination remains elusive to many who worry about the financial burden of a destination wedding. Here are some more budget friendly options to help you plan your dream wedding at this historic destination.
Non- Traditional Venues
Private Charter on a Boat ($475+ depending on variables)
Ugly isn’t something you want to put on you wedding invitations, however, Ugly Anne Boat Tours has a 1.5 hour private chartered around the island cruise if it’s just the bride, groom and parents. Round trip is $475. Customizations available (for extra) and holds 30 people. Ugly Anne also has private charters for groups starting at $17 per person (1 hour).
Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse (Off the Island Option: Ceremony for $500)
Located in Mackinaw City, you can have your ceremony at the Lighthouse for $500. This fee includes two hour hire for the rehearsal, set up, ceremony, clean up and photography. (Referred to as RSCCP).
Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Conservatory (Ceremony $600 – $850)
If you have a wedding for under 10 people, the Wings of Mackinac will charge $600 for one hour which includes the Minister fee. For over 10 guests, the 1 hour rental fee is $850. This price does not include a rehearsal which will set you back an extra $100)
Hire a ferry from Arnold’s Ferry Line (Ceremony venue for $900)
For $900 an hour ($1800 for a Catamaran) you can have your ceremony on a ferry. Packages and more options such as chartered cruises, hospitality cruises, beverage/catering and entertainment facilities are also available. Price includes free overnight parking for all guests (valet is $5pp). Contact Lora Brown on 800-542-8528 or 906-847-3351.
Fort Mackinac (Ceremony for $1000-$3000)
Situated 150 feet above Marquette Park overlooking the Straits of Mackinac. For a maximum of two hours including RSCCP, the fees are: 1-99 guests is $1,000, 100-199 guests is $1,500, 200-299 guests is $2,500
The Gazebo Options
Surrey Hills Gazebo (Away from Main Street; $150 or less)
The Surrey Hills Gazebo is available for rent for $150 an hour (1 hr min. Gazebo only) through Mackinac Island Carriage Tours. While you’d still need to hire a clergy and entertainment, if it’s a small intimate wedding, this is a great cheaper option.
Mackinac Island Carriage Tours also have private carriage rides. If it’s just the bride and groom, a 2 seater carriage is $350 or $450 an hour. The bride and groom’s parents in a 4 seater carriage is $350 or $450 as well. If all of you want to go together and can fit in a 7 seater, an hour rental is $250.
Combining the two, a one hour 2 seater carriage for bride and groom and the 1 hour gazebo rental is $500. If your ceremony runs for 40 mins, the carriage hire is there to drive you to and from the gazebo for the same price. Available May through to October and must have 14 day advance.
Bridgeview Gazebo in Mackinaw City (Off the Island Option: $500 or less)
This gazebo is located in Mackinaw City boasting views of the Mackinac Bridge. For 2 hours, the fee is $500. Unfortunately, weddings held before 5pm do not have a church reservation like The Somewhere in Time gazebo, however, weddings after 5pm can hold the Ste. Anne de Michilimackinac in case of weather issues. The allocated two hours includes RSCCP. It also includes 50 wedding chairs with the option of an extra 50 chairs at $2 each (or $100).
The Somewhere in Time Gazebo (Mission Point: Under $1000)
In front of Mission Point, the Somewhere in Time gazebo is $800 for 2 hours hire including RSCCP. The fee also includes a reservation at the Historic Mission Church in case of poor weather. Price includes 70 white wedding chairs. (If you need more, 30 extra chairs can be rented for $5 each or $150) (There are gazebos available at The Island House for $600 and on the property at Harbor View Inn as well).
If a more traditional wedding is on your list, there are many churches on the island to choose from depending on your budget. Check the guidelines but Mission Historic Church includes rental for 2 hours including RSCCP. Church rental only – no minister fee included.
St Anne’s Church is up to $1500 (depends on day of week)
Little Stone Church is $1500 Trinity Church $1800
Private Homes – combine your accomodation and ceremony.
There are plenty of homes on Mackinac Island to rent for your big day and this could save you money. The house would enable you to combine you accommodation costs, ceremony, rehearsal costs, you can provide you own food and have an extra place for photography. If staying with guests – they can pitch in for their accommodation, saving you even further!
McGreevy Cottage, for example, caters to 8 people (3 bedrooms) and the $350 night entitles you to the entire cottage. (May, September and October only). From June – August the rate is $2750 for one week, Friday to Friday and $2050 for a week May, September and October. You could get married on the premises in the yard if your into that, and even hold the reception at the same place utilising the private kitchen. Bringing your own Champagne and storing it in the fridge for your private Champagne reception could save you hundreds alone. You can also use the property to get dressed in private and hold a private reception. It sells out quickly though. The $350 a night fee x 3 nights minimum stay = $1050. This sum could be your accommodation, rehearsal venue, wedding reception and ceremony all in one without the maximum “2 hour” time limit placed on other venues.
Other houses for rent include: Historic Davey Cottage, Hamady Carriage House, Bridge View on the Straits, Sunset Lake House, Kobrin Condominiums, Historic Victorian Cottage and Mission Cottage.
If you need a bigger space than a hotel room to prepare for your big day but don’t want to hire an entire house, try a condominium. Sunset Condominium (near Stonecliffe) requires a 2 night minimum, but offers outdoor grills, fireplaces, full kitchens and wi-fi in a secluded area of the island.
Low season: $95-265
Mid season: $105 – 280
Peak season: $135 – 325
Other condominiums include the Lake Bluff Condos and the downtown condominiums.
Grand Hotel has some good options for the function/banquet. The Tea Gardens are $2000 for 50 people or $3500 for over 200 people. The Cottage Restaurant is $1500 for 20-70 guests, the Cupola Bar is $1000 per floor, and the Grand Pavillion is $3700.
Inn at Stonecliffe has a package that starts at $100 per person.
Harbor View Inn has 3 areas you can marry on the property including the veranda, patio and Victorian gazebo.
The Island House – for a ceremony only you can hire a Gazebo for $600 or a verandah for $800. These include 30 wooden chairs and a bottle of champagne. One hour hire only. For the reception you can hire the Verandah or 1852 Grill room for $400, or the Ice House Bar and Grill for $250. Or a package which includes the ceremony and banquet include the rental of a gazebo, the verandah and 1852 grill room for $700. Other options include the rental of a gazebo and the 1852 grill room for $500.
Some package ideas:
Smallish wedding: accommodation at the Bogan Lane Inn in the double bed Yellow Room for 4 nights, private carriage ride for bride and groom to ceremony and back, the Surrey Hills gazebo 1 hour ceremony hire, and the banquet at Ice House Bar and Grille at the Island House. Sets you back: $1210
(Example uses $360 accommodation (4 nights @ $90), $350 carriage, $250 gazebo hire, and $250 fee for Island House Bar and Grill hire. So, $360 + 350 + $250 + $250 = $1210)
Small wedding under 10 people: One hour hire of the Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Conservatory including ministry and music costs, a rehearsal, private carriage ride for 7 people, private carriage for the bride and groom, and 4 nights accommodation at The Murray Hotel in a Queen room (sept rates) will set you back: $1740. If you add-on The Ice House Bar and Grill for the banquet than its $1990 for the lot.
Hotel Wedding: At the Island House you can rent a gazebo for the ceremony, the verandah and the 1852 grill room for $700. This will cover your Ceremony and banquet. Then add-on 4 nights at The Murray Hotel in a Queen Room and a 1 hour private carriage for bride and groom and it will set you back $1486. If you did all of this and stayed at the Island House instead and took out the carriage it will set you back around $2200 (September prices).
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Have you been married on Mackinac Island on a strict budget? What are your tips and thoughts?