The Historic Inn at Stonecliffe has been a presence on Michigan’s famous Mackinac Island for over 100 years. Today, wedding guests can relax in luxurious accommodations on lush grounds overlooking the Mackinac Bridge. Tucked away from the bustling activity of downtown, this beautiful and serene setting is the perfect destination for your wedding.
I’ve been photographing weddings at this beautiful venue for over 10 years. Every time I bike up the circle driveway towards the stately manor, I get a feeling of natural elegance and grandeur.
I’ve worked alongside Stonecliffe’s long-time Wedding Coordinator, Becky Miller, for many years. Here are five secret wedding tips we came up with to make your Stonecliffe dream wedding a reality.
5 Tips for Planning your Inn at Stonecliffe Wedding
Wedding Tip 1: Get Ready at the Inn
Instead of getting ready off-site, make your wedding day more relaxed by reserving the Salon or the Social Suite to yourself. Or even better… stay in the gorgeous Mackinac Room (personally my favorite) which houses a stunning 100+ year old built-in vanity! The Inn has spacious and picturesque options for hair and makeup that make great photo opportunities!
Wedding Tip 2: Take FULL Advantage of the Gorgeous Grounds
If you are stressing about needing a carriage ride in order to get those beautiful romantic Mackinac Island Photos… don’t! Instead of scheduling a carriage ride, use that hour to walk around the grounds at Stonecliffe and its surrounding areas. There are so many amazing places to get romantic photos. Some of my favorites include the front of the mansion, the backyard overlooking the bridge, the lilac/hydrangea island, the grotto, the apple orchard, and the famous Sunset Rock.
In addition to these areas on Stonecliffe’s amazing property, there is also The Woods, a beautiful restaurant with an Austrian Cabin feel… and a duckpin bowling alley! One of my favorite things to do is whisk the couple away for a private drink at Bobby’s Bar located inside this beautiful building. (I call this Andrejka’s Bride + Groom Adventures!)
Wedding Tip 3: Best Stonecliffe Carriage Ride Experience
If you want to experience the romance and adventure of a Mackinac Island Carriage Ride… the best two ways to do it are either before the ceremony or the day after the wedding.
If you’re taking a carriage ride before the wedding ceremony, schedule enough time to get downtown and back and get some great shots along the way. This is the perfect time for you and your honey to spend some quiet time together before the ceremony and the hustle of the wedding.
Or, you can have your carriage ride schedule for the day after! I love to do what I call an Island Adventure Photoshoot. The day after the wedding, you and I will spend 1-2 hours on a carriage ride (I’ll be on my bike as all true island photographers should be) exploring the island… I’ll fill you in on my secret locations and a little island trivia. It’s a great way to keep the wedding celebration going, plus you’ll be completely relaxed, and you’ll get to see the island in a whole different light!
Wedding Tip 4: Utilize the Natural Environment for Decor
One of the best things about getting married at Stonecliffe and Mackinac Island is the natural setting. If you are stressed about having to bring lots of decor and extras to “create” a beautiful wedding… Stop! The natural environment is all around you! The natural beauty of Mackinac Island’s Inn at Stonecliffe can be used in both your ceremony and reception as décor, both inside and out. Let your wedding décor simply enhance the natural beauty of the outdoor spaces.
Wedding Tip 5: Use Local Wedding Vendors
It goes without saying that when planning a wedding, it’s best to lean in on the local experts, but it’s even more important for weddings on Mackinac Island. There are three main reasons to consider hiring local wedding vendors.
1) Remember, we are on an island that uses horses and drays for transport. This can lead to complicated logistics. Bringing items to the island and to Stonecliffe can be a daunting task. Hiring vendors who are already there or who know the drill makes your day much easier. It will release you of any surprise dilemmas that can occur.
2) Mackinac Island wedding vendors already understand timing and locations and will make sure your wedding is on time. Understanding the different times it can take to get from one location to another on horseback, on a bike, or on foot is critical in creating a successful wedding timeline.
3) And when it comes to wedding photography… (I must mention as it is my specialty 😉 ) there are many secret nooks and crannies around the Historic Inn at Stonecliffe that many off-island photographers simply wouldn’t know about or have access to. Hiring someone local gives you an insider’s view and access to images that others may not have. Here is a blog that talks a little more about Mackinac Island Wedding Photographers (Click here).
And be sure to check out all of the vendors located on Mackinac Island, too!
I have photographed weddings at destinations around the world, but every summer I return to Mackinac Island to photograph weddings from spring through fall. With its lack of cars, spectacular vistas, and historic charm, it is a singularly beautiful and unique wedding destination. Becky Miller and the staff at Stonecliffe are eager to work with you to make your dream wedding a reality!
Inn at Stonecliffe Wedding Photography
While every wedding at Mackinac Island’s historic Inn at Stonecliffe is beautiful, I wanted to share some of my favorite wedding photos from weddings at this breathtaking venue. These images capture some of Mackinac Island’s magnificent natural beauty and some of the versatility this wedding venue can offer. I’m so thankful to these couples who chose me to photograph their weddings on Mackinac Island. Please enjoy these photographs, and don’t hesitate to contact me if you need a photographer for your own Mackinac Island wedding!