Five Michigan Honeymoon Getaways That Won’t Disappoint

Photo by Andrejka Photography

Photo by Andrejka Photography

Did you know that February is National Weddings Month? You plan and prep for months and months, but once the big day is over and you’ve said your ‘I do’s,’ it’s time to unwind and spend some quality time with your other half. Michigan’s sandy beaches, dramatic waterscapes, romantic sunsets and small town charm make the perfect backdrop for a perfect honeymoon.

These five Pure Michigan honeymoon getaway ideas won’t break the bank and certainly won’t disappoint!

1. Mackinac Island

Grand Hotel - Mackinac Island. Photo by Julie Christiansen

Grand Hotel – Mackinac Island. Photo by Julie Christiansen

There is no place quite like Mackinac Island. Enjoy a relaxed vacation on the island where everything moves a little slower (No cars are allowed!). Whether you travel by horse and buggy, bicycle or foot, you’ll take in beautiful scenery surrounded by water. Immerse yourself in a quaint downtown atmosphere, shopping and all of the fudge you can possibly eat. Complete your honeymoon getaway by staying at the famous Grand Hotel or choose from the multiple unique bed and breakfasts around the island.

2. Traverse City

Traverse City is a four season travel destination, you can choose between winter and summer sports galore. In the winter, there are plenty of opportunities for your favorite winter sports. In the summer, climb mountains of sand at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which will provide breathtaking views seen from the dunes and forest. After all of the exercise you deserve to enjoy some delicious eats. Dining in Traverse City will be a culinary journey with plenty of restaurants for sampling amazing food and Michigan craft beer. Round out your trip and toast to your new life together with some romantic wine tasting on the Leelanau Peninsula. 

3. Michigan’s Gold Coast

Michael Johnson Grand haven

Grand Haven Sunset. Photo by Michael Johnson

From Saugatuck to Holland and Grand Haven to Silver Lake Sand Dunes, you can’t go wrong on 3,000 miles of sandy shoreline.  

Named one of  USA Today’s Best Summer Weekend Escapes, Saugatuck’s grassy dunes, white sand beaches, unique shops, fine dining and exquisite lodging lure visitors from far and wide. This beachtown has maintained the charm of small-town rural America and is the perfect place for a easygoing getaway with your sweetie.

Holland is a small, historic town with so much to offer. Take a stroll on the cobblestone sidewalks or a bike ride on the scenic lakeshore. Ride your horse to the finish on an antique carousel. Watch windmill blades pinwheel through the sky. This is a perfect option for a low-key honeymoon where you just want to enjoy each others company. Here, you’ll fall in love with Holland and each other all over again.

Silver Lake Sand Dunes. Photo by Jennifer Lilienthal.

Silver Lake Sand Dunes. Photo by Jennifer Lilienthal.

One of Michigan’s featured beachtowns and a renaissance city, Grand Haven has become a beacon for those looking for simplicity and natural beauty. From its roots as a highly commercial port-of-call for ferries and passenger liners, Grand Haven has evolved to become a place of serene enjoyment, hosting lively outdoor recreation, a thriving downtown, history, culture and festivals on the shores of Lake Michigan and the Grand River. Grand Haven is also home to the world’s largest musical fountain, boardwalk, beautiful beaches, lighthouses, historic downtown, and more.

Silver Lake Sand Dunes is a beach paradise! Nestled along the shore of Lake Michigan and Silver Lake you’ll find massive sand dunes, beach buggies—with the only sand dunes in Michigan where you can drive your own ORV—and miles of pristine shoreline beaches designed for pure fun. Spend the morning on the dunes, the afternoon in the water and finish your day in one of the dunes’ charming villages for a relaxing dinner at a locally owned restaurant.

Lover's Leap at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Photo by Dave Duchaine

Lover’s Leap at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Photo by Dave Duchaine

4. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

If you want an experience you will never forget, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is the place to go. Multicolored sandstone cliffs, beaches, sand dunes, waterfalls, inland lakes, streams, forests and wildlife comprise this scenic area on Lake Superior. Activities include sightseeing, camping, kayaking, backpacking, hiking, fishing, picnicking and boating. For the more adventurous couple, paddling is one of the best ways to see this magnificent shoreline. Take a photo together at Lover’s Leap to truly capture the moment.

5. Michigan Resorts

Nothing sets the stage for a luxurious vacation quite like a Michigan resort. From shopping to fine dining, luxurious spas to beautiful mornings along fairways, Michigan resorts have it all. Here you can relax, have fun and live it up. A five-star night in one of Michigan’s resorts can be a honeymooner’s dream come true. Challenge your sweetie to a round of golf on one of many championship golf courses throughout the state. You won’t want to miss this elegant, yet rustic getaway.

Where in Michigan would you go on your dream getaway? For more on popular Michigan attractions and destinations, visit michigan.org/hot-spots.

An Out-of-Towner’s Guide to Planning a Pure Michigan Wedding

Conrad Chase and Abigail Paul are in the process of planning their dream Pure Michigan wedding. Today, they give us an inside look at the process and their reasoning behind choosing Michigan as their ultimate wedding destination.

Photo courtesy of Andreijka Photography

Photo courtesy of Andrejka Photography

My name is Conrad.  I was born in Chicago, have lived in 4 countries, traveled to 15, and spent countless months in major cities around the U.S., including Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and other places considered to be the center of the action, attracting the best of the best.

I have to be honest – two years ago when I was presented with the opportunity to relocate to Michigan, I considered the move to be a temporary one, which would have me back in these major markets in no time.

However, what actually happened (and what I am sure happens to every other guy who falls in love and doesn’t see it coming) is I bumped into the most beautiful and amazing woman in the world, in the most unsuspecting of places, Buchanan, MI.  You have heard of Buchanan, right?  Wrong.  Not many out-of-staters like myself have, which is why this story gets even better.

So here I am, starry-eyed and in love, learning all about this new lady who has come waltzing into my life.  She is from Southern Michigan, as are her family and friends.  Our dates include winery tours, days at the beach, athletic events on the most pristine beautiful lakes, all in Michigan. Very quickly, my calls back to my friends and family became full-blown endorsements for Michigan and aggressive solicitations to get them here to experience this wonderful place!

Photo by Dennis Lee Photography

Photo by Dennis Lee Photography

Well, as you can imagine, our relationship took its course and we quickly moved from dating, to wedding planning.  When evaluating the options of how and where we would get married, all kinds of ideas came to mind.  A destination wedding in the tropics, a church wedding and a high-rise reception in a major city, and more.  However at the end of the day, we both agreed that it would be so much more special, to bring everyone together, as close to our home and our life in Michigan, as possible. We wanted to show them all of the wonderful things in Michigan she has grown up with, and I have grown to love.  With the decision made, we began our planning.

The Venue:  What could be a better setting for a Michigan wedding, than in a barn, on a vineyard, closely located to Buchanan.  We will tie the knot at the Hidden Vineyard Wedding Barn in Berrien Springs. (Birth place of Mohammad Ali… another fun Michigan fact!)

Photo by Nate Farran

Photo by Nate Farran

The Vendors:  We wanted all of the elements of the wedding to be meaningful, and representative of Michigan, and also be appropriate for a barn wedding. We chose a wedding designer from Buchanan called Rustica.   Their shop is located in downtown Buchanan, and is a place that Abby and I go on Sunday mornings after grabbing fresh brewed coffee, and see what new artisanal items this husband and wife team have crafted up.  The music is from a bluegrass band from Southern Michigan called the ArtGomperz.  We both thought it fitting that if we were tying the knot in a barn, a banjo must be involved.  This brings us to food and drinks.  Our main course is a pig roast with a pig from a local Michigan farm.  Additionally, all produce, cheese, bread, beer, wine and spirits are coming from local farms, breweries and wineries.  Even the desert will have a number of delicious items from Cherry Republic, a staple of Michigan tourism.

As I am writing this post, I am looking out the back yard, over the largest inland lake in Southern Michigan, at the boats, jet skis, families on pontoons, and dogs happily running and playing in the shallow water.  I have spent years of my life looking for best places, best cities, most excitement… I never thought that I would find it here, in Pure Michigan.

For more on planning a wedding in Michigan, see our Pure Michigan Weddings board on Pinterest or watch the replay of our live chat with local wedding expert Megan Swoyer.

IMG_3815Conrad Chase is a business development executive for a growing technology company, Data Realty, headquartered in South Bend IN.  His beautiful fiancée, Abigail Paul is a dentist in Eau Claire, Michigan.  The couple share common interests such as travel, Crossfit, and family.  Abigail and Conrad reside in Buchanan, MI with their 2 cats, Susie and Stimpy.

 

Planning a Mackinac Island Wedding from Five Hours Away

Native Michiganders Mark Jordan and Kristin Yash are in the process of planning their dream wedding on Mackinac Island. Today, they give us an inside look at the process and their reasoning behind choosing the picturesque island for their wedding location.

We chose Mackinac Island as our location because it is the most beautiful place in Michigan and because it was where we had our first vacation together.

When we first picked our location we were not sure how it was going to work since it was five hours from home but the staff in particular the wedding coordinator, Alana, at The Island House changed our mind in an instant.  We had never been to The Island House previous to booking our venue. We fell in love with Alana and all of the staff we met that would be a part of our special day.

The best part about being five hours away is there was an excuse to travel to the island multiple times before the wedding. Not to mention that working with our wedding coordinator has made my life a breeze. She is so attentive to our needs, responds to emails and phone calls within seconds even after 11pm at night.  She is helping me the day of the wedding with setup and when we come up to visit it is like we are spending time with family and friends we have known for years.

Alana provided us with a detailed list of Mackinac Island Wedding vendors that again made for simple planning. In total, Mackinac Island Wedding vendors are providing flowers, party favors, carriage tours, wedding cake, DJ, Pastor and the rehearsal dinner.

We are so in love with where we picked, we would do it every year if we could. Best planning experience I have ever had due to amazing staff and location. For anyone planning a wedding with travelers coming from far distances, I highly recommend the Pellston airport; it is only 15 minutes away by taxi.

 

Mark Jordan (groom) is from Livonia, MI and Kristin Yash (Bride) is from Hartland, MI. We met in August 2011 in Royal Oak, MI. We currently live in Royal Oak, MI where we just built our first home in 2012. We got engaged on July 8, 2013 at Cliff Bells in Detroit, MI and we will be celebrating the big day on Sunday September 1, 2013 at The Island House on Mackinac Island. 

For more on Mackinac Island, visit michigan.org.