Joyful, fine art wedding photography for real couples. Serving Chicago, Washington DC and beyond.
Based in South Bend, Indiana. Available for travel.

Mackinac Island Engagement – Amber & Christian – Destination Wedding Photographer

From the moment I met Amber and Christian, we hit it off right away! We share a deep love of Christmas and their joyful disposition just makes you want to smile whenever you’re around them. I think we talked for over an hour during the consultation, just because. 🙂

Since Christmas is their favorite time of year, they will be getting married this December at the Palais Royale. If you’ve never been in the Palais in December, you’re missing out. It’s a true winter wonderland! 🎄 When it came to their engagement, however, they wanted something completely different. That’s where the idea of a destination engagement came in. Amber and Christian had never been to Mackinac Island but always wanted to go. What better time than for your engagement!

Since I’ve never been there either, we put our heads together and planned a full day on the island, making sure to hit some of it’s iconic spots. Our first stop, the Arch Rock. Google said it would only take 15 minutes to walk there… All lies. 🤨 After a 30+ minutes of climbing through the forest, we made it to our first location. 🤣🌲

Amber and Christian felt comfortable in front of the camera from the start. The giggles started from the first photo and never stopped. 🤗

We took several photos on the trails because the Arch Rock was so crowded. They didn’t seem to mind. 😍

Love ❤️

A real quick photo at the top of the rock and back down we went. What you don’t see in these photos is about 30 people waiting and staring at them. (Awkward 🐢)

Just off to the right of the rock (and up several flights of stairs) was this beautiful overlook. There was hardly anyone around because of how many steps you had to climb so we took full advantage. I’m obsessed with this photo. Between the beautiful sunlight, the open water and the way Christian is looking at Amber, it checks all the photo boxes! 🤩

As we made the long trek back to the main part of the island, Amber and Christian had fun strolling through the woods together.

I made Amber and Christian ‘fold the burrito’ which means, I had them spin into each other. This is a fun way of making the instruction easy to understand. Plus it always gets a huge laugh. And that is the real moment. 😊

She just loves him, plain and simple. ❤️❤️❤️

As we continued along, I noticed the sun coming through the trees and casting a golden ray of light on the path. I immediately jumped into the bushes to capture these breathtaking moments. 🥰


After what felt like a million stairs, we made it down the ridge to Mackinac Island Park. The lilac bushes were still in bloom so that was a must stop for these two love birds. Amber couldn’t stop giggling when I told Christian to kiss her hand. 😋

Just around the corner was a cute bench just begging to be sat on, lol. These two had no problem cuddling up together.

Amber is a HUGE Disney fan so it was only fitting that Christian propose at Walt Disney World. After this epic proposal, the park gave them these cute pins. Amber brought them along on the session and I knew they were prefect for the ring shot. I captured it in two different ways; one showing the full pin and the other, showing off that diamond! 💍

Before stopping for lunch, I had Amber and Christian walk down to the shore. The pier was super narrow so I had them stay on boardwalk (which Amber appreciated 😆). I loved this location because you can see the whole marina and yet, the moments feel so intimate.

We stopped for lunch at the local pizza place where Amber’s parents and Christian’s mom and sister met up with us. It was so nice to get the meet them before the wedding. Makes the session that much more fun! The pizza was amazing but I decided to just have 1 piece so I wouldn’t get tired. Looking back now, I wish I had gotten another. 🤤🍕

Before heading off to our next location, I had Amber and Christian hop in the middle of main street so I could capture the full hustle and bustle of the island. 😊

Since there was so many people, we moved one block north to a less crowded street. All the feels of the island without the crowds. Aren’t these two adorable! 😊

We were walking to the Grand Hotel when I spotted the golf course on the right hand side. We didn’t want to be pelted with golf balls so we stayed on this small path on the west side of the course. I told Amber to run at Christian and this was their reaction. 🤣

No summer engagement session would be complete without ice cream! Just outside the hotel, Amber and Christian split a cone and some summer fun! 😉🍦

In front of the hotel was this massive bed of colorful tulips. So we got the blanket out and popped-a-squat. 🌷

Christian is show off his dance moves here. ⬇️😋

We finally made it to the Grand Hotel and headed inside for pictures. The place was packed and nothing was really jumping out at me. Then I noticed this staircase that had a unique banister. I placed Amber and Christian at the top of the stairs and shot through banister. First I added a red light to intensify the shapes of the banister and for the second shot, I removed the light to create more of a spotlight feel on Amber and Christian. Each one tells a different story.

Outside on the iconic front porch, Amber and Christian enjoyed the view. 😍

They walked along the front of the hotel and then Christian pulled Amber in for a kiss. 💋

Our last stop of the day was on the boardwalk on the far west side of the island. Amber and Christian really wanted a photo with the Mackinaw bridge in it. It had been cloudy for most of the day so we were so happy to see that the clouds had shifted so you could see the bridge from the island. With the sun beaming down, Amber jumped into Christian’s arms and we ended this epic engagement with a bang! 🤩

Amber & Christian – Thank you for taking me along with you, not only to Mackinac Island but also on this wonderful journey to your wedding day! Grace and I had a blast during your session and we can’t wait till December! I hope you love your images (and the memories) just as much as I do!! All my love – S

To see their full session, click here.


Photography: Sarah Sage Photography LLC

Locations: Mackinac Island State Park , The Grand Hotel

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