(WXYZ) – It was November 11, 2019 and Jake Landuyt was about to propose to his girlfriend Elizabeth at Sleeping Bear Dunes.
His initial vision included beautiful fall colors, but this ends up being Michigan.
“In reality we had eight inches of snow,” Jake described the day. “That was the engagement story, and we thought we had some nonsense about the blizzard.”
But the drive to the actual wedding day turned out to be another curve ball. Shortly after they started looking around for wedding dates in 2020, the pandemic struck.
“There were a lot of challenges everyone in our role had to face, and eventually we got to the point where we had to plan for May 30, 2021,” Jake said.
The date was finally set for a wedding and reception on Mackinac Island, a dream Elizabeth Landuyt had had since childhood.
“When we first met seven years ago, I said to Jake, ‘I’m getting married on Mackinac Island in Ste. Anne Catholic Church, I’m not sure who the bridegroom will be, but that’s where I’ll be for my wedding day, “said Elizabeth.
And as the day drew near, after going through the COVID safety protocols, the couple said there was only one question mark and that was the weather.
“It was just a wonderful weekend, all weekend on Mackinac Island,” said Jake.
According to the couple, the wedding day started wonderfully. It was beautiful. A ceremony at St. Anne Catholic Church and then a carriage ride to the reception at Mackinac Island Yacht Club.
But shortly after the reception began, the celebrations took an unexpected turn.
“Elizabeth’s father, Darby, had just started the Father of the Bride Toast when some of our guests … noticed the smoke and said, ‘No, wait, wait, the fire next door.’ And at that point in time … we didn’t know how to react right now. At first we just took a step back and, OK, how serious is it? ”Jake said.
They soon found that the fire in the historic Brigadoon Cottage was serious.
The front desk was evacuated and Jake and Elizabeth said they went back to church to be together and reflect.
Photo courtesy of Cody Langhorne
“We had heard by this point that everyone had gotten out well and that the people were all safe and the dogs next door were safe. So you’re just grateful for getting this, and then you try to be grateful for the day up to that point as well. It was a great, beautiful, beautiful day and the ceremony is better than we could ever have imagined, ”said Jake.
But just when they thought their wedding party was going to end abruptly, a community gathered.
While they were in church, people gathered on Mackinac Island to move their reception to Mission Point so the show could go on.
Liz Ware, VP of Sales and Marketing at Mission Point, said her general manager happened upon the cottage and saw what happened to the front desk. That’s when the phone calls began.
“They all took part. Everyone was on the move. People were on the phone … all of these companies came together. We’ve all spoken to each other to make sure something can happen … Remember, there are no cars on Mackinac Island so everything has to be done by bicycles, or in this case bell carts or on foot. So it’s true. There were people who went with cake. It was people on bikes carrying things, ”said Liz. “There is a sense of community on Mackinac Island. We love guests … Hospitality is our job. At Mission Point, we believe that our hospitality comes from the heart. And one of our core values is always to do the right thing. “
When Jake and Elizabeth heard the news, they said they were overwhelmed with gratitude.
“Seeing our entire reception rebuild in 30 to 45 minutes was absolutely amazing. And it will be something that we, just that part of it, will never forget. And then to be able to celebrate the reception with all the people who were most important to us, that we will never forget, ”said Jake.
Photo courtesy Jillian Bowes
And now Mackinac Island has a very special place in their hearts.
“I mean, as if this island wasn’t special enough for us before, after what we saw on Sunday, the magic of Mackinac and his people. It’s so real And we were able to experience that first hand on our wedding day. Aside from the island’s beauty and fun, the people are just amazing and we’re just forever grateful, “said Elizabeth.