Eloping to 30A? Go To the Pearl!
Ah, Rosemary Beach. I’ve alluded to my affinity for Rosemary Beach in The BEST 30A Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Spots. Ever since the first time I ventured there, it’s been my favorite spot. That’s not to say that I dislike the rest of 30A. That’s far from the case. The all-white buildings of Alys Beach remind me of my trip to Santorini. Seaside’s charming beach-side town vibe has a pleasant atmosphere. Gulf Place has one of my favorite 30A restaurants in it, The Perfect Pig.
However, Rosemary Beach just has a charm that I have always enjoyed. From the cobblestone streets to the building design that reminds me of a Northern Europe town to how you could miss the beach if you weren’t looking for it. It all just feels right. In between County Highway 30A and the beach stands The Pearl.
Just as Rosemary Beach is one of my favorite 30A spots, The Pearl is one of my favorite 30A venues. The Eastern Green south of it offers unique photo opportunities as does the rooftop area. I have been a part of numerous weddings at The Pearl, so I made it a point to get to know the wedding and event staff there. Something I found interesting was that The Pearl offers services specific to elopement. My conception of elopements was the same that a lot of people have: a couple gets married at a courthouse and they keep it a secret from everyone. That is not the take of the staff at The Pearl. I got the chance to chat with Madison Smiedendorf, Catering Events Manager at The Pearl, for my most recent podcast interview.
We’ll pick up the conversation when we talked about clarifying what an elopement at the Pearl consists of.
Eloping: A Common Impression
Madison Smiedendorf: When people hear the word “elopement,” they kind of get turned off by it. I’ve heard people describe an elopement as a wedding that is nothing special. The couple goes to the courthouse, gets married, signs some papers, and then they go home. There’s also the thought of imagining your parents finding out that you eloped and thinking “Oh, my parents would KILL us if we eloped.” And I totally get that. I think my mom would’ve killed me, too! But what most people don’t realize is that elopements have gone in a different direction in the past few years.
Eloping to 30A: The Pearl’s Definition
You can include what you would consider traditional elements in your wedding and still elope at the same time. At The Pearl, we saw an increased interest in elopements on 30A. We do offer an elopement style event in what we call the “Just the Two Of Us” package. It consists of a private ceremony, either in our Hemmingway room inside the hotel or, depending on the time of year and occupancy levels, on the rooftop. The couple can include up to four guests, so if they want parents involved or if one or both partners has children we can accommodate for that.
Once the ceremony is completed, you can make sure to include Rosemary Beach as the backdrop for your wedding photos. It’s such a beautiful town with so many picturesque locations. Take those pictures in at the post office, next to the town hall, by the Gulf on the beach, and in front of the hotel. Once those are wrapped up, celebrate your first night as a couple with champagne and dinner at our restaurant, Havana Beach. Dinner and champagne are included for the newlywed couple. The “Just the Two Of Us” package also includes a one-night stay at the property so the couple can just relax and really enjoy all the amenities of the pearl followed by breakfast the next day.
Share the Excitement
You can still have the memorable experience of a typical wedding. The “Just the Two Of Us” package perfect for the couple that wants a deeply intimate wedding. Even if the family isn’t there, as long as you share with them on social media, that’s a way to allow them to share in your big day while making it private between you two.
When people talk about having eloped, they usually haven’t documented the event. I think that’s where people’s feelings get hurt. When you say “Listen. We’re not trying to be hateful and not invite you. It’s not that we don’t think getting married is a big deal. This is just what makes sense for us.” When you frame it like that, your family members will be able to deal with that initial hurt or shock that some might experience and just be truly happy for you.
And when you get to share pictures of your wedding, they get to feel happy and excited for you all over again. We have a lot of couples who go with the option of elopement for their wedding at The Pearl.
A Wedding On the Beach But Not a Beach Wedding
DJ Josh: Rosemary Beach is such a quiet and easy-going place. It has that beach town vibe but you can almost forget that you’re right next to the beach because of how it’s laid out. It’s such a weird thing to say but you feel like you’re in Europe or in a completely different place than on the Gulf of Mexico. If I had never been there, I wouldn’t expect a town on 30A to feel like it.
MS: It’s perfect for someone who is not a “beach bride”. And I get that. A beach bride tends to go with more of a bohemian aesthetic. Brides that get married at Rosemary Beach tend to love coming to the beach but they may not want to have your wedding ON the beach. The way Rosemary Beach is set up you can have both. It’s not totally unheard of to have that formal feel to an event one day and then the next day the vibe be very much “beach chair with a margarita”.
Eloping to 30A Must-Haves
DJ: I totally agree. Maybe that’s why it’s one of my personal favorite spots on 30A. Let’s say a couple is considering an elopement for their wedding. What are some things they should make sure not to forget?
MS: One of the major things they will need to remember is hiring an officiant. That’s a service we don’t provide. Even though the elopement is usually limited to just the ceremony, a couple is going to want to have some floral elements. You’re not going to need as much as you would for a typical wedding ceremony but you are still going to want some floral decor. Don’t forget about the bride’s bouquet as well as a boutonniere for the groom and even the officiant if they’re someone you know personally. Couples who elope also often choose to have an altar with an arch or a two-pedestal arrangement.
When you are eloping you can be more specific with how you decorate for the ceremony. You don’t need to factor in how the reception will look. This allows you to focus on making that ceremony space exactly how you want it.
Another wedding professional that couples might forget is the photographer. You absolutely want to capture that moment. Regardless if you add on extra items like flowers and things like that, book a photographer. A couple will want to have them for at least 2 hours. That gives enough time for a photographer to capture the ceremony, the detail shots as well as pictures around town.
I hope that this helps to get rid of the stigma that eloping has. I know I had that preconception before I was enlightened to how beautiful such an intimate wedding ceremony can be. Madison, thank you so much for taking the time to share The Pearl’s philosophy about elopements. I can see why so many couples choose it as their wedding destination! If you are looking to find out more information about having your wedding, of the traditional or elopement variety, you can find more information at www.thepearlrb.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (850) 588-2881.
Cover Photo: Leslie Hollingsworth