Where To Go: Romantic Rosemary Beach

Rosemary Beach: Wedded Bliss Amid the Dunes

by Kathie Farnell

Top image by Paul Johnson Photography (850-832-4309) all others courtesy of the author.

The sugar-white sands of the Florida Panhandle have always made an idyllic backdrop for a beach wedding. Today, the classic beach town of Rosemary Beach provides an ideal setting for a storybook ceremony and honeymoon.

Founded in 1995, this new traditional town includes 2500 feet of Gulf beach frontage backed by a pedestrian-friendly village whose architecture has been influenced by the West Indies, New Orleans and Charleston.

A Rosemary Beach wedding begins with a consultation with Venue Coordinators Erica Gibson and Jennifer Todd. Erika Klein, Reservation Sales Manager, says that Rosemary Beach hosts more than 100 weddings per year, with October and its cool Fall days the most popular month. Venue Coordinators work with couples to select the perfect setting from options including the spacious Town Hall, with its 28-foot ceiling and adjoining grassy courtyard; the three sweeping public greens; or the spectacular beach. A list of local preferred vendors includes event planners, caterers and photographers. Rosemary Beach’s popularity as a wedding destination is evidenced by the fact that weddings are already being booked for Fall, 2014.

Accommodations at Rosemary Beach include the fabulous new hotel The Pearl (above), located on the town’s European-style Main Street, steps away from the Western Green and the beach. The 55 luxurious rooms and suites here include Cabana Rooms opening onto private poolside cabanas. The hotel’s Havana Beach restaurant features food with Creole/Cajun/Southern flair. Across Main Street, The Pensione, a European-style inn, offers 11 rooms, two of which are suites, and all having Gulf views. Many visitors to Rosemary Beach opt to stay in one of the town’s luxurious cottages.

One of the most popular with wedding parties, the four-bedroom Butterfly Cottage, has its own private pool and courtyard with outdoor fireplace. I can personally vouch for the intimate, one-bedroom Pappas Carriage House, right around the corner from the serene Eastern Green.

Visitors to Rosemary Beach have access to the town’s amenities including four pools, the Racquet Club’s clay tennis courts, a fitness center, and of course the beaches. Outdoor types can rent bicycles and scooters at Bamboo Bicycle Company or kayaks and surfboards at Sea Oats Beach Services. Indoor types can check out Vivo Spa Salon.

Rosemary Beach’s pedestrian-friendly downtown area includes boutique shops and galleries as well as fine restaurants. At Restaurant Paradis, fresh, seasonal fare and abundant Gulf seafood are featured in a warm, elegant setting. Just up Main Street, Edward’s Fine Food and Wine, a chef-run fine dining restaurant and wine bar, offers Southern-influenced coastal fare in an intimate courtyard. Wild Olives, a market, deli, bakery and restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, tapas and dinner, along with everything the visitor needs for a beachside picnic. Summer Kitchen Cafe, the first restaurant to open in Rosemary Beach, draws visitors for breakfast, lunch and dinner with an eclectic menu including wraps, salads, sandwiches and fresh Gulf seafood. Two of Rosemary Beach’s most unusual restaurants, AQUA Coastal Sushi and La Crema Tapas & Chocolate, are both owned by former mortgage banker Kevin Neel. The urban-chic AQUA and the cozy, intimate La Crema are united by their commitment to fresh, delicious fare presented with unique flourishes, as in La Crema’s best-selling Chocolate Dipped Bacon.

Rosemary Beach, located between Destin and Panama City, Florida, on the eastern end of Scenic Route 30-A, is easily accessible by air or land. Both nearby airports, Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport and Northwest Florida Regional Airport, are served by major airlines.

For more information on Rosemary Beach, Florida, call 1-866-348-8952 or visit the website at For more information on planning a wedding at Rosemary Beach, email or telephone 1-877-739-2810.

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