VIP Destin Magazine - January 2023

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Say yes to the address with the
CALL US: 850.420.1959 WWW.MKCOASTALGROUP.COM A New Year with a New You Deserves a New Home
MK Coastal Group photographed by Amy & Caitie Photography at their favorite wedding venue.
Book your rental online! (850) 502-5277 9525 US Hwy 98 W Miramar Beach 32550 We are social! Our top of the line carts provide you the freedom to enjoy more fun in the sun! SALES RENTALS SERVICE Full line of 4-6 passenger street legal carts and low speed vehicles High quality cart service from experts at a locally-owned and operated company Exclusive dealership on the Emerald Coast for Aetric and Royal Electric Vehicles
events departments contents Give Care Share I Am Destin 12 70 Publisher Greg Alexander Associate Publisher Verla Price Publisher’s Assistant Nicole Partridge Advertising Stephanie Alvarez Harmony Henry Kristin Moffitt Verla Price Graphic Design Patti Hall Alicia Noble Art Director Priscilla Atkins Content Creator Anna Stockton Contributing Writers/ Photographers Alicia Noble Tyler Noble Harley S. Sampson, Jr. Anna Stockton Savannah Vasquez VIP Founder Jeff Watson VIP Destin Magazine Staff Volume XX • Issue I Café Thirty-A Christmas Charity Ball Bowling for Business Tournament & Lunch Sequins & Suits Auction Walton Area Chamber Business A er Hours Billy Claus & the LuLuBelles First Friday Fête Night of Giving Destin Chamber Annual Holiday & Awards Party Fish Fry Fundraiser Bubbles, Bourbon, BBQ and You 10 15 40 43 46 56 59 63 66 68 weddings & features Courtney + Jason Boyles McCaylyn + Tyler Eggers Ann + Padgett Luttrell Amanda + Jason Allen Rachel + Mitchell Fischer Delaney + Chase McInnis Jennifer + William Mitchell Sara + Samuel Lavelle Caitlin + Keith Moore Wedding Trends Jennifer & William Mitchell on the cover Photography by Rob Nicholson 18 20 22 26 28 30 34 36 38 49 January 2023 | 6 (See more on page 34)

letter from the Associate Publisher

Ending to a New Beginning

So many things will forever be in our memories from this year, such as the passing of a beloved Queen, surging inflation, Russia invading Ukraine, and the rise and fall of bitcoin. In Destin, we endured recordbreaking heatwaves and bitter-freezing temperatures while voting in the city’s youngest mayor. Will we look back and say 2022 was a year for the record books? I don’t know, but we are slowly rolling through an ending to a new beginning with excitement and curiosity for what the future will bring. I, for one, am ready for 2023! I look forward to traveling to new places and making new friends while trying different foods and tasting divine wines. My calendar is filling faster than ever with events, fundraisers, and networking luncheons. As we roll into the first quarter, you plan the events and VIP Destin Magazine will be on-site, covering as many gatherings as possible.

In this issue, you will read about weddings in Destin, locals having destination weddings, and even traveling across the pond to tie the knot. The pages are filled with beautiful gowns, elegant settings, and unique venues. Weddings are sometimes somber and quiet, while others are hip and fun. Either way, there is always a good story brewing when people are planning to say I do. If you live in a small community, friendship pools intertwine and it seems you know everyone. Invitations are often verbal, and you are welcome to all family celebrations, including weddings. I walked down many an aisle as the bridesmaid, and on most occasions, I walked with the same guy as he was my height. I attended his wedding, and he was an usher when I married his cousin. Years later, my niece called for me to return home and stand up with her on the day of her nuptials. Crossing the parking lot to the church, I raised my eyes, and there he stands, holding the door for me. We laughed as he said, “Here we go again.” As you read through the pages, I hope fun wedding memories come rushing back and you end up laughing your way to the end of the magazine.

In 2023, I wish you peace, happiness, and prosperity.

If you know of a non-profit or charity holding an event you would like to see featured in VIP Destin Magazine, please call me. Our mission at VIP Destin is to support as many non-profit causes as possible.

Thank YOU for reading VIP Destin Magazine; please be kind, courteous, and shop local.

Associate Publisher 850-502-7970
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Be on the lookout for our VIP Destin Ambassadors, Joe & Lea Capers, at area events.

Café Thirty-A

Nestled between Seaside and Rosemary Beach, Seagrove is one of South Walton’s oldest communities. Boasting everything from boutiques to dune lakes and wooded walking trails, visitors have many options for enjoying themselves when staying in South Walton; one of those venues is Café Thirty-A. Consistently delicious since 1995, Café Thirty-A offers a menu that is known far and wide, and on December 2 the doors were opened for the annual Christmas Charity Ball. “Year after year it is an honor to host this party for Caring and Sharing of South Walton,” said Harriet Crommelin, owner of Café Thirty-A. “We believe in their mission and believe they make a huge difference in people’s lives. This is sure to be the biggest year yet and we hope these funds raised go a long way!” Offering a buffet and passed hors d’oeuvres, attendees enjoyed music and a commemorative photo booth. Funds raised came from the dozens of silent auction items, a raffle, tickets, and individual donors.

Providing Walton County residents with a variety of benefits ranging from financial assistance to counseling, Caring & Sharing of South Walton’s mission is to assist persons in crisis and/or poverty by providing relief through the support of volunteers and contributors.

VIP Destin at Café Thirty-A
photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr. Sherry & Patrick Dennis Kendon Fazzone & Kristi Matthews Linda & Joe Mustachio Jackie Maliszewski & David Kessler Lydia & Tim Collins
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Amanda Hampel & Carole Canepari Keitha Walters & Merry Morgan Henderson Kevin & Lenora Raasch Camille Johnston & Hank White Nicole Bienvenu & Scott Parker John Murphy & Sheryl Fox Julie Smith & Jerri Cook Frank & Susan Crutcher Rebecca & Marc Taylor Mark Hougemann & Shirley Leeper Brooke Williams & Tanilea O’Brien
January 2023 | 11
Verla Price & Patti Hall

At VIP Destin Magazine we are strong supporters of the non-profits that showcase the generosity of our area.

Part of our inherent mission is to spread good will. In 2022 we contributed over $356,535 of valuable publicity and in kind donations to help fulfill the many needs of the non-profits in our community. Thank you for supporting us so that we may pay it forward.

VIP Destin Magazine proudly supports:

A Bed for Me Air Force Enlisted Village Alaqua Animal Refuge

Andrews Research & Education Foundation Aquatic Center of Destin Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast Foundation

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida Boys & Girls Club of the Emerald Coast Caring & Sharing of South Walton Children’s Volunteer Health Network

Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance Choctawhatchee Bay Estuary Progam

Choctawhatchee High School City of Destin Coins for a Cause Crestview High School Crime Stoppers Crisis Aid for Littles and Moms (CALM) Defense Leadership Destin Aquatic Center Destin Brewery Destin Area Chamber of Commerce

Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation Destin Forward Class of 2022 Destin High School Destin History & Fishing Museum Destin Library Destin Woman’s Club Assistance Fund

Destin Young Professionals Dog Harmony Eggs on the Beach Emerald Coast Autism Center

Emerald Coast Big Game Fishing Club Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center Emerald Coast Fitness Foundation Emerald Coast Theatre Company Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge Emeril Lagasse Foundation Feeding the Gulf Coast Fisher House of the Emerald Coast Florida DEP Clean Marina Program Food For Thought Fore Her Fort Waltoan Beach High School FPRA Northwest Florida Chapter

Friends of the Emerald Coast State Park Greater Pensacola Figure Skating Club

Gulfarium Marine Adverture Park Habitat for Humanity Healing Hoof Steps

Healing Paws for Warriors Impact 100 of Northwest Florida J. Leon Gallery

Leadership Walton Mattie Kelly Arts Center Gallery Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation Mattie Kelly Concerts in the Village Mentoring Emerald Coast Niceville High School Niceville Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce Niceville Young Professionals

Northwest Florida Social Club Northwest Florida Ballet Northwest Florida State College

Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra Okaloosa County Tourist Development

Okaloosa Technical College One Hopeful Place Panama City Beach Chamber

Panhandle Warrior Partnership Rocky Bayou Christian School Ronald McDonald House Rotary Club Destin Sandestin Foundation for Kids Sandestin Gumbo Festival Seaside School Shelter House Sheriff ’s Star Charity Sinfonia Gulf Coast Special Operators Transition Foundation

Take a Kid Fishing Day Taylor Haugen Foundation The Billish Foundation The Building Industry Association of Okaloosa & Walton Counties

The Junior League of the Emerald Coast United Way of the Emerald Coast Walton Area Chamber of Commerce Walton County Fire Rescue Walton County Habitat’s Women Build Women United Emerald Coast

Bowling for Business Tournament & Lunch

The Destin Chamber of Commerce hosted the sold-out Bowling for Business Tournament and Lunch on December 1 at Hurricane Lanes. Billed as a mini-bowling tournament, mixed with a little business networking, the Chamber filled Hurricane Lanes with attendees from all backgrounds. The Chamber threw some competition into the mix by offering prizes to the top male and female bowlers, as well as the top team. If someone obtained a perfect score the Chamber was ready to award the skilled bowler with a 1-year Chamber membership.

“This event takes the place of our monthly breakfast,” shared Shane Moody, Chamber President and CEO. He continued, “It’s a networking event that’s a little fun and a good way to end the year. Today’s attendance shows that everyone looks forward to the event as they get to bowl, eat junk food, and prepare for the holidays.”

photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr.
VIP Destin at Hurricane Lanes
January 2023 | 15
Tina Campbell & Paul Wong Renee Wood & Henri Kelly Shannon Roberts & Tatiana Kakliauskas Sue Schank & Jim Wood Cynthia Garber & Dean Smith Brian & Tera Keister, Jason Hall, Annie Wainman & Justin Demass Michael Ortyl & Nicole Noblitt Katie Cagle & Meloney Howell Courtney Bradley, Cindy Curtis, Jennifer Gutai Comella & Kathy Townsend Kristen Mock, Bryan Osborn & Caroline McCarty Shane Moody, David Butler & Jason Belcher
Destin at
for Business Tournament & Lunch 16 |
Neil Gibson, Brenda Gray & Dedric Hobson

Courtney Wa en + Jason Boyles

April 16, 2022 Ceremony & Reception: T Grand Sandestin

Courtney Warren and Jason Boyles met at a wedding in April 2017. Courtney says she walked into the wedding with a friend and asked her who the handsome man across the room was -- her friend said she had to meet him. She walked right up to him and introduced herself. Jason came from North Carolina to the wedding in Nashville, so 6 weeks later he came back to visit Courtney and take her on their first date. They had a long distance relationship for over a year and a half before Jason moved to Nashville. Courtney says the first weekend Jason came to visit her in Nashville, she knew he was the one. He was everything she had dreamed about and so much more. He treats her like a princess, supports her in anything she does as her biggest cheerleader. He has a big heart, is thoughtful, and loves her more than anything. The couple got engaged in December 2020 in Asheville, NC. Jason had planned the trip and the pair drove down through a snowstorm. That night Jason was up pacing all around, little did Courtney know his first two choices to propose were now closed due to snow and his best friend was out finding another location. Finally, his friend found the North Carolina Arboretum. Jason told Courtney he had a surprise as they headed into the mountains to the arboretum, where he proposed.

Courtney and Jason’s wedding was a three-day affair. The couple wanted to make the event a memorable experience for their guests, knowing how quickly a wedding day can go by. The weekend kicked

off Thursday night with a welcome bonfire party, Friday night a roo op party, and the wedding Saturday at the Grand Sandestin, where the ceremony took place on the Grand Lawn. The couple’s wedding designer called it “Princess and the Frog meets Neiman Marcus.” They wanted their wedding to feel like a French courtyard celebration, and had trees brought in, lights everywhere, flowers everywhere, and a flower covered cross as the couple married on Easter weekend. The wedding colors were champagne, light pink, gold, creams, pearls, and whites. The bride’s wedding attire was designed by her mom and designer Olia. Her dress was a sweetheart neckline top with a cathedral length skirt and veil and accompanying reception skirt. The dress had a pearl and crystal belt with a couture large bow on the back that snapped into the skirts. The bride also had a two layered fabric romper with sequins in the same sweetheart neckline to change into for dancing. The bridesmaids’ dresses were designed a er the bride’s. The groom wore a custom suit by Indochino.

The reception was held in the Grand Ballroom with entertainment by Big Bling and The Funk Machine. The couple’s first dance was to Perfect by Ed Sheehan before exiting the reception to guests lined up with sparklers. The newlyweds honeymooned at The Pearl in Rosemary Beach and plan a second honeymoon to Disney World in February. The Boyles reside in Nashville.

Photography by: Paul Johnson Photography
Wedding Planner: Bride, Mother, and Jennifer Hankins Flowers: Showtime Events Gown (wedding wardrobe): Olia Zavozina in Nashville Tuxedo: Indochino Rentals: Showtime Events and Sandestin Catering: Sandestin Ceremony Entertainment: Marvelous Strings Reception Entertainment: Big Bling and the Funk Machine Rehearsal Dinner: Bijoux Videographer: Be Light Videography Lighting: Sandestin Makeup & Hair: Kendra K Beauty Wedding Cake: Sweet Henrietta’s Invitations (and all things wedding): White Ink Calligraphy Invitations (and all things rehearsal): Frill Seekers Gifts

McCaylyn Fleshman + Tyler E ers

November 12, 2022

Ceremony & Reception: Hi on Sandestin Beach Golf Res t & Spa

McCaylyn Fleshman and Tyler Eggers, both natives of Columbus, Ohio, started dating in 2012, their senior year of high school. McCaylyn knew Tyler was the one for her during her nursing program at Otterbein University, where he was always her biggest supporter. As she was getting through nursing school, he was also in school earning a fire science degree. Their drive to follow their dreams and willingness to work at a relationship is something she knew would last a lifetime. They each could not imagine anyone else to help push one another to grow and continue to support the other’s dreams. The couple got engaged on March 5, 2021, eight and a half years a er they started dating, on a getaway planned with two other couples to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. They all went to dinner and a erwards the guys were in the lower level of the cabin playing pool, or so McCaylyn thought. When the ladies joined the guys downstairs, Tyler was on the balcony on one knee asking her to marry him. She says it was the best and easiest YES!

The couple’s ceremony took place on the beach in front of the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa with an arbor of flowers, surrounded by 180 friends and family on November 12, 2022. They decided on the location a er they fell in love with Destin while visiting. They started exploring their options in Destin and decided on the Hilton Sandestin Resort and loved how they were able to accommodate their family and friends. The bride wore a fit and flared dress with an open back and lace around the dress, designed by Martina Liana. Her veil was a simple cathedral length with some sparkle on the edges, outlining the veil’s shape. The groom wore a Calvin Klein tuxedo. The bride wanted a romantic and elegant wedding but with a beach atmosphere. Hilton Sandestin made that happen with a ceremony on the beach and reception on the deck outside with bistro lighting to give that cozy feel. The couple chose to do a sand ceremony to be united as one. They chose colored sand for their birthstones, opal for the bride, and emerald green for the groom.

The reception started on the deck outside of the Hilton Sandestin, where the guests were entertained by DJ Dan and the couple danced to I Don’t Dance by Lee Brice. They made it through the majority of the reception before the cold wind and some rain started, residual from Hurricane Nicole, so the decision was made to move the reception inside, where the party continued. The newlyweds are planning a January 2023 honeymoon to Cabo San Lucas, and currently live in Columbus, Ohio, with their two dogs.

Wedding Planner: Jennifer Kontomerkos ~ The Finer Things Event Planning Columbus, OH Flowers: Perfect Day Weddings Gown: Martina Liana Tuxedo: Calvin Klein Catering: Hilton Sandestin Entertainment: DJ Dan ~ Ultimate Production Company Rehearsal Dinner: Harbor Docks Lighting: Ultimate Production Company Makeup: Marisa Taylor ~ Make Me Up Hair: Kandice Birky ~ Swoon Styles Cake: Hilton Sandestin Donuts: Parlor Doughnuts

A Bradf d Hansen + Padge Lu re

February 12, 2022

Ann Bradford Hansen and Padgett Luttrell met as freshman at the University of Alabama. The two had many mutual friends and nearly eight years ago, in their sophomore year, they started dating. Padgett proposed to Ann by the pond at the Grand Hotel in Fairhope, Alabama. A group of their close friends and family joined them to celebrate with the newly engaged couple a erwards.

The couple’s wedding took place at St. James Episcopal Church in Fairhope on February 12, 2022, with 300 guests in attendance. The bride wore an elegant, classic dress with button detailing down the back, designed by Justin Alexander. Her veil, by BHLDN, added a fun and modern look. The groom wore a Vera Wang tuxedo. The bridesmaid dresses were black silk and the colors for the wedding were black, white, silver with hints of blush. For something old, Ann Bradford sewed together a piece of her mother-in-law and her husband’s grandmother’s veil and pinned it into her dress, along with wearing her grandmother’s ring. Her something new was a diamond cross necklace, a gi from the groom for their wedding day. Her borrowed item was her mother’s earrings, and she wore blue heels.

The Luttrell’s reception was held at The Venue, also in Fairhope. Guests were entertained by the band The Compozitionz and enjoyed food by Chef Tamara Winzell. The couple’s first dance was to Crazy Love by Van Morrison before leaving the reception in a vintage red chevy convertible. Ann Bradford and Padgett plan to celebrate their honeymoon and first anniversary on a trip to St. Lucia in February 2023, the couple lives in Destin.

Ceremony : . James Episcopal Church, Fairhope, AL Photography by: Je ie Tewe Photography
Planner: Blair Gewin
Bliss Bridal ~ Fairhope
Men’s Wearhouse Rentals: Port City Rentals
The Venue ~ Chef Tamara Winzell
Dinner: The Balcony ~ catered by Berglin Catering
& Hair: Brushed and Blushed Makeup and Hair
Publix Fairhope
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Owner/Designer Ashleigh Woolly founded Beyond Measure Jewelers in 2018 and has a passion for creating custom designed engagement rings. Beyond Measure offers a vast array of expertly curated engagement rings in their showroom but o en clients find it most romantic to have one custom designed just for them. Beyond Measure has perfected the process of creating a custom engagement ring in such a way that it is quite simple to present the client with the ring of their dreams. The process starts with trying on different rings, looking through pictures, and drawing sketches. Beyond Measure has a large selection of loose diamonds and gemstones to choose from which allows the ring to be designed around the stone of the client’s choosing. You can compare shapes, sizes, and qualities of naturally mined diamonds or opt for a lab grown diamond. Beyond diamonds, gemstones such as sapphire, morganite, and aquamarine are among the many options clients may choose if interested in an engagement ring that isn’t quite so traditional. Upon selecting their stones and basic design plan, Ashleigh then designs the ring using CAD so ware, presenting the client with detailed renderings that are excellent for visualizing the final product. A er approving the renderings, the ring is then cast into precious metal (most o en white, yellow, rose gold, or platinum) and the stones are hand set. Engravings can be added to the ring for a romantic touch. Custom designed rings are always made to the recipient’s finger size for ideal comfort and durability. Finding the perfect wedding band to match your engagement ring can sometimes be a tricky task. Beyond Measure has a vast selection of bands available, but if you can’t find that perfect match, a custom-made band can be made to complement your ring and complete your wedding set. Stacking several wedding bands has become very popular and there are endless combinations to compare.

Beyond Measure Jewelers isn’t all about the ladies’ jewelry, men’s bands are also available. And are customizable as well. Find the perfect width, metal and design and have it created just for you.

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Does it cost a lot more?

Most o en not at all. Since it is custom made, we can also customize it to fit most budgets, too! How long does it take?

Allow 4-6 weeks for your custom project however if you are working on a tight timeline we can usually accommodate. Can I use my own metal and/or stones?

Absolutely, it is common and very romantic to use family diamonds or gemstones. How do I know the final product will be what I expect?

Meeting your expectations is our number one priority. Our CAD renderings give you a very realistic representation of how it will look. We will work with you one on one to make any necessary changes and make sure you love your final product.

Visit our custom design studio and showroom located at City Market Bayside. 4495 Furling Ln #170, Destin

Look for our newest designs on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok @beyondmeasurejewelers.

Amanda Ha is + Jason A en

October 14, 2022

Ceremony: Captain’s Deck ~ Emerald Grande

Amanda Harris and Jason Allen met on the dating app, Hinge, while she was living in Atlanta and he was stationed in Columbus, GA, and they quickly hit it off. She says she knew she wanted to spend the rest of her life with Jason within a month of dating him. They have similar senses of humor, are both very clean and organized, and really value family and quality time. Amanda says Jason has always made her feel like a priority in his life. He deeply cares to know about her as a person, to listen, and to do his best to make her happy. Covid allowed Amanda to work remotely so she was able to come down to Columbus and see him for days at a time. This accelerated their relationship and made it possible for her to fall in love with him quickly. Jason proposed in Asheville, NC, to celebrate their one-year anniversary of dating. He told Amanda that he hired a photographer because he knew she wanted to send out Christmas cards. The photographer had her turn around and Jason was down on one knee. She immediately started crying happy tears.

The couple’s ceremony took place on the Captain’s Deck at the Emerald Grande on October 14, 2022, with 70 guests in attendance. Amanda’s vision for their special day was a rustic romantic vibe. Elegant but simple, the flowers consisted of an assortment of butterfly ranunculus, coffee break roses, quicksand roses, pampas grass, olive foliage, eucalyptus, and fillers. The colors of the flowers were shades of terra-cotta and champagne with white accents and pampas grass, among greenery of eucalyptus and olive varieties. There was a lush assortment of various candles in clear and gold in different sizes and styles. The bridesmaids’ dresses were all floor length, in dusty rose, and all varied in styles. The bride wore a lace fit and flare style with a plunging neckline, ornate lace appliques throughout the gown, and scalloped lace hem. The groom wore a navy tuxedo with no tie and a crisp white shirt. The couple decided on the venue because they wanted a place where their guests could also make a vacation out of their trip. Amanda says she was especially thankful for the staff at Emerald Grande when the week of her wedding, as they were 10 minutes from the venue, she got a phone call that her father had unexpectedly passed away. She was in shock, hysterical, and in disbelief so Jason spoke with Emily and the team at Emerald Grande to let them know the situation. Amada says she can’t speak highly enough about the staff at the Emerald Grande, about how gracefully they handled the delicate situation.

Amanda said the ceremony was short but beautiful. The couple was able to exchange vows they wrote each other, and their officiant read their favorite Bible verse, Jeremiah 29:11, which spoke volumes to how their wedding week went. They both felt like her guardian angel was looking down on them in the best way.

The reception took place in the Harborview Room at Emerald Grande, where guests were entertained by DJ Vlad. The couple’s first dance was to Dressed Up in White by Cal. They ended their party with a romantic sparkler exit. The Allen’s honeymoon was a cruise to Honduras, Belize, and Mexico, they now live in Columbus, Georgia.

Wedding Planners: Emily Owen and Annette Peterson ~ Emerald Grande Flowers: Kristin Lockhart ~ Couture Florals and Events Gown: Winnie Couture Tuxedo: Joseph Abboud Catering: Emerald Grande Entertainment & Lighting: Vladimir Jimenez ~ Gulf Coast Entertainment & Productions Rehearsal Dinner: Marina Cafe Makeup & Hair: Brittany Sigler ~ Destin Mobile Makeup Box Cake: Kristin Clark ~ Just Think Cake Officiant: Don Goodrum ~ Weddings as You Wish Photobooth: Josh Folk ~ Epic Photo Co. January 2023 | 27

Rac l Hopkins

September 24, 2022

Aloysius Catholic Church Baton Rouge

Rachel Hopkins and Mitchell Fischer, both natives of Baton Rouge, met 600 miles away in Nashville. Both were visiting Music City with friends and some of his friends knew her friends and came to say hello. As Mitchell walked closer, her heart was beating fast. She could already feel an excitement and connection like no other. When introduced, they realized they were both visiting from Baton Rouge.

A er he asked her out, one date turned into two. Then, it was a love that Rachel had only dreamt of. As their lives slowly mingled into one, she knew he was the one. They got engaged at a friend’s home in a romantic courtyard in Downtown New Orleans. The beautiful setting led to marquee lights spelling out, “MARRY ME,” along with thousands of white rose petals. Family and friends were tucked out of sight, ready to join in the surprise.

Rachel and Mitchell were married on September 24, 2022, at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Baton Rouge. Inspiration for the wedding was Rachel’s childhood days spent in Seaside, FL, with memories of the white sands, the blue waves, and the warmth of the sun. She wanted to bring the feeling of Seaside to Louisiana.

Their Southern style reception was held at The City Club of Baton Rouge with a favorite touch -- a signature drink named a er their dog, Banks.

The newlyweds honeymooned in Las Vegas and now split their time between 30A and Baton Rouge.

Wedding Planner: Unco on Came ia ~ Li ie Frederick Flowers: F age Gown: Bustle Tuxedo: Squires Catering: T City Club Baton Rouge Entertainment: T Cam Pyle Band Rehearsal Dinner: T Country Club Louisiana Videographer: Lipari lms Makeup: Melanie Ho ander Hair: Soho Salon Wedding Cake: Amazing Cakes Invitations & Party Swag: Fri S kers Gi
+ Mitc sc r
Ceremony: Photography by: Ke idy Boudreaux

Authentic You Photography

Alina Joukova-Seamon dipped her toes in photography when she was a teenager. She began working with analog cameras and developed pictures in her bathroom. She thanks her dad, who introduced her to the art of photography. Currently, she specializes in creating authentic images of people of different ages, in different settings, and in different environments. Creating heirlooms for families during weddings, family gatherings, private boudoir sessions, personal branding, and kids birthday parties are her specialties.

Alina started Authentic You Photography in 2018. She took classes online and joined Professional Photographers of America. She shadowed local photographers with experience who shared their knowledge. Alina notes, “We have a great community of professional photographers here and I owe them credit for my success. I started my business to help people celebrate little and big moments in life. Life is fluid, we are always changing and can forget what we used to be, how our kids looked when they were little, and fun family times. Creating tangible photographs is like a recording of a moment that will never come back and or be replicated. “

When Alina photographs people, she creates images where their personality shines and allows them to be themself. During weddings, family gatherings, or even boudoir sessions, her goal is to create an image where the person is being fully authentic – however challenging it may be.

Authentic You Photography’s motto is ‘We celebrate you.’ What sets them apart is that during every session the goal is to let life shine in all its dimensions. Alina encourages clients to express their true personality -- be silly, be serious, show what you are going through, show strength, show vulnerability, and sometimes just to show the joy of the simplest moment. 850-225-1699 AuthenticYouPhotography32459 andboudoir_moments_on_30a AuthenticPhotographybyHeart Special Rates for Booking Your Bridal/Boudoir Session Today!!! Wedding & Engagement • Couples Boudoir Family Photography • Maternity & Baby Professional Headshots
Authentic You Photography
January 2023 | 29

Delaney McCo e + Chase McI is

November 12, 2022

& Reception:

Delaney McConnell, a native of Nashville, and Chase McInnis, from Niceville, met while she was visiting her family in Seagrove Beach during the spring of 2020. She was still living in Nashville at the time, so the pair initially kept in touch as friends for several months, until Delaney came back to Florida during the summer of 2020. They then went on their first date at the Cra Bar. Her best friend tagged along on their first three dates and Chase quickly gained her stamp of approval a er he paid for everyone’s meals and drinks. Delaney says she knew Chase was the one when her family had a health crisis and he was there for them every step of the way. The couple hadn’t been dating long at that point, but he dropped everything to help. He drove her all the way back to her home in Nashville to pick up her animals and the very next day drove them back to Florida so she could be with her family during the difficult time. Delaney says Chase’s heart was so pure and intentional it would be hard not to fall in love with him. Chase proposed on Labor Day

of 2021 at the lot that he purchased in Santa Rosa Beach. He had a sign made that said, “Future Home of Mr. and Mrs. Chase McInnis.” He had tricked Delaney into thinking they were going to dinner with her family and were having family photographs taken. Little did she know that he had plans to propose. The newly engaged couple celebrated with dinner and drinks with their families at The Henderson a erwards.

The ceremony took place on the Grand Lawn of The Henderson on November 12, 2022, with 175 guests in attendance. Delaney said she chose the venue because she immediately fell in love with the green space and the arbor that was already present. She could picture flowers dangling down from the arbor and was thrilled with how that vision came to life. Delaney describes her vision for their wedding as romantic and elegant. She knew she wanted a lot of candles and so welcoming colors. Her flower colors consisted of mostly white, peach, and dusty rose with subtle touches of brighter pinks, yellow, and greenery. Her

bridesmaids wore so grey dresses in chiffon, silk, and velvet. The bride’s dress was silk with floral and beading embellishments on the bottom of the gown and throughout the train. It had a bodice and dropped waist. She fell in love with the cathedral train and customized over the shoulder sleeves with the same embellishments to match the gown. The groom wore a black tux with velvet loafers. The bride’s brother, Kirk, was their officiant, and he included friends and family throughout the ceremony.

The reception was held in the ballroom at The Henderson with entertainment by Big Night Dynamite and catering by the Henderson Beach Resort chefs. The newlyweds first dance was to This Too Shall Last by Anderson East. Delaney changed into a personalized jean-jacket with her new last name on it before the couple exited to guests popping silver streamers and throwing flower petals at them. A er a honeymoon to Excellence Oyster Bay in Falmouth, Jamaica, the couple settled in Destin.

Michael K Photography
& Hair: Brittnay Sigler ~ Destin Mobile Makeup Box
Cake: Sweetly Sisters Groom’s Cake: Bonne Vie
Draping: Wedding Walls
Wedding Planner: Kelly Rhodes ~ Southern Frills Hannah Putynkowski ~ Henderson Beach Resort Flowers: Florals by the Sea ~ Cass Stevens Gown: Martina Liana ~ Town and Country in New Orleans Tuxedo: The Black Tux Rentals: Panache, Florals by the Sea Catering: Henderson Beach Resort Entertainment:
Regatta Bay Videographer:

Beach Weddings


Envision the emerald green water of the Gulf of Mexico gently kissing the snow-white sands; your most special friends and family enjoying the breathtaking views as they celebrate your love.


“The Inn” features luxury Gulf front accommodations ranging in size from two bedroom condominiums to an extravagant, three story penthouse. Each condo has spectacular Gulf front views and spacious balconies for you to share beautiful sunsets with friends and family, or just the two of you.

Heart set on an outdoor ceremony? The Inn at Crystal Beach provides a back-up event room as well as outdoor, climate-controlled tents in case of inclement weather.

Outdoor Ceremony


Soleil Restaurant

Your guests will enjoy the ease of transitioning from the ceremony to celebration without the need for transportation. Located beachfront, the onsite restaurant, SOLEIL offers coastal modern cuisine from the mind of celebrity chef Michael Sichel, with both indoor or outdoor dining, and spectacular Gulf views.

The Inn at Crystal Beach and SOLEIL will provide you with the simplicity and convenience of an all-inclusive venue to host your events. Whether your heart yearns for an intimate ceremony or a bustling guest list, you will find The Inn at Crystal Beach luxurious and surprisingly affordable!


For decades, families have been making memories on the beautiful beaches of Destin, Florida. Many of those same families are now flocking back to the beach to celebrate a new chapter of life. A destination once thought of only as a place for families to come together and watch their little girls build castles in the sand is now making big waves for destination weddings.

Envision the emerald green water of the Gulf of Mexico gently kissing the snow-white sands; your most special friends and family enjoying the breathtaking views as they anticipate your arrival. Reminiscing with your father, who once held your hand and watched as you cautiously dipped your toes in that same warm water for the first time.

e Inn at Crystal Beach, Destin’s premier luxury vacation destination now has the ability to host intimate wedding celebrations and events. e Inn features luxury Gulf front accommodations ranging in size from two-bedroom condominiums to an extravagant, three-story penthouse. All are designer decorated and boast large open kitchens, luxury baths, washers and dryers, TVs, and wireless internet. Each condo has spectacular Gulf front views and spacious balconies for you to share beautiful sunsets with friends and family, or just the two of you.

Your guests will enjoy the ease of transitioning from the ceremony to celebration without a need for any transportation. Located beachfront, the onsite restaurant, Soleil serves up coastal modern cuisine, all with gulf views. You can choose from oysters, soups, salads, and signature dishes that will provide you and your guests a dining experience they will rave about for years.

e staff at the Inn at Crystal Beach understands that sometimes the weather doesn’t always cooperate with your special day, that’s why they have tents available, complete with heaters for those colder days. As well as an inside back-up room if your ceremony needs to be moved due to inclement weather.

e Inn at Crystal Beach and Soleil will provide you with the simplicity and convenience of an intimate, all-inclusive venue to host your events. Whether your heart yearns for a quaint, romantic ceremony or a lively guest list of 150 people, you will find e Inn at Crystal Beach’s southern hospitality is professional and surprisingly affordable. Your guests will forever remember your wedding celebration and a luxurious getaway to the beach.

Je ifer Knight + Wi iam Mitc

December 4, 2021

William and Jennifer met 5 years ago in Atlanta and moved to Washington, D.C., in November of 2019 just before Covid changed our way of life. Living in less than 600 square feet will make or break a relationship, especially during a worldwide pandemic. When Christmas 2020 came around, William decided he didn’t want to wait any longer and popped the question to Jennifer during family Christmas photos at his parent’s house in Sandestin. It was a ray of sunshine for the family during the dark days of Covid. The next issue became -- when could they get married? Since Jennifer is from London and travel was restricted, they were in limbo. Nevertheless, they began making decisions. Unable to go home and limited with open bridal stores, Jennifer decided to research online. Working with her mother via Zoom, they planned the details of the wedding. Jennifer went to wedding stores and pieced together what she liked from various wedding dresses and communicated that to London designer Suzanne Neville.

When things started to open up, they secured a wedding date of December 4, 2021. England’s Covid restrictions limited them to 30 guests for their traditional English wedding. The groom and groomsmen wore morning coats. It was held at St. Simon Zelotes Episcopal Church which is in Chelsea and built in 1858. In English tradition, unlike American tradition, the groom faces forward as the bride walks down the aisle rather than turning and facing her. When Jennifer’s darling father walked her down the aisle, he sat down too early and forgot to give her away, leading to a memorable and funny moment. Jennifer’s gown was magical with long sleeves of fine lace over organza and silk with crystal beading in the bodice. The reception took place a er the ceremony at the Royal Automobile Club, London, England. The intimate gathering was extra special with their closest friends and family there, who were entertained by a harpist and cellist from the Royal Academy of Music. William and Jennifer honeymooned in Luckram Park. Shortly a er returning to the US, William and Jennifer decided to move to Miramar Beach in January of 2022. In order to celebrate with their American family and friends, a reception was held in September 2022. In an effort to surprise their friends, the event started at the Mitchell home in Burnt Pine. A surprise second line led by the Matt McCarty Quartet to the Burnt Pine Country Club added a Louisiana flair to the event. According to the groom’s father, Royce Mitchell, “Since everyone couldn’t attend the wedding in London, we thought we’d bring a little bit of England home.” The entire club at Burnt Pine was transformed with a British/American motif. Music by the fabulous Not Quite Fab, Beatles band provided great entertainment. As the night wore on, VIP DJ Christian from Epic and Elegant Entertainment provided music as they danced the night away.

Wedding Photography by: Rob Nicholson
England Flowers: Augusta Flowers Gown: Suzanne Neville Catering: Royal Automobile Club Entertainment: Royal Academy of Music Rehearsal Dinner: Wilton’s Florida Flowers: Petals and Parties Balloons: Mingle 30A Rentals: 850 Rentals Catering: Signature Catering of 30A and Burnt Pine Country Club Entertainment: Not so Fab Beatles Band ~ Epic and Elegant Entertainment -DJ ~ Matt McCarty Quartet Photographer: Savannah Vasquez Cake: Sweet Henrietta’s

Sara Lindley + Samuel Lave e

August 12, 2022

Ceremony: T Riverview R m New Orleans

The love story of Sara Lindley, a Destin native, and Samuel Lavelle, from Lancaster, England, began when they met during the LSU/Alabama football game in 2016. A er meeting, they long distance dated as Sara finished school and Sam completed his masters while coaching the men and women’s golf teams at Henderson State University. Sara moved to Kentucky for work and Sam accepted a job in Dallas and spent 6 more months dating long distance before Sara moved to Dallas. In September 2018, Sam returned to England while his green card was being finalized. The couple saw each other o en and on one of Sara’s trips to visit Sam, he proposed along a coastal cliff path in the beach town of Cornwall.

Sam’s green card process took longer and then COVID shut everything down. The couple were apart when Sara started having medical issues that forced her to have brain surgery. The surgery was a success, however, she was still separated from Sam. Once he was able, Sam returned to the US and they got married in a courthouse wedding. On August 12, 2022, they celebrated with friends at The Riverview Room in New Orleans. The ceremony was held on the

Wedding Planner: Beth’s Flowers

Flowers: Beth’s Flowers

Gown: MaeMe Bridal

Rehearsal Dinner: Crescent City Brewhouse

Hair: C’est La Vie Salon

Wedding Cake: Bi ersw t Confections

Invitations & Favors: Fri S kers Gi s

Cookies & Treats: Whisk Taking Mama

roo op outside, overlooking the French Quarter and the Mississippi River. The tented ceremony included gold lanterns and flowers lining the aisle to a flower arch.

Remaining true to New Orleans, they also incorporated an English feel. The bride wore an A-line one shoulder white dress by Stella York, altered to create the neckline she’s dreamt of. The groom wore a classic black tuxedo.

The reception, also held at The Riverview Room, featured New Orleans band, River City Hit Squad. The newlyweds exited the reception by Second Line, an old New Orleans tradition where a brass band leads you down the street playing music and all your guests follow with dancing, singing, and hankie waving. They exited in a decorated pedicab.

For their honeymoon, the couple enjoyed South Africa, where they spent 5 nights on safari near Kruger National Park and the rest of the time in Cape Town golfing, visiting the winelands, shark cage diving, skydiving, and eating local cuisine. The Lavelles currently reside in Miramar, Florida.

Photography by: Michael Caswe Photography
January 2023 | 37

Caitlin Nicholson + Keith M re

May 14, 2022

Ceremony & Reception: Grayton Beach ~ Monet, Monet

Aer going on some less-than-ideal dates, Caitlin Nicholson decided to take a break from online dating. As luck would have it though, the day she paused her subscription, she received a message from Keith Moore. Caitlin said he seemed genuine, so she decided to go ahead and meet him, and ended up having a six-hour first date. They shut down the Cra Bar, then sat on the beach and talked for hours. Caitlin says she knew Keith was the one for her when they started planning a future together and it seemed natural. There was no awkwardness, they just knew that this is what they wanted to do. Keith surprised Caitlin with a proposal on December 23, 2020. They had picked out a ring a few weeks earlier, and she didn’t know that it had come in yet. When she got up from watching a show together, he popped the question.

The couple’s wedding took place on May 14, 2022, with 110 guests on Grayton Beach.

Caitlin says she’s always known since she was a little girl that she wanted to get married barefoot on a beach, so her vision for her big day was a classic beach wedding with pops of color. They used shades of coral and pink to achieve this look. The bride wore

a sleeveless sheath gown with illusion back from Allure Bridal and the groom wore a blue sport coat and khakis. The bride also wore a diamond bracelet from her mom for her something old, her new item was her chandelier earrings. Her borrowed item was a pearl necklace from her grandmother, and her blue was her aquamarine ring from her grandmother. For the ceremony, the couple had a dri wood arch and Caitlin’s older brother, Chandler, officiated. The guests sat in white chairs and the couple provided sunglasses. Caitlin’s family is of Scottish descent, so they also had a handfasting. The knot is now framed in their living room.

The Moore’s reception took place at Monet Monet in Santa Rosa Beach. DJ Bryan entertained their guests, and the couple’s first dance was to In My Life by The Beatles. Caitlin says one very special moment was when she, her brothers, Keith, and her new stepdaughter Navie did the chicken dance at the reception. She and her dad had always joked that it would be their fatherdaughter dance at her wedding, but he passed away before the wedding. They all surprised her with the special dance. The newlyweds honeymooned at Universal Studios in Orlando and reside in Panama City Beach.

1920 & Co.
Allure Bridal
Monet Monet/GBC Events
DJ Bryan
Dinner: Monet Monet/GBC Events
Katie Li ~ Makeup by Katie Li
Kellie Hyer ~ Destin Hair Studio
Kim’s Cakes
Frill Seekers Gifts
Wedding Planner:
Monet/GBC Events Flowers:
Wedding Cake:

Sequins & Suits Auction

Dress to impress, that was the theme of the night for the Niceville Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce’s annual Sequins and Suits Auction, held December 2 at Northwest Florida State College. From sparkling dresses to brilliant bowties, everyone attending wore at least one article of flashy clothing. As the night progressed, partygoers had the opportunity to bid on over 65 auction items provided by local businesses. Also available to enjoy were delicious tapas and drinks, a photo booth, and gift boxes full of local items from the Niceville and Valparaiso area.

“Over the years we have chosen different charities totaling over $50,000 of giving back to the community, but the last two or three years we have chosen to make it a chamber fundraiser,” said Chamber CEO, Tricia Brunson. “What that allows us to do is keep our doors open and continue to support our local community and nonprofits.”

photos & story by Savannah Vasquez
VIP Destin at Northwest Florida State College 40 |
Shelly Etheridge, Andrea Johnson, Emily & Dylan Clarrey Wanda & Stan Siefke Jeff Jourdan, Leslie Moland & Heather Jourdan Tricia Brunson & Angela Roy Nikki Martin & Shea Boykin Aly Wrann & Bobby Parker Jeremy Russell & Elizabeth Kempski Fauzi Conway, Leslie Moland & Alyssa Bishop Laura Rhodes, Dennis Dwyer & Rachelle Waltz Rhonda & Josh Woeckener, Mitch & Bethany Anderson
January 2023 | 41
Courtney Dallson, Clair Norden & Tiera King
42 |


Busine A er Hours

Sponsored by Hancock Whitney Bank, the Walton Area Chamber held its December Business After Hours on December 1 at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore in Santa Rosa Beach. The mood was festive as people discussed the one-year anniversary while admiring the nicely decorated store. As guests conversed and shopped, not too many people passed up the delectable spread of hors d’oeuvres provided by Grayton Beach Catering & Events.

In between visiting with Chamber members and Habitat for Humanity Board members, Executive Director Teresa Jones shared her excitement for hosting the event saying, “We are hosting Business After Hours to bring people in to see our brand new ReStore. Our ReStore helps pay for all of our operations so that every dollar donated to Habitat for Humanity physically goes to building houses for working families in Walton County.” Teresa continued, “We just completed our 59th home and currently have 4 houses under construction.”

Walton County Habitat for Humanity’s vision is to see a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Providing a path to home ownership, in tandem with the Restore, which provides low-cost household goods and quality construction items, while keeping items out of the landfill, Walton County Habitat has touched the lives of tens of thousands of people.

VIP Destin at Habitat for Humanity ReStore
photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr. Donald Slappey, Megan Harrison & Jeff Dannelly Brian Sullivan & Erica Dickson Nate & Megan Waldstein, Mendy Gregory John Gautreau & Todd Scali Denise Song & Bobby Parker Donald Reeder & Teresa Jones
January 2023 | 43
Laura Bommarito & Shannah Hanks Ali Barrett & Russell Hale Barb & Sam Reda Brian & Michelle Thierwechter Erin & Brad Dermond John McCue & Chris Helms Steve & Ranee Blood Susie Pierce & Stan Phillips Jane Kerrigan & Miko Fletcher Jill Boswell & Rob Irvine J.L. Franklin & Barb Landwehr
Paul & Donna Montalvo A er Hours 44 |
VIP Destin at Walton Area Chamber Business



Dr. Karen Kennedy, a gynecologic cosmetic specialist, can work with the labia minora, and labia majora, and the many other parts of the female genitalia to make the appearance as desired. Often, other gynecologic procedures such as pelvic floor perfection and prolapse, tubal ligation, hysterectomy, are combined with labiaplasty to bundle surgery and recovery. Or basic labiaplasty and noninvasive corrections are easily done in the office with some recovery or no recovery.

Who sees your genital area? Maybe you and one other person, not many, but this is the most personal area to have perfect to complete personal confidence and self-esteem. Labia minora come in all shapes and sizes, all of which are normal. Labia majora can come in many distinct fashions as well. But not all anatomy is ideal to its owner. Personal preference can vary and are just that, personal. These preferences and more can certainly be obtained. There are many ways that are non-invasive and more surgical to change the shape of the genitalia to what is desired: permanently. We live with our genitalia for years, but it is not always ideal.

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January 2023 | 45

and e

Bi y LuLuBeClauses

It was shaping up to be a quiet and dreary December 11 as patrons of LuLu’s Destin dined on seafood and calmly chatted amongst themselves. However, the quiet was broken when a youngster spotted a pontoon boat breaking through the fog on the Choctawhatchee Bay; with a keen eye he saw a jolly fellow waving to everyone. Turning to the restaurant guests he yelled, “Billy’s coming, Billy’s coming!”

Almost 10 years ago the self-proclaimed “crazy sista” of Jimmy Buffet founded the Destin restaurant, and since then the Emerald Coast location has become known as a destination eatery. Intentionally placed on a sandy beach on the Choctawhatchee Bay, children play in the sand while adults enjoy local drink favorites and order from a coastal-themed menu. With a heart for the area and the community, LuLu’s offers a variety of events including an annual visit from Billy Claus and the LuLuBelles.

Known as Santa’s warm-weather brother, Billy brought gifts for the children and smiles to everyone in attendance. “We’ve been doing this since 2015. Billy Claus is Santa’s little brother who doesn’t like snow, so of course he comes here,” shared Jerry Daly, General Manager of LuLu’s. With games, crafts, and hot chocolate, it’s no wonder this annual event is a favorite with tourists and locals alike.

photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr.
VIP Destin at LuLu’s Destin
Adrianne, Georgia, Grant & Elle Brandon Sparkles, Billy Claus & Daisy Daxlee, Steven, Jules & Bodie Bishop Tiki, Vianna & Matthew Trudeau Riley & Caliey Trotter Jerry & Mary Ashley Partsch
46 |
Jerry Daly & Gerald Tipton
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Wedding TRENDS

Weddings are one of the biggest days in a couple’s lives. Great thought, planning, and attention to every detail goes into the event while also considering the couple’s wants and needs and the enjoyment of their guests. It’s all enough to make you want to hop on the first plane to Vegas and go get hitched by Elvis at the chapel. But for those brave lovebirds who are willing to power through the stress, you’re rewarded with a special day filled with joy and love. To help with your planning, we have compiled the hottest wedding trends for 2023 to make sure your wedding is on fire!


The ring is on your hand, the date is set, and now it’s time to find the perfect wedding dress, the dress that’ll make you feel amazing and set the tone and style for the rest of your wedding. As with anything fashion related, trends come and go, and wedding dresses are not immune to this and their styles are ever evolving.


iNovel Necklines

Necklines are always on the radar when it comes to trends in fashion, and wedding dresses are no different. Asymmetrical necklines are all the rage this year in the wedding dress industry, and the more interesting the better. From cutouts to one shoulder necklines, bold and unique are on point this year. For a more elegant look, the mock neckline is also trending. Inspired by royals, this silhouette allows for a more conservative and regal look.


Sheer Happiness

The next trend is perfect for a wedding in our warmer months or those Gulf Coast beach weddings that are so beautiful. Sheer fabrics for wedding dresses are in. Now I’m not saying your dress should be see through, this is a family magazine a er all. However, sheer fabric at the bottom of your dress or sheer sleeves, especially embellished with crystals or a design, is sheer beauty and oh so fashionable this year.

iBlissful Ballgowns

With the return of large gatherings, we also have the return of large weddings. And while I’m sure there are some fathers of the bride out there that would prefer a small gathering, for the sake of their stress levels and of course, their wallet, but people are excited to be together again. With these large weddings come large venues, large guest lists, and of course, large ballgowns. That’s right, large, elaborate ballgowns are back and ready to shine. Think Disney princess meets over the top elegance, and you have this trend for 2023, a beautiful twist on tradition.

iMini Matrimony

For those brides who want a little less formal and a little more flirty and fun, this trend is for you. The mini party wedding dress is a newer trend and is probably here to stay. Whether you choose a mini for your ceremony or a dress change a er the ceremony, this dress will allow you to boogie the night away in style. While this style might evoke some pearl clutching from your more conservative guests, it is quite the fashion statement that will have people talking - long a er the last thank you note is sent.


Flower Girl

Flowers aren’t new to wedding dress trends, in fact, the two o en go hand in hand. What’s new this season is bold floral prints. Oversized embroidered floral patterns on wedding gowns have a so , romantic feel and can perfectly complement a whimsical wedding.

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Wedding Bridesmaid DRESSES

iDown to Earth

Aer generations of stuffy, un-recyclable bridesmaid dresses, the trends have finally turned to fun, fashionable, and wearable dresses. This, along with the trend of choosing a dress that flatters individual body types, has bridesmaids everywhere rejoicing. For most bridesmaids, gone are the days of being forced to wear spaghetti straps in winter, one style fits all dresses, and wasting money on a dress to wear once. The 2023 trends for bridesmaid dresses are all about looking fabulous and being inclusive.

Earthy tones are more popular than ever when it comes to bridesmaid dresses. Roses, dusty blues, greens, and rust colors are all great choices as they are so , subtle, and flattering. These warm and inviting colors complement almost any complexion so they bring out the best in most skin tones. Many of these earthy tones are also versatile enough for weddings in any season.

Flattering Fashions

Bridesmaids come in all shapes and sizes so it’s difficult to find a dress that’s going to be flattering to all figures. So why should all your bridesmaids wear the same dress? A favorite new trend is to choose a color and have your crew pick out a dress they’re comfortable in to walk down the aisle. These different dresses not only add an interesting and eye-catching variation to your lineup, it can be the difference between timid and self-conscious and happy and confident attendants.

It’s a Wrap

If the bride has her heart set on matching dresses yet wants her bridesmaids of every body type to feel comfortable, a wrap dress is a great, trendy option. Wrap dresses have a magical way of being universally flattering to most body types while also being fashionable.

Beaming in Black

One of the biggest trends in 2023 is bridesmaids in black. And while endless jokes can be made about mourning and the like, there’s no denying a black dress is classic, elegant, and sophisticated. Whether it’s a chic city venue, a garden ceremony, or anywhere in between, a black dress is suitable most anywhere. You can change up fabrics, necklines, and lengths of the dress to fit the season, level of formality, and vibe of your ceremony.

i i

P lanning your big day isn’t easy, but it should be fun. Choosing the venue, the flowers, etc. can be overwhelming with all the choices but working together as a couple will ensure your day is perfect for you, even if it is perfectly imperfect.

Small, Yet Mighty

Small and intimate weddings are becoming more popular than ever these days. Whether it’s because our money doesn’t go as far as it used to, or maybe because COVID taught us that small is good, whatever the reason intimate ceremonies are trending and I’m here for it. A er all, it’s far more important to share your special day with close friends and family than that random co-worker that you only see when someone puts donuts in the breakroom.

iFirst Looks

While this trend isn’t new to this year, it’s here to stay. Private first looks, documented by the photographer are a special way to capture the moment the couple sees each other on their wedding day. While the moment usually happens as the bride starts walking down the aisle, couples are now taking time before the ceremony for first looks in a more intimate setting.

iPetite Bouquets

Small bouquets are trending in 2023, putting the focal point back on the wedding gown. Bold, eye-catching bouquets are beautiful but can sometimes overwhelm the look of the dress. Delicate flowers like lilies and lavender create a streamlined, sophisticated look while saving you a little money too.

iOne Stop Shop

With sites that specialize in weddings popping up everywhere these days, the trend of all-inclusive wedding venues soon followed. These are farms, old plantations, and the like that have been turned into wedding venues that offer everything you need for your special occasion. There’s lodging with bridal suites, a place for the ceremony, reception, and everything in between. These venues not only simplify your day, but your guests will also be grateful they don’t have to drive all over town.



In love and Online

Many couples are turning to the internet to streamline and even stream their day. Online wedding sites where guests can RSVP, note food choices and dietary restrictions help the couple keep track of their guest list. These sites can also stream your ceremony so those invitees that couldn’t make it to the ceremony or reception can enjoy the day with you virtually.

Candid Captures

Of course, you think of wedding pictures as perfectly posed moments, with just the right angles and light. Well, times are a changing and this new photography trend is one of my favorites - the photographer capturing candid wedding photos. The pictures of the flower girl giggling during the ceremony, the father of the bride looking on as his daughter says her vows, or family laughing as they’re chatting a er the ceremony. These moments are what makes the day special and they’re not to be missed. You can go one step further and add disposable cameras to the tables at the reception. These capture even more candid moments and depending on the level of maturity of your guests, can give some great, sometimes silly moments from the big day.

iSignature Cocktails

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of signature cocktails for special occasions, so I’m so happy that this trend has caught on for weddings. It’s simple and a wonderful way to personalize your reception. Name your favorite drinks a er your pets, your teams, or anything else that’s special to the couple.

i Jazzy Receptions

Another trend that’s emerging is unique reception entertainment. A DJ is always fun and knows what jams will get everyone on the dance floor, but what about dueling pianos as the main entertainment? Or maybe some karaoke, or a dance off ? Games are also fun reception options, bringing in arcade games, ax throwing, or beer pong. And if there are lots of kids at the reception, bringing in an entertainer for the kids is also a great idea to make it fun and occupy their attention - I’m sure their parents will thank you.

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First Friday


For the first time in the Miramar Beach Creative Campus, the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County proudly held the First Friday Fête on December 2. Many gathered at the gallery to celebrate a myriad of talented artists ranging from sculptors to jewelry makers to painters and much more. Guests enjoyed snacks and beverages while they mingled and browsed the beautiful works lining the walls of the gallery.

All exhibition artists are members of the Cultural Arts Alliance. Artists, including featured artists, are Stephanie Bloyd, Melody Bogle, Patricia Bufkin, Donnelle Clark, Kim Cleveland, Katherine Duda, Kim Eifrid, Elena Filshtinska, Amy Fogg, Victoria Guennewig, Ruta Janiulis, Capri Boyle Jones, Sue Knight, Betsy Latham, Ginger Laughlin, Sharon Long, Bonita Loman, Susan Lucas, Robyn Martins, Sherri McKendree, Linda Moriarty, Patti Overholt, Helene Pappas, Bailey Rathmann, Mary Redmann, Kathy Schumacher, Dorothy Starbuck, Annette Taunton, Laura Tuvyana, and Karen Williams.

Most works in the gallery were for sale during the event. The Foster Gallery, which is part of the Miramar Beach Creative Campus, is a new addition to the area. The campus features regional artist rotations on a quarterly basis as well as special exhibitions from time to time. Art lovers can also expect a variety of artist receptions, openings, workshops, and other events at the gallery.

photos by Tyler Noble story by Alicia Noble
VIP Destin at Miramar Beach Creative Campus
56 |
Nanay Coleal & John Kasmark Victoria Guennewig & Donelle Clark Karen C. Williams & Pam Hutton David Burwell & Elena Filshtinska Johana Espitia & Patricia Bufkin Varth & Martha Weinberg Amy & Cade Reedy Denise & Kevin Greene Gail Campbell, Lee Greene & Pam Singh
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Night of Giving

Marina Cafe hosted the Night of Giving on December 2. As Destin’s mostawarded restaurant, Marina Cafe offers sensational food, attentive service, and breathtaking harbor views. “We’re here today to host a fundraiser for local mom, Maria Burke,” Lee Purdue, Director of Operations said. “Everybody knows Maria and she’s going through some hard times so we’re trying to raise funds through our program: Night of Giving. This is the second event we’ve done and, in an effort to give back to the community, this is something that we will continue to do quarterly. We’ve been so blessed with everything we’ve achieved . . . and we want to give back to the community anytime we can.”

To raise funds for Maria Burke’s kidney transplant, Marina Cafe donated a percentage of the night’s restaurant proceeds, while local community leaders donated dozens of auction items ranging from boat trips to fine dining. In addition to the silent auction there was a BOTE paddle board raffle valued at over $1,000. Cumulatively, the donated packages were valued at over $30,000.

Diagnosed in 2007 with Polycystic Kidney Disease, family, friends, and businesses have been raising funds for Maria through a GoFundMe campaign, a fundraiser through her employer and this event. Additionally, awareness for kidney donations has been raised through University of Alabama Medicine.

VIP Destin at Marina Cafe
photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr. Joe & Cherrise Ream Brian & Tiffany Plunkett Kendall & Marc Miller Janie McDonald, William Schissler & Dana Jusselin Jinks Dupre & Mike Miner Matt & Brittany Fritzeen Stacy & James Whitmire
January 2023 | 59
Debbie Fraser & Wendy Wiggins Stephen & Terésa Hebert Tony & Monica Wallis VIP Destin at Night of Giving Jessica Vescoul & Dylan Dawson Autumn Lyfe & Daniel Rash Michael Blanco & Michelle Neu Tyler Wilson & Haven Hamrick Angela Johnson & Tina Watson Olivia Emling (front), Kami Giroux & Tammy Barrett
60 |
Jose Marengo & Nicole Nogueira

Destin Chamber Annual Holiday & Awards Party

The Destin-Fort Walton Beach Convention Center hosted the Destin Chamber’s Annual Holiday and Awards Party on December 13. Presented by Trustmark, attendees enjoyed an evening of holiday cheer while area business leaders were recognized for their contributions to the community.

Presenting the awards was Chamber Chairman Jennifer Gutai Comella of Hand Arendall Harrison Sale LLC. “One of the best things about being Chair is getting to recognize so many great people for their achievements in the business world. That’s what the Chamber Holiday Party is all about,” said Jennifer. “It’s an honor and privilege for me to be able to present awards and recognize outstanding people and it’s a lot of fun to bring our members together in a holiday party setting. It was a great way to close out a great year.” Ranging from community service, to recognition for their business contributions the winners were: Alan Gieseman, CEO of White-Wilson Medical Center, Business Person of the Year; Terry Watkins, Ann Gibson Community Service Award; and Dion Moniz, Member at Hand Arendall Harrison Sale LLC, Outgoing Board Member. Recipients of the James D. Neilson Sr. Chairman’s Award for Volunteer Service and the Paul Woolman Ambassador of the Year Award were not in attendance and will be announced at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting.

photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr.
VIP Destin at Destin-Fort Walton Beach Convention Center
Rebekah Manley & Bobby Wagner Christian & Jennifer Carlee Brian & Tera Keister, Jason Hall, Annie Wainman & Justin Demass Verla Price & Teresa Hebert Bernita Rainge & Conesha Farlough Joshua Cowsert & Stephanie Alvarez
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Emily Royal & Chelsea Conley
Destin at
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Destin-Fort Walton Beach Convention
Shane Moody, Kevin Boyer & David Butler Bernard & Lisa Johnson, Kevin Price Amanda Peavy & Danielle Thomas Debbi Gieseman & Tim Hodge Bobbie Celano & Kim Holley Briley Kennedy, Marlee Tucker & Aubrey Robbie Jerry Sullivan, Ryan Holloway & Brooklyn Threlkeld Chelsea Groves & Garrett Jones Jennifer Gutai Comella & Chuck Comella Sally & Gordon King

Fish Fry Fundraiser

The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village has a rich history dating back hundreds of years; however, it wasn’t until the mid 1800s when Destin’s namesake, Leonard Destin, took up residence to fish the bountiful waters of the Gulf of Mexico, that people started to move in. In the 1930s road construction and bridge building took place and that’s when things really began to take shape. Since then, the area has seen tremendous growth and in 1984 Destin was officially chartered as a Florida municipality.

To tell Destin’s story and preserve its heritage, the nonprofit Destin History & Fishing Museum was founded in 2005. With a mission to preserve Destin’s history by stimulating interest in and understanding of the village of Destin, its history, and its fishing and tourism industries, through experiences that educate and inspire, the museum hosts thousands of visitors each year. As a nonprofit organization, the museum holds several fundraising events during the year, including an annual fish fry, which was held on December 3. “Last year we served over 200 plates and since we had such a successful time last year, we are having our 2nd Annual Fish Fry today,” said Vivienne Williams, Associate Director. “Dewey Destin’s Seafood has provided all of the fish and we have volunteers from throughout the community which have come out to help.” While there was a drivethrough atmosphere, several tables were set up and locals enjoyed their meals while discussing the season’s activities.

The Destin History and Fishing Museum is located at 108 Stahlman Avenue and is open from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, Tuesday through Saturday.

photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr. VIP Destin at Destin History & Fishing Museum Parker & Tara Wixom Destin Ben Marler & Jackie Johnsey Rebecca & Dewey Destin Lisa Johnsey & Jessica Johnsey Vivienne Williams & Wendy Parker Greg & Nancy Smith Nancy & Charlie Saleeby
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Mel Ponder & Bobby Wagner

Bubbles, Bourbon, BBQ and You

The sun was setting as final preparations for the Hand Arendall Harrison Sale and Emerald Coast Title Service’s Bubbles, Bourbon, BBQ and You were taking place. Musicians practiced a few songs to keep everyone merrily moving along, while bartenders and caterers tidied up their serving areas. And for those worried about such things, Dion Moniz and Ashley Bowen made sure that the stockings were hung by the chimney with care.

Sponsored by Progress Bank, dozens of merry well-wishers gathered in the bank’s front parking lot on December 6 for this event. As the moon shone down, stories were told, friendships were rekindled, and thank yous were shared amongst this network of business associates and friends. To bring everything full circle, Dion Moniz, President of Emerald Coast Title Services said the reason for the event was, “To enjoy another successful year for Hand Arendall Harrison Sale and Emerald Coast Title Services. Our growth wouldn’t be possible without our clients, friends, and family, so we are extremely grateful for their continued support over the years.” As attendees left the party you could tell that the event was a success as laughs and revelry could be heard from the front of the bank to the full parking lot in back.

photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr.
VIP Destin at Progess Bank
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Kevin O’Rourke & Verla Price Kristin Moffitt & Dewayne Youngblood Gwyn Wendt & Jackie Chastain Chris Rowland & Rupert Phillips Rebekah Manley & Bobby Wagner Tammala Spencer & Leslie Sheekley Dion Moniz & Nathan Cordle Melissa Hines-Wachsmuth & Jay Wachsmuth

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34990 Emerald Coast Pkwy. | Suite 300 Destin, FL | (850) 974-3435
Lydia Collins, Alison Etheredge & Gale Colbourne Shaun Foster, Michael Mantini & Jameka Stallworth Art Moore, Jeff Seeger & Jonathan Perdomo
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Heather Blatz, Jared Larimer & Madison Mitchell

What is your hometown and how did you end up on the Emerald Coast?

I was born and raised here on the Emerald Coast. My father, Ernest Green Sr., proudly served in the United States Air Force and I was born on Eglin AFB, so my roots run deep here. My career in football, playing as a Seminole at FSU and then playing professional football with the Indianapolis Colts, took me all over the country, but my heart was always here at the beach, with my family.

What is your profession and what led you to choose it?

I am the Head Football Coach at Destin High School and charged with building a legacy football program while instilling community values in the young men who play for my coaching staff and me. I am honored to have been chosen for this impactful role. My mom and dad were both educators, which allowed me to see first-hand the impact teachers have on their students and the local community. Their lives of service and teaching made a huge impression on me growing up. My dad also coached many sports. Watching him make a difference on and off the field planted the seed of mentoring kids in me. I love all sports, and I thank God for all the life lessons I’ve learned while watching, playing, and coaching football. Football is in my DNA, and I strongly believe that I am exactly where God wants me to be. What are some of your favorite things about Destin? Destin is special because of the people, the weather, and the food! To be in a fishing community, our food can compete with the best. The visual beauty of our area, to be surrounded by water and white sand, you can escape without escaping. From friends to family and the community - we’re simply a village of love and support, who just happen to have the local resources of fresh seafood, great sushi, beautiful beaches, and the variety of great shops that keep the wife happy (That is very important!). This is why nothing beats home. This is why when the opportunity to build the Destin High School football program came up, I said, “Count me in!”

Three words that best describe you. Blessed Beyond Belief.

Favorite place for dining and entertainment?

After traveling for years with football, now being at home, I enjoy and appreciate my wife, mom, or mother-in-law’s home cooking. When we take the family out, you’ll find us dining at LuLu’s, Boshamps, The Donut Hole, Harbor Docks, or The Edge. As far as entertainment, you’ll likely spot me anywhere that has a good football game playing on the big screen, taking notes and thinking about plays to teach my DHS Sharks.

What is one thing that you do not go a day without?

Prayer and self-reflection.

Finish this statement. I AM Destin because…

The people of Destin still believe in the American dream, just as I do. Because I believe that hard work pays off and it takes a village to make a home, company, or program run smoothly with teamwork. Just like the deckhands getting the charter boats ready to pull out of the harbor early in the morning during the summer, or the business owners working to put out new products, or a head coach building the dream of a hometown football team in Destin… every role and person matters in Destin. I would like to believe that I reflect my community in many ways, as much as they reflect me in many ways. The love, support, and respect are embodied and reciprocated. I am a fan of my own city. I am Destin.

I AM DESTIN Ernest “E.G.” Green III
photo by Harley S. Sampson, Jr.
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