Heart-shaped pink boxes line store shelves, roses are in bundles, and parents and kids are frantically filling out little square cards; it's Valentine’s Day once again. For Destin resident Denise Paravate that means business is booming. She calls herself Miss Matchmaker, and her business MatchMaker International of Destin, is one of the only of its kind in the area.
Many are skeptical of online match sites, but Paravate explains that her program is nothing like online dating.
"The biggest difference is there is no one who polices the online dating sites." Paravate told The Log, adding that oftentimes online profiles on such sites include false information such as age, name and even marital status, but her business strives to eliminate the unreliability.
"We run a complete criminal background check, marital status, financial check-up, and most importantly we meet face to face, to make sure they are ready for a dating relationship," she said.
Valentines Day can be a hard time for the single crowd as Paravate affirms there is always a spike in match seekers during this season.
"Valentine's Day is the highest time of year," Paravate said of her business. "It always makes people aware of their social situation."
However, even with the business boost, Paravate sees the deeper truth of lonely heart syndrome.
"My advice is to realize why you're having a hard time with it. Be proactive. Do something different. Spend some time with friends, set up an event; there is something out there, whether it's my program or online dating sites."
Alongside of her pairing program, Paravate also offers coaching services for men and women, as well as divorce recovery sessions. She draws on both her bachelor’s of social work and 18 years of counseling relationships.
"I think the first thing is you've got to realize that each person comes to me with their own set of circumstances,” she said. “I help them in a positive way to get themselves to the point were they can begin healthy relationships."
Paravate told The Log that whether in a relationship, or going solo, Valentine’s Day can be a day of celebration.
To encourage both couples and singles to mingle, Miss Matchmaker is holding a networking event dubbed, "The Dating Game," after a popular seventy's dating show. The event will be Feb. 12, from 5-7 p.m. at Tuscany Italian Bistro.
To learn more about Miss Matchmaker's dating service see www.missmatchmaker.net