Destin has been the fairy tale setting for many a love story. In the run-up to Valentine’s Day, The Log asked readers from far and wide to share their Destin love story. Here are some of them.
The mighty magnolia before the marriage
Dr. Julian and Melody Pittman, Destin.
Last Valentine’s Day was a busy day for both Dr. Julian Pittman and Melody Gill, a teacher at Destin Middle School. Both had to work long hours with the additional stress of an early, out-of-town trip planned for the next morning. Regardless, Julian had not slacked off in his planning and preparation of a very special Valentine date.
Right from the start, they both knew they had found their “better half.” And, although the young couple had only been dating a few short months, Julian had eagerly purchased a 1-carat diamond solitaire set in a band of white gold. He had anticipated sights of “popping the question” during a Valentine’s Day re-creation of the couple’s first date — dinner at Pompano Joe’s, a walk on Crystal Beach, and an end-of-the-evening stroll through HarborWalk Village.
With the date coming to a close and with the chilly wind picking up on the Destin harbor, Julian knew that the “right moment” was fast approaching. As the couple walked near the 200-year old magnolia tree in Harborwalk Village, Julian paused, knelt, and pulled out the ring and said, “Melody, I love you and cannot imagine my life without you. Will you be my wife?”
With tears of joy in her eyes, Melody excitedly yelled out a “yes” and forgot about the chilly night long enough to hug and kiss her husband to-be.
The couple were married Nov. 2, 2013, on Crystal Beach by Pastor R. Roger Peadro. Family members and dear friends gathered to celebrate a truly historic love! “May Destin Harbor’s magnolia tree bring other couples just as much joy, luck, and love,” Melody wrote.
A proposal in the sand
Greg and Jessica Reeves, Mountain Green, Utah
Jessica met Greg at a university in Utah in 2002. He would always tell her about the awesome place where he grew up — Destin, Florida. Being from the west, Jessica had never been to Destin or even heard of it.
During Christmas break from school, Greg headed home and Jessica went with him to finally see Destin and meet his family. “One night, he wanted to show me the gorgeous beach sunsets of Destin, so we headed to Tops'l Beach,” Jessica writes. “Little did I know, he had buried a big seashell in the sand that contained an engagement ring in it!”
As the sun was setting, he got down on one knee and asked Jessica to marry him.
“I had no idea he was going to do this and so was totally surprised,” she wrote. “I, of course, said yes, and we have been happily married for ten years!”
The couple visits regularly and looks forward to one day becoming permanent residents.
Something borrowed, something blew
Blair and Nancy Morgan, Madison, Miss.
Newlyweds Blair and Nancy were living in Jackson, Miss., and planned their Destin wedding on Oct. 21, 1995. Two weeks after Hurricane Opal, the couple was set to tie the knot at the home of Blair’s aunt and uncle, Chuck and Camille Morgan.
“We thought about postponing, but they swore they would have everything cleaned up as planned,” Blair said, noting that they had planned for a bigger wedding but many of their friends couldn’t attend due to the lack of available hotels.
“My uncle Chuck went to his beach condo on Old 98 and got Gulf Power to get power back on for our honeymoon. It was the only lights that were working for miles along the beach...”
A Destin date leads to destiny
Major Sean Burke, USAF, and Magen Kroutter, Nashville, Tenn.
Sean and Magen met April 18, 2013, at AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar.
“I was down from Nashville for the famous Fudpucker’s Volleyball Tournament, in which he being from the area, was playing on a men's team,” wrote Magen. “We met the second night of the tournament and have been dating ever since.”
Magen now travels to the Destin area most every month and feels plenty “blessed.”
“Destin has always been my family’s choice for vacation, because of the paradise atmosphere,” she said. “The most exciting part is the love of my life, who graduated from Niceville and now owns Reef Beach Rental Service out on 30A, is building a house. With just a little bit of luck, I'll be a Destin, Florida, resident before summer! I can't wait!”
The couple plans on taking a SunQuest dinner cruise to celebrate their first Valentine’s Day.
From the Swamp to the bay on her wedding day
Shawn Mathew and Brittany Dawn Keown, Milton, Fla.
Shawn and Brittany met at the Swamp on Okaloosa Island in May 2009.
“It was a slow week night, we kept catching each other’s stares and he finally came over to talk to me,” Brittany remembers. “Little did I know my life was forever changed.”
They began talking and he informed Brittany that he was stationed at Hulburt Air Force Base training for an upcoming deployment to Iraq.
“From that moment we were completely inseparable,” she wrote.
After his deployment was over, Shawn separated from the military and wanted to go to Indiana University to pursue a journalism degree. Afraid, scared and without much support, Brittany decided to join him in Indiana.
“January 2012 we got engaged and June 2, 2012, we got married on Choctawhatchee Bay with close family and friends.” After Shawn graduated the couple returned to where their story began.
“We recently moved back to the area and are expecting our first child in May,” Brittany wrote. “It's a little boy named Noah! We are so blessed and we have this beautiful paradise to owe for all of our many years of love and happiness.”