December 19, 2018

Our Proposal Story | A Destin, Florida Beach Engagement

I’m Stephanie Messick, a wedding and lifestyle photographer based in Warrenton, VA. Whether I’m by the mountains in Virginia or the ocean on the Florida Gulf Coast, my soul feels right at home, surrounded by rural living and the raw beauty of nature. I genuinely love what I do, and feel so passionate to share the enthusiasm and joy of these celebrations with you!

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A Destin, Florida Beach Proposal

Saturday afternoon around 3:30 p.m (this is Alex, it was 3:15). Alex picked me up from his house after “working” a couple of hours (one of many lies told that day…) so we could head to the beach for our favorite Florida tradition — Sunset, sand, and Mi Gente tacos (yum!). After driving past our typical taco hang out spot, I was caught off guard, but I was along for the ride! It was our first full day FINALLY reunited after months of long distance. I had a suspicion that a proposal might happen at some point during Christmas. 😉 He was so calm and collected (I was freaking out),  as we jammed out to NeedtoBreathe (New album: Acoustic Live Vol 1 is gold)  while driving to our favorite beach. I really didn’t think much about it.

As we walked along the shoreline to find the “perfect” stopping point, I was distracted by the HUGE broken sand dollars. I love that Alex says at this point of the story … “That was ‘So Stephanie!'” HA! But I had never seen so many in my entire life, especially for how large they were! I’m not kidding — Just a quarter of the sand dollar was the size of the palm of my hand! (Steph stopped every 1-4 feet as I was struggling to maintain my composure. I was just too excited for what was to come!)  I was amazed by the surrounding beauty God gave us on that beautiful December day, just ten days before Christmas. After learning more about the meaning of the sand dollar, I find it very symbolic of our journey…

The sand dollar’s star represents the Star of Bethlehem. Funny that these stars guided us hand and hand as we followed their path along the shoreline, just as the Three Wise Men followed the Star of Bethlehem to find Jesus in a manger on Christmas. Although the sand dollars weren’t perfect, actually they were in pieces. I found it symbolic of our imperfections as we have been broken from our past. The five holes in the sand dollar represent the five wounds Jesus experienced on the cross on the day he was crucified (The Greatest Love Story Ever Told). When the sand dollar center breaks apart, just as they were along the beach, reveals a piece that is shaped like a dove. Every sand dollar has five doves. They represent peace and the spread of good news! Alex and I didn’t doubt God’s plan (I might have). Although, I cannot say that it was an easy path. However, I greatly appreciate the encouragement and love from you all as you have seen me rise and fall over the past years.  I love that these sand dollars were so meaningful as we made our way down the beach to eventually (it seemed like an eternity) where I spotted a little picnic set up.

“It looks like someone is having a little picnic!” Said Alex (I did say that). From a distance I remember seeing two people next to it (turned out to be complete strangers checking out the picnic), so I didn’t think anything of it, but, of course, the sand dollars had me distracted searching all over the ground for the perfect one! You see, that’s the funny thing about this story. At times searching for my soulmate left me in pieces, but when I finally decided to LET GO of control and hand it over to God is when Alex came into my life! (When I really focused on the Lord, I ran smack dab into my future wife!) As we drew closer to the picnic area, Alex held my hand tighter and shifted my direction away from the shells (finally) and toward the romantic setting. I said, “Wait … Did you….???” And he replied “Well… I was not really at work” with the biggest smile on his face.  (It was go time!) 

GUYS. I FEEL LIKE I AM WRITING ANOTHER BRIDE’S LOVE STORY!!!! I CANNOT BELIEVE IT! <3

Okay … I’ll continue and try to maintain my composure.

He leaned down to grab a small box from a wooden chest I engraved for our first anniversary that read, “Darling, you are my greatest adventure.”  (She really is) After he grabbed the small box, I wanted to exclaim, “YESSSSSS!”  (I think she did) But then I noticed the box was rectangular, so I didn’t want to assume it was a ring. I mean, it could have been a pair of earrings… (that would have been cruel). Imagine how foolish I would’ve looked if that was the case!!! HA! But as soon as he said, “Stephanie, I have something to ask you.” He kneeled on one knee, and I immediately threw my hands over my face in disbelief!  I don’t remember what he said word for word,   but his eyes filled with tears as he asked me if we could start our greatest adventure that day. (I said, “Darling you are my greatest adventure. Let’s continue this adventure forever. Will you marry me?). I couldn’t say yes fast enough, and that was before I had the chance to admire the ring!!! After squealing … a lot … and giving him the biggest hug and kiss, he then redirected my attention to the ring! Let’s just say that I NEVER want to take it off … OH MY GOSH. (Please don’t ever take it off) 

It turned out that our friends, Dominique and Bobby (thank you so much), were hiding behind the dunes photographing the proposal (Dom was wearing a white jacket to camouflage into the dunes, #comittment)! I squealed some more, (lots of squealing)  and ran over to give them the biggest hug! I’m forever grateful they were there to be a part of the celebration!! We popped open a bottle of wine (yum!! Brand: Motto) and cheered to the start of our greatest adventure yet!! <3 As the sun started to set, Alex and I enjoyed our taco beach tradition … But on a new level. It was magical (so perfect) … And I cried throughout dinner knowing that I just experienced reality — I GET TO MARRY MY BEST FRIEND!!!!!!!!! <3 (me too!)

On behalf of Alex and I, we are so humbled by everyone’s love and support, and cannot wait to start this exciting journey together!

A Destin, Florida Beach Proposal

AHHHH!!!!!

 A Destin, Florida Beach Proposal

Celebration mode with our undercover crew!!!

A Destin, Florida Beach Proposal

A Destin, Florida Beach Proposal

<3 Be still my heart!!!

A Destin, Florida Beach Proposal A Destin, Florida Beach Proposal A Destin, Florida Beach Proposal

A Destin, Florida Beach Proposal

The perfect view. <3

A Destin, Florida Beach Proposal

After dinner, Alex had some friends gather at a local firepit to enjoy an evening of celebrating!!! Gosh, he’s SO thoughtful!!! I’m grateful for everyone who came out to help make Saturday unforgettable. <3

A Destin, Florida Beach Proposal

Now the wine bottle from our special dinner is repurposed as a vase and a little sand dollar souvenir sits in our adventure box to hold on to forever. <3

A Destin, Florida Beach Proposal

The Best is Yet to Be.

  1. Lauren Swann

    December 19th, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    Steph,

    I seriously couldn’t be more thrilled for y’all!! I remember our last convo at Georgetown cupcakes on the subject of boys, and now LOOK at what God did!! He’s so good!

    Celebrating y’all today! Xoxox!

  2. Denice

    December 20th, 2018 at 1:22 am

    Loved reading this! These pictures are precious and so are you. Congrats to you both. Take time to enjoy this phase of life.

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