May 27, 2020

Daniel & Betsy | Destin, Florida Beach Engagement Photographer

I’m Stephanie, a wedding + lifestyle photographer based in Destin, Florida and Warrenton, Virginia. Whether I’m by the mountains in Virginia or the ocean on the Florida Gulf Coast, my soul feels 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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Daniel & Betsy | Destin, Florida Beach Engagement Photographer

It has been a while since I’ve posted an engagement session! 🙂 During the winter season, I was hustling through projects to gear up for the busy spring wedding season. Once COVID hit, plans changed. Betsy, Alex’s coworker, knew that I was a Destin, Florida Beach Engagement Photographer, and reached out to me. 🙂 I was so thrilled to pick up my camera again and play on the beach with Betsy and Daniel!!! This place is special to them, especially since it’s their current home and the place where Daniel proposed. 🙂 

As soon as the beaches reopened, we rescheduled their engagement portraits with social distancing in mind! 🙂 I pulled out my 85mm lens and double-checked that this was okay to meet safely through the governor’s orders. It’s an interesting time to be engaged right now, but I’m so happy that Daniel and Betsy initially planned to get married next year for a little reassurance! Chatting with Betsy, I didn’t realize the challenges she is facing like dress shopping during the pandemic. But it sounds like everything is coming together with a little patience. <3

In the midst of all of this, Betsy is getting ready to graduate from the Eglin Family Practice residency program, and Daniel is graduating from Penn State as an engineer! Besides their impressive work ethic, they enjoy boating, sinking their toes into the sand, and soaking up snuggles with their two pups in their “spare time.” <= Although, we know that spare time isn’t very plentiful. Haha! On the flip side, thanks to COVID, Daniel was able to reside in Florida and enjoy more time with Betsy. 🙂 Before we know it, they will be heading back to the DC metro area soon to become Mr. and Mrs.!!! So many exciting changes are happening in the next year!

Daniel & Betsy | Destin, Florida Beach Engagement Photographer

Daniel & Betsy’s Love Story


From Betsy’s Perspective

Daniel and I met after both moving to Happy Valley for graduate school at Penn State. I had just moved to State College to complete my last two years of clinical rotations for medical school while Daniel was completing his doctorate in Mechanical Engineering. After both swiping right, our first date was at the iconic Corner Room in State College. There was an unexpected rain storm that night so we both arrived soaked, but that didn’t stop us from talking for 4 hours! I knew Daniel was the one when he asked me out the next weekend for our two favorite foods, sushi and Penn State Berkey Creamery ice cream! Our mutual love of Penn State football, local wineries and ice cream (of course!) sealed the deal…and the rest is history!


From Daniel’s Perspective

After spending two years together in State College, the Air Force moved Betsy to Florida. We spent the next three years hundreds of miles apart while I finished my doctorate and Betsy completed her residency training. Despite the long distance, our relationship continued to flourish through weekend getaways and many hours spent on the phone. At some point, I realized that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her and I asked for her parents’ blessing during a Penn State football tailgate. I not only received their blessing but Penn State beat Michigan that day! A few weeks later, her mom gave me a family ring that belonged to Betsy’s great-aunt. I knew it was the perfect ring for her.

Christmas has always been Betsy’s favorite holiday, so I planned to propose while visiting her in December. Betsy and I had hosted Christmas Eve Dinner for family but I wanted to wait for the perfect moment when it was just the two of us. That moment came after returning home from the Christmas Eve Service when I got down on one knee in the kitchen and proposed. Betsy (and her pups, Rosie and Rowan) said yes! We celebrated with a bottle of Betsy’s favorite champagne (and as she always reminds me…by washing all the dishes from our dinner party earlier that evening).

Of course, both of our parents were in on the surprise and we finished off the celebration a few days later with a surprise engagement dinner for the two of us at the Beach Walk Cafe.

Thank you, Daniel and Betsy, for having me document this special time for you two. It was so much fun photographing around your BEAUTIFUL home on the water and finishing up at Beasley Beach Park on Okaloosa Island. Thank you for a very easy-going, FUN session! CONGRATS!!!

Daniel + Betsy’s Destin, Florida Beach Engagement Session


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Stephanie Messick Photography, LLC is a Destin, Florida Beach Engagement Photographer also photographing in surrounding areas as well as Virginia. Learn more HERE or contact her HERE!



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