by Annie Blanks
It’s no secret that Destin is one of the most romantic places on the Gulf Coast.
Between the beaches, the sunsets and the dining, Destin is the perfect place for a romantic getaway. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, The Log spoke with three couples whose love stories began in the world’s luckiest fishing village. Their stories have been edited and condensed for clarity.
Bronwyn and Mike Landis, Santa Rosa Beach: Crab Island Love Story
Bronwyn: “My husband and I both grew up in the area, and have been friends since high school. We always had mutual friends and we would run into each other. One day, we were out on Crab Island for Memorial Day weekend and happened to run into each other, and for some reason this time it was more than just friends. He asked me out on a date.
“After we had been dating for five months, he told me he had a surprise for me. He had surprised me with a helicopter ride, and I had never been in a helicopter.
Now, he and I are both pretty spiritual, so I had told him that he kind of saved me in a way, and I told him he was my ‘angel on earth,’ if you will. And so, when we got into the helicopter, it was just at sunset, and he said, ‘You always call me your angel, so I wanted to bring you up in this helicopter over Crab Island, as close to God as I can get you, and ask you if you would marry me.’
“We landed on the ground, and called our family and friends, and he had a nice dinner waiting for me at the Melting Pot. And then we got married about a year and a half after that. We got married at our church in Shalimar, Shalimar Methodist.”
Robin and Kristie Driver, Smithville, Tennessee: Vacation of a lifetime
Robin: “I’ve been coming to Destin since I was 16 years old. My family has traveled down and fished in the Destin Fishing Rodeo. I’ve owned some properties down there over the years.
“In October 2011, my wife, her mother and our son — my stepson — traveled down and fished in the rodeo and stayed in a family member’s condo. We went out fishing that day, and that evening I got her and we asked her to join me on the beach. We had a chair set up and cooler with bottomless champagne. And she was clueless.
“We went down and sat on the beach and it was dark and that’s where I proposed to her. Two years ago, we bought the condo from our family member, and have remodeled it, and we still to this day go down and sit in the exact same place on the beach every time we’re there.
“Destin definitely has a very significant place in our heart. The first trip we ever took together was to Destin in 2008. We had not been dating long and she came in and went fishing with me in the Rodeo.”
Kristie: “I was extremely surprised, he had been a bachelor for 15 years and everyone told me he would never get married, so I was extremely surprised.
“He was nervous, and that evening he insisted we go to the beach and look at the moon. So we went down to the beach and I asked him to get me a drink out of the cooler. He kept saying, ‘Just a moment, just a moment.’
“Then he stood up, got down on one knee and I was absolutely floored. I couldn’t see the ring until we got back down to the condo in the light. It was an absolutely gorgeous ring. My dream ring, it was perfect.”
Alex and Matt Marks, Destin: Fish hook for an engagement ring
Alex: “Our paths crossed a few times. He went to Rocky Bayou Christian School, which my grandparents started. My nanny was his English teacher and my grandfather was his bible teacher.
“I moved down here for an internship during college and then he tricked me into going on a date with him. I thought a group of us were going to a movie and it turns out this was just me.
“We started dating. I worked in Niceville at the time, and he worked in Destin, and I loved to go to the beach afterward to unwind and we would both meet up at the Crab Trap and get a beer and walk and talk and hang out.
“He had a house out in Crystal Beach, and one day I was over there and had macaroni in the Crock Pot. I burned it completely. He downloaded my favorite movie for me, and we were outside watching it together and trying to scrape off crunchy, burnt macaroni and cheese when he randomly stopped the movie and grabbed a fish hook and put it on my finger and proposed to me.
“We got married out on the beach, in front of my grandmother’s condo on the beach. Four years later, he still makes my toes happy.”