Couple renew vows in same spot three decades later by Pratt Farmer
There is just something magical about Seaside. Many people come to this little town on the Gulf to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Over the years, hundreds of couples have chosen Seaside as the spot where they would exchange their wedding vows. From small intimate weddings on the beach to large soirees in Ruskin Park, this seems to be the place where love is in full bloom. Some of those couples come back to Seaside to renew their commitment to each other, sharing with family and friends the unique setting that promotes life lived well.
Such is the case with Alan and Sandy Ficarra. This past Memorial Day, friends and family gathered in the exact spot where the Ficarras were married 30 years ago. Not on the beach, but right in the heart of town. The event was especially meaningful to Alan and Sandy because this time their son, Cody, married them.
Unlike most who get married at Seaside, the Ficarras are “locals.” They met in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, at the annual Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival in 1987, and two years later exchanged their vows on a small stage just behind where the Seaside post office once was located, right there on 30A. “Alan had to build the steps for me to get on the stage because he thought I might trip on my wedding dress had I just stepped up on the platform,” says Sandy. “Back in 1989, Seaside was just beginning. When we were thinking about where we would get married, we just naturally gravitated to Seaside. Alan was building several homes in Seaside, so we were here quite a bit. From its earliest days it was enchanting because it seemed that everyone was not only happy, but really laid back.”
“Shortly after I proposed to Sandy, we settled on Seaside as the perfect venue to get married,” Alan adds.
When asked about a special memory of that day 30 years ago, Alan recalls that Bud, the official dog of Seaside, acted as the greeter to the event. “Everyone that came in was personally greeted by Bud. But that’s just the way he was.”
Keep in mind, this was the early days of Seaside. A friend loaned them a motor home so that Sandy had a proper place to get ready. “Modica Market was the only building in town, and we parked close to the curb. When I got to the stage, Father Green said, ‘It’s okay to cry.’ “I informed him those weren’t tears. It was sweat. We had chosen one of the hottest days of the year to get married,” says Sandy. She recalls that there was a money dance at their reception in which they were each given one half of a $20 and $5 bill. She kept them and had them framed for their 25TH anniversary celebration.
Since that day in 1989, Alan, in addition to building a family, has built more than 40 homes in Seaside alone. So the next time you go to a wedding, look for a four-legged greeter and take a twenty and a five as motivation.