My first encounter with Northwest Florida Weddings Magazine was monumental. I was sitting in the lobby of Rowland Publishing waiting to be interviewed for a job.
I was three months out of college and couldn’t believe my luck being considered for a role in magazine publishing. I was also very green in the industry and incredibly nervous. On the table in front of me sat a copy of the magazine I had no idea I would one day become editor of.
Picking it up, I busied myself with the pages, worry drifting away. The conference room door opened, and I said hello to my future.
The editor of Northwest Florida Weddings Magazine at the time of my hiring was Chay Baxley. Chay was a few years older than me with a distinct writing voice and enviable, effortless beach waves. Every day, she made a point of stopping by my desk to talk to me, often bringing me treats.
Chay gave me the confidence to advocate for my stories and assigned me my first article in Northwest Florida Weddings Magazine. Throughout the process of putting the magazine together, I worked closely beside her, mostly just watching. Little did I know, she would gift me editorship of the magazine when she departed the company.
Since 2017, for seven of this magazine’s 10 years, I have been its editor. That seems unfathomable, yet the fact of it sits in front of me on the coffee table fanned with magazines in my own office.
Ten years is an incredible milestone that I feel grateful to the publisher, Brian Rowland and associate publisher, McKenzie Burleigh, for first dreaming up and believing in the magazine all these years. Without account executives meeting with the vendors and venues throughout these pages and the ad services coordinators assisting clients, this magazine would not flourish as it has.
Throughout the years, I have had many talented writers and marketing professionals lend their voices to this publication both in print and digitally. Janecia Britt and Kate Pierson were especially valuable in championing this magazine and extending the expanse of our readership.
To each designer who has touched this magazine, you’ve graced it with beauty and situated it as a luxury publishing product. To our creative director, Jennifer Ekrut, I value your insights above all and trust you fully. To our dear lead designer, Sarah Burger, you began as my sorority sister but have become my right-hand woman, my confidant, my trusted eye and my friend.
Whether you’re an advertiser that’s been with us from Page 1 or just joined this year, we are immensely happy you’re here. We exist because of you and your unwavering wish to make each client’s wedding your highest priority.
I would be remiss, as this is a magazine centralized by love, not to thank my husband whose support has buoyed me throughout my publishing career. No one has believed in me like you have, and my belief in you is just as sacred.
Dearest readers, you’re my “why” — why I put words to a page. It is to share your stories and be a part of your happiness. Never do I tire of being witness to your love stories, and I’m humbled by your trust in me to share them.
For a decade, this publication has been strengthened by the fighting power, the pulsating heart of what can never be stopped — love. Despite adversity, laws and global pandemics, society has come together in love again and again. It brings me comfort knowing, for decades to come, we will continue to make the right choice.
All my best,
Rebecca Padgett Frett, Editor
Photo courtesy of Zan Frett Media