The Unmarried Couple
By Jordan Staggs and Anne Hunter | Photography by Romona Robbins
Styled by Allyson Longshore
Hair and makeup by Lisa Robinson
East of Eden Retreat and Spa, located in Northwest Florida’s historic Point Washington State Forest, is a hidden oasis. East of Eden appears to be a modern home with a serene backyard, yet it has the amenities of a state-of-the-art spa and a quirky “yoga dome” studio. Guest rooms include a vintage Airstream trailer, completely renovated with modern finishes and even a claw-foot tub.
The owners of the retreat, Dr. Eric Scheufler and Eve Emelianova, have been together for three years and they built this dreamy getaway for locals and visitors alike. Both Eve and Eric have been divorced before, and as Eve puts it, “We always said if we ever got married again, it would be to each other and it would be here at East of Eden—but we are never getting married.” While the jury is still out on whether they will walk down the aisle, the concept of a faux wedding and honeymoon for this beautiful pair began to form in the mind of VIE’s publisher, Lisa Burwell, and soon “The Unmarried Couple” was born.
New York City celebrity stylist Allyson Longshore styled the newlyweds for their “big day.” Allyson grew up in Alabama and spent many summers sunning on the crystalline white beaches of the Emerald Coast, so she was the perfect choice to bring “urban beach chic” to East of Eden. This fashion maven started her own company, STYLESTUDIO, last year and she’s quickly becoming one of NYC’s most in-demand fashion talents for celebrity styling, personal shopping, and her “closet therapy” service. Closet therapy entails Allyson personally going through clients’ wardrobes—cleaning out old pieces and bringing in new—to help them refresh their personal styles. She also helps pull together new looks from things they already own. Allyson’s true talent lies in pinpointing a client’s personality and taste, and then creating a look to match.
“I decided to become a stylist because I love the art of making people feel beautiful,” Allyson says. “When a person feels good about the way they look, it projects in all aspects of their life. It brings out an air of positivity and confidence that people relate to and really connect with. Fashion is a conversation starter, an icebreaker, and the ultimate form of self-expression. Everyone knows who they want to be, but it’s not always easy to project that through fashion; that’s where I come in and work my magic. It is so fulfilling and I wouldn’t change what I do for the world. Also, being a stylist is a very hands-on experience and I learn so much about people and their different lifestyles. I love connecting in that way.”
When a person feels good about the way they look, it projects in all aspects of their life. It brings out an air of positivity and confidence that people relate to and really connect with. Fashion is a conversation starter, an icebreaker, and the ultimate form of self-expression.
Fresh out of college, Allyson began her career in fashion at Jeffrey boutique in Atlanta. “They carried a mix of Rick Owens, Comme des Garçons, Dries Van Noten, Proenza Schouler, and all of the edgiest labels that I was following at the time,” she says. “After three months of soaking myself into the construction and vibe of the designers, I was promoted to ready-to-wear stylist.”
Allyson spent three years at Jeffrey learning the tricks of the trade and honing her skills as a stylist before she was recruited by one of the world’s biggest fashion houses—Valentino—to become a ready-to-wear specialist in their new boutique in Atlanta. The position included making many trips to New York City for markets, client appointments, and meetings. “I was always inspired the minute my plane would land in NYC,” Allyson says. “Seeing the fashion industry from an insider’s view in the fashion capital of the US and working with Valentino was really major. That was when I made the decision to push towards making my move to New York to further my career. My goal was to continue working hard, save up for my shoebox apartment in the city, and make my dream a reality.”
Around the time she was planning her big move, Allyson was contacted by yet another global fashion brand, Chanel, for a position based in Atlanta that allowed significant travel to the Big Apple as a brand ambassador. She graciously accepted. “It was the perfect transition for me at that time and I seized the opportunity,” Allyson says. “My time there included buying and representing the brand and the Chanel lifestyle. It wasn’t too long after working for Chanel that I made a personal decision to launch STYLESTUDIO and to follow my dream to NYC.”
Having worked for some of the biggest names in fashion and having styled celebrities such as Olivia Palermo, Allyson still says the beach communities of South Walton, Florida, are her favorite places to find her Zen. “I work in a very materialistic industry that is full of glitz and glamour on a daily basis, and I balance that by knowing I have my getaway place along the beaches of South Walton,” she says. “It is the ultimate balance for me and such an easy place to travel to. It’s there that I free my mind from the chaos that is New York City.”
For the photo shoot at East of Eden, Allyson pulled luxurious pieces from such New York fashion houses as Oscar de la Renta, Alaïa, Roland Mouret, Chloé, and Norma Kamali. Local South Walton–designer accessories included a collection of Wendy Mignot pearls, Haute Hats by French–Ecuadorian designer Gaëlle Le Goff, and a dramatic canary-yellow chemise from Sirens at the Beach lingerie and swimwear boutique. Eve’s looks throughout the day were carefully curated and perfected by Allyson along with hair and makeup artist Lisa Robinson. Photographer Romona Robbins captured each scene and brought the shoot to life with her expert eye. Chef Nikhil Abuvala and Candace Abuvala of Roux 30a provided wildflowers and a gorgeous cake to top off the “backyard wedding” look.
“I said ‘Maybe’ on the lush grounds of the beautiful retreat that Eric and I created together,” Eve says. “My wedding style for our facetious day was a laid-back, rustic elegance splashed with romantic and classic touches. Allyson brought so many designs in for me to wear—it was every girl’s dream.”
For Allyson, creating a bohemian–New Urban wedding style for Eve was a natural fit. “The beach always brought a sense of calm to my ever-changing and evolving young life,” she says. “As a little girl, I always felt inspired the minute my toes would hit the sand. I loved the Southern hospitality, the natural beauty, and the peacefulness that the beaches provided. I always loved the art of dressing and the process of getting glammed up. Mixing colors, fabrics, bohemian styles, and urban styles is the ultimate way to create an iconic personal look, and you can’t get more iconic than Eve.”
For Allyson, creating a bohemian–New Urban wedding style for Eve was a natural fit. “The beach always brought a sense of calm to my ever-changing and evolving young life."
East of Eden’s ethereal beauty was captured on a slightly overcast day, with the sun occasionally peeking through the trees and dappling the grounds with patches of light. The vintage Airstream trailer made the perfect backdrop for the couple’s faux nuptials, as did the property’s beautiful pool area and Eric’s collection of vintage cars, including the 1968 Lehmann-Peterson Lincoln Continental Limousine. “My dream car,” says Longshore. “And my dream wedding,” adds Eve as Eric speeds down the dirt path that leads to East of Eden on his vintage motorcycle.
East of Eden will soon add another amenity to its choice offerings—a gambrel-style barn.
Eric and Eve will host weddings, corporate retreats, community events, and other special events inside their bohemian-luxe barn beginning this fall. The revival of the barn wedding is one of many recent trends carefully curated by the “hipster” generation. “I love the nostalgia,” Eric says. “It was the most common style of barn that I saw in Ohio growing up. I like the sense of community and the feeling of a family business that I found in Midwest.” Eric’s plans for the barn at Eden also include two loft apartments for retreat guests.
With the addition of the barn, East of Eden Retreat and Spa is bound to become a sought-after destination for those looking for a rustic yet magical fairy-tale wedding venue. Even for those who aren’t tying the knot, it’s a charming and unique place to visit, experience the East of Eden lifestyle, and maybe even pretend to have a honeymoon of their own!
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