Two souls find beauty in one another’s passions and a sense of purpose, aimlessly courting each other through cobblestone streets, a dimly lit harbor, and downtown Broadway Theater of Charleston. Between a principal dancer and Broadway actor finding destiny’s wings, to college sweethearts who found love amidst the rugby field, to a musically inclined power duo building a boutique creative brand, these couples define starry-eyed romance in Charleston.
Bret Shuford and Stephen Hanna
The Broadway Husbands. Bret Shuford, a Broadway star from Southeast Texas, and Stephen Hanna, a principal dancer from Pittsburg, found happily ever after under New York City’s midnight Time Square lights. Hanna, dancing with the New York City Ballet and Shuford, performing in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast on Broadway, first met at Shuford’s Christmas party. Sparks arose, and after watering a blooming friendship, fate came their way at Joe Allen after Shuford’s show.
Mckenzie & Elliot
“We’re a kickass team. It has always felt that way, but now it’s more pronounced now,” says McKenzie. A synthesis of music and murals brought Mckenzie, from Lake Mary, Florida, and Elliot Smith, from Hilton Head, South Carolina, together. Bonding over their appreciation for the arts in Charleston, the Smith’s instantaneously knew their two paths were meant to be one.
Barbara and Cory Skidmore
“I think the one thing that truly makes us a bit different is people will often talk about things they want to do, or places that they want to go and that’s usually where it ends, with talking. We, however, buy the tickets” say the college sweethearts. Kindling their sweet romance on the backdrop of pop rally’s, light beer, and mild concussions, the Skidmore’s, while navigating through college life, manifested their future. And after countless first dates and saying “I love you,” Cory knelt down on one knee and proposed to Barb in Paris on Valentin’e’s Day. “The trip, originally, was just for fun and not necessarily so I could propose,” said Cory. “My grandmother wisely asked if I was going to propose, and if I wasn’t, when the hell was I going to, if not in Paris. Boom, romantic Parisian proposal!”
A southern love story. Some say it’s a storied fairytale paralleling the collection of books told by the Grimm’s brothers. Others note a fanciful journey down Charleston’s memory lane of star-crossed lovers taken from our favorite movies and books. While these words can evoke romantic nostalgias, we see southern love as two souls who instantly connect and make each other’s hearts flutter.
To read the full feature on these Charleston love stories, check out the latest issue of our Cultural Almanac, or pick up your copy at The Rise!