Though Mount Pleasant native Sarah-Butler Burdette and Stahler McKinney, of Raleigh, North Carolina, became fast friends their sophomore year at Clemson University, during their senior year a love-match light bulb went off. “We realized that everything we were looking for was right there in front of us,” says Sarah-Butler. From there, the couple’s bond grew quickly; just a few months later Stahler blurted out “love you!” as he hung up the phone. While he played it off at first (he promptly called back and fibbed, “If you heard me say ‘love you' it’s because my mom was walking out the door!”), they both owned up to those feelings a few weeks later. Job offers led the pair to different cities after graduation, but they continued to date long-distance, and in August 2015, Stahler was ready to make another love proclamation—this time one that was premeditated for sure and planned to a T. During a visit to Charlotte, North Carolina (where Sarah-Butler lives), Stahler suggested they take a pre-dinner stroll through Romare Bearden Park, a site well-known for its picturesque views of the Queen City. As they neared a fountain with a particularly pretty vista, they found a wedding party posing there for pics … lots and lots of pics. After a few minutes of nervous stalling on Stahler’s end and a slight suspicion that something was up on Sarah-Butler’s, the wedding party moved on and Stahler led her to the fountain and proposed. Sarah-Butler’s response? An ebullient “Yes!” The pair will wed in Charleston on June 11, 2016.
Photograph by Ben Burdette