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Storm track’s erratic, but course of love runs true

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

Jessica Costa and Shane Kingsford planned a small wedding. And they planned it for Pawleys Island, where they first met six and a half years ago.

The wedding got smaller when Hurricane Matthew threatened. The couple moved it from Friday evening to Thursday afternoon, squeezing it in between the governor’s announcement of an evacuation and its implementation. A friend from Charlotte who was due to take photos couldn’t make it. The wedding cake wasn’t ready. The restaurant where they planned to celebrate was closed.

But Jessica Marie Costa and William Shane Kingsford stood at the pavilion in the Pawley Island Nature Park before God and three witnesses to repeat the vows offered by the Rev. William J. Keith. Alex Michael Whipkey, the bride’s son, was best man. Justin and Stefeny Wackerly watched from the lawn. Stefeny photographed the ceremony with her smartphone.

The bride wore an ivory gown. The groom wore a full dress uniform.

For any other hurricane, the Kingsfords would have been at work. He is a firefighter and emergency medical technician with Midway Fire and Rescue. She is a Midway volunteer. But they had tickets for St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.

“I had leave planned a month ago,” Shane said. On his uniform jacket he wears Midway’s Medal of Valor, awarded for rescuing two people from the surf in 2014.

They met on the beach at the island’s north end, Jessica said. “I saw him sitting a little way down the beach and thought he was pretty handsome,” she recalled.

“She wanted to know if I’d put suntan lotion on her shoulders,” Shane said.

They discovered that they lived across from one another on Highway 17; she at Magnolia Beach West, he at South Cove. They now live in Hagley.

Shane hoped to keep the wedding low key. Justin Wackerly is a former Midway firefighter and now a volunteer. Only five other people were on the guest list. “We always planned to have a small wedding,” Jessica said.

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