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Before there was the story-book wedding, Sam and Reinhard started like many couples—through mutual friends. Sam made the first move on her 21st birthday, and by a stroke of happy luck, the two ended up snowed in together for a week. With classes cancelled at Western Washington University, where they both attended and eventually graduated from, the couple spent a week as tourists in their own town. They got to know each other over craft brews and spirits, taking advantage of Sam’s recent birthday by hitting every bar and brewery within walking distance, Sam said.


Jump ahead five years and Sam and Reinhard are out for a fancy dinner in Greece as part of a six-week backpacking trip across Europe. Surrounded by spectacular ocean views and enjoying Greek food and wine, Reinhard popped the question. The intimate moment made a perfect memory, Sam said. Reinhard told her he “loved her because she is smart, strong and beautiful and he couldn’t wait to spend the rest of our lives adventuring together and raising children.” 

When the two started planning their wedding, they knew they wanted something that felt like an adventure for their guests, rather than just an afternoon event. With family traveling from across the country—Sam is from Colorado and Reinhard is from California, and from even as far away as Germany, they were eager to show off their Pacific Northwest home. The wedding took place at NatureBridge, an overnight camp in the national park that focuses on youth outdoor education. Sam and Reinhard rented the entire camp and were married under the mossy trees and near the shores of deep, glacial-blue Lake Crescent. “We wanted to honor the Northwest and promote local buying,” Sam said. The wedding featured cookies from Seattle Macrina Bakery and Cafe, beer from Chuckanut Brewery, and a custom necklace for Sam made by Bellingham local, Heidi Hull. The night concluded with a late-night order of 30 pizzas from the Port Angeles Westside Pizza Company for their 130 guests.

Samantha & Reinhard

July 14, 2018

Photography by: Clinton James Photography

Written by: Kate Galambos

Samantha, 27, got wedding-ready amongst the giants in the Olympic National Park, walked down the aisle and swing-danced to a live performance by Bellingham band, Polecat, all while barefoot. “I wanted to feel grounded and free. There was no time to waste teetering around in heels worrying about foot pain when we were surrounded by so many loved ones and wonderful moments,” she said. Sam and her now-husband, Reinhard Kurzen, 31, had no fuss but plenty of magic at their weekend-long wedding on Lake Crescent on the Olympic Peninsula.

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