• Regine Orme

From First Impressions that Do Not Last to a Love that Does

Story by Liesel Schmidt | Photography by Kelsey Nelson Photography




They say that you never get a second chance at making a first impression, but the saying didn’t necessarily hold true in the case of Brooke Samuelson and Brittany Kirtner when they first met during Brittany’s new teacher orientation at the middle school where both women worked. In her position as an After School Program Specialist, Brooke’s office was a quick stop on the tour of the school for the newly incoming Brittany, a Health and Phys. Ed. Teacher. The initial meeting didn’t leave much on an impression… At least, not in Brooke’s case. Brittany, however, had apparently seen someone who piqued her interest; and a few months later in the spring of 2016, that interest was returned when the two started talking. “She started liking my old Instagram posts,” Brooke recalls. And from there, the conversation never seemed to stop.


After nearly two years of dating, Brittany knew the time was right to take a more permanent position in one another’s lives. And while she could easily have just chosen a special place to ask the question, Brittany chose ALL the special places, creating a scavenger hunt that would eventually lead Brooke to a place that would become the most special of all. “The proposal was epic—she set up a scavenger hunt starting at Ascend Cycle (my favorite workout spot) and taking me to different stops along our relationship history,” says Brooke. “At each location, I was handed a clue by my mom and stepfather, who were invited to be a part of the entire day. The hunt took us from Ascend to our middle school, then on to the place where we’d had our first date, to my old apartment, and then to one of our favorite restaurants, where I got the final clue. That last clue told me to meet Brittany at Gravelly Point, and once I arrived, she had a beautiful set-up waiting, and Sarah Marcella was there to take photos of the proposal.”



Continuing to create photo-worthy moments, Brooke walked down the aisle at Melrose Knitting Mill in North Carolina on October 7, 2018, wearing a soft, romantic gown of layered tulle and lace with an illusion neckline and beaded accents, ready to meet Brittany at the altar. As friends and family watched with their hearts filled with joy, the two women exchanged vows— at times laughing and at times crying. “Brittany’s vows retold the story of our meeting and had everyone laughing because she talked about how many times I was aloof to her passes!” And after the two had been pronounced married, Mrs. and Mrs. Kirtner joined their guests for a fun-filled reception, dancing and dining on delicious Southern-inspired cuisine. Ready to sweeten up the celebration, they cut into a three-tier confection of strawberry, raspberry, and chocolate cakes beautifully decorated in their colors of pink and gold before being sent off to start their new life, happy that first impressions aren’t always the last.


The Details

Venue: Melrose Knitting Mill (Raleigh, NC)

Photographer: Kelsey Nelson

Planner: Steph Smith

Dress: Theia

Dress Alterations: BeFitted

Engagement Ring: Dominion Jewelers (Falls Church, VA)

Flowers: Expressions of Love (Fuquay-Varina, NC)

Cake: Simply Cakes

Catering: Mulino (Raleigh, NC)

Entertainment: Randy with Bunn DJ (Raleigh, NC)

Invitations: Minted

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