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We have heard about destination weddings — from pristine beaches in Hawaii to a royal wedding at Udaipur’s Hawa Mahal. But have you ever heard of ‘adventure’ destination wedding? Well, if you haven’t then you must check out the latest trend that has taken social media by storm and it’s not just about an adventurous couple who went the extra mile to make their wedding not only special but unusual — it’s also about the equally crazy photographers.
Yes, those who accompany the couple and capture the daring couple’s precious moments in most perilous locations around the world. How about getting married in Mt Everest — nothing on earth can top that, right?
So, a travel enthusiast couple trekked all the way to an Everest base camp to exchange vows and tie the knot! And the pictures are breathtaking in every sense. And to get best possible results they hired world famous Adventure Wedding Photographer, Charleton Churchill, an award-winning destination and adventure wedding photographer based in northern California.
Thirty-five-year-old James Sissom and 32-year-old Ashley Schmieder, also from California, travelled thousands of miles to Nepal to make their wedding extremely special. The duo spent almost a year planning the grand project before finally reaching the base camp at 17,000ft above sea level to exchange rings. Braving harsh climatic conditions, altitude sickness, freezing temperature the lovebirds trekked through the snow to tie the knot on Mt Everest.
A “traditional wedding” did not seem quite fit for this courageous souls, thus the idea had to be out of the box! With months of training for the three-week trek to the Everest Base camp. “As much as we would have loved to share our special day with our family and friends, we were both drawn to the idea of eloping during an incredible vacation. We both are avid lovers of the outdoors and had experience at altitude up to 14,000ft, but we knew the three week Everest Base Camp trek would be far more physically and mentally demanding than anything we’ve experienced,” the bride told Dail Mail.
Though this might be couple’s first expedition to the grilling terrains of the Himalayan country, it’s not the first for their photographer. Yes, the daring photographer had earlier ventured into the same trails way back in 2015, however, the devasting Nepal Earthquake barred him and his clients from fulfilling their dream. In fact, it was Churchill himself who suggested Everest Base camp as the destination to the couple. “I had attempted base camp with another in 2015, but the devastating earthquake of Nepal including the massive avalanche that swept EBC, turned everyone around off the mountain. I wasn’t sure if I would find another couple to get married on Everest anytime soon,” he wrote in his blog.
Churchill said the bride reached out to him last year and then agreed to his suggestion and the rest is history now! “She said she wanted an adventure wedding and hadn’t chosen a destination, asking for my opinion. They were thinking tropical or some place enjoyable. I mentioned Mt. Everest base camp, and well…here we are now,” he added in his post.
But all this was no cakewalk, talking to the indianexpress.com, Churchill gave an insight into their hardships too. While he suffered from food poisoning, the groom had to be hooked up to oxygen cylinder mid-way before reaching the base camp. Due to the declining weather and strong winds, they had only an hour to wrap up the whole thing — the wedding and the photographs for which they literally came to the other side of the world.
“Originally, we were going to stay two nights at base camp for photos to capture a lot of images, but we had to get down quickly.” The trio had to fly back on a helicopter from the base camp wrapping up their shoot as it was quite risky to be up there.
Photographing the entire expedition by himself, it was his dream since 2011 to shoot at Everest. And finally, they did it.
Though the adventure-loving couple trekked the entire route with hiking gears and insulating suits, they ditched it for their final photos during the ceremony. With hiking boots instead of strappy heels, the bride looked stunning in a figure-hugging strapless, embellished wedding gown and coupled with a fur shrug, she looked like a vision. And her groom looked no less in a black tuxedo.
As it was an elopement, there were no priest or minister up in the mountains, but their commitment and dedication made the entire journey worth it. “When they went home, they legalised it and officially signed papers, but they wanted to commit to each other at base camp Mt. Everest,” Churchill said throwing a light on the wedding.
All in all, this is certainly a wedding to remember!