From a Coachella ceremony to unicorn rides, we thought we had heard it all when it came to wacky weddings. But this latest vow exchange takes the wedding cake. James Sissom and Ashley Schmieder traveled from California to Kathmandu to trek to the base of Mount Everest to tie the knot.
Wedding adventure photographer Charleton Churchill actually gave them the idea. Like any bride, Schmieder was doing her pre-wedding research, admiring Churchill’s photos. The couple went to him with the idea of getting married on a beach in the Caribbean, Sissom told Fox40 news before the trip, but Churchill challenged them with something a little more unique.
“After much deliberation, we decided a traditional wedding was not the right fit for us,” Schmieder told the Daily Mail. “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 14,000 feet, but we knew the three-week Everest Base Camp trek would be far more physically and mentally demanding than anything we’ve experienced.”
According to Fox40, the couple had originally allotted themselves nine days to trek the 40 miles to reach 17,000 feet above sea level. The blizzard, altitude sickness, and freezing temperatures they encountered along the way may have reduced their hiking speed — along with the weight of the wedding dress that was in a specially constructed box at the bottom of a duffel bag so that it wouldn’t wrinkle.
Oh, yeah. They still donned their formalwear for the nuptials — Schmieder in a white fit-and-flare BHLDN gown with a strapless sweetheart neckline, lace bodice, and tulle skirt. Of course, she had another layer in case of frostbite: a white fur wrap that perfectly blended in with the setting.
Before the big moment, though, Schmieder warmed up in a silver puffer coat and a blue beanie. She couldn’t be as creative with the footwear, however, as her life was on the line. So she paired the dress with hiking boots, and we don’t blame her.
Schmieder wore her hair loose with a headband, and she got wedding-ready in a tent. That might be the most impressive part.
Although it wasn’t the wedding Schmieder imagined when she was a child, it was still epic. “I never imagined having dirty hair and mud all over my feet, and that was the furthest thing from my mind,” she told Fox40 after returning from the trip.
Sissom was in a black tux over long johns with a bowtie and hiking boots.
According to Churchill’s website, they were the first couple to wed at the base of Mount Everest in a wedding gown and tux. All this in the -5 degrees to 5 degrees Fahrenheit range.
It’s safe to say there were no bridesmaids or groomsmen. The only witnesses were Churchill and the Sherpa laying lines for future hikers.
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