When Ashley Schmeider and James Sissom decided to tie the knot, they decided to raise the stakes compared to most couples by marrying at the top of Mt. Everest. Hopefully, the bride did not wear heels when she climbed the mountain!
According to the Daily Mail, Schmeider explained that, “After much deliberation, we decided a traditional wedding was not the right fit for us. 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.”
Schmieder later contacted their photographer, Charleton Churchill, on Instagram, as the photographer was known for shooting similar photos of couples caves, on cliffs, and at icy landscapes. Reportedly, Churchill always wanted to shoot a wedding party at Mt. Everest and had even attempted to do so once before in the past.
Upon hearing this, Sissom added, “Right then it was a home run…We didn’t even have to think about it. It was like, ‘Yes!'”
Spending an entire year training and preparing for the big day, in a different sense of the phrase, it actually took about three weeks for the couple and Churchill, to reach Base Camp Everest.
Despite the physically taxing nature of the event, they also decided not to treat the affair as a simple vacation. Bringing their laptops, Schmeider worked remotely and Sissom, a part-time student, wrote papers for school.
“Finally getting down to it was pretty emotional,” said Churchill, according to USA Today, “What’s really amazing, when you’re all beat up and cold and tired, it’s hard to imagine that you’re at the base camp surrounded by the Himalayas.”
While they decided to dress up for the camera, with Sissom in a black tuxedo and Schmeider in a white dress, they used a few tricks to keep warm that you wouldn’t have noticed.
In addition to those aforementioned shoes, which are at least color-appropriate for Sissom’s suit and can be hidden by Schmeider’s dress, Schmeider also wore long-johns underneath her bridal attire. In addition, they also reportedly covered up more when the cameras weren’t rolling. In fact, Schmeider goes back and forth wearing a shawl in between shots.
Climbing 17,000 feet, they eventually became man and wife in a freezing, snow-covered climate with high altitude. Why not? A lot of couples want a winter wedding!