These couples took their nuptials to the next level.
Saying “I do” is risky enough for some couples, but these adventurous duos wanted something a little more daring to fill their wedding albums. From a basecamp elopement to a couple that took their first married steps together…off a suspended platform, check out some of the world’s most extreme weddings.
Ashley Schmeider and James Sisson
WHERE: Everest Base Camp, Nepal
Photographer Charleton Churchill trains all year for the adventure weddings he photographs, but to capture Ashley and James’ epic wedding at Everest Base Camp on March 16, 2017, he doubled up on his exercise. “I cross-trained, swam miles, hit the stair-climber with a backpack often, and ate better,” Churchill explains. “I didn’t want anything getting in the way of success. The journey took us 10 days of hiking and sleeping in freezing temperatures once we made it to Lukla. Not only did Ashley and James work hard for their photos, but they have one of the most unique weddings on earth.”
Campbell Levy and Courtney Housam
WHERE: Zermatt, Switzerland
Avid skiers Campbell and Courtney each logged roughly 100 days per year of skiing while living in Aspen, Colorado, so it only made sense to take their vows on the slopes. “We were planning a big wedding in Colorado, but the planning got out of hand and the guest list was a mile long,” Campbell Levy recalls. “We sort of just hit this epiphany, ‘Let’s bag the Telluride wedding because it’s too much and just go to Zermatt with our immediate family and have an awesome ski-in/ski-out wedding at Chez Vrony.’ So we did it. A wedding is supposed to be about just the two of you, and that’s what this was.”
Jeroen and Sandra Kippers
WHERE: Tongeren, Belgium
Not only were Jeroen and Sandra the first couple to take part in a “Marriage in the Sky,” but they were also the first people to ever get married on a suspended platform 150 feet above the ground. The Kippers said their vows and took their first steps as a married couple off the edges of the platform with a daring bungee jump where they celebrated with a kiss…upside down.
Tracy Wise and Hannah Cone
WHERE: Yosemite National Park, California
New Yorkers Hannah and Tracy had no problem swapping their urban lifestyles for a mountain adventure on their wedding day. The couple hiked through forests in their wedding clothes, peered down over terrifying cliffs, and strapped on headlamps like pros for their hike back down after their vows were said and the sun had set. “These cliffs are easily one of the most epic places we’ve ever had the opportunity to photograph,” says Brandon Fox of The Foxes Photography. “Just looking over the edge will get your heart racing.”
Jerry Farley and Megan Kelley
WHERE: Kerid Crater, Iceland
Jerry and Megan had been together 17 years and knew that no average wedding would suffice when it came to celebrating their love. The couple turned to Iceland adventure photographer Stephanie Zakas to help them plan a private ceremony and a stress-free day of fun they would remember forever. “No two days are the same, ever, here in Iceland,” explains Stephanie Zakas of Zakas Photography. “For this shot, it was a really moody day. We were battling with hardly any sunlight, and we had already been through a major hailstorm, a rainstorm, lots of wind, and a little bit of sunlight. This was the last location of the day I took them to, and we hiked up to the top of the volcanic crater to catch the last remaining glimmer of light we had.”
Brittany DiBenedetti and Nick Echave
WHERE: Crystal Mountain, Washington
Washington locals Brittany and Nick had always enjoyed spending their winters snowboarding together, so they decided to use their wedding day as another excuse to get out on the slopes. Capturing the action was part of the adventure for husband and wife photographers Brandon and Gabi Fox. “I grew up snowboarding in Colorado and couldn’t wait to get out there and photograph a bride and groom shredding on their wedding,” says Brandon Fox of The Foxes Photography. “I had ample snowboarding and photography experience but had never photographed while snowboarding before. It was a fun challenge to try and capture a great bride and groom portrait and an action shot in one photo. Next time, we’ll hit the backcountry!”
Danielle Trefz and Cynthia Ward
WHERE: South Iceland, Iceland
Danielle and Cynthia just wanted a meaningful day where the entire experience was their own, and they could just be themselves without any other wedding-day distractions. What they got was exactly that. The couple hired Iceland adventure photographer Stephanie Zakas from Zakas Photography to trek alongside them as they explored Iceland’s more remote locations. The three women reached a canyon overlooking one of the tallest waterfalls in Iceland just in time to say their vows in the presence of an active volcano…which last erupted 19 years earlier, in February of 2000.
Sondre Eide and Jennifer Bergmann
WHERE: Senja, Norway
A late-night flat tire in the pouring rain and a last-minute change of the ceremony location (that included hopping on an early morning flight to Tromso where the couple and photographer Charleton Churchill trusted directions from locals to find the mountain for which they were searching) didn’t stop Sondre and Jennifer from pulling off a truly stunning wedding in the mountains of Norway.
Chris Monaghan and Sirja Salminen
WHERE: Whistler, BC, Canada
A multi-pitch wedding seemed like the perfect way to cap off a several weeks-long climbing trip in Canada for Australian rock climbers Chris and Sirja. Not only did the couple board two gondolas, hike several miles, and climb 620 vertical meters to the summit of Blackcomb Buttress, but their pastor and photographers did as well. “Usually we wear a camera harness while shooting,” recalls the husband and wife photography team from The Foxes Photography, “but in this case we paired it with climbing harnesses too. This was definitely the most physically demanding adventure elopement we’ve ever photographed!”
Konrad and Cristine Wildman
WHERE: Mt. Cook and Queenstown, New Zealand
Equal amounts of preparation and determination went into Konrad and Cristine’s adventurous wedding, shot by photographer Charleton Churchill. After months of training, the couple hiked through mud, rain, and snow, carrying in a tuxedo and wedding dress (and two backup dresses, just in case) up to the peak where they would say their vows.
Lorna and Ed Mutegyeki
WHERE: Mbarara, Uganda
Although originally from Uganda, Lorna and Ed met in Canada, where they both had moved when they were young. The couple returned to Uganda for their wedding to share their day with family and friends all while harboring hopes of returning home with a wedding photo that had a giraffe in the background. With the help of photographer Carey Nash, they returned home with both dreams fulfilled. “On the safari, we left extremely early in the morning since Lorna and Ed really had hoped we could see a giraffe,” recalls Carey Nash of Carey Nash Photography. “Travelling in the jeep with the wedding group was so much fun and such an experience, passing local villages and seeing the elephants and giraffes. With the help of the rangers we were able to find this perfect spot and include the animals in the images.”
Ori and Marc Berger
WHERE: Atacama Desert, Chile
Non-traditionalists Ori and Marc opted for photos of themselves hiking and exploring (i.e., the things they love doing together most) ahead of the wedding in lieu of wedding photos, and they brought photographer Carey Nash along for the adventure. “We spent three days together traveling around all parts of the Atacama exploring and searching for these grand vistas,” remembers Carey Nash of Carey Nash Photography. “From natural hot springs to beautiful lakes and, of course, this arid and extreme desert look-out.”
Erin Ostby and Marshall Wollum
WHERE: Zion National Park, Utah
Erin and Marshall were standing in the exact spot where they had met as the sun rose on the morning of their wedding. Two years earlier, Erin was hiking with a girlfriend and reached Observation Point at Zion National Park at the exact moment Marshall did the same. The trio hiked back down together, only to make the same 4-mile hike back up to the exact spot a few years later where Erin and Marshall exchanged their wedding vows. Alongside photographer Abbi Hearne from The Hearnes Photography, the couple braved a 3 am start time in 20-degree weather in order to reach the overlook just in time for sunrise.