And the photos are beautiful.

By Faith Brar

Ashley Schmeider and James Sisson didn't want an average wedding. So when they finally decided to tie the knot, the couple reached out to adventure wedding photographer Charleton Churchill to see if he could bring their dream to life.

At first, Schmeider suggested going somewhere tropical, but Churchill had his own plans. The California-based photographer had always wanted to shoot a wedding at the Mount Everest Base Camp. In fact, he'd given the idea a shot once with another couple, but an earthquake squashed their expedition. When he pitched the idea to Ashley and James, they were all in.

"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," Schmeider told The Daily Mail. "We both are avid lovers of the outdoors and had experience at an 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." (Talk about testing their relationship!)

The three spent the following year training to hike 38 miles up to one of the most epic backdrops in the world. And when the time came, Churchill was ready to document the entire journey. He later posted photos of the experience on his photography blog.

"It started snowing hard a few days into the journey," he wrote. "According to our Sherpa guide, it dumped more snow on us than it had all winter."

Bitterly cold temperatures in the high altitude made his job of taking photos of the couple in the incredible surroundings even more difficult, explained Churchill. "Our hands would quickly freeze if left out of the gloves," he said.

Besides the cold, the trio also dealt with severe altitude sickness and food poisoning, but that didn't stop them from making it to the top. And once they finally reached the summit, they were told they had an hour and a half to eat, get married, pack up, and get on a helicopter. So that's what they did-despite the temperature outside, which was -11 degrees Fahrenheit.

The couple exchanged vows and rings at 17,000 feet surrounded by an orchestra of mountains with the famous Khumbu ice-fall behind them.

"I wanted to document a real couple getting married, the journey along the way, the pain, the happiness, the tiredness, the struggles, as well as the romantic chemistry of the couple," Churchhill told The Daily Mail. "More than that, I wanted to portray the contrast that exists between the intimidatingly majestic mountains and the small, fragile love between two humans."

We'd say he nailed it.


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