To reach their wedding venue, Austin O’Reilly and Iulia O’Reilly crossed a swaying suspension bridge, trying not to glance down at the glacial river below. With each step, the bridge shook under the weight of people and yaks. Mr. O’Reilly, 25, had seen similar bridges in the 2015 movie “Everest.” Now, he was on that titular mountain with his fiancée: walking a precarious bridge, crossing jagged moraines and traversing rocky terrain on a nine-day trek to the Everest base camp.
As terrifying as the bridge was, there was no turning back. “You’re just hanging on for dear life and knowing that your wedding is at the other end of this trek,” at an altitude of 17,600 feet, Mr. O’Reilly said.
The couple lives in New York and met in 2019 through mutual friends at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, bonding over their love of the outdoors and travel. When looking for a wedding venue in 2022, nothing felt right. “My dad jokingly was like, ‘What about Everest?’” Ms. O’Reilly, 26, said. The idea took hold and came with an added benefit: It would be cheaper than an American wedding.
“We really wanted something that would challenge us and represent our love for each other” said Mr. O’Reilly, an accountant at Deloitte.
On May 22, the couple reached the base camp with Ms. O’Reilly’s parents and two of Mr. O’Reilly’s friends. The 10-minute ceremony was accompanied by the distant rumble of avalanches. “Just you, your beloved and a higher power up there,” said Ms. O’Reilly, a researcher at Fox.
The bride wore a gauzy white dress, and the groom wore a suit; they both wore hiking boots. “With the backdrop of the icefall and the glaciers, hearing avalanches in the distance, you have this really powerful moment — and you’re also deprived of a lot of oxygen,” he said.
Their trek was hosted by Laura Gravino and her husband, Ian Taylor, who own Ian Taylor Trekking. For the 13 years they’ve been married, the couple have facilitated several trekking weddings. Ms. Gravino said that, for her, the appeal of an adventure wedding lay in its contrast with big American weddings, which can often be complicated and expensive.
The O’Reillys are one of many couples having an adventure wedding, taking their venue out of the realm of the ordinary. These adrenaline-heavy events trade ballrooms and historic estates for mountains and lagoons, pushing couples to physical extremes and setting pulses racing even more than they’d already be.