Ashleigh and Dan – Photography by Barefoot & Bearded
Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love, what is unique about you and your relationship…
Dan is a builder and I’m a graphic designer, we both love travelling, being outdoors and hiking. Adventure over luxury and experiences over material items.
Our families are extremely important to us and this was one of the first things that attracted us to each other as we both found out pretty quickly that we shared the same values. Our relationship is built on a strong foundation of friendship. It’s made up of respect, love and kindness. We put each others happiness first, before anything else.
We met through mutual friends in 2010, got together a couple of years later and the rest is history. In 2017 while trekking in Nepal with a mixture of no showers, altitude headaches, a few kind words and a sign made out of toilet paper, Dan popped the question in a dingy little room in Gorak Shep – those who have been here before will understand that this place doesn’t exactly scream ‘romantic’. Nevertheless we were over the moon and to this day I can’t imagine a more perfect proposal to suit us and our relationship. As soon as we landed in Nepal for the first time we fell in love with everything about it, the people, the energy and the mountains. After getting engaged there we knew it would always hold a special place in our hearts, so it only felt right when we decided we would go back to elope.
Tell us about your special day, was there a specific theme or style? Tell us a little about the setting, the styling and some of your favourite details…
With Dans suit and my dress rolled up in the bottom of our duffle bags we set off to the Kathmandu airport to catch an early flight up to Lukla. We spent the day watching the hours go by and drinking piping hot tea while waiting to see if the weather would clear and wandering if we would ever actually make it into the mountains or if our elopement would be on the busy streets of Kathmandu.
All the flights for the day were cancelled so we had to decide what to do next — try again tomorrow or splash out and charter a helicopter for the next morning. We decided that there would never be a better excuse to go for a wee helicopter ride, a first for both Dan and I and also our photographer, Joel. We jumped in the small chopper, Joel in the front, Dan, our guide Lhakpa Sherpa and I in the back. What a ride, we were treated to incredible views of the mountain tops and terraced farmland below.
We landed in Phakding and set off up the hill to Namche Bazaar. Since our flight was late we had to hit the ground running to make it by dark. Dan and I were so pumped to be back in this beautiful part of the world. Being in this incredible national park brought back the same excitement from when we were here for the first time the year before. Waterfalls, swing bridges and all the beautiful faces smiling as we walk by.
We reached Namche just before the sun went down and everything was covered in low cloud, no view to be seen. The next morning came around quickly and without much of a thought Dan and I rushed up a hill to catch the sunrise together. And what a different place it was compared to the night before, not a cloud in the sky! It was a beautiful moment to reflect on where we were, what we were doing and how lucky we were to be doing it.
After a delicious brekky, we started back up the seemingly never ending stairs out of Namche. Today, since we didn’t have far to go we could take our time and stop to enjoy the breathtaking views we had surrounding us. We arrived at Hotel Everest View (HEV) before lunch and we couldn’t believe our eyes. Without a word of a lie, this hotel is in the most beautiful place on earth. Each room has outstanding views of Mount Everest and all her neighbours. We had lunch while admiring the unreal views in front of us, then popped out for a reccy to find our spot. We wandered around, exploring through trees, climbing rocks and listening to crows until the cloud came down and we could hardly see what was right in front of us. We blindly chose a spot trying to guess what the mountains or valleys would look like behind the cloud – hoping that in the morning it would clear for us. As soon as the sun went down it was early to bed, temperatures were cold and we knew we had an early start the next morning.
Our day started at 4am and excitement levels were high. We shook out the wrinkles in our outfits and I threw on my makeup by torch light. Along with a couple of snacks for the road, we had little photos of our families so we felt they were close to us on our special day. Shoes on and the three of us walked down the long hallway at HEV and out into the darkness. The sky was filled with twinkling stars and the air was still. We crunched along the frozen dirt track to our spot and as the sun was rising through the Himalayas we said our vows to each other. The moment was magic. Just the two of us, exploding with love, surrounded by the most beautiful mountains on this planet. It was the most incredible and unbelievable moment of my life.
After mucking around and taking a few snaps we headed back in to HEV for a warm breakfast and a pot of tea, before heading off for a walk down to the charming Khumjung village. We stopped in at a tea house for a tasty lunch of dal baht and pizza and played a few rounds of cards. As the cloud came back down we set back up the hill to HEV. In the distance we could hear the faint jingle of yak bells, Dans eyes lit up and I knew his dream was going to come true – wedding photo with a couply good looking yaks.
The recipe for our perfect day: the Himalayas, a sunrise, so many laughs and hearts full of love. And also an incredible photographer – who is now a good friend – we couldn’t have wished for a better person to share this experience with, Joel is the best of the best.
Tell us about your main outfits:
Our outfits were basic, we just wanted to be comfortable. It’s not often Dan is out of his work attire so a casual suit was definitely more his style. I rate comfort over everything so getting married in a t-shirt and sneakers was my idea of a perfect outfit.
What were some of the most memorable/unique moments from the day?
The most memorable moment from our day would have to be standing hand in hand looking around at these mountains that we had all to ourselves. The sunrise, the silence and the feeling of eternal happiness.
Any advice for other couples planning to spend the rest of their lives together?
Respect, kindness and love, nothing is more important, treat each other and everyone around you with the utmost respect, kindness and love every single day. Also, do what makes you as a couple, happy. Tradition is a beautiful thing if it is important to you, but if it’s not, do something different, something that makes your heart smile.
Photography: Barefoot & Bearded | Ceremony location: Sagarmatha National Park | Reception location: Hotel Everest View | Trekking Guide: Lhakpa Sherpa | Ashleigh’s outfit: T-shirt from ASOS and skirt made by Nika Milevich at Milabridal on Etsy | Dan’s outfit: Jacket, shirt and pants by Yaly Couture in Vietnam | Rings: Dan- Meadowlark, Ash- Naveya and Sloane | Shoes: Ash- All birds, Dan- Number 1 Shoes | Jewellery: Earrings by Meadowlark