For some people, a destination wedding means something barefoot on a beach at sunset. British couple Jack and Kerrie went quite the opposite route, and in December they tied the knot in front of family and friends wearing ski boots, surrounded by snow, in the mountains of Austria. It was the most fitting setting for the pair, who met while working and studying abroad in New Zealand, where Kerrie taught Jack how to ski.
“Kerrie, a seasoned pro, took me for a lesson in Wanaka, N.Z., and inadvertently took me down the iciest blue run in the southern hemisphere,” Jack explained on their wedding website. “This led [to] a very large hissy fit and I very nearly gave up on my skiing career (and Kerrie) then and there.”
The evidence that Jack persisted is in the gorgeous photos he first shared on Reddit last week. The couple are dressed in formal wedding gear, swishing down a tree-lined slope, clearly ecstatic to be there. It’s safe to say this is the first time most people have ever seen someone ski in a dress, let alone a wedding gown.
The most amazing stunt they managed, though, wasn’t on the snow. It was managing to throw a wedding like this with a price tag suited for Jack, a scientist for a natural pool company, and Kerrie, a program manager for a nonprofit for disadvantaged children called Youth Adventure Trust.
“We wanted to do our wedding for under £6,000 ($8,374) due to our budget, and in the U.K. that is near on impossible,” they told Yahoo Lifestyle via email. When they hit upon the idea of a mountain wedding, they researched places in Austria, one of their favorite places to ski, and found a house in the small town of Neukirchen am Großvenediger where half of their 60 guests could stay. The house also included exclusive use of its own nightclub for their bachelor/bachelorette party and their wedding after-party. A lot of their cost-cutting was in the details — driving to Austria via France and Luxembourg, where they could pick up cheap wine and liquor; asking Kerrie’s brother to officiate; having friends help with hair, makeup, and music; making flowers out of maps.
Still, they couldn’t expect all their family and friends to be avid skiers, or even to be able to afford the whole trip. Kerrie and Jack made sure that there were other activities available throughout the week, and they thought long and hard about the costs to others.
“We covered the costs of the accommodation for the guests that stayed in the main house,” they explained. “Also, by combining the stag/hen dos [bachelor and bachelorette parties] within the week in Austria, we did not have people forking out for them earlier in the year. We were also very understanding towards people we invited and did not put major pressure on guests if they felt they could not afford it.”
The couple did, unfortunately, have to leave their grandparents at home, making it up to them by having mini-celebrations beforehand. They also live-streamed the ceremony, which took place on the balcony of a restaurant on the mountain, Wildkogel-Arena.
“We originally wanted to ski down the aisle, and do it all on the mountain, but this was beginning to look a bit difficult with the amount of snow that we ended up having, and having older generations and younger generations joining us,” they said.
That compromise provided its own magic. It snowed as they said their vows, and then the clouds cleared so the mountain and sun appeared. Then the owner of the restaurant surprised Jack and Kerrie with a trip on a piste-basher (the machine that grooms the mountain) to a private lodge, where coffee, schnapps, and cake awaited.
“It was so special to just have those five minutes to reflect on how amazing everything was,” the couple said. They traveled back via Ski-Doo and met with 40 of their guests to ski to the reception.
Jack and Kerrie would absolutely recommend this style of wedding to others, despite the challenges of planning a wedding and a vacation for 60 people in another country.
“Most people doubted that we could pull it off, so it was hard to keep feeling positive about it when we were faced with some negativity,” they said. “Looking back we wouldn’t have it any other way now. … It was the best week of our lives, and we are so grateful that our friends and family made the effort to come, even though they were a bit worried about the idea.”
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