Most couples begin their marriage hoping their relationship will never be on the rocks
For Bob Ewing and Antonie Hodge Ewing, a rocky future is alright with them.
The Arlington, Va.-based newlyweds are avid rock climbers who took their passion for the sport to new heights this month when they scaled their favorite mountain dressed in full wedding regalia to say, "I do."
Bob Ewing, 32, was introduced to both his loves, Antonie and rock climbing, through his job as a director of communications for a public interest law firm in Washington, D.C. He was introduced to the sport by a co-worker and introduced to his future wife three years ago by summer law clerks who were rooming with his now-bride, 30, a network relations marketing coordinator for the Institute for Humane Studies.
In March, the athletic pair - Antonie Hodge Ewing attended college on a partial athletic scholarship as a cross-country runner - traveled to Seneca Rocks, W.Va., to climb their favorite route, Ecstasy, which Bob Ewing called, "aptly named."
It was there that he popped the question. She said, "yes," and then added, "I want to get married at the top of the mountain."
"And I said, 'Absolutely,'" Bob Ewing told Goodmorningamerica.com.
On Aug. 10, the couple's dream came true when they returned to Seneca Rocks and made the 900-foot climb to the South Peak summit, where they said their marriage vows, he in his tux and she in her dress
"It was substantially harder for her to climb with a wedding dress than for me with a tuxedo," he said, adding that he has a history of doing unconventional things in a tuxedo, such as running several marathons barefoot in a tux for charities.
"She had a big, poofy wedding dress that was not ideal," he said. "It's just so poofy and goofy, but she did fine."
The couple did, indeed, do fine, making it up and down the mountain safely and thereby making history as the first couple believed to have climbed and gotten married on the South Peak summit all while dressed in wedding attire.
Joining the Ewings in their extreme destination wedding climb was a small group that included Antonie Hodge Ewing's mother, Evangeline Hodge, whose wedding dress Antonie wore; a professional climbing guide; the co-worker who introduced Bob Ewing to rock climbing, who served as the videographer; a friend who served as a groomsman/photographer and one of Bob Ewing's brothers, Scott Ewing, who became an ordained minister and performed the ceremony.
While most brides and grooms spend their pre-wedding hours getting mainucures and playing golf, the Ewings and their bridal party gathered at 6:15 a.m. to assemble their gear and hike to the mountain.
Across the way, atop another peak, was Bob Ewing's other brother, John Ewing, an amateur photographer who captured the breathtaking shots of their vows. By 3 p.m., the Ewings were back at home base as husband and wife.
"My parents have always known that I'm a little bit weird and Antonie is a little bit weird, so my mom kind of presumed that we'd get married in a non-traditional way," Bob Ewing said. "So they weren't surprised, but probably a little bit nervous. My mom's three sons were all up in the mountain all at one time."
Bob Ewing's parents and the rest of the couple's family and friends who didn't make it up the mountain celebrated the newlyweds the next day in a second, more-traditional ceremony and reception at Harman's North Fork Cottages on the banks of a branch of the Potomac River, just down from Seneca Rocks.
The wedding weekend of swimming, hiking and games followed the couple's adventurous spirit and is something they plan to do every year.
"We plan to go back and to always climb to the summit of Seneca for our anniversary," Bob Ewing said. "It was just a perfect wedding weekend and our plan is to celebrate every year going up to the summit again."
In future years, however, the couple will have a third wheel hiking with them, the Weimaraner puppy they adopted the day after their wedding, named Seneca.