Brides often say they’re on top of the world on their wedding day, but for Alicia and Crystal Blakely, it was literally true.
The couple hiked Camel’s Hump in Huntington, Vermont, in their wedding gowns on Sept. 30 before marrying at the 4,083-foot summit against the backdrop of the state’s iconic fall foliage.
“It was gorgeous,” said Crystal, 28, a physical therapy student from Vermont. “It was just incredible.”
“It felt so special,” said Alicia, 28, a nurse from Massachusetts. “After the ceremony, I could see a line of hikers and everyone was cheering for us. It was just so magical.”
The couple met as roommates at Dean College 10 years ago.
“We definitely started out as really good friends, and it just kind of slowly evolved into both of us having more feelings,” Alicia said.
They dated for six years before getting engaged last fall on another New England mountain.
“I woke her up at 2 a.m. and drove her to Acadia National Park and proposed on top of Cadillac Mountain at sunrise,” Alicia said.
They had discussed marriage and picked out rings, but the manner in which the proposal happened was a surprise, Alicia said. And Crystal, of course, said yes.
The women knew they wanted a nontraditional wedding. So they reached out to Amelia Kehoe of Amelia Marie Photography in Burlington, Vermont, who specializes in adventurous weddings and elopements in New England.
“I think it’s great that couples are kind of thinking out of the box,” said Kehoe, who was also the couple’s officiant. “A lot of couples don’t want that traditional experience with 200 guests.”
Though she’s hiked with couples before, Camel’s Hump was the highest peak she’s climbed on the job, Kehoe said.
“I just felt like there was just this amazing connection between them,” Kehoe said about the brides. “I could feel a lot of energy. There was a lot of laughter, there was a lot of camaraderie from other hikers.”
Hiking is a big part of Alicia and Crystal’s relationship. They’ve hiked many trails together, including the 273-mile Long Trail, which runs the length of the state of Vermont.
“It took us about 23 days to get through the whole thing,” Alicia said.
Camel’s Hump, Vermont’s third-highest mountain, is their favorite hike in the Green Mountain State.
“The summit is really big, it’s gorgeous,” Crystal said. “It’s also been a very special summit to my family.”
Crystal’s grandparents hiked Camel’s Hump and it was the location of her grandfather’s final hike at the age of 88, she said.
“When I told my family, I don’t think they were very surprised at all,” Crystal said.
“My family was really excited,” Alicia said. “They were understanding that we wanted something more private and intimate.”
After the hike, the couple celebrated with a small group of close friends and family at Crystal’s parents’ house nearby.
When considering wedding attire, the women purposely chose lightweight gowns they could hike in.
“When I had my fitting, I had a little test I would do,” Crystal said. “I would just pick up my knees to see if I could move well. I also brought my backpack and tried it on with the sleeves.”
The brides wore hiking boots and took turns carrying a backpack with bouquets, champagne, and an attachable “Just Married!” sign for the hike down.
Fellow hikers on the mountain that day were delighted, expressing congratulations the entire way, said Kehoe, who posted an Instagram reel of the experience that has more than 100,000 views.
“I know hiking a mountain to get married is pretty untraditional but I didn’t realize how much love and support the community was going to give us,” Crystal said. “I think it has been pretty amazing. I think it’s really important to show inclusive couples and have a positive message out there, especially in today’s news.”
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