Meet Brian + Hollis. Brian is the interior designer of the HGTV dream home and Hollis is on the costume + wardrobe design team The Walking Dead, Halt & Catch Fire, and more. They lead pretty busy lives full of planning, design, and deadlines, so it’s not too surprising that they wanted to do away with all of that when it came to their wedding. So, when Brian began planning a bucket-list trip to Antarctica (by way of Chilean Patagonia, where they officially got engaged) to celebrate his 40th, it was pretty natural for him to start dreaming up how they could say I Do along the way.
Scroll on through for the scoop on how Brian + his groom pulled off such an adventurous elopement, along with the epic photos Rustic White Photography captured of their day:
Brian says, When I first booked the excursion back in August 2016, my polar specialist told me that absolutely nothing is guaranteed, and some people get all the way down to Chilean and Argentinian Patagonia, and never make it to Antarctica because the weather conditions have to be nearly perfect to ensure safety to fly there; if there is too much wind, you could be stuck in Patagonia for days or weeks. So, I kept the entire plan loose, and to ensure I would make the most of getting there and experiencing the seventh continent, I paid extra fees for kayaking and snowshoeing. That allowed me the assurance of getting into the water if it was calm enough, or just walking on the continent if the seas were too rough. I was able to plan having a zodiac boat reserved just for Hollis and I plus our photographer, and also plan at least having a ceremony inside of the zodiac with Antarctica as the backdrop. If we could not make it to land or to ice floe for a ceremony, at least we could have the gorgeous scenery around and behind us.
Fun fact: Brian’s little sister and her beau also got engaged in Chilean Patagonia. Epic memories all around!
On a particularly scary moment… When we were kayaking around icebergs, a leopard seal leaped off of an iceberg, swam below us and then leaped out of the water and directly at our expert guide Jamie. Leopard seals are MASSIVE and they are known for eating penguins! So, while they are gorgeous and majestic, having one jump up and at our guide only six feet in front of us was a bit unnerving. The highlight of the trip was cruising around an area called Cierva Cove which is packed with ice caves that are inside of massive icebergs and in every direction you see humpback whales breaching and coming up for air. It looks exactly like Krypton, the home planet of Superman from all the movies. We got into a zodiac boat and went as close to the caves as possible, and our guide made us all hot chocolate and gave us tons of blankets.
Then, when they first found the perfect ice floe for their ceremony, they ended up having to get right back off and into their zodiac as an avalanche threatened to possibly break it up. Can you imagine?!
We learned that we make a really good team when it comes to fish out of water experiences. Hollis is remarkably laid back and insanely organized and very much a people pleaser while I lack the inability to sit still, I leave everything really loose in life, and I am really bad at relaxing. When we put ourselves into adventurous situations, we make a really good team because he doesn’t panic and that works as a support system for me to chill out a little and just enjoy living in the moment.
And finally, words of wisdom from our groom… From my point of view, weddings are like bucket list items, so why not combine such a momentous occasion with an experience you will probably only do once and never forget, especially when it comes to the price? If it’s just the happy couple at an otherworldly location, the memories will be forever, and you won’t have to worry about anyone else’s expectations or logistics or coordinating lots of different people’s schedules. And once you are home, you can simply have a simple dinner or party to celebrate the experience. Easy, breezy!
Cheers to this adventurous duo!
Photography: Robert of Rustic White Photography / Polar Expert: Loli Figueroa with Swoop Antarctica