One Couple's Daring Day After

When Hilary Baker and Tyson Calistro got married in October (see their wedding here), they used a custom-made wine box in their ceremony that was inscribed with “And so the adventure begins.” And, indeed, it had. Two days after the wedding, they did something few couples would ever dare to do — have wedding pictures taken while standing on a narrow ledge hundreds of feet from the ground on the vertical cliffs of Cathedral Ledge in North Conway.

“I love exhilarating experiences,” Hilary says. “It makes me feel like I’ve lived life to the fullest.” She had already been sky diving, whitewater rafting and shark cage diving. Tyson had accompanied her on the rafting and shark cage diving, but had qualms about the cliff.

Nonetheless, they arrived atop the cliff at 5:30 a.m. to meet their wedding (and cliff) photographer Jay Philbrick. Philbrick and his associate Marc Chauvin, both experienced mountaineers, had done cliff shoots many times and knew how to make it safe by securely harnessing the couple to the rock face (while hanging on ropes themselves).

In the pitch-dark, Hilary and Tyson were lowered by rope to the ledge. “The scariest part was me going first, someone who hadn’t rock-climbed before,” says Hilary. “I was told to jump from a seated position and turn 180 to face the cliff. I would say it took me about 15 seconds to jump.” Tyson, not so enthusiastically, followed. The saving grace, she adds, was that they couldn’t see how high they were in the darkness.

The quest was to get a gorgeous sunrise shot of the valley, but the weather didn’t cooperate. Fog rolled in and out. An ABC “Nightline” crew was there to shoot it, so there was additional pressure to get the shot.

Fog or not, Jay got spectacular shots, the unique wedding pictures that the couple had hoped to get. Three hours later, just after Tyson was lifted off the cliff, the sun appeared and Jay was able to get solo shots of Hilary with the backdrop he wanted.

Would they do it again? “In a heartbeat,” says Hilary. “I joked about doing it again for 5-year anniversary photos, but Tyson will need more convincing.”

Categories: Real Weddings