UT grad takes wedding vows to new heightsWritten by Sarah Ottney | Editor in Chief | firstname.lastname@example.org
Floor space may have been tight and accessibility limited at the recent wedding ceremony of University of Toledo graduate Bob Ewing and his wife, Antonie — but the view from their venue was unparalleled.
The Ewings of Arlington, Va., both avid rock climbers, were married Aug. 10 on the 900-foot summit of the South Peak of Seneca Rocks in West Virginia. The location is accessible only by technical rock climbing. The couple made the climb in their wedding clothes, he in a tux and she in her mother’s wedding dress.
Five people joined them at the top: the groom’s brother, Scott Ewing, who performed the ceremony; two rock climber friends who served as photographer and videographer; the bride’s mother; and a guide from Seneca Rocks Climbing School.
The groom’s other brother, John Ewing of Bedford Township, Mich., also a UT graduate, took photos from a nearby peak.
“I thought it was really cool,” John said. “They’re very outdoorsy and athletic, so it really fit their personalities well. Her mother insisted on going up, too. She’s pretty strong-willed.”
Several other family members hiked with the party to the base of the climb and then followed the group’s progress with walkie talkies.
The couple held a second ceremony and reception Aug. 11 for by the rest of their family and friends. On Aug. 12, the pair adopted a puppy, a Weimaraner they named Seneca.
Bob, 32, grew up in North Olmsted, near Cleveland. Antonie, 30, grew up in New Mexico. Both work in Arlington, Va., just outside of Washington, D.C. Bob is director of communications for a public interest law firm while Antonie is a network relations marketing coordinator for the Institute for Humane Studies. Bob also proposed to Antonie at Seneca Rocks, lower on the mountain.
Seneca Rocks has two peaks. Although weddings are not uncommon on the observation deck of the North Peak, which can be reached by hiking, weddings on the South Peak summit are rare because of the difficulty of the climb, said Arthur Kearns, who operates Seneca Rocks Climbing School with his wife, Diane.
The Kearns actually planned to get married on the South Peak summit themselves, but never quite made it, as their officiant balked before reaching the top.
“The minister waited until we were at the start of Old Ladies [a climbing route at Seneca Rocks] to inform us that he was deathly afraid of heights,” Kearns said in an email to Toledo Free Press. “Seemed he had no idea what he had agreed to.”
There have been a few other weddings on the South Peak summit, but to his knowledge the Ewings are the first to do it in full formal attire, Kearns said.
Another groom getting married at Seneca Rocks this fall wanted to do it at the top of South Peak, but his bride-to-be nixed that plan, said Simone Steger, who works at The Gendarme climbing shop at Seneca Rocks Climbing School.
Bob and Antonie said they are thrilled with the way everything turned out.
“I’ve gone climbing all over the country and beyond and there’s just something special about Seneca Rocks. It’s just my favorite place in the world,” Bob said. “I think Antonie and I would both agree there’s just no other place like it. And to get married on the summit, by my brother? That’s just the coolest thing I’ve done in my life. ”
For more information, visit the couple’s wedding website at senecarockswedding.com.