Couple become the first to marry in British Antarctic Territory after law change

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A couple have made history by becoming the first to tie the knot in the British Antarctic Territory.

Polar field guides Julie Baum and Tom Sylvester said their vows at the Rothera Research Station, which is almost 2,000 miles from the Falkland Islands, at the weekend.

The happy couple celebrated with 20 fellow ‘overwinterers’ – the nickname used for those who spend winter in Antarctica – while temperatures were well below freezing.

The pair, who have been together for 11 years, are both experienced mountaineers working as mountain instructors and expedition leaders.

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The couple enjoyed a two-day celebration. Pic: British Antarctic Survey

Ms Baum, from Yoxall, Staffordshire, said: “Getting married in Antarctica feels like it was meant to be. There is no better place really – I love snowy mountains and spending time in amazing places with awesome people.”

With the help of some of the women at the station, Ms Baum made her own dress and sewed in part of an old orange pyramid tent for her ‘something old’ requirement.

Mr Sylvester, from Sheffield, said: “We have always wanted to have a small personal wedding but never imagined we’d be able to get married in one of the most remote places on Earth.”

The coupe about to cut the wedding cake
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The pair have been together for 11 years

Rothera Research Station leader Paul Samways, who is also British Antarctic Territory (BAT) Magistrate, conducted the ceremony while the station chef prepared the wedding menu.

Mr Samways said: “Having spent time with Julie and Tom over the Austral summer and half of the Antarctic winter I feel amazingly privileged to be able to be part of their story.

“They are amazing people, and being responsible for joining them in marriage is an incredible honour.”

It is the first wedding since the British Antarctic Territory marriage law was reformed in 2016. The changes made it easier for marriages to be arranged there.

The wedding has been registered with the BAT Government and is valid in the UK.



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