Published: Thursday, Jan. 13th, 2022
Your wedding celebration should capture the spirit and spark of your relationship down to the last detail. If you and your sweetheart have a passion for the water, why not dive into marriage with a one-of-a-kind underwater wedding ceremony?
The first step toward a perfect underwater wedding is to choose a venue.
If you’ve been diving for a while, you’re probably familiar with a lot of the top tourist spots – Bali, Bora Bora, Belize, Cabo, the Florida Keys, Sipadan, Cozumel, Maui, or the colorful waters of the Red Sea.
Heck, there’s even an underwater group wedding event every year in Thailand, at the Trang Underwater Wedding festival.
Newlyweds celebrate at the Trang Underwater Wedding festival,
All these famous destinations make great venues, but you can create a truly unique experience close to home, too. There are plenty of benefits to this, including lower budget and overall ease.
Many local diving shops offer exciting wedding packages at affordable prices, providing all the equipment and guidance you need to take the plunge. A quick Google search for “underwater wedding package” will get you swimming in the right direction.
And if you want to marry underwater while limiting potential wedding day disasters, say ‘I do’ in a high-class aquarium – like the Silverton Hotel Aquarium in Las Vegas – with the help of a full safety team.
Once you choose a location, you’ll need to find a qualified diver who’s authorized to solemnize weddings there.
Many local and destination dive shops offer full wedding packages and will have an authorized wedding officiant on staff. If you choose to go this route, you’re all set! They’ll be able to answer your questions and give you clear instructions on what to do on the wedding day.
Just remember it’s your responsibility to apply for a marriage license.
To have a diving buddy officiate your ceremony instead, ask them to get ordained online to marry you. This is a simple process and only takes a minute or two, plus it’s free. Once they’re ordained, AMM has plenty of training tools to get them ready.
You’ll need to communicate clearly and safely while exchanging vows, and there are a couple ways to do this.
Some scuba experts recommend wearing a specialized helmet/ headset with a small comm unit to allow divers to talk to each other easily while underwater. These work well for capturing personal vows and heartfelt words.
But officiants and couples don’t need special helmets to make it work. Officiants can deliver the ceremony using printed waterproof placards, and couples can exchange simple vows and consent easily by writing on an underwater slate – a specialized type of waterproof whiteboard. Wrist slates are also available for quick ‘I do’s, and some boards even glow in the dark for added style!
Watch this couple get married underwater in this video from Inside Edition
If you choose a professional wedding package, the diver you hire should have all the diving and safety equipment you need.
Bonus tip: Most couples choose to exchange rings underwater, so make sure you have those with you, too. Just don’t drop them.
Underwater wedding photos are some of the dreamiest ceremony snaps out there. Ask a qualified friend to take pictures or video of your ceremony, or hire an experienced underwater photographer.
You might also choose to livestream your ceremony to create a unique hybrid wedding experience for guests back home, using a special underwater webcam. Hybrid weddings combine a small in-person ceremony with a virtual guest list and have become increasingly popular over the past couple years.
This underwater footage is great if you want to publish your wedding with a wedding blog or magazine (blogs love unusual ceremonies!), and if you want to share beautiful moments from the day with loved ones who aren’t able to be there in person.
You’ll probably want to fill out your marriage license topside, of course… but aside from keeping the paperwork dry, your underwater wedding will follow all the same rules as a wedding ceremony on land.
You’ll need an authorized wedding officiant, a valid marriage license, and a ceremony that includes two key ingredients: a ‘Declaration of Intent’ and a ‘Pronouncement.’
This first ingredient is the familiar part of the ceremony when the officiant asks, “Do you take this person to be your lawfully wedded partner…” The wording here doesn’t have to be exact, as long as it’s clear that you’re consenting to marriage, and follow it up with a voluntary, “I do.”
The second ingredient is when the officiant pronounces you married, for example, “By the power vested in me by American Marriage Ministries and the great state of Florida, I now pronounce you married.”
Once your ceremony is complete, you’ll sign your license along with the officiant and any required witnesses, and then file it with the county.
Congratulations! You’re married!
In this underwater ceremony, the happy couple uses wrist slates to exchange their ‘I do’s,
while their wedding officiant delivers the script with custom printed placards.
Was your first thought, “Can I still wear a wedding dress?” or “Do they make scuba tuxes?” Well, it’s clear to us that you have some killer style. Don’t let a few (dozen) feet of seawater get in the way of it!
Some grooms and brides put their dress or suit on over a wetsuit or bathing suit. Others choose wetsuits or bathing suits only, but ultimately, this is up to the couple. Just remember that a long dress and heavy fabrics can really get in the way underwater, especially if there’s a current.
Many brides wear two dresses, one for photos (‘Trash the Dress’ style) and one for diving.
And all the other usual gear and guidelines apply, of course. Some couples choose to coordinate their usual gear to their wedding attire, like these amazing white ‘bridal goggles’ that matched Magaly’s wedding gown on Say Yes to the Dress.
This bride's goggles match the gown,
via TLC and 2Paragraphs
If you want a ceremony that celebrates your love of the open water, but a deep-diving scuba wedding isn't the best fit, you’re in luck.
Many couples choose to simply wade out from the shore of their favorite beach and take their vows while partially submerged so that friends and family can share in the experience. Then they pull on their snorkel gear, floaties, or fins, and follow the ceremony with a joyful swim.
This is a great compromise, especially if only one partner is already an experienced diver, because there’s less pressure to prepare leading up to the wedding day. (Figuratively and literally… If anyone understands the danger of too much pressure, it’s divers!)
Sebastian from Disney's The Little Mermaid
“Under the sea/ Under the sea/ Darling it's better/ Down where it's wetter/ Take it from me/ Up on the shore they work all day/ Out in the sun they slave away/ While we devotin'/ Full time to floatin'/ Under the sea…”
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