Extreme Wedding Venues: Underwater

An underwater wedding may seem like the perfect “something blue” for adventurous couples, but the logistics of these under-the-sea ceremonies can be more involved than you may think. Here’s everything you need to know when planning for your underwater nuptials.

By Maggie Mahoney

Underwater Wedding
Photo by Shutterstock

The First Look ✨

  • Before your big day, secure a certified wedding officiant who knows how to dive, specialty diving equipment, and diving certifications for you and your participating guests.
  • Be mindful when picking your wedding date, and monitor the weather closely to ensure optimal safety.
  • Start planning early, and remember to communicate every step of the way with your guests to ensure their comfort.

There’s a dreamy and ethereal appeal to getting married underwater: the beautiful and natural aquatic surroundings, the serene quiet of being submerged, and the gracefully flowing clothing beneath the sea spray. If you’ve ever wished you were a mermaid, this wedding style may just fulfill your fantasies. However, underwater weddings do not come without their share of logistical challenges. Here’s everything you should consider during your watery wedding planning.

Shutterstock Photo Credit // Shutterstock

Begin With Your Guest List

Underwater weddings, while tantalizing, may not suit everyone’s comfort level. Perhaps you have potential guests who don’t like the water, can’t swim, have a physical disability, or a health condition that may inhibit their ability to participate? Be mindful of these possible obstacles and have accommodations in place to solve them.

For example, you may want to hold a brief on-land ceremony (the beach is a popular choice) in addition to an underwater ceremony, so that your wedding guests can choose what makes them most comfortable. Broadcasting the underwater ceremony virtually to guests who are unable to attend can also be a good option, as can hosting a nice on-land reception for all guests. You may even decide that you and your SO are the only ones who will be going underwater for photo purposes.

As a general rule, consider your guest list carefully. Underwater weddings are often best kept small due to logistical challenges, so you may have to be extra selective.

Make sure you're upfront with your guests about what your underwater wedding will entail. Tell them if you’re expecting them to snorkel or scuba dive, provide information on safety precautions and travel logistics, and disseminate any other important details well in advance.

Scope Out the Tropical Venue

There are a plethora of stunning tropical locations that provide the perfect setting for an underwater wedding. Some popular choices for this eclectic wedding type are:

  • Bora Bora
  • Florida (Fort Lauderdale or Key Largo)
  • Cayman Islands
  • Bahamas (Nassau)
  • Mauritius
  • Bali
  • Hawai
  • Maldives
  • Great Barrier Reef, Australia
  • Mexico

When selecting your destination, keep in mind the difficulties and costs associated with traveling to different parts of the world. Florida (maybe a Tampa wedding) or Hawaii are great options if you’re looking to stay inside the United States.

Make Sure You Have the Appropriate Equipment, Permits, and Experts at Your Disposal

Once you have your destination confirmed, along with an appropriate specific venue, the next step is to find a dive center nearby that can help you with the logistics for your day. Your destination may even offer an underwater wedding package.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to find a wedding officiant that’s certified, has a diving qualification, and is comfortable officiating underwater. You and your wedding guests will all need to obtain diving certifications if you plan on being fully immersed underwater for your ceremony, too. If you end up getting married overseas, make sure to follow foreign legalities to ensure your wedding becomes official.

You will also need a skilled underwater photographer (and perhaps a videographer) to help capture the beauty of your deep sea wedding. If you’re making a wedding video, ask the videographer about how they will solve any audio difficulties ahead of time.

Finally, you’ll need to remember several specialty items for your underwater ceremony like dive weights with your pre-written I-dos (since you won’t be able to say them underwater) and any other emergency diving equipment that your diving center recommends to ensure there are no mishaps. You may also want to have a rescue diver descend with you and your guests and stay for the ceremony to assist if anything goes wrong.

Keep an Eye on the Weather

Picking your date carefully is crucial for any kind of outdoor wedding. Underwater weddings are no exception. Since you’ll likely be exposed to the elements, monitoring the weather and underwater currents for your proposed wedding day is critical.

Tropical locations often have sites suitable for snorkeling or diving most of the year, but picking the most ideal season is a good way to ensure your special day goes off without a hitch. For example, the ideal snorkeling season in Hawaii usually falls between May and September.

Be Prepared to “Trash the Dress

Underwater weddings began to rise in popularity during 2016 and have been going strong ever since. Along with underwater weddings, often comes the “trash the dress” trend, where brides destroy their dress sometime during their wedding day to achieve intriguing and stunning photos.

If you’re planning on going through with an underwater wedding, bear in mind that whatever you wear will likely be unsalvageable after the wedding. When choosing your attire, you may want to opt for something less expensive or wear fabrics that are water-friendly. Make sure to convey this same message to your guests.

Similar things can be said for selecting hair and makeup looks. Go for simple looks that you don’t mind messing up. Waterproof makeup or no makeup is a must.

Final Tips

An underwater wedding is bound to be a magical and surreal experience. The key to making sure your unique special day goes smoothly is to start planning early, communicate openly and often with your guests, pay careful attention to detail (especially when it comes to permits and certifications), and create a contingency plan. By considering all the logistics above, you’ll be ready to dive right into your underwater wedding planning.

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