If you and your partner want to get married underwater — with or without a wedding party — there are a variety of places across the globe that can accommodate your deepest wishes. In most cases, you wear a dive mask or a full-face mask with audio communications, a tank with a regulator, BCD, and fins. You’ll kneel on the sandy bottom as the facilitator either shows you a slate to ask you questions or uses basic hand signals so you and your spouse can say, nod, or give a thumbs up for “I do” during a 15- to 20-minute ceremony.
Check with each venue on whether you need a diving certification before the ceremony; most can accommodate you with a resort course. And please note: An underwater wedding is not usually “official,” so you may need a civil ceremony to make it legal, at the destination of your choice or your hometown. With that said, here are some of our favorite places to get married underwater.
Bora Bora Lagoon
Bora Bora is frequently cited as one of the world’s most romantic islands. It’s home to green, craggy mountains spilling to cerulean water, surrounded by a rugged barrier reef, white-sand beaches, and a spectacularly shallow lagoon. You’ll wear underwater helmets for your ceremony, which will take place in a shell-encrusted, A-frame chapel a mere 13 feet (4 m) deep, officiated by a scuba-certified Polynesian master of ceremonies. Wooden cabins built over the ocean with glass-bottom floors, a turtle sanctuary, and great diving or snorkeling are all just steps away.
One of the largest resorts in the Caribbean is just off Nassau’s shore. If you want to have a “dry” wedding, but with a nautical setting, book your wedding ceremony and party in a room in the center of their spectacular aquarium with over 50,000 animals.
Here, your wedding guests can include a bunch of wild Bahamian sharks –– or none –– to surround your ceremony, or opt for a calmer ceremony by a shipwreck, conducted by a non-denominational pastor and licensed marriage officer.
One dive operator can accommodate groups from just the bride and groom, up to 30 divers around at sites in the Waikiki and Diamond Head area, whether you’re all certified or not. They’ll even arrange for professional photo and video services to remember your big day.
On “The Friendly Island,” you can “Get Maui-ed” in the ocean via a shore dive or a boat dive to Molokini Crater. Alternatively, you can enter the aquarium’s 750,000-gallon ocean exhibit and shark tank so your wedding party can watch the ceremony without getting wet.
Since 1996, couples have been exchanging vows while blowing bubbles near Grand Cayman’s famed Seven Mile Beach, with scuba communication gear that allows them to speak and be heard. With visibility ranging from 100 to 200 feet (33 to 66 meters), after the ceremony there’s plenty of time to enjoy dramatic walls and shallow reefs.
This small island to the northeast of Grand Cayman is a popular among divers because of the great sites along Bloody Bay Marine Park. With just a few resorts on the island compared to Grand Cayman, you’ll be able to enjoy a very private honeymoon and some incredibly deep drop-offs.
Key Largo is adjacent to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Captain Slate, AKA “Justice of the Pisces” has been officiating underwater ceremonies next to the bronze Christ of the Abyss statue here for decades.
Ft. Lauderdale offers over 75 dive sites where divers can exchange rings. A reef lies as close as 300 feet (100 meters) from shore and begins at only 20 feet (7 meters), so you can get hitched while blowing bubbles, and even hire a photographer or videographer to capture the ceremony.
Both Cancun and Cozumel offer warm water and shallow diving along the world’s second largest barrier reef system. You can get married underwater in Spanish, French, Portuguese, or English.
Cabo San Lucas
Though the ocean is typically rough because of strong waves and wind where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez, the bay offers a calm environment for underwater weddings. You can even place your wedding rings into a calm shell that’s yours to keep.
Author Gil Zeimer learned how to dive on Grand Cayman in 1981. He’s been hooked ever since and has explored the underwater world from Australia to Micronesia to Aruba. As a travel writer, journalist, and advertising writer, Gil is passionate about helping diving industry clients promote their sites, resorts, and causes. He lives in Tiburon, California, which is Spanish for “shark.” Find out more about him here or follow him on Facebook.