How to have an Underwater Diving Elopement
Here’s a crazy idea – you could have an underwater diving elopement! I love crazy ideas, so I’d love to walk you through how to make this happen. If you’re a non-traditional couple and are considering getting married underwater, we can already consider ourselves friends. I’m going to go over all the details of how and where to elope underwater for scuba diving couples. If you get overwhelmed and need a little hand-holding, I’m here for you!
How to Plan a Diving Elopement
I’m going to break this down into an easy, step by step guide for planning an underwater elopement. Whether you want to have your actual ceremony blowing bubbles, or just incorporate an unforgettable dive on your wedding day – all the options are good.
Step 1: Become dive certified. You should both be confident and comfortable in your diving to have a diving elopement.
Step 2: Decide where to have your diving elopement. There are tons of great dive destinations, so pick a new spot that you haven’t dived before, or where you know there will be great visibility.
Step 3: Hire a diving elopement photographer. This is going to be hard to find, but you’ll want their guidance and killer photos of your epic, unique start to your marriage.
Step 4: Hire a private dive master to officiate your wedding underwater
Step 5: Acquire any additional accessories to make your dive unforgettable!
My style and approach
I’m a plan ahead-er (that’s why you’re here), but would rather go with the flow than plan anything down to the minute. I’m ready to embrace your inner weirdness and eccentricity. Nobody is normal and the world is better for it. I only plan & photograph elopements with 15 or fewer guests, and I take a very limited number of clients per year. I find that getting to know each couple more deeply means I get to photograph more about what’s at the core of their story.
My photography style is, above all else, colorful. Because my photos show lifelike colors, you will have your landscape preserved timelessly. Your photo gallery will make you feel like you’re transported back in time to what your incredible day really looked like. So you can visit and re-live it anytime.
Where to Elope Underwater
There are lots of options to dive all over the world, and there are pros and cons for each one! I’ll go over some things to keep in mind as you plan your underwater elopement. You’ll want a warm water diving experience. Safety is of utmost importance, so don’t try and push your limits with a cold water, kelp forests, or dry suit dive. If you’re diving in very warm water, you may be able to wear just a 1mm dive skin, which will give you the best options for customizing your outfit. Visibility is the next most important thing, so dive sites that are prone to swells and low visibility should be crossed off your list. You’ll want to be diving semi-shallow and somewhere with a sandy bottom too. A wall dive, pelagic or megafauna dive will be inconvenient for your wedding dive. Lastly, your location should be a bucket list place that you’ve always wanted to see. This is it!
Underwater Diving Destination – Tahiti
Tahiti’s clear warm waters and beautiful resorts make it an awesome destination for your underwater diving elopement. There’s even a dive site with a large heart of rocks – how awesome is that for a wedding location?! Read more about making Tahiti your dive elopement & honeymoon spot here.
Underwater Diving Destination – Cenotes of Mexico
The Riviera Maya region of Mexico on the Caribbean coast offers some of the most unique yet accessible dive sites in the world. The Cenotes are limestone caves filled with fresh water. You’ll need to meet qualifications for Cavern Diving, but you don’t need to be Cave Dive certified. The light in these cenotes is absolutely to die for, and you are guaranteed to have clear conditions. Nearby Cozumel is a world class reef diving destination too. Read more about eloping and vacationing in Riviera Maya here.
Underwater Diving Destination – Maldives
One of the dreamiest vacation and honeymoon spots in the world is also one of the greatest dive destinations! Choose the Maldives if you want the colorful biodiversity of the Indian ocean and the luxury of high end resorts.
Underwater Diving Destination – Costa Rica
Costa Rica has the advantage of offering both Pacific and Caribbean diving, and it’s some of the best! Choose Costa Rica if you enjoy exploring a new country’s culture and rich rainforests & waterfalls in addition to your diving. Learn more about eloping in Costa Rica here.
Underwater Diving Elopement Destination – Florida’s Freshwater Springs
This unique set of locations isn’t even near the ocean! The freshwater springs of central Florida offer an incredibly dramatic and clear location for an underwater diving elopement. The light beaming in from above will be SO incredible. However, only consider diving here from Spring to early fall, as the state closes access when Manatees migrate to the springs in the winter. Here are 5 natural springs in Florida for inspiration.
Underwater Diving Elopement Destination – Hawaii
Hawaii is an interesting dive destination. The most famous dive in Hawaii, possibly the world, is the Night Manta Ray dive off Kona on the Big Island. While it is absolutely a bucket list dive and I LOVED it, this dive is NOT a good place to get married underwater. There is some great reef diving on the islands of Hawaii, and they are amazing, but not as commonly offered as the scuba shops make the most money from the Manta dives. There are some great spots with natural arches that can be accessed from the shore. You may even spot a manta there! Read more about eloping in Hawaii here.
A diving elopement timeline
So.. what would an actual diving elopement look like? I’ve got endless ideas, so I’ll create a hypothetical timeline for a diving elopement. Your timeline might look totally different, and that’s ok! Want me to make a custom blueprint for you? Just get in touch!
Diving Elopement Timeline
6:30 Breakfast at Sunrise on the beach. Write your vows on your dive slates together.
8:00 Get on the dive boat – the adventure begins!
9:30 Buddy checks with your private scuba guide, photographer and officiant. Go over the plan and backup plans on the surface.
9:45 Descend to your underwater elopement adventure of a lifetime! Get married underwater. At your safety stop, do a mock tango as your first dance.
10:30 Surface and make your surface interval your victory lap! Don’t pop any champagne yet, though.
11:30 Second dive. Explore the dive site as newlyweds and pose for some incredible underwater elopement photos!
12:15 Surface again and refuel with your favorite post-dive snacks and a tiny cake as you cruise back to the shore. Look for dolphins and turtles.
2:00 Maybe you should make out in the post-dive shower, just saying.
2:15 Lunch! Get tacos near the beach and relax and soak up the sunshine.
3:30 Explore a unique feature of your dive destination: hot springs at your resort, mexican ruins, a nearby waterfall, etc. Or party with your friends on the beach.
5:00 Eat a light dinner of fruit, cheese and protein on a sharkcuterie board
6:30 Indulge in an unforgettable night dive to see the true colors of the reef.
Preparing for your wedding dive
You want to be safe during your wedding dive and that means being prepared. As you pack for your dive trip, double check each other’s bag to make sure everything is in place. Check your gear again at your destination, and enjoy the area by doing a refresher dive two days before your wedding day dive, noting your weight for your tank type and wetsuit thickness. Hydrate well and get plenty of sleep. If you dive Nitrox, practice up on your tables.
The actual diving elopement ceremony
It’s time to dive! Here are some things to keep in mind. You want to be overweighted by a few pounds for your wedding dive. You’ll both want to be resting on or near the bottom during your underwater ceremony, so you don’t have to think about your buoyancy. Start your dive with a buddy check, of course! Take a big step entry side by side and descend together, making sure not to rush. Once you reach your desired spot & depth, take a few big deep breaths together to sync up. Kneel or stand facing each other. Then, ask whomever has more air in their tank to show their vow-slate first. Check the box for I DO on your partner’s slate. Open your shell-ring box and exchange rings. Take a big breath and remove your regulators for a first kiss. Alternatively, share air from each other’s tanks. Now that’s romance!
What you’ll need to have a scuba diving wedding
Here is my list of recommended purchases for a great underwater diving elopement. You’ll each want a large slate on which to write your vows. When writing your vows, leave room for a checkbox at the bottom so your partner can check I DO while underwater. There are some amazing underwater ring boxes shaped like shells and starfish that will keep your rings safe and chic. Investing in a thorough save a dive kit is also a wise use of your wedding budget, and hopefully one that will keep you safe for many dives to come! Pack the defog and dramamine for the boat ride, too.
About me – Underwater Diving Elopement Photographer
I’m a colorful elopement photographer with an obsession for diving, exploring, and amazing new experiences. I got dive certified in 2021 in Costa Rica, and have been fortunate to dive in Cozumel, Mexican Cenotes, Hawaii, Tahiti, Freshwater rivers, Florida and New Zealand. Combining my love of elopement photography and underwater photography is my dream! The Underwater world is one of the most magical places to explore – maybe I’ll see you there!
Including your friends in a diving elopement
If you’re got dive friends, it’s totally possible to include them in your diving elopement! Have them dive with you for your wedding dive as witnesses, or nominate one to conduct the ceremony. Plus, the atmosphere on the boat will be incredible if all your friends are there! Ask them to make an inflated safety-sausage tunnel for you to run through after your ceremony back on the boat. Have a big lunch or dinner with them after your day of diving – or a bonfire party on the beach! And if you’d like your only witnesses to be the fish, turtles and sharks, that’s ok too.
What to wear for a diving elopement
Just because you’ll be underwater doesn’t mean you have to wear something boring! However, for safety reasons, I can’t recommend that anyone wear a dress. But if you’re considering such an off the wall way to elope, that’s probably ok with you! Still, you want it to look like a wedding. For ladies, I recommend finding a 1 to 3mm WHITE dive skin. Your other dive accessories, such as mask, fins, could be white, black, or all one accent color. Customize your mask strap with a fun print, color, or Just Married sign. You could even roll up a veil and clip it to your mask strap. Once descended, release that bad boy and watch it float weightlessly in the water. For those who don’t identify as brides, accessorize with your dive knife, dive watch, and all black or fun print skin suit. Want to make your black wetsuit look like a tux? Add Chippendale style cuffs and a bowtie!
Diving Elopement Backup Plans
When planning an adventurous elopement with a sport such as diving, things don’t always go according to plan. That’s ok! If the visibility is going to be poor, postponing to another day may be an option. If your dive gear doesn’t cooperate or the boat sinks, get married on the beach with your ankles in the waves instead. Almost all dive destinations worldwide have amazing natural features on land in case your dive is cancelled.
Is a diving elopement for you?
If you’re certified to dive and want to get married in a way that’s personal, unique and non traditional – definitely consider a diving elopement. You can read more about how to plan an elopement without the fluff or expectations of a wedding here. Getting killer photos of your elopement, even underwater, is a must. My photography style emphasizes your epic ideas and the authentic moments that make you two.. well, you two! I love my job and can’t wait to plan and photograph YOUR underwater elopement!