The romantic Florida Keys appeal to both landlubber lovers and those who canât wait to get into the water to explore the undersea environment. The Keysâ clear, warm waters even attract scuba aficionados ready to tie the knot at the continental United Statesâ only living coral barrier reef â often with exotic sea creatures in attendance.
In fact, in North Americaâs most popular dive destination, brides and grooms and their attendants can don gowns, tuxedos and scuba tanks to âtake the plungeâ into matrimonial adventure.
Scores of saltwater ceremonies are performed by Captain Spencer Slate of Atlantis Dive Center, a self-proclaimed âJustice of the Piscesâ who has officiated at underwater weddings in the waters off Key Largo for more than 30 years. One of them even landed in the Guinness Book of World Records â and featured 110 divers, all wearing Halloween costumes!
Probably the Upper Keysâ most popular underwater nuptial niche is the nine-foot-high shrine of âChrist of the Abyss.â The 4,000-pound bronze statue stands in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, within the boundaries of Key Largoâs John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. (FYI, Pennekamp was the first underwater preserve in the United States and recently celebrated its 50th birthday.)
The compelling statue is one of the most photographed underwater sites in the world. Its timeless features and welcoming arms, seemingly lifted in eternal benediction, make it a perfect place to exchange âI doâs.â
At Amy Slateâs Amoray Dive Resort, love is in the name. Yes, the resortâs moniker is a tongue-in-cheek blend ofÂ âamore,â the Italian word for love, and âa morayâ eel â one of the dive instructorsâ friendly reef pets often seen on dives and during wedding ceremonies. If youâre ready to dive into matrimony, chances are youâll fall in love with Amorayâs private charters, onboard parties and imaginative approach.
But you donât have to be UNDER the water to have a unique water-themed wedding in the Upper Keys. At Islamoradaâs Theater of the Sea, marine mammal fans can plan a ceremony with dolphins as part of the wedding party! Couples in love can reserve the park for an evening, and Theater of Seaâs trained staff will help choreograph dolphin behavior shows to their choice of wedding music.
For a real cetacean celebration, the bride can even arrive at the ceremony in a floating chariot accompanied by dolphins.
Of course, a unique marine-themed wedding deserves an equally unique honeymoon â and what better place than the worldâs only underwater hotel?
Located in Key Largo and called Julesâ Undersea Lodge, the fascinating honeymoon habitat has even been featured on televisionâs âLifestyles of the Rich and Famous.â Honeymooning dive enthusiasts can spend the night there, with amenities including a gourmet meal prepared by a âmer-chef,â among the marine life of the Keys.
Imagine waking up on the first morning of your married life five fathoms beneath the sea, with vivid-colored tropical fish peering in the wide windows to share your happiness.
Want more info on wedding opportunities â underwater, offbeat or even traditional â in the romantic Florida Keys? Just say âI doâ and click here.