Diving to tie the knot

Some people are really taking the plunge when it comes to getting married in the Cayman Islands.

Local dive company Divetech has had about eight underwater weddings take place in Grand Cayman in the past few years.

The company’s unique wedding offering is something that has been marketed recently by the Department of Tourism in a press release during the DEMA (Dive Equipment and Marketing Association) in Las Vegas recently

‘For dive enthusiasts in love, there’s no better setting to get married in than the crystal clear waters of the Cayman Islands, and Divetech makes this all possible,’ it reads. ‘The experienced team at Divetech can help couples plan their entire wedding from arranging the Minister to providing the flowers – the only thing they can’t do is say ‘I do’.’

However, although tying the knot underwater may be ideal with exotic tropical fish as witnesses, the official ceremony usually takes place on the boat or on land when the charter trip returns from sea. Divetech can help arrange for a minister who will provide the couple with a marriage license, the release explains.

A radio station in Oakland, California picked up on this release and called the dive company recently for a 10 minute interview about this very original nuptial alternative, said Divetech Managing Partner Nancy Easterbrook.

In fact, Nancy and husband Jay are the best advertisements for this unique product, having renewed their vows underwater a year after their wedding (which took place on a boat, after which they jumped in the water). The underwater vow renewal was part of Cayman Aqua Vows in November 2003, which was staged as part of the Quincentennial Celebrations.

‘When you are trying to celebrate a momentous occasion, anything you can do to make it more memorable is great, so if you love the sea and marine life, having that be a part of your wedding can make it very special,’ she said.

‘Although obviously a niche market, as Cayman expands and becomes more popular, there are water-babies that like to have this as an option that they could potentially add to their service.

‘Most people like to go on boat rides, and with visibility so good underwater it is one of many components of a range of services that will be an attraction for a percentage of people,’ she said.

Another option is use of a submarine, she said, as with advancement in technology a minister can stay on board and will be able to hear the couple outside in the water.

Weddings, anniversaries, even engagements have been known to happen beneath the ocean. Nancy spoke about a proposal which took place on a shelf 100 metres below the surface of the water in Grand Cayman about a month ago when, hovering precariously at the edge of a plunging wall, the groom to be presented the diamond ring. They may even return to get married here – below sea level, of course.

But being an expert experienced diver is not a necessity for taking the plunge. A resort course can be undertaken the day before the wedding and any one of many shallow spots can be utilised for the occasion.

The release outlines that the Wedding Boat Package from Divetech starts at US$700 and includes the following: private boat charter for four hours; Captain and dive crew; location of choice (options are plentiful – couples can select anything from the shallow waters of Stingray City to remote sites anywhere off-shore); dive tanks and weights or snorkelling equipment for the non-divers; accommodations for up to 25 guests aboard the Wedding Boat; Local flora and fauna and ribbons for decorations; flower bouquet for the bride; chilled champagne to toast the bride and groom following the ceremony; slates to write the vows on; boat captain performing the underwater wedding ceremony

Optional add-ons include: private underwater video of the wedding produced in digital format on DVD – $250 (USD) for four copies.

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