The Georgia Aquarium has hosted its fair share of weddings but it was Crystal (Sheffield) Reynolds and her husband Justin who took their love to new depths by marrying in the venue’s first underwater wedding ceremony on Sunday.
“We never thought we would get married in an aquarium, but it mixes our love for diving and for one another, it’s something we love doing together,” Crystal told The Knot. This weekend the newlyweds celebrated their love within the Georgia Aquarium’s 6.3 million-gallon habitat, the Ocean Voyager Built by Home Depot.
The avid diving couple fell in love with the idea of marrying among the four whale sharks, four manta rays, and thousands of other marine animals during a trip to the Aquarium after their engagement in December of 2015. According to the Georgia Aquarium Blog, it was then that Crystal and Justin learned that guests could dive in the Ocean Voyager habitat and decided that no other wedding venue could compare!
On February 21 the bride and groom donned oxygen tanks, goggles and their appropriate dive gear but with a little added wedding flair included. On top of Crystal’s white Georgia Aquarium wetsuit the bride wore a long-sleeved white lace wedding dress. With her hair in a crown of braids, she finished her underwater bridal attire with a tiara and veil which was delicately weighed down with white fishing line weights so it didn’t go floating away! Sprucing up his black wetsuit, Justin took his formal groom’s look up a notch with a white tuxedo t-shirt and red bowtie.
Crystal and Justin exchanged their official vows with the help of their preacher topside (above the water) before the couple and their newly SCUBA-certified wedding party dove into the festivities under the sea. The bride, groom, preacher, Best Man, Maid of Honor and a few friendly Aquarium divers all drifted into place, and as the underwater wedding ebbed and flowed, the ceremony was witnessed by family, friends, and nearly 100 other Aquarium guests watching through one of the world’s largest viewing windows.
With fish-shaped signs cleverly indicating the major moments of the ceremony to its onlookers, the event was full of colorful nods to the unique underwater wedding venue. Along with a large “Do you…?” fish sign held by the officiant and two small “I do…” guppies held by the bride and groom, aquatic puns like “I conch wait to make it a fish shell,” and “I don’t need to mull it over we are manta be together” also had the crowd giggling.
After removing their mouthpieces to share a quick kiss, and being formally presented as Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds (via fish signs) the newlyweds stayed beneath the surface to share their first dance to Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud.” The couple then exited the Ocean Voyager habitat, dried off, and made their way to the Georgia Aquarium’s Oceans Ballroom where Justin in his full tuxedo, and Crystal in a white lace mermaid cut wedding dress received rounds of applause from their wedding guests!