You can get married in a church… or you can get married in a shark tank like Kym Dabney and Devon Brignoni. (Photo: Kym Dabney)
Groom? Check. Bride? Check. Officiant? Check. Shark tank? Check. Forget the idea of a ballroom and walking down the aisle, for Kym Dabney and Devon Brignoni getting married surrounded by sharks was their idea of a dream wedding. The couple literally took the plunge by hopping into the shark tank at the Long Island Aquarium to say their vows in March 2011.
“It was something different from the traditional wedding,” Kym tells Yahoo Travel. “We decided to do it just because of his love for ocean life and my love for being different we just thought it was the best choice for us.” That choice involved the help of the team at the 120,000-gallon Lost City of Atlantis Shark Exhibit, who coordinated every detail from figuring out the menu to suggesting vendors. “Most couples choose to marry on land, but we have some adventurous ones,” says Patty Macri the wedding consultant from the aquarium. “All the guests were discussing the uniqueness of the ceremony in the cage and the atmosphere of music and food in the aquarium, which had the under-the-sea feel.”
Kym wore a white dress for her wedding, but decided to wear an aqua colored dress to her reception. (Photo: Kym Dabney)
The adventurous duo did want to stick to some traditions like wearing a white dress and suit though. “We knew we wanted to wear the typical suit and dress, just like a regular marriage ceremony,” Kym, who came up with the idea for the underwater nuptials, adds. “We went to a thrift store and purchased a suit and wedding dress and weighed the dress down with fish weights.” And like planning any wedding, they had to find an officiant and even have a rehearsal, just with some unique stipulations. “We actually had a good friend that was willing to get his officiant license just because he wanted to go in the tank,” says Kym. “And we did a practice run at the aquarium just to make sure it was what we wanted.“
Kym and Devon had some other details most brides and grooms don’t typically think about on their wedding days, like underwater microphones. "We were hooked up to waterproof microphones as well as the officiant,” notes Kym. “And the speakers were throughout the aquarium where family and friends were listening.”
Their wedding guests consisted of friends, family, and sharks. (Photo: Kym Dabney)
Despite being within in inches of sand tiger sharks, gaping moray eels and nurse sharks, the couple only had typical wedding day jitters. “We weren’t nervous for safety reasons, just nervous in general,” adds Kym. “We were in a steel cage so we felt safe.” The aquarium made sure all safety concerns were taken care by having the couple fill out a medical release and having professionals on standby. “We had a representative from the education and mammal department who went in with them,” adds Patty. “We also had a representative who stays on the second floor by the pulley.”
After their underwater nuptials, the couple joined their guests for a reception on land. (Photo: Kym Dabney)
With limited room in the shark tank, the bridal party and guests joined the couple after the one-of-a-kind ceremony for a large reception in the aquarium. “We were able to shower and get ready in the bridal suite during the cocktail hour,” says Kym. “I got into a new wedding dress and Devon put on a fresh suit.” The couple then enjoyed a more traditional wedding having 140 guests, a first dance, catered event and mermaid-inspired gown. But, it was their unique underwater vows people continue to remember and not the decorations. “People still gasp when they find out how we were married,” concludes Kym. “It’s one way to have people always remember your wedding. They definitely were talking about the dive instead of the flowers. It really was the best day ever.”
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