These Vintage Photographs Reveal A Quirky Underwater Wedding From 1954

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When a synchronised swimmer and underwater clown decided to get married, you might have guessed it wouldn’t be a traditional church do. In a remarkable series of photographs from 1954, H-20-loving Mary Beth Sanger and Bob Smith say “I do” in an underwater ceremony filled with fishy friends.

Via John Dominis—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Via John Dominis—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

The ceremony took place at the Aquarena Springs Submarine Theatre in San Marcos, Texas, an early water park at the head of the San Marcos River. At the time he park boasted the world’s only submarine theatre and was a huge tourist attraction, featuring shows with mermaids and a swimming pig called Ralph.

The pair actually met while performing in a show together at the park, so it seemed only fitting it be the venue for their wedding. To prepare for the occasion the bride held down her impressive skirt with diving weights, while the groom kept his shirt looking sharp with cardboard wax.

The wedding guests were seated in an observation room that looked through a clear panel into the pool. Through the glass the watched the bride and groom exchange their vows, while a tube supplied them with oxygen.

Via John Dominis—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Via John Dominis—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

As well as displaying a unique view into a bygone era, they also show us how touching a wedding can be when a personal touch is added. Take a look at the ceremony from beginning to end below!

Via John Dominis—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Via John Dominis—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Via John Dominis—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Via John Dominis—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Via John Dominis—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Via John Dominis—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Via John Dominis—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Via John Dominis—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Via John Dominis—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Via John Dominis—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Via John Dominis—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Via John Dominis—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Via John Dominis—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Via John Dominis—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Via John Dominis—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Via John Dominis—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Via John Dominis—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Via John Dominis—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Via John Dominis—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Via John Dominis—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Don’t miss this amazing retro video of the occasion too!

  • Bill Smith

    These are my parents. I had never seen the news reel video before. Is there a chance I could get a copy of it? It would only be for the family archives and not for public access. Thank you.