Shondelyn & Tyler's SCUBA-loving aquarium wedding

Updated Mar 15 2021
Photos by: Allebach Photography

Remember these Little Mermaid custom shoes that we were lovin' on? We've got the whole unda da sea tale right here.

Photos by Allebach Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Shondelyn, med/surg distribution (and Tribesmaid)

Her offbeat partner: Tyler, Casino accounting manager

Date and location of wedding: Currents Ballroom at Adventure Aquarium, Camden, NJ — July 13, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We're both avid SCUBA divers and that's a huge part of our life together. We decided that the aquarium would be the perfect place to show everyone the underwater world that we love so much. We even had a penguin come out during cocktail hour and our guests got to look at her and ask questions about the wildlife.











Tell us about the ceremony:
We opted to have a short and sweet ceremony that a friend officiated and went minimal on decor. I picked up the fish pedestals from Christmas Tree Shop and borrowed the centerpieces from a reception table.


The groomsmen walked out to IZ's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." My father walked me down the aisle to the acoustic version of Foo Fighters' "Everlong." I was so worried I was going to break down and cry if I saw anyone else getting emotional, so I locked eyes on Tyler the whole time down the aisle.

I browsed Offbeat Bride for a while and pieced together a few vows from other brides that we both really loved. We just changed a few of the words around.

Jason, our officiant, opened with this:

Today is mostly an ordinary day. The sun rose, babies were born, people slept in, and you just so happened to be getting married. But the not-so-ordinary part is how you are making promises to each other for the rest of your days, no matter how ordinary or unusual they may be.


When it was Tyler's turn to say "I do," he yelled "I WILL!!" It took everyone aback and had me and all the guests cracking up. After that we both relaxed and enjoyed the moment with each other.


Our vows to each other:

I promise today to be your navigator, best friend, and wife/husband; honor, love, and cherish you through all of life's adventures. I swear to always and forever be your companion and you mine. I vow to grow old with you and to keep the kid in you alive. I take you today to be my co-captain through this life.

I did a happy dance as we were announced husband and wife, and we walked out to Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love."


Our biggest challenge:
We had so many things go awry the final days before the wedding. My Maid of Honor went into labor and had a c-section Thursday morning. Unfortunately, the doctor wouldn't let her out until Sunday, so there was no way she would be able to make the wedding.


Tyler also broke his right hand the day before the wedding. His dad rushed him up to the hospital, and thankfully the break wasn't severe. He came back home and surprised me with a purple cast that ended up matching my dress. He didn't know if we would be able to get his tux on, if he would be in pain, or if we could dive on our honeymoon (we were leaving that Monday). We ended up just saying "to hell with it" and made the most of it. We got some funny pictures, and it makes for one heck of a story.


My favorite moment:
We talked about what we wanted to do for the reception, and one thing that kept coming up was doing an anniversary dance. My great uncle and aunt are some of my favorite people in the world and have been married an amazing 61 years. I thought the anniversary dance would be a nice way for us to show them how much they meant to us. Of course, we were eliminated immediately and got to stand on the side and watch all these amazing people who have been together for incredible amounts of time all dancing together.


Then finally it was the moment that they were the last ones on the dance floor and they were SO surprised. They even kicked up the dancing a little notch! As a prize, I gave my aunt a bouquet with a bunch of scratch off lottery tickets pinned into the flowers. It was a really special moment for all of us.





What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
My grandmom passed away just shy of two months before our wedding. It made me realize that things don't always work out as planned. I had all these images in my head of us having fun at the wedding together and it was so painful to realize that she was gone and would never be there to see us get married. When the wedding came, I made a point to let people know how much we loved them and how grateful we were to those that we cared about and had helped us during the planning process.



Coral reef scene titanium wedding bands!


Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

They ♥ OBB; we ♥ themThis post features Offbeat Vendors! Check out their vendor listing to see how they cater to Offbeat Brides:

  1. This is perfectly wonderful. Love the dress, love the octopus adornments, the setting, the joy – everything! Your "anniversary dance" idea was a fabulous idea! And those rings – oh my.

    So, so much happiness to you both.


    You all look SO BEAUTIFUL. Congrats. <3

  3. Just spent an hour desperately searching the Jared website and can't find anything. I MUST OWN ALL THE JEWELRY. Lovely!

    • Thank you!!! I'm not totally sure why it's not online. We were browsing in the store and just happened to come across it. I literally started hyperventilating and Tyler said "well I guess you might as well box that up" LOL. When I get home I can see if we still have the tags or the receipt that might have the SKU numbers on it.

  4. Love this wedding!!! I'm a scuba diver as well, so I just love how the theme is incorporated into every bit of the details – especially those awesome rings! Makes me wish I could do a similar theme, but my dude doesn't dive – YET! And I absolutely love your dress – it reminds me of flowing seaweed and corals 🙂

  5. Yay aquarium wedding!!! Mine will be at the Virginia Aquarium (with the sharks also in attendance). We wont' have a PENGUIN though!!! So cool!

    Everything about your wedding is so beautiful! But you already knew that because you lived it 🙂

    Where did you get those incredible rings???

  6. Oh my goodness! Your dress! Your shoes! The picture of you headbutting your cat! That cake! The penguin!! I want to live in your wedding.

  7. I'm pretty sure I would have cancelled the wedding if my MOH couldn't come lol.

    Y'all look amazing! The dress, cute cat, the FABULOUS cake, and of course the matching cast. So awesome. Congrats you two.


    wooo sorry for getting wild there for a moment but I love your wedding and hope you have many years of happiness

  9. My degree is in marine biology, and though I don't work in that field, it's still my passion. I absolutely love everything about this wedding. I love adventure aquarium, and it's really one of the few "alternative" venues in nj, at least that I am aware of. Thank you for sharing this with us!

  10. I love everything about this wedding! If I ever decided to do a big wedding, I would totally want an under the sea theme. The sprinkles on the cake really do look like sand. The best cat is so cute! I love how he's clearly upset about having to wear a bow tie but is head rubbing anyways.

  11. WOW!
    Everything looks stunning especially the adorable etched rings and the cat cake topper!
    You look gorgeous, the colour is fab and the ursula diva dress goes with your wedding perfectly!

  12. Wowzer, you are a GORGEOUS bride, and your wedding was beautiful. So unique, and just plain cool!!!! Well done and congratulations!

  13. Love the shoes, love the dress, love the jewelry, love the matches, love the venue, love the music choices, basically I love all of it! Your husband rocked his purple cast. I hope he was able to dive on your honeymoon.

    • Thanks!! We actually had his dad cut it off the next day with a dremel (kids do not try this at home). When we got to Cozumel we were able to get a removable splint that worked out PERFECTLY.

  14. Your attitude in the face of family and medical challenges is very inspirational.

    It is also just a beautiful wedding. I LOVE the cake and toppers, so funny and sweet. Great photos of you and your cat. The dress is amazing, the shoes are a brilliant idea. So fantastic

  15. I'm in hearts with your wedding! The dress!! The matching cast! (Though I'm sorry he got hurt) The octopus headpiece! The penguin!!

  16. Love the octopus hair ornament, the bride's dress, and the wedding bands. And really, everything else, too! Too beautiful!

  17. Love everything about this wedding. We toyed with the London Aquarium for a venue for ours, but chickened out because London was going to be too complicated. But this rocks!

    Love the dress, purple and the octopodes and the dancing pics. Sadly my relations who would have done the best dancing at ours weren't able to come but this looks great and so much fun. YAY!

  18. My dialogue to our cats as I read this post:
    "Holy Purple Dress!"
    "Holy OPALS!"
    (read some more)
    (read some more)
    (reads some more)
    "What's with the shoes?" (Molly couldn't answer me so she fell asleep.)

    In other words: that looks like an awesome friggin' day! Congratulations. 🙂


    Caps lock is not enough. Seriously beautiful and so heartfelt. And your hairpiece is beyond words gorgeous.

  20. I love, love, love this! My husband and I got married two weeks ago tomorrow, and I got a lot of ideas from this site for ways to make the wedding suit us – I love the aquarium theme, and the bride and groom are gorgeous and look so happy!!

  21. Okay but everything about this wedding is THE BEST THING ABOUT THIS WEDDING.
    You look so friggin swank!! Your flowers are spectacular! Your CAKE IS THE GREATEST! You have WON at WEDDINGS!!

  22. YAY! <3 I wore a Steampunk Couture Octopus in my hair on my wedding day too! Forgot my birdcage veil in all the excitement but whatev's Hair Octopi rock! Beautiful wedding.

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