Western Australian couple hold first underwater wedding

When South West Western Australian celebrant Joanne Armstrong heard of a couple looking for a wedding ceremony with a watery twist, she leapt at the chance to dive headlong into the project.

Barragup couple Cameron and Debby McLeod made history on Saturday when they were married in what is believed to be the first underwater wedding in WA.

The pair have been engaged since Mr McLeod surprised Debby with a proposal during a dive, also at the Busselton Jetty.

"After Cam's proposal we thought why not get married underwater at the Jetty," Ms McLeod told the Mail. "It would have the perfect backdrop and it's our favourite place to dive."

Cam McLeod proposed to Debby underwater at the Busselton Jetty in 2019.

Cam McLeod proposed to Debby underwater at the Busselton Jetty in 2019.

Ms Armstrong said having obtained her diving qualifications at the age of 19, she wanted to find a chance to use the skill for a one of a kind wedding.

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"My business is called Wild Heart Celebrations for a reason - I really want to encourage people to embrace their individuality, to be as extreme or as traditional as they want. As long as it's legally compliant, almost anything can be incorporated into a ceremony."

"I posted on social media and just got the word out there that I was looking for weddings on the wilder side, whether they want to bungee jump, or get married naked, anything!"

Marriage celebrant Joanne Armstrong with husband Craig after the ceremony.

Marriage celebrant Joanne Armstrong with husband Craig after the ceremony.

Ms Armstrong was alerted to the McLeods' posts in a diving community group about a dive wedding, and made contact.

"Everything boils down to preparation, and to contingency plans and everyone being fully on board to make something like this happen, and I am so happy to say that was exactly what happened.

"The Busselton Jetty staff were pivotal in making it happen, this was an example of a real 'coming together' of everyone involved to create this real and genuine expression of love tailored just for this couple."

The newlyweds said they had the full support of their wedding team as well as friends and family since the early days of planning, including challenges posed by COVID-19 lockdowns and rescheduling.

"There was a lot of details that had to be considered and we wasn't sure if we could pull it off," said Debby McLeod.

"Our day turned out better than we expected and we couldn't have done this without the help and support from Lisa, Sophie and the Busselton Jetty volunteers."

Photo: Fox and Luna Photography

Photo: Fox and Luna Photography

Ms McLeod thanked Ms Armstrong for her passion and drive in helping their sea-floor wedding happen, and noted the beautiful images captured by Gemma Boys of Fox and Luna Photography, and Mandurah-based underwater photographers, Nelson Pereira and Eliana da Silva.

"The staff at the Ship Inn did an amazing job, we were overwhelmed by the effort that went into our reception. All our guests said it was the best wedding they had ever been to."

Busselton Jetty CEO Lisa Shreeve said Saturday morning proved a beautiful one for the wedding.

"Our jetty diving team of Sophie Teede, Lilly Henley and Alecia McDonald were in the water supervising, and I checked everyone in and went to the Underwater Observatory with them," Ms Shreeve said.

Photo: Oceano Mandurah

Photo: Oceano Mandurah

"Then our Tour Guide Alannah Gannaway synchronised the verbal vows in the Underwater Observatory with the vows in the water.

"This is the Busselton Jetty's first underwater wedding. We have had many weddings in the Observatory but no scuba divers in the water so it was a logistical task to get everyone in and out safely and carry out the marriage service.

"The signing of the registry was completed in the pop up marquee after the divers came out of the water and everyone caught the train back to shore. It was definitely a unique wedding that will never be forgotten by the bridal party, the guests or us."

Photo: Fox and Luna Photography

Photo: Fox and Luna Photography

Tasked with the role of capturing the vows from the other side of the glass and with cyclonic weather conditions making visibility a challenge, photographer Gemma Boys said it was a privilege to be involved in the wedding.

"It was such an adventure! We all had to load our equipment onto the little tram and journey out to the observatory.

"Photographically it was tricky because the observatory is rather dark with little windows and the cyclone coming in up North had stirred the ocean up a bit so the visibility wasn't very high.

"But Debby and Cam were right in front of the window so it was perfect! I loved being a part of such a unique and special wedding."

Mr and Mrs McLeod also extended their thanks to their wedding suppliers including Take 2 Hair Studio in Margaret River, Divine Faces Makeup Artistry in Busselton, as well as their bridal party, family and friends.

Photo: Fox and Luna Photography

Photo: Fox and Luna Photography