In March 2005, Jessica and Jaylyn Hamm married in a traditional ceremony at Jaylyn’s family church in Conroe, Texas. The Hamms were 19 and 20 and just figuring life out. Fifteen years later, they decided to renew their vows with a bit of flair — by doing it underwater at Jules’ Undersea Lodge in Key Largo.
“I have always wanted to dive, and Jaylyn has been certified since he was 13,” said Jessica. In August 2018, Jessica completed her open water certification, and the pair dive every chance they can.
“My wife and I have absolutely fallen in love with the sport,” said Jaylyn, “so we’re very eco-conscious about the sea.”
They try to raise awareness any way they can. Even though they own a floor-covering store in Texas, they sell reef-safe Stream2Sea sunscreen there. Jaylyn explains the connection, saying, “I can reach the 99% of the people who aren’t aware of the problem (that sunscreens cause to coral reefs) and broaden our impact for the sea.”
It’s no wonder the playful, ocean-loving couple renewed their vows at Jules’ Undersea Lodge. The underwater hotel is unique in the world as people can only get there by scuba diving. It sits in almost 30 feet of water in a protected “Emerald Lagoon” in Key Largo.
“There is nowhere else in the world you can scuba dive to your underwater hotel room, have pizza delivered, and sleep with the fishes,” says Teresa McKinna, president of Key Largo Undersea Park, home of Jules’ Undersea Lodge. “So naturally, it makes for a very memorable vow renewal.”
“It just sounded like an amazing thing to do together to celebrate the love we have for each other in a way that is unique to us,” Jessica said. Showing her specially-redesigned ring, which added a heart, turtle and stingray around her original engagement stone, she said, “What could be better?”
Jaylyn said, “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that combined what we found to be our passion together and allowed us to renew our passion for each other at the same time.”
Because of the unique location of the lodge, the hotel “mer-chef” is also the officiant and a scuba instructor. The ceremony amazingly included the traditional wedding details of fresh flowers, wedding toasts and cake cutting, vows, and a romantic steak and lobster dinner, all completed underwater. After the celebrations, the couple stayed the night in the underwater hotel and scuba dove around the Emerald Lagoon to their heart’s content.
Recalling the intimacy and privacy of it all, Jessica says, “It felt like it really was just about the two of us. I won’t forget it.”