Of all the unusual events ever held at Aquarena Springs, perhaps the most famous is the underwater wedding featured in the March 8, 1954, issue of Life magazine.
Former theme park clown Bob Smith and former Aquamaid Mary Beth Sanger, along with their attendants, descended a stairway to an underwater altar in front of the submarine theater that held onlookers and the Rev. Curtis Ellison, who officiated via loudspeakers. Waxed cardboard kept Smith’s coat arms stiff, and his shoes were weighted with 12 pounds of lead to help him stand. Sanger’s skirt hoops also were weighted to prevent billowing, and the men carried weights in their trouser pockets.
Gulping air from an underwater hose, Smith and Sanger said their vows as curious fish swam past and joined the ceremony. Best man Bob Cox, who proudly showed off his copy of the magazine spread during the theme park’s reunion in November, remembers wearing a navy-blue suit: the only suit that the then-20-year-old owned.
Learn more: Exploring the Depths.