Real Weddings: Julia and Bryan

Inside an underwater ceremony in Honduras

Julia Malfara and Bryan Bambick met five years ago while they were both working in administration at Sunnybrook Hospital. One day, Julia showed up for the wrong shift (conveniently) just as Bryan was finishing his. She had noticed him on the floor, and thought he seemed laid-back and well-travelled. When he asked her to hang out, she agreed, kickstarting an office romance.

After three years together, the couple ditched their Yonge-and-Eglinton condo to live lakeside in a sailboat at Ontario Place Marina. They now work at a local company called Gone Sailing Adventures: Bryan is a manager and senior captain and Julia is part of the yacht crew (she also does adventure travel consulting on the side). Shortly after the move, during a surprise road-trip to Montreal, Bryan proposed.

The couple knew they wanted to get married outside, so they started looking at farm houses and summer camps near Toronto, but everything was way over their budget. That’s when they decided on Holbox, a small island off the coast of Mexico they’d fallen in love with on a previous trip. And to plan the destination wedding, they moved there for a month.

But their dream wedding quickly fell apart when they learned the island’s lack of infrastructure would make it nearly impossible to host a celebration for 100 of their friends and family members. After the month was up, and there was still no ceremony planned, they moved to Roatan, in Honduras, to complete a Divemaster internship at West Bay Divers. Bryan joked about getting married underwater, but Julia always laughed it off—she said she didn’t want wet hair in her wedding photos. Their manager overheard them chatting about it one day and told them he’d love to help make it happen. Coincidentally, the dive shop’s marketing specialist also trained as a pastor. The couple agreed, and their underwater ceremony came together in just two weeks.

Cheat Sheet

Date: March 22, 2019
Photographer: MOcean Art Photography; Maya Digital
Bride’s dress: Honey
Hair and makeup: Beauty Lounge Roatan
Venue: West Bay Divers; Seascape Resort
Caterer: Portside
Cake: Wake and Bake Roatan
Flowers: Every Day Flowers
Guests: 40

The couple got ready at a ocean-side villa that their friends rented for the occasion. Since everything came together last-minute, only a few of their friends and family members could fly in. They invited 40 other friends from the island to celebrate:

Julia wasn’t able to find a white dress anywhere on the island, so she recruited her bridesmaids to pick one up for her in Toronto. She tried it on for the first time a few days before the wedding:

They wore their party outfits first and changed into their underwater looks at the dive shop. Bryan went barefoot for the occasion:

For the ceremony, Julia wore a white bathing suit paired with a tulle skirt and Bryan opted for a shiny metallic dress shirt:

They took a boat ride out to a dive site close to the beach. Their bridal parties jumped in first to set up the makeshift altar and get into position. Then Bryan and Julia made their grand entrance together:

Wearing wetsuits, the bridal party surrounded the altar—and got photobombed by some fish. Some of them were new to diving and struggled to stay on the ocean floor:

Oxygen tanks make speaking difficult, so the pastor wrote parts of the ceremony on wooden boards:

The couple took out their regulators to seal the deal with a kiss:

They celebrated with some impressive underwater moves:

They snapped a few more photos at sea-level before heading to the reception:

The reception was held at the pastor’s hotel, SeaScape Resort. They made it just in time for sunset:

They had their first dance to “Archie, Marry Me,” by Alvvays:

Since most of the guests at the reception were, as Julia puts it, “water people,” the night ended poolside: