Elle & Ben's magical faery underground cave wedding

By on Aug 3rd
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Photos by Justin Stevens

The offbeat bride: Elle, Copywriter and Freelance Designer

Her offbeat partner: Ben, Sales Manager

Date and location of wedding: Carnglaze Caverns, Cornwall, UK — April 16, 2011

What made our wedding offbeat: When Ben and I decided to get married, we agreed that we would throw out the rule book and do what we wanted. End result: we had an awesome party in a cave!

We held the ceremony and the reception in Carnglaze Caverns, three underground caverns and a subterranean lake set within a beautiful wooded hillside in Cornwall. Not only that, there was an enchanted faery dell, full of faery statues, mushrooms, and the odd dragon.

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We played cello versions of Metallica songs while we signed the register and our ring cushion was a crocheted Discworld. Lastly, we had a cake in the shape of a toadstool.

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Not wanting to spend a fortune, we cut costs wherever possible. I made our table centrepieces with the help of a few family members and I painted the picture on our wedding invitations, which we had printed ourselves.

Woodland Wedding Invitation

Our biggest extravagance was the hog roast, buffet, and the evening entertainment — a band under strict instructions to play songs from Muse and The Zutons!

Tell us about the ceremony: The atmosphere was magical. Walking into an underground cavern lit with hundreds of tealights and fairy lights made me feel that I was walking into a Brian Froud painting.

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Our registrar was amazing. We hadn't chosen any readings for the ceremony so she read a piece about the caverns we were standing in and how long they had taken to form but how all that time was nothing when compared to love. She finished the ceremony by having our guests join in with a traditional Cornish blessing. It was epic and funny all at once, which was exactly what we were aiming for.

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We walked out of the cave together to Nothing Else Matters by Metallica, which has been our song since we met more than ten years ago. As we exited the cave, we walked through a storm of bubbles.

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Our biggest challenge: Logistics. We live in Devon, the wedding was in Cornwall, and most of our friends and family live in the South East. Luckily, I have married someone who is amazing at organising. He even had a wedding spreadsheet!

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My favorite moment: Highlights include chilling with my brides-chicks in the morning and walking down the aisle with my dad. The most surprising moment, however, was my husband dancing the last dance of the evening with me. Normally he refuses to dance at all. The band played Buck Rogers by Feeder, which was perfect. It's become our unofficial theme song, as in the last year we've started over again and bought a house in Devon.

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My funniest moment: Alex, our (very tall) best man, hit his head on the gazebo under which we signed the register. Alex got his revenge when he presented my husband with a fire extinguisher for his car. Ben is very unlucky when it comes to cars!

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Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? To protect the official register from any waterdrops, the register had to be signed under a gazebo. I was worried that the bright white gazebo would spoil the magical underworld faeryland theme I was going for.

After mentioning this to my soon-to-be mother-in-law, she totally came through for me. She covered the gazebo in hellebore, forget-me-nots, beautiful green foliage, and silver butterflies raided from her Christmas decorations in the attic.

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My advice for offbeat brides: Try not to micromanage. If friends and family want to help, give them a brief and tell them to go for it. You could be pleasantly surprised. If you're budgeting, call in favours. The lady who did my bouquet did so at cost because I had designed a logo for her business. And if you're addicted to fairy lights like I am, buy them in January.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? As my gazebo story illustrates: your friends and family probably know you better than you think. I also think it says a lot about us that no one seemed surprised when we told them we were getting married in a cave.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!



cliff wall at sunriseCheck out some of the other cave weddings Offbeat Bride has featured! See how getting married underground rocks. Pun intended.