Elle & Ben's magical faery underground cave wedding

August 3 |
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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.

Us

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!

all the boys

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!

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

  1. OH! OH! I was there! Hi Elle :) (I came with Joe, Ben's mate).

    It was all so absolutely beautiful, you both looked fantastic (love your dress), food and cake were great too .. I resisted going for another cupcake, just about ;). Thanks for the heads up about the temperature of the cave too, a careful choice of dress was worthwhile for the magical setting. Thanks for inviting us.

    Oh and the gazebo didn't look out of place at all, well done mother-in-law!

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    • Yay! Thank you!

      I still dream about those cupcakes! I'm thinking maybe getting another one of those cakes for a future wedding anniversary celebration or something!

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  2. Congratulations !!!! And also : waw I officially love everything about your wedding, the pictures are amazing and don't get me started on the invitations ! The candles are extremely beautiful too. Hope you had an amazing celebratory night ;)

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  3. Wow, what a cool idea. It would have never occurred to me to get married in a cave, but hmmmm…. we just might have to consider something along those lines! A different cave of, course, as we are in the US. :) I love your lighting, it looks like everything worked together perfectly.

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  4. DISCWORLD! woohoo! we don't seem to have nearly enough Pratchett fans on the Offbeat Interwebs.

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    • AGREED! I loved the Discworld pillow and the little caketopper of Tiffany Aching and one of the Wee Free Men!

      More Pratchett weddings please! My geek heart loves it!

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  5. I'm about to have a readergasm— where, where WHERE did the crocheted discworld come from?!?!

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    • I completely agree… the Discworld series is like my favorite thing in the world. And in the U.S., you really don't see a lot of Discworld fans, sadly.

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  6. Oh my awesome.
    Love everything ABOUT this wedding.

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  7. Such a gorgeous wedding! Everything looks so magical in the pictures. I adore your invitations as well! It is even more special that you painted the design yourself.

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  8. So magical. I love the lighting on the cave floor! I also love the tips about getting friends and family to help. It's so easy to think you have to do it all yourself. Thanks for the reminder!

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  9. As a lifelong fairy lover, especially of the Brian Froud variety, I have to say, that is pretty wicked. My man would throw a fit if I asked for a fairy wedding though, he has pretty much no imagination whatsoever. Were my dad alive, he would do the same, it drove him up the wall that my aunt got me hooked on fairies, lol. But then, his representative lawn flamingo would have clashed.

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  10. Utterly brillliant! I adore what you did with (or found in?) that cave, what a perfect setting.

    I have to ask– what role did the crocheted/knitted discworld play? :)

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  11. BLEW * MY * MIND !!!! Totally in love with this wedding…

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  12. There's a winery where I live that has a nice cave onsite, and I've been debating it. One of my cons for booking it was lack of lighting on the inside (and lack of electrical hookups), but battery tealights on the floor/ground is exactly what I need! I love the intarwebs. This cave looks like it has ample electrical hookupness inside of it, though. But there's battery-operated everything nowadays.

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  13. Oh my god. Crocheted Discworld ring pillow? Is that a Nac Mac Feegle and Tiffany cake topper I spy? Oh my god. Faery lights, Brian Froud, CAVE?!?!?

    I am the ded from awesome.

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    • I just want to know if they served Granny Aching's Special Linament (sp?) at the reception. LOL!

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      • LOL! We were in Cornwall and there was cider – It was more like Nanny Ogg's Scumble!

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  14. TOO COOL! I love this! This is just beautiful! Of course, the Caves section of the Planet Earth series always was my favorite…

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  15. Wow! Thank you so much for all your kind words! I'm glad you liked my wedding. It was an absolutely magical day/evening and all our guests enjoyed themselves!

    In answer to some of your questions/comments:

    Our crocheted Discworld was our ring cushion! It was made by a family member after we had seen something similar online. Ben and I are both huge Discworld fans and it was made as a surprise for him. I nearly gave the game away so many times as I'm rubbish at keeping secrets!

    Andrea M – My husband's not really into faeries either (which is why I didn't wear wings!) but a compromise wouldn't hurt, surely? Maybe you get to choose some faerie-style touches if he gets to choose the cake? I think our wedding was so successful because it represented both our styles.

    Carnglaze carverns (www.carnglaze.com) is used as a concert venue so it's well lit (for a cave!) and has a few electrical power points although we also used battery powered fairy lights. The dim lighting creates the most amazing atmosphere though.

    And thank you Offbeat Bride and all the offbeat brides and grooms here for giving me so much inspiration!

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  16. ZOMG! A Discworld ring pillow! A million kinds of AWESOME! I am planning on throwing in some less than subtle Pterry references in our wedding since I'm a massive Discworld fan of course. I love the Feegle cake topper to, complete with Horace!
    Those caves are beautiful, the caves in Chiselhurst in Kent are similar, which is also a concert venue!

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  17. Everything looks straight out of an enchanted fantasy! Beautiful! Your invitation painting is stunning!

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  18. yay at last an amazing alternative venue in england!!! its such a shame that it has to be the venue which is licensed, there's so many great places you could get married if it was like in america where anyone can marry you as long as they've completed the legal stuff!
    my favourite wedding so far!!!!!!! xx

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  19. Truly a fairy tale wedding and your invite is so lovely!

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  20. Wow! I've never seen such a fantasy infused wedding that stole my heart and soul away instantly! What a perfect venue! Even your invites look like the overall result. <3 Thank you for sharing it with us! I absolutely love your photographs and the candles inside the caverns! You definitely feel like you stepped into a Froud work of art!

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  21. just. plain. gorgeous.
    totally ethereal and otherworldly – seems like a really magical day.
    and hey! Pratchett fan here – good thing I can crochet!
    the whole even is well done and I sincerely wish you as much magic in your marriage!

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  22. The lighting in there is sooo nice, I love how cozy the wedding looks!

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  23. Okay..that was officially my favorite wedding of all time.

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  24. wow it truly looks magical! What a great idea I love it!

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  25. This is so strange! I found this page looking up stuff for my idea wedding. I wanted a fairy theme, pale green dress and a cave setting! Lovely to see someone else pull it off so beautifully, it looks amazing!

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