Couple decide to Tie the Knot in Kents Cavern
For Gilly Woodland and Alan Duckworth, deciding where to have their marriage ceremony was no easy choice, what with the relaxing of UK legislation to allow other buildings and sites of interest to be licensed to hold civil wedding ceremonies.
However, these two Torquay residents (Devon) have opted for the nearby ancient cave system of Kents Cavern, believed to be one of the oldest human-inhabited locations ever found in the UK. Evidence gathered by the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain (AHOB) project indicates that human species lived in the cave as far back as 450,000 years ago.
A fragment of jawbone found within the cave recently has been controversially identified as Neanderthal and dated to approximately 45,000 years ago. This rare and precious find is the oldest fossil evidence of Neanderthal habitation of the United Kingdom
Ms Woodland, 49, a media marketing manager, and Mr Duckworth, 38, a network design manager, will marry in the candlelit civil ceremony on Sunday, October 4th.
Gilly commented: “We wanted a blank canvas where we could design our own wedding. You can put together exactly what you want.”
The 85 guests will be ferried to the caves complex by vintage bus before going underground for the ceremony.
“There will be a civil wedding in one cave, then a cocktail party with a 25 piece orchestra, Spectrum Music, playing in the other,” said Ms Woodland. “We will come up for air for a dinner at ground level, then go underground again for more live music.”
“Although the caverns are massive you never forget you are in a cave – and there is the slight risk of being dripped on by a stalactite.
For the guests, Ms Woodland and her fiancé it will certainly be a night to remember. Perhaps the large cave system at Kents Cavern has hosted similar important events and ceremonies in the past when our human ancestors held their own festivities, marking a successful hunt or the return of the warmer Summer weather. The cave system has yielded some remarkable fossil finds. As well as the human remains, the fossilised bones of Cave bears, Mammoths and Woolly Rhinos have been found. Even evidence of Sabre-toothed cats has been discovered in the cave system.
We wish the couple well, and hope that the event goes off brilliantly for them. One thing is for sure, when you hold a wedding ceremony underground you don’t have to worry about the rain!