Written by Bethany, PA to Luke Granger

If there was ever a day that we were delighted to finally reach, it was being able to photograph a wedding without government restrictions getting in our way and after patiently waiting, what a beautiful day it was.

Josie & Dan, two primary school teachers from Kent celebrated their wedding day at The Cave Hotel in Canterbury amongst family and friends and I am delighted to share their wedding day with our readers here at Luke Granger Photography.

With an original date planned for April 2021, Josie & Dan had waited a little longer than expected to have their special day. Back in January, their instincts told them it was right to postpone their wedding and we all had our fingers crossed that by the Summer they could go ahead. Thankfully all our wishes came true, but they did get a little curveball thrown their way.

The Cave Hotel in Canterbury, just like many hotel wedding venues in Kent has had an unprecedented year of upheaval. Enabling the business to grow amongst these difficulties, the team made some changes that have altered their wedding packages and it would only be right that I discussed these with you.

Originally, when The Cave Hotel first offered weddings when they opened in 2019, indoor weddings were conducted within the Rustic Barn. The outside terrace then hosted a drinks reception, whilst the seating was rearranged to accommodate a traditional wedding breakfast and rearranged again later on in the evening to host the wedding reception. A lot of shuffling right?

During 2020, The Korean Cowgirl (the sister to The Cave Hotel's Firepit Restaurant), offered an adapted takeaway menu to The Cave Hotel customers to enjoy during lockdown. It was such a hit, the Cave Hotel Team wanted to make the Korean Cowgirl a permanent fixture so they made the decision to convert the rustic barn into what is now The Cowgirl Lounge (Highly recommended). Naturally this meant that The Cave Hotel needed to create a new experience for their wedding couples; which is where we introduce The Cave Hotel Marquee.

As I am sure you can appreciate for couples planning their wedding day, such a big change came as a shock to Josie & Dan. They appreciated the reasons behind The Cave Hotel opting for a marquee, however were naturally disappointed that the rustic features of their barn wedding had been lost. Hopeful for good weather, the pair accepted the change and moved forward with their plans to get married at The Cave Hotel, opting for an outdoor ceremony at the Pergola & a reception within the new marquee which has a private bar and a large private terrace.

There are many positive features about the marquee at The Cave Hotel; The Pallet walls both in and outside look fantastic (they make excellent backdrops for photographs), the Marquee has a beautiful starlit ceiling and the large terrace creates extra space for guests to enjoy throughout the day and night.

With the ability to host up to 200 guests, I can see the marquee at The Cave Hotel being a popular choice for weddings and events, so if you get the opportunity to visit do go take a look.

The Wedding of Josie & Dan at The Cave Hotel

As an award winning Kent wedding photographer, Luke was delighted to photograph the wedding of Josie and Dan. As all true professionals need a glamorous assistant, I was only too happy to support Luke throughout the day and what a wonderful day we had together.

With a 2pm ceremony planned, Luke and I arrived at The Cave Hotel shortly before 11am and made our way up to the bridal suite to find the room filled with a buzz of excitement. Both hair and make up were fully underway so we photographed a selection of detailed shots and heard all about how the ladies had enjoyed their stay at The Cave.

With 3 bridesmaids and the Bride getting ready, alongside regular visits from family members, there was a great atmosphere and a true sense of team spirit. Bridesmaids Cathy, Jessica & Abigail steamed Josie's veil, Mother of the bride Karen sewed a little blue bow into the beautiful wedding dress and the regular stream of visitors who came and went bringing plenty of excitement with them, thank god the room has a doorbell!

Each of the ladies took turns in the chair to be beautified by Make Up Artist Lottie & Hair stylist Lauren Mummery. Gypsophila was added to Josie's delicate curls and she certainly suited the role of beautiful bride perfectly. Excitedly opened her wedding presents from her Groom Dan (a stunning bracelet and a gorgeous smelling perfume) Josie was soon ready to get changed into her beautiful wedding dress.

Stag Cottage Flowers had completely excelled themselves with the beautiful fresh bouquets. I am not going to pretend I am an expert in flowers but don't you just think these are stunning?

Fully dressed, made up and veil in place there was a little work Josie needed to complete before she could head down the aisle. As dedicated to her teaching career as ever, Josie wasn't about to pass up the opportunity of completing her summer holiday project in style - she even chose a book that suited the foliage theme.

After a series of four first looks, Josie's Brother, Sister, Mum & Stepdad were all wowed by her bridal beauty and then after a visit from the registrars, we were all on our way to head downstairs. The three bridesmaids were each looking fantastic in their bridesmaid dresses, each a different style but all coordinated together and accessorised with smaller versions of the bridal bouquet.

Peter, The Cave Hotel's chauffeur greeted Josie and her bridal party at the entrance of the hotel. Although the transportation was of the 4 wheel variety, it was not the executive town car parked on the driveway that they would be travelling in... this is a golf resort after all.

July Wedding at The Cave Hotel, Canterbury

Our Groom Dan, a keen golfer, was supported by his two best men and father Gordon but there was no time for a round of golf for the boys today, Dan had somewhere far more important to be. After a drink on the terrace the Groom and their guests made their way to the pergola as it would soon be time to say I do!

Although it was a rather blustery day, thankfully the sun was shining and the guests had all taken their seats by the pergola, as it wouldn't be long until the bride would arrive.

After a short drive on the golf buggy, Bridesmaids Cathy, Abigail & Jessica made their way down the aisle followed by Josie who was being given away by her brother Chris.

Our bride must have been keen to reach her Groom pretty quickly (or maybe she was making up for being 3 minutes late) as she certainly didn't take a slow walk down the aisle. Slow down Josie!

Do you remember a moment ago I said it was quite a blustery day? Have you noticed how long Josie's veil is?

Can you guess what happened next? Just as she reached the end of the aisle our sophisticated bride Josie got in a bit of a pickle; a cathedral length veil, a gust of wind and a brother's clumsy feet were not a ideal mix but she took it all in her stride. Amongst a lot of laughter, the veil was soon back in place and the registrars were able to begin the wedding ceremony. Talk about making an entrance!

Performed by A Kentish Ceremony, Josie and Dan's wedding ceremony was simple yet beautiful. The pair exchanged their vows and rings with pride, before sealing the deal with a high five and a romantic kiss. Mother of the Groom and Stepfather of the Bride completed their duty as witnesses, the happy couple signed their certificate and you could tell the pair were over the moon to finally be husband and wife.

To celebrate the brand spanking new Mr & Mrs Stone, guests gathered along the aisle to congratulate and cheer Josie & Dan, alongside some very enthusiastic confetti throwing. Biodegradable confetti is permitted at The Cave Hotel so dried flower petals had been chosen for Josie & Dan's day. They were beautiful but Dan said they didn't taste particularly nice when one was thrown straight in his mouth, Oops.

At the end of the aisle the pair were greeted by Maddie, The Cave Hotel's wedding coordinator, who kindly presented them both their favourite drinks. After excited hugs, congratulations and more high fives, the wedding guests made their way over to the marquee whilst Josie & Dan jumped onto the golf buggy to explore the grounds of The Cave Hotel with us.

Wedding Photography at The Cave Hotel

As with any wedding venue in Kent, there are always lots of different options when it comes to locations for taking amazing wedding photographs. Peter suggested a couple of popular areas that other wedding photographers have used recently but here at Luke Granger Photography we like to use own creativity to find the perfect wedding photo spots.

Using the pond and bench areas, alongside the long grass and beautiful sky created some fantastic photographs for Josie and Dan to remember their wedding day. They spent time chatting about their morning, laughing and joking together and it was beautiful to witness. Never have I met two people who were so insanely happy together, the pair just kept smiling.

It was time for us to return these newlyweds to their guests as there was a collection of formal group shots we had been asked to capture before the wedding breakfast began. If you are planning your own wedding, do be sure you leave plenty of time for wedding photography throughout the day. Although we all know that weddings never run to perfect timings, its best to have a longer drinks reception and some pockets of time that can be adapted if needs be.

Using the beautiful pergola as a backdrop, guests were alternated into their family groups and its clear to see that everyone was having a fantastic time together, (Corona who?).

Formal wedding photographs are a really important part of a wedding for so many couples and their families but they don't have to be stuffy and rigid. The pergola at The Cave Hotel helped create the perfect location and is was lovely to get all the wedding guests involved.

Once the happy couple were announced into the Marquee and seated, we left the guests to enjoy their 3 course dinner and made our way to The Korean Cowgirl terrace for our own lunch.

As a Kent Wedding Photographer, one of the questions we get asked regularly is whether the photographer needs to be fed and the answer is always - yes please! We are delighted that all of our lovely couples appreciate the hard work we put in during a wedding day and how a well cooked meal and a drink help keep us going, working when your hungry is not much fun now is it? Naturally, your guests don't want photographs whilst they are eating either, so this is the perfect time for us to head off to a different part of the venue and enjoy a short break, we then return when your due to finish your meal.

At The Cave Hotel, we were given permission to select what we liked from The Korean Cowgirl menu and both opted for a delicious Burger and fries with a side of boneless chicken wings to share. Sitting out in the sunshine, we backed up our memory cards, edited a handful of teaser photographs and enjoyed our delicious meal before heading back to the marquee to join Josie, Dan & their wonderful wedding guests.

There were lots of lovely details and special elements that had gone into creating Josie & Dan's amazing wedding reception and here at Luke Granger Photography we love making sure we capture all the beauty within the day.

Mother of the Bride Karen, had hand dyed countless meters of fabric for napkins and chair covers in the couples chosen colours, alongside flower arrangements for the tables and hosting a cake making masterclass for Josie & Dan which she then loving decorated for her daughter.

Hand cut tree stumps added to the rustic feel, a well stocked sweetie table for guests to enjoy, alongside lanterns and greenery all around. Such a beautiful setting for a wonderful wedding day in Kent.

At Josie & Dan's Cave Hotel wedding, they chose to have 4 speeches as part of their wedding reception.

Josie's Brother Chris took great delight in embarrassing his baby sister infront of the whole room. He had managed to produce her much loved childhood toy Eeyore, alongside a selection of certificates from her childhood that had been lovingly kept as mementos of her success. There was a theme in some of her school reports about how she liked to talk but thankfully that was no surprise to her new husband Dan.

Next up was the Groom himself who gifted his new wife with a Gobstopper (Can you tell there is a bit of a theme going on?), Dan shared the story of how the loved up pair met and a handful of tales of their life together, whilst thanking the room for being part of their wedding day.

Next up, was the Best Men (Dan had two best men because clearly neither could be trusted to do the job alone)

First to take the mic was Tom (who had only married his wife, Gemma, a few days before). Tom spoke of how meeting 2 primary school teachers on holiday was not his idea of a great time but he was pleased to find out that Josie & Dan were not boring after all. Managing to find a new best mate in a hot tub was a highlight of his trip and he looks forward to beating Dan on the Golf course again soon.

Lastly James took the floor and thanked everyone for coming, he even gave a nod to us suppliers too which was lovely. James and his partner were relocating to China shortly after the wedding so it was great they could enjoy in the celebration before they left for their own adventure.

There was a really nice atmosphere throughout the whole of Josie & Dan's wedding at The Cave Hotel and it certainly didn't go unnoticed. Guests mingling with each other, talking freely, fully immersed into the enjoyment of the day without a care in the world was something that everyone needed and was truly appreciated.

Evening Reception at The Cave Hotel

After a short break outside of the marquee to allow the events team from The Cave Hotel to free up the dance floor whilst the evening guests arrived, the time had come for Mr & Mrs Stone to cut their wedding cake. Fruit, Chocolate, Vanilla & Funfetti flavours meant that there was something for everyone and what a delicious cake it was.

With the DJ in place ready to get the party going, Josie and Dan took to the dance floor as Beautiful Crazy by Luke Combs played. When we met with our couple a few weeks ahead of their wedding I asked them what song they had chosen. Having never heard it before, I played it on the way home and instantly fell in love with it myself.

Such a fantastic choice that really suits the fun filled life they lead together.

With the party in full swing, it was fantastic to see the guests get their groove on and really let go of their inhibitions. Dynamix Entertainment were playing some fantastic tunes that really filled the dance floor; Classics like the Macarena sandwiched between Beyonce and Rihanna party tunes, what more can you want?

We encourage all our couples to take time during their wedding day away from their guests as its really important to take in some moments as a couple and reflect a little about the success of your day. As a Kent Wedding Photographer, we like to take a couple of opportunities throughout the day to take wedding photographs in a fun and relaxed way so we headed off to the golf course to explore and we were armed with Smoke Grenades.

With an extensive golf course, The Cave Hotel near Canterbury has lots of grounds to explore and it was great to enjoy a little peace away from the evening entertainment. Casually enjoying the orchards, walking hand in hand, Josie & Dan were happily in their bubble of fun and laughter and we were only too happy to capture so many amazing moments of their day together.

After a short walk stopping off to take photographs along the way, we headed back to the wedding reception where Josie and Dan returned to the dance floor almost straight away. Luke payed a visit to the doughnut wall and we enjoyed a drink together before saying our goodbyes to the happy couple.

What an amazing wedding day at The Cave Hotel.

Congratulations Mr & Mrs Stone!

Suppliers For The Cave Hotel

As recommended photographers for The Cave Hotel, we took great pleasure in photographing the wedding of Josie & Dan and we look forward to returning to The Cave again soon. We are proud that our wedding photography from Josie & Dan's wedding will be featuring in the Autumn Edition of A Kentish Wedding Magazine, a popular publication well respected within the industry, so do keep an eye out to spot them.

Suppliers who featured in Josie & Dan's Wedding Day

Photography - Luke Granger Photography

Venue & Catering - The Cave Hotel, Canterbury

Registrar - A Kentish Ceremony

Hair Stylist - Hair Design by Lauren Mummery

Make Up Artist - Make Up by Lottie

Bridal Gown - Designed by Oleg Cassini purchased from David's Bridal

Florist - Stag Cottage Flowers

Rings - Ernest Jones

Bridesmaid's Dresses - Maya Deluxe

Groom's Attire - Moss Bros

Groom's Barber - 28 West, Rochester

Cake - Mother of The Bride, Karen

DJ - Dynamix Entertainment

Donut Wall - Peggy Sue's Kent

Foliage Wall - Daisy Delights