Published: 06:00, 14 May 2021
| Updated: 18:42, 14 May 2021
Owners of a luxury hotel on the outskirts of Canterbury have splashed out £200,000 turning their outdoor space into a wedding venue.
Come the summer, The Cave, set in the grounds of Boughton Golf Club, will boast a swanky marquee with plenty of room for more than 100 guests to enjoy the day.
Although there will be no government limit on the size of weddings when restrictions are lifted on June 21, early indications suggest most couples are reluctant to risk the health of family and friends in cramped indoor spaces.
So hotel owner Johnathan Callister has opted to drive forward plans for a new setting.
He says conversations with would-be brides and grooms have made it clear there is a desire for outdoor ceremonies.
“We have noticed a huge surge in demand from couples looking to have over 100 guests but insisting the entire ceremony is outdoors - the service, wedding breakfast and reception," he said.
“From what couples tell us, they are excited about having the big day they have always dreamed of but don’t want to put people off coming by holding the day’s events indoors.
“The restrictions may be due to disappear in June, but people are clearly still nervous about coming into close contact with large crowds at an event like a wedding.”
From Monday, 30 guests will be allowed at wedding receptions, before the restrictions are dropped completely on June 21.
Statistics show most couples are not fazed by the unpredictability of the British weather, and will enjoy the fresh air even if hampered by drizzle.
Johnathan added: “What obviously puts off a lot of couples is the fear it will rain and the big day and their event will be ruined.
“But this year it seems clear that is a risk most people are prepared to take if it guarantees their weddings can and will go ahead.”
The Cave Hotel opened its doors in 2019 following a £12 million redevelopment. There are 41 rooms at the site.