A couple from Corinth, New York in the US made it official when they wed 156 feet below ground in Howes Caverns. The celebration marked the 600th time in more than 150 years that couples wed among the cave’s limestone caverns. The unusual location has hosted some unusual weddings. The one that stands out the most in caretaker Bob Holt’s mind happened about ten years ago, when the entire wedding party and all of the guests came dressed as clowns.
The groom, Dennis Dowen, visited the cave as a child and witnessed a wedding there. The cave made quite an impression, and he suggested it as a location for his wedding to Karen Rowland. This is the second wedding for each, and between them, they have five adult children.
The wedding was officiated by a justice of the peace. After the ceremony, the guests toured the cave, then retired to a local restaurant for a wedding feast. The bride and groom wore matching Oxford shirts and jeans to keep warm. The cave has a constant temperature of just 11°C.
Most of the cave weddings have taken place in recent times, but the first wedding in Howes Cave took place in 1854, with Harriet Howes – the proprietor’s daughter – being the first Howes Cave bride. She and her husband, Hiram Dewey, married within the cave as a publicity stunt to draw attention to her father’s business, which also included a hotel at the entrance to the cave.