We’ve always loved the idea of eloping, it just feels so romantic, especially when wedding planning stress gets the better of us. But if we were going to do it, we’d still want a lovely dress, a gorgeous bouquet, stunning photography and delicious food. Well now you can ‘elope and have it all’ at Ever After – A Dartmoor Wedding.
For a long time now, we’ve swooned over this idyllic venue, members of our List and now we’re thrilled to say that they as well as ‘normal’ sized weddings (!) they are providing an awesome elopement-style wedding if you just want to escape it all keep things really intimate. Elopements at Ever After can be just the two of you, or you and a few guests – but the idea is for you to escape to Devon on a truly romantic mini break and marry the one you love. Simple.
Nicola is working with some fabulous local suppliers to ensure that your elopement is a really special occasion, so if you’re intrigued read on for more details…
Nicola at Ever After: The idea of having elopements at Ever After first came to us while chatting to our local Registrars when they were down here for our weddings here at the venue. They were saying that ‘run away weddings’ (which I don’t like – reminds me of that Julia Roberts film) or intimate weddings (which I also don’t like – implies that larger weddings are not intimate when they SO are) or micro weddings (I always get a picture in my head of a micro pig when I hear the word ‘micro’, cute but not really the point) so I’ve stuck with ‘elopement weddings’.
I was also reading on various US blogs that couples were looking at elopement weddings just like bigger weddings, they wanted a great photographer, not a selfie on an iPhone (even with a great filter!), they also wanted a gorgeous bouquet made specially for them, not something picked up from the local shop. I looked at the photos from some of these elopement weddings and they had the full on glam factor you would expect from a larger wedding, fab dress, professional hair and make up, gorgeous bouquet, the touching ceremony and then the super professional post-ceremony and all at the fraction of the usual cost – what’s not to like?
How To Do It
Of course there is the potential to upset family and/or friends and this seems to be the biggest issues couples have to overcome but for many reasons some couples don’t have the family and/or friends set up that allow for a large wedding or it’s simply not their thing.
Then I started thinking how could couples do the whole mini glam wedding over here and I realised there are very few venues that can offer the service. Mainly because a venue can’t offer exclusive use of a whole venue just for two people. You can’t close a whole hotel for one couple (Brangelinas excepted) and most couples wouldn’t feel comfortable with that even if they could afford it. What they want is an intimate luxurious space where they can get married, have a proper celebration with champagne and canapes (if that’s their thing), an amazing meal and stay overnight in sumptuous accommodation designed especially for newly weds. And I realised we have that right here at Ever After.
With our summer weddings, couples have a free choice of suppliers apart from our caterers. But I thought they might struggle to find a photographer who could come to the venue just for an hour or a florist who would be willing to provide just one bridal bouquet. So I decided that for elopements we would put together the whole package, everything the couple would need to have an amazing wedding for just the two of them. Of course some couples might have a few people who are must-have invitees so I extended the offer to include up to 8 guests.
I decided to offer mid-week elopement weddings which with no or a tiny guest list is easier to achieve than a large mid-week wedding. Amanda Randell who is a Chelsea Gold Medal winning florist (and one of a few Master Florists in this country) based here in Tavistock was at the venue when the idea was still being formed helping me with a photo shoot and she came up with our strap line “Elope and Have It All!’ so she was on board to provide the flowers. Clare Kinchin was videoing the photo shoot for us and she’s also a local wedding photographer who said she would be happy to do an hour’s wedding shoot on a week day. I then got in touch with our local Wedding Registrars and asked about licensing one of our glass roofed outdoor rooms which has its own fireplace. They visited and thought it was a great idea. Another box ticked.
My next and most difficult task was to sort out the food, how to find a great chef who would come to the venue and cook maybe just for two people. After a long search I found Harrie Kivell, a cordon-bleu trained chef and patissiere (yep, I thought that’s the wedding cake sorted) who as it turned out is based just down the road from the venue. She provided a trio of seasonal menus suitable for autumn, winter and spring and will come to the venue to cook canapes and a 3 course meal on site. Final box ticked and we were ready to launch…
Couples can arrive at the venue from midday on the day of the wedding, they can choose the ceremony time that suits them best which they arrange direct with our local Registrars. If the couple come alone, we will provide two witnesses for their wedding ceremony. After the ceremony we provide champagne, Harrie provides the canapes and the couple (and any guests) are welcome to wander the gardens or relax in front of the cosy outdoor fire, all captured by our photographer Clare. As an alternative couples can get married in our existing oak framed wedding barn, that’s also an alternative for the wedding breakfast. After the day’s celebrations the newly weds can retire to our luxury 18th century stone cottage, with it’s vaulted ceilings, wood burning stove and two person bath, complete with a private deck off the bedroom with views over the garden. The next morning couples can prepare their own breakfast in the downstairs kitchen from our stocked fridge and linger until midday.