Devon LivingIssue #02
Happily ever after
We catch up with Nicola Evans, owner of Ever After – the Dartmoor Wedding Venue, helping to make couples’ dreams come true.
How did Ever After get started?
“My husband Steven and I started the business after we got married here ourselves in 2012. The caterer for our wedding suggested it to us on our wedding day and although that wasn’t the ideal day to start a new business venture, the seed was sown.”
Where are you located?
“The venue (which is also our home) is a 46-acre private estate on Dartmoor, bordering Dartmoor National Park. Most of the land is woodland and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The river Walkham runs through the garden and is a major attraction in the gardens, which have been landscaped over the last ten years to produce a stunning garden. The venue is licensed by Devon County Council for weddings so couples can get legally married here.”
Did you have an existing connection with Devon?
“Although I worked in London for 18 years, I was born in Exeter, my parents married and lived there and both sides of my family have been from the West Country for many generations. Devon seems to be a place people can’t help but come home to.”
What kind of weddings do you offer?
“We offer two types of weddings. From May to September, we offer summer weddings for up to 120 guests and in the winter (October through to April) we offer elopement weddings for a maximum of eight guests. For the elopement weddings, we offer a complete package of photography, bouquet and buttonhole, champagne, canapés, three-course meal cooked on site and a tiny wedding cake. Summer wedding couples are free to use their own suppliers except for our caterer, which is the only supplier we insist on. Wedding food is hugely important and allowing only one caterer enables us to keep control of the quality – venues are judged by the food. Even if the caterer is nothing to do with the venue, guests don’t know that!”
Where do most of your couples come from?
“Most of our summer wedding couples come from outside Devon, in particular London and the Home Counties. Our elopement couples come from all over the country which is great for us as there are so few places that offer exclusive use for tiny weddings. Couples often have a family connection with Devon; maybe they lived or holidayed here, sometimes they’re just looking for a little slice of Devon heaven for their wedding.”
How would you describe your ‘style’ or unique selling point?
“Almost everyone who comes here says, ‘wow, we’ve never seen anything like this!’ It’s a perfect setting for an outdoor wedding with no worries about the weather. I describe our style variously as ‘rustic luxe’ or
‘modern rustic’. The venue is modern with stacks of elegance and style – there’s no
need to sacrifice the glam just because you’re in the country! For elopements, one of our main USPs is exclusive use of the entire venue for two nights, even if it’s just the couple themselves.”
What do you enjoy about the business and why?
“Steven and I love sharing our home with our couples and their families and friends. We feel blessed to live in this special place and sharing it enhances living here for us. There are some unexpected benefits too such as the garden always having to be in good order because it’s always on show!”
Do you hold any other kinds of events at the venue?
“We only hire the venue for weddings, we don’t do any other events, indoor or outdoor except for an annual pop-up opera which we hold on a week day evening in June or July which is a ticket-only event open to the public.”
What are you most proud of?
“The fact that so many of couples stay in touch with us over the years, let us know how they’re getting on, when they have a new addition to the family and tell us they feel a special connection to this place. We feel humbled by the fact so many people carry our home in their memories for the rest of their lives.”
Lower Grenofen, Grenofen, Tavistock PL19 9ES