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by Emma Hla

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Feature Image by Freckle Photography.

Situated amongst ancient woodlands, flowing waters and lush green gardens, Ever After is an extraordinary new wedding and reception venue for the most special of celebrations. Nestled in a hidden valley and festooned with ferns and wild flowers, the only sounds are those surrounding Lower Grenofen (the name of the Ever After property) are those of the bubbling river and melodic birdsong.

Bordered by Dartmoor National Park, this intimate idyll feels light years away from urban life and founder Nicola Evans evolved the new venue after marrying her now husband Steven Nash there in 2002.

“Steven and I feel so fortunate to live here. We couldn’t have imagined celebrating our own wedding anywhere else so we created the new external reception space. All our guests absolutely loved it, saying how amazing it would be for other couples – so we couldn’t help but consider sharing it and Ever After was born…”

On that note, I want to hand you over to Nicola to tell you all about this Eco Luxe styled shoot. But this feature is about so much more than the styled shoot, it’s the story of a wedding venue that takes great care in your wedding day journey. This is evident in the detailed and carefully curated write-up.

Don’t forget you can click through to the full gallery at the end for pinning galore!

Enjoy…

Notes from Ever After – A Dartmoor Wedding

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Images by Freckle Photography.

Nicola: Ever After is situated amid abundant natural wildlife. Lower Grenofen is actually an official Site of Special Scientific Interest, partly due to the abundance of rare brown fritillary butterfly whose super fussy larvae feast only on fresh violet flowers – how fussy! Our water supply is from natural springs, which also feed the wildlife ponds, most of the plants are grown from cuttings and we have all sorts of beautiful animals making their home in our garden.

Being placed in such a sensitive, but beautiful environment, we relished the challenge of how Ever After would evolve and operate without damaging the extremely special surroundings. So we introduced a purposefully environmentally conscious philosophy across the creation and the management of our venue. At no point, however, has this ethos compromised the undeniable style or luxuriousness of the experience here.

We have never had to pare back the uber-stylish and luxe nature of our establishment. Taking this approach has brought us to more fascinating places and to people who create the most beautiful objects and services that are even more stylish and meticulous in their attention to detail as a result of our shared wish to look after things.  It’s been the most fabulous journey and we’re so pleased to now be able to pass on all these options to our brides, grooms and all their guests.

When the venue was in its developmental stages, I worked with a range of amazing local and sustainable suppliers to bring alive their joint philosophy of combining glamour and luxury with beautifully boho and elegantly eco elements. The team worked on a combined Pinterest board ahead of the shoot so each of the suppliers could share their ideas and bounce concepts, colours and inspiration across one another. I also liaised extensively with Emma Richardson of Freckle Photography, comparing notes and sharing images of beautiful second hand buys so that they had everything they needed, all agreed prior to the day of the shoot.

After working on the venue for months on end and bringing all of my most favourite suppliers together in discussion over a number of months, it was just so magical to actually see all of our plans, thinking and accessories come together. Almost every element exemplified our eco theme with lavish dashes of luxe. It just all syncronised amazingly, and even more beautifully than I had hoped.

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Images by Freckle Photography.

Ever After’s landscaped gardens offer many opportunities for Emma’s photographic backdrops; wild flower walks, old stone barns with painted doors, a newly-planted orchard with wild grasses and mown paths so the shoot took place right across the extensive property. Emma had scoured lots of different dress options and sourced a beautifully fragile pre-loved 70’s wedding dress from a second hand shop. Bridesmaid’s dress and groom’s suit were also found in some great vintage stores. The bride was provided with a fabulous ‘up-do’, including flowers, created by Jodie Smith of Tavistock’s The Hair Lounge. Jodie’s work was gorgeously offset by the soft make-up from Bridgette Caple, owner of Bridal Hair and Makeup.

I was delighted to bring in Claire Gilles of Devon-based The Flower Field who believes in sustainably grown seasonal cut flowers. Claire grows everything with minimal input and for the shoot, she curated an abundance of flowers for the bride and bridesmaid’s bouquets and headdresses as well as for the table settings. Using a range of green, cream and peach ranunculas (a brilliant substitute for roses) trailing jasmine, lily of the valley, maidenhair fern, rosemary, white lunaria, feverfew, double tulips, Claire provided extremely soft and natural crowns and bouquet for the bride and bridesmaid as well dressing the candelabra for the table settings to complement the Ever After woodland backdrop and the model’s beautiful hair and porcelain skin.

To add a further luxurious sheen to the tables, I styled an array of sequin table runners, crystal glassware and chairs decorated with ribbon streamers (all provided by Ever After!) with the imposing large candelabra hired from Jan Davies at Devon Vintage China. The eco tablescape was furnished with living rosemary plants decorated with moss as guest favours, beeswax candles in the candelabra , green majolica plates, cutlery and amber champagne glasses that I sourced from ebay.

Approached along a sweeping driveway through handcrafted oak gates, Ever After couples can say their ‘I dos’ in a refurbished, open-sided barn, bursting with fragrant blooms and beautiful decorations, tailored to their tastes. For the ceremony part of the shoot, I had local stationary designer Abigail create a boho-inspired eco aisle runner, hand-drawn on wallpaper lining paper. Cream petals complemented this, drawing the eye towards the couple and enhancing the feel of the space.

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Images by Freckle Photography.

Ever After has a stunning, specially designed honeymoon cottage but for the shoot the team styled one of Devon’s Bell Abode’s bell tents to create the ultimate boho overnight stay. Flowers, 100% linen bedlinen, an alpaca throw, sheepskin rug and lace and hessian bunting and lanterns brought texture and luxuriousness to this beautiful space which was highlighted by the soft sunlight drifting through as well as the surrounding apple blossoms.

Working with Dazzlicious Cakes of Plymouth, the choice of wedding sweet delights included an amazing naked cake on a tree cake stand, crafted directly from the woods surrounding Ever After and an intricately iced cake in shades of green, specially styled to reflect the natural feel of the setting.

A major highlight of the day was the stunning white mare – a local neighbour’s horse called Tally. Lots of our brides are distinguished riders and we have already had one arrive on a horse as well as others book in for inspirational pony tracking across Dartmoor with our local provider Liberty Trails. Bringing in Tally to the shoot provided such a sense of calm and she perfectly portrays our take on eco-transport. She was so willing throughout and a great joy to work with, as well as beautifully sporting her natural floral bridle.

After imagining these results for so long, it was a wonderful experience to bring it all together to show how we are open to styling with a personal difference. It’s so important to me personally that I can feel and show that being mindful about your backdrop, in no way loses any style factor. In fact, it can only serve to increase it and this Ever After shoot has certainly achieved that for all involved…

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Credits

Venue Ever After – A Dartmoor Wedding | Photography Freckle Photography | Bridal Fashion Pre-loved Dress | Hair The Hair Lounge Tavistock | Makeup Bridal Hair and Makeup | Flowers Flowers in the Field | Venue Styling & Decor Nicola Evans at Ever After | Hire Devon Vintage China | Cake Dazzleicious Cakes | Stationary Abigail McKenzie | Bell Tent BellAbode | Transport Tally the neighbour’s horse! Thank you to Leonie for looking after Tally on the day of the shoot. 

The detail behind this venue is incredible and I absolutely loved putting together this story about Ever After. The love and attention behind this venue is second to none and certainly one for you Boho Brides.

You can see more of this Devonshire Wedding Venue in the Coco Collection.

Lots of love…

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