The summer wedding season 2018 is upon us, so I thought it’s about time I explain a little more about what I do & how your wedding day at Ever After will work. Every venue will work in different ways, which is why it’s important to find a venue which works for you and your day…
The Day Before
You will have access to the venue from 2pm the day before your wedding (either Friday for a Saturday wedding, or Tuesday for a Wednesday wedding… obvs!). We will have spent the morning getting the venue ready for your arrival, and once you arrive the place is yours! Make yourselves at home in the cottage, or have an explore with your spouse-to-be (why not take your photographer along too…?!).
Photo: Richard Murgatroyd
Either myself (Bethany) or Nicola will have a brief sit-down with you to go through the final running of your day, and take any bits off your hands (such as place names & favours) ready for setup the next day. Any last minute questions or worries you have can be chatted through then, so that you’ve got the rest of your afternoon & evening to relax and enjoy!
Your Wedding Day – Setup
Ever After’s team will usually arrive from 9am and start setting up for your big day! You, of course, will be relaxing, eating breakfast, having your hair & make-up done, and laughing with your bridesmaids. Lifting a finger is a no-go for the bride on the morning of the wedding; leave it to us.
Photo: Richard Murgatroyd
We’ll have everything ready at least 30 minutes, if not an hour, before guests are due to arrive.
Your Wedding Day – The Timeline of Events
Below is a link to our suggested timeline of events for the big day. This is a guideline based on the timings we believe to work the best, but as it is your day, the timings are entirely up to you.
Ever After suggested timings for your day copy
We will setup, serve, and clear away all arrival drinks. Myself and Nicola will get the ushers to guide guests to their seats for the ceremony, and co-ordinate you & your bridesmaids entrances. We’ll be there to give you 30 minute, 10 minute, and 5 minute warnings, and make sure you look absolutely perfect for your walk down the aisle.
Photo: Freckle Photography
Following your ceremony, guests will be guided down onto the lawns for the drinks reception(weather permitting). Our waitresses will again serve guests with their drinks and make sure they never have an empty glass! This is usually the best time for you & your new husband to sneak off for those all-important couple shots.
Photo: Freckle Photography
When it’s time for the wedding breakfast, our team will help get guests seated and co-ordinate your entrance to the marquee (including telling the best man or trusted usher what to say to introduce you!). The catering team will take care of you throughout the meal, whilst behind-the-scenes, myself, Nicola, and Steven will add the necessary finishing touches for your evening reception.
When it’s time for tea & coffee, the whole EA team will clear the marquee and set it up ready for the evening, before co-ordinating your cake cutting and first dance. The evening festivities will then begin and you can relax in the knowledge that your wedding day has been perfect!
Photo: Ben Selway
This is where the fun begins! As great as the evening might be, most couples find this the hardest part in terms of drinks. Do you charge guests for drinks? Do you provide their evening drinks for free? Or how about putting some money behind the bar and charging guests once that has run out? The options seem endless and can be a little daunting.
Luckily, we’re here to help. We’ve got evening bar packages and we also have the pop-up lounges; there’s a solution in there somewhere.
I’m going to dive straight in here as there is a lot to consider…
Bringing your own evening drinks and not charging guests – You’ve been supplying the alcohol all day, so you might decide to keep the trend going throughout the evening. You can bring whatever drinks you so choose to serve behind the bar, and let guests enjoy them for free. This is obviously an additional cost to you, and you’ll also have to pay the bar staff. But, guests get to enjoy the evening without having to worry about bringing cash.
Bringing your own drinks and asking guests for a donation (honesty bar) – This is quite a popular choice as you’re not out-and-out charging guests but you’re also not providing a whole evening of drinking for free. It can be a risk as not all guests will leave a donation, but you’ll know your guests better than me! Again, you will also have to pay the bar staff.
Ever After’s Pay Bar – If you want to charge guests for drinks (not just ask for a donation) then our pay bar option is the best one for you. Drinks, staffing and glasses are all included free of charge, and as guests are paying for their own drinks there is no cost to you at all. You can relax! There are two pricing options, the branded option and the premium option. The prices are slightly different based on the drink brands and mixers etc (e.g. Gordon’s gin and schweppes tonic vs Sipsmiths gin and fever tree tonic).
Ever After’s Free Bar – If don’t want to charge guests for their evening drinks, but you could do without the hassle of quantities and ordering and delivery and sorting out the glasses and surplus drinks the day after, we can take care of that for you. Again, there are a couple of options here…
Your guests can have free unlimited drinks all night for £28pp (branded option) or £40pp (premium option), depending on your preference. You can also choose to have between 1-6 free drinks (per person) provided by you, and then a pay bar once those have run out. There’s also the option of putting a cash sum behind the bar, and then a pay bar once that cash has run out.
Here is a link to our drinks package 2018 , which goes into more detail about all the drink options from start to finish. Again, if you have any more questions then do get in touch!
Something else to consider is hiring one or both of our pop-up lounges which include a fair bit of alcohol. The pop-up lounges would be ‘free’ to guests, which could impact your decision about what to do with the bar. Plus, they are seriously cool.
Here’s a little more about them…
Ever After pop up brochure 2018_19
Wedding breakfast drinks are normally nice and simple. You don’t want to be serving much more than wine during the meal (because there’s still a whole evening of drinking ahead), and we will always make sure there is plenty of water on the table…
Wedding Breakfast Drinks – The Options
As with arrival drinks and reception drinks, you can still bring your own wines to serve with the meal. Again, we don’t charge any corkage (and never will!). If you’d rather we sourced and provided the wines, we’ve put together an extensive wine list (courtesy of Christopher Piper Wines). As it’s quite a hefty list, I won’t write it below, but if you’d like to see it then just send myself or Nicola an email (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Ever After’s Splendid Package – Between £4.50 and £5.50pp.
Ever After’s Premium Package – £7.50pp.
Ever After’s Ultimate Package – Between £7 and £12pp.
The prices depend on the final wine choice. These packages all include 1/2 a bottle of wine per person, and we’ll provide a selection of red & white wines. Rose can be sourced upon request.
If you know you have more white wine drinkers than red (or vice versa) we can provide – for example – 60% white and 40% red, or whatever your preference is.
There are also the toasting drinks to consider. Again, you can provide your own champagne/sparkling wine or you can opt for one of our selections. We have 4 different champagne/sparkling wine options ranging from £3.50pp and £7.50pp. You know where to find me if you’d like the list!
In my last post, I talked you through arrival drinks. Now, reception drinks (or post-ceremony drinks). This part of your happens immediately after your ceremony, and it’s – personally – my favourite part of a wedding day! Guests are guided down to the lawns and/or terrace where drinks are poured waiting. They then have and hour or two to enjoy the surroundings at Ever After!
Post-ceremony drinks are also when you can start get super creative with your drinks (if you want to!). Whether you’re going for pimp-your-prosecco, fancy G&Ts, or ice baths of beer bottles & soft drinks, this is the time to do it.
As with the arrival drinks, you can of course still supply your own alcohol (F.O.C) to serve your guests. And there are also some Ever After packages to consider…
Bringing your own drinks – As I said, you’re more than welcome to do this still and there is no corkage charge.
Ever After’s Splendid Package – £8pp and includes Pimms or prosecco, bottled beer, soft drinks.
Ever After’s Premium Package – £13pp and includes a ‘pimp your prosecco cart’ or a 1-spirit cocktail (which you can choose yourself), English sparkling wine, bottled beer, soft drinks with straws.
Ever After’s Ultimate Package – £18pp and includes champagne or 2 spirit cocktails, premium bottled beer, premium soft drinks with straws.
We always encourage couples to provide a main drink which is different to the drink served at arrivals. For example, if you opted for the Splendid package and had prosecco on arrival, we would suggest you swap to pimms for the reception drinks. It mixes it up a bit and keeps guests interested!
Like I said, you can start to get quite creative with your drinks. ‘His & Hers’ cocktails are increasingly popular, as well as gin carts with premium tonics and garnishes. It’s also worth considering having a drinks dispenser of flavoured water available. We provide the water, you’ll just need to bring the garnishes (cucumber/lemon etc). Here are some suggestions…
- His & Hers cocktails; one gin-based and one rum-based, sparkling wine, bottled beer, elderflower fizz (non-alcoholic), cucumber water.
- ‘Pimp-your-prosecco’, bottled cider, raspberry lemonade (non-alcoholic), lemon water.
- Gin cart with 6 different gins and a selection of fever tree tonic waters & garnishes, prosecco, lager, pomegranate cordial (non-alcoholic), lime water.
- Pimms & garnishes, bottled cider, white wine, san pellegrino lemonade (non-alcoholic), apple water.
When it comes to your wedding day, there is a lot to think about. My best advice would be to split the day up into manageable chunks. Starting with arrival drinks, for example. In this blog post series I’m going to be talking you through the different drink options available at Ever After and suggestions about what to provide.
As you probably already know, I work full-time for the gorgeous wedding venue Ever After. I do a lot of blog posts over on EA’s website, so I thought why not bring some of them over here! So sit back and enjoy some tips & tricks about how we do things at Ever After!
If you are getting married at the venue (rather than church), then you will probably invite your guests to arrive an hour before the ceremony. You guests will then gather by the ponds (weather permitting) and enjoy a beverage (or two) before being ushered to the wedding barn to watch you get married.
An hour is not actually that long, especially when you factor in 5-10 minutes or so seated before the ceremony begins. Also, legally, there cannot be any alcohol in the ceremony space. So guests will have to finish all drinks before being seated. With that in mind, it’s worth thinking about simplistic drinks to serve at this point of the day. But, more on that later…
You may or may not be familiar with Ever After’s drinks package, new for this year. The package widens your options, and is designed so that you won’t need to source a mobile bar. You, of course, don’t have to use one of our packages and are still free to provide your own drinks (still no corkage!).
Here are your options…
Bringing your own drinks– As I said, you are still welcome to do this and there is no charge for doing so, although you will have to pay waiting staff.
Ever After’s Splendid Package– This package is £6pp and includes; prosecco or pimms with garnish & straws, bottled lager, soft drinks.
Ever After’s Premium Package – For £10pp your guests can enjoy; English sparkling wine, bottled fruit cider, bottled lager, soft drinks with straws. This is also an unlimited package (for the duration of arrival drinks).
Ever After’s Ultimate Package – Another unlimited package for £13pp, including; Gremillet NV Champagne with optional edible flowers or West Country Pimms with straws, premium bottled beer, premium soft drinks with straws.
All the Ever After packages include staff costs.
As I mentioned earlier, this part of your day is usually only 45 minutes to an hour long, so not huge amounts of time for complex drinks. Things like ‘pimp your prosecco’ stations are best saved for the reception drinks as they are time consuming and guests may end up having to leave a half-finished drink before heading into the ceremony.
For your arrival drinks, keep things simple and don’t offer too much of a choice. Complicated cocktails are wonderful for the post-ceremony drinks reception, but pre-ceremony not so much. You also don’t want to end up with half-cut guests before the ceremony has even started, so spirit based drinks are best avoided.
Some drink suggestions…
- Prosecco & bottles of beer, as well as a soft drink option (such as cucumber water).
- A glass of pimms & bottles of cider, with an elderflower fizz for the non-drinkers.
- Wine & lager, and a non-alcoholic raspberry lemonade.
- Keep things simple and just offer soft drinks; guests will have plenty of alcohol throughout the rest of the day.
And if you want to make a simple drink more interesting, you can always add garnishes such as edible flowers, fruit, or colourful straws.
Take a look at some of last year’s weddingsfor inspiration…