Ever After is the brainchild of Cyndy Hoenig and Dave Dumay, two industry admirers and lovers of love who opened their doors in February of this year. At Oklahoma City’s only micro wedding studio, couples get the opportunity to customize the first day of the rest of their lives together with only a fraction of the usual heartache on their pocketbooks.
Though inspired by the ease of a venture to Vegas for an à la carte, intimate wedding venue, the northwest OKC boutique experience provides a hometown ZIP code for couples to gather loved ones for a custom day or evening to remember.
A choice of seven packages and add-on services and a preferred vendor guide curate a menu of services aimed at making “ever after” a little easier to obtain after all. With the 30-minute Short & Sweet package starting at $295, the duo provides every couple with access to the space, an officiant (Dave) and a candlelit room for up to 10 guests.
“[We are] all-inclusive, and we wanted to make it available for everyone,” Hoenig said. “We offer three lounges, a dining room and a chapel room that we can flip to a cocktail party in 10 minutes if you want to. What you’re paying for elsewhere is the place. Then you have to pay for flowers, food, booze, soft drinks and catering on top of that.”
Her appreciation for love is apparent in her voice, and Hoenig and Dumay are already listening to their customers. Over the past five months, they have taken a cue from local lovebirds and lowered the highest end of their opening service offerings from $6,500 to $5,000, with a cost savings of $500 to $1,000 per applicable package. Hoenig’s hope is that from the Short & Sweet price point and up, families can go out to dinner afterward or “have a reception at their mama’s house” if they prefer.
Think of Ever After as an elevated, more thoughtful approach to the allure of a courthouse wedding, but with the service-driven appeal of a destination nuptial curated for Oklahomans by an OKC native who has done her research. Hoenig speaks from experience as a mother of girls and also a former bride-to-be.
“I have four daughters,” Hoenig said. “[For one daughter,] her wedding was supposedly all-inclusive, and it was lovely for a base of $8,000, but it ended up being around $25,000. There are so many beautiful places to get married. But for $5,000, I can do a beautiful wedding for 50 people, and for an extra $500, you can host an [additional] 50 people at $10 per person.”
Twenty years ago, Hoenig was married at the MGM Grand in Vegas, and she loved it. She recalls selecting between the romantic and religious options, which came with flowers and recorded music, and that it was very simple, without the option of food or a reception … to the tune of $3,500 for 15 minutes for a walk-in service that required the bride and groom to come dressed for the sake of efficiency.
“I’ve been married twice [in Las Vegas], once in ’67 and then once in ’96,” Hoenig said. “And I thought both of those times, ‘You know what, wouldn’t it be cool if we had something like this in [my] hometown?’ Although Vegas is awfully fun, [couples] get the benefit here because the costs of packages are so much lower.”
Before opening Ever After, Hoenig visited a similar concept in Palm Springs but recalls the room being small and tight, without the capacity for a reception. Then and there, she placed a high value on Ever After being a venue of respect and elegance with a casual appeal for those seeking it.
“I remember planning one of my weddings,” Hoenig said. “His mother was fighting with my mother, and if it had just been like, ‘This is the package and this is what we’re going with,’ you just don’t have that stress.”
With all of this Vegas talk, you might be wondering, “But do they even have Elvis?”
The answer is yes, of course! For a separate charge, the man himself will conduct the ceremony and perform a show during the reception.
It would be highly remiss to not mention the most inception-like point of this concept. After spending 20 years in the Los Angeles area as a publicist, Hoenig moved back home to OKC where she and Dumay, a wedding photographer and art gallery owner in Kansas City, connected after some resourcefulness on his part. After a time of online communication, the two connected in person and Dumay soon found himself moving to OKC where they now live together.
“There are so many untraditional things in the world right now,” Hoenig said. “And Oklahoma often gets everything last, but I did think that OKC was ready for something like this. If someone wants to bring in [their] own officiant, or pastor, or rabbi, or minister, we will work with them on the price. We will serve rehearsal dinners, weddings for two grooms or two brides, vow renewals, and we do have an altar even though it’s not a church.”
So far, Ever After has been the home of about 20 weddings, and they look forward to the point of hosting three to four events per week by expanding to parties of all types, starting with a political cocktail party in the space in the coming weeks. Ultimately, Hoenig and Dumay envision other locations and possibly even devising a plan for licensing or franchising the concept.
The luxury of convenience is a priority at Ever After. Hoenig said that while advance notice is definitely preferred, with Dave serving as the officiant, they once married a couple at 8 p.m. after a 5:30 p.m. inquiry that same day. So while the punch outlined as part of the beverage service in a package might not be ready on such short notice, OKC couples are welcome to call and try their luck.
“We could do a walk-in,” Hoenig said, “especially during the work week or in the afternoon, but of course calls ahead are preferred. Even a week out is plenty.”
Ever After plans to host open houses and similar events every few months with the next one tentatively set for early November.