Monthly Round Up | July 2017

We're now into the second half of the year, and I'm super proud of myself for posting one of these round up posts at the end of every month so far. I was determined to keep the momentum going, and it's actually really nice looking back at previous posts to remind myself of how much I've achieved in the last 6 months. I'm not usually one for constantly looking back, I prefer to spend my time planning for the future, but sometimes a little reflection is just what's needed to allow myself to continue to grow and flourish (particularly with my business). Here's a little of what I've been up to in July:

Business

I had a super busy final few weeks in June with two big weddings, so for the beginning of July, I made sure I dedicated plenty of time to my couples for the rest of the summer. I ensure I'm as organised as possible with the plans for every wedding before the busy season starts in April, and I always stay in touch with my couples throughout the summer months. However, it's such a busy period for all industry vendors, so each task can take a little longer around this time! 

If you haven't yet come across the fabulous venue that is The Lakes by Yoo, then please do take a moment to check out their website. They have recently made the decision to offer The Barnhouse as a luxury venue for weddings, so I spent an afternoon there earlier this month absorbing all that the exclusive development has to offer. The interiors at The Barnhouse have been exceptionally designed by Kate Moss, and it is now available for intimate weddings. If you'd like to find out more about The Lakes by Yoo as a venue for your wedding, please do get in touch and I'd love to share more about it with you!

Last weekend saw a gorgeous wedding in the Great Hall and Long Library at Blenheim Palace, with floral gorgeousness created by the fabulous Joanna Carter Flowers. It's always a pleasure working with Joanna and her team, and they created some spectacular arrangements which were perfect for the grandeur of the Palace. The cake in particular was certainly a showstopper, and many of you sent me lots of messages on Instagram about this one....!

Asian Wedding Cakes | Wedding Planner at Blenheim Palace

Home

I have tried to embark on a huge decluttering mission this month, as we seem to accumulate so much which we really don't need. I have succeeded in clearing Bella's wardrobe and drawers, which took me a couple of hours one rainy afternoon (with her help!), and ended up with two bin bags of good quality clothing which we donated to our chosen charity. It was much easier than I thought, and I'm not sure why I've been putting it off so long - so in August I'm planning to tackle my own wardrobe (and this gives me an excuse to buy a couple of new pieces - just don't tell my husband!!). 

I'm planning a new gallery wall and Library space at the moment, with some new family photographs by the lovely Sarah Hannam Photography from our mini getaway to Ibiza last month, so this is next on my horizon (along with the Utility Room plans which are now underway!).

Sarah Hannam Fine Art Family Photography
Sarah Hannam Fine Art Film Family Photography

Family

We were in Tuscany for a wedding at the beginning of this month, and then spent a couple of days child-free at a beautiful Italian spa resort before heading home. It was really lovely to spend some quality time together, as it seems such a rarity these days; so a pool overlooking the beautiful golf course with a couple of spa treatments thrown in was just what the doctor ordered! 

I met some girlfriends for lunch one Saturday afternoon at the new Ivy Garden in Marlow, which was a lovely treat to ourselves. The food was absolutely delicious and the setting was lovely, but we came to the conclusion that the Chelsea Garden outlet is still our absolute fave for an all round experience! The following day we welcomed some friends for a pizza afternoon at home in our garden. The pizza oven hasn't had many uses this summer yet, so it was great to fire it up and enjoy some delicious stone baked pizzas, alongside a few healthy salads to balance them out! 

It's been my birthday and also our wedding anniversary this month, so I have been rather spoilt to say the least! We spent a leisurely Sunday afternoon at Cotswold Lavender, near Broadway wandering through rows and rows of purple gorgeousness (somewhere I've been meaning to go to every July for the last 3 or 4 years!) followed by a lovely Sunday lunch at Willow Crossley's new venture - The Swan at Ascott, for our anniversary weekend.

Cotswold Lavender Farm
Cotswold Lavender Farm

For my birthday, we spent a lovely day in London catching up with friends over wine and cocktails at my favourite Ham Yard Hotel, before spending my actual birthday a couple of days later having brunch with my parents, and a family day with Bella at Bristol Zoo, followed by an amazing evening at The Pig near Bath. If you haven't been to The Pig before, you absolutely should! The ambience, service and food were all just incredible, and we couldn't have enjoyed it more. The setting of the hotel is just lovely, with an array of home grown produce finding its way to the majority of their delicious menu. It was so difficult to choose what to have. As a vegetarian, I often find when eating out that restaurants only offer one choice, which of course isn't actually a "choice" at all. You either have it, or you don't! At The Pig, there were around 5 or 6 vegetarian options, and all of them sounded equally amazing! After much deliberation, I opted for a few of the small nibbles as a tapas style starter, followed by a preserved tomatoes and burrata salad with fresh basil and edible flowers, teamed with a side of chilli quinoa. For dessert, we shared a bread and butter pudding (divine!) and the Piggy Fours - a fun take on Petit Fours, which were delicious! We're always looking for new pubs and restaurants to discover in and around Oxfordshire, so if you have any recommendations which you think we'd love, do get in touch! 

Hope you've all had a fab month! :-)

Jeni x

Monthly Round Up | June 2017

It feels like Summer has finally arrived this month, with a mega heatwave taking hold last week. We seem to spend all Winter wishing for sunshine, and as soon as we get some, it's too hot and we can't cope! Of course we all rush out to buy emergency fans, and everywhere has already sold out. Note to self: be prepared!! 

Anyway, it's been a great month here, and I'm excited to share a little about what I've been up to in June:

Business

I've had two fabulous weddings this month, which have both been simply amazing. I know I say this a lot, but I'm so lucky to be able to work with such fantastic teams. Here are a couple of sneak peaks from a wedding at Aynhoe Park last week:

Paula Rooney Flowers Aynhoe Park Vanilla Rose Wedding Planner
Cakes by Krishanthi Aynhoe Park Vanilla Rose Wedding Planner
Paula Rooney Flowers Aynhoe Park Vanilla Rose Wedding Planner

Aside from running the two weddings, I have mostly been working on upcoming plans for my weddings later in the year; with a couple of floristry meetings, site visits, a client menu tasting, a final run through for a fabulous July wedding, and a couple of design brainstorm meetings with new couples. Although everyone always thinks being a Wedding Planner is such a glamorous job (and don't get me wrong, it absolutely has it's glamorous moments!), I spend a lot of my time behind a computer at my desk getting down to the finer details that planning a wedding entails. At any one time, I'm usually surrounded by a number of folders, notebooks, spreadsheets and stationery samples, alongside a lengthy To Do list (in my beautiful Lifestyled Planner no-less!)

 

Home

We haven't actually been home much this month, so I'm not sure I have anything to add here! I've mostly been nurturing the flowers in my garden, enjoying the last of the peonies, and I was excited to discover that the cauliflower plants actually have cauliflowers growing on them now! I haven't tried growing them before, as I usually stick to the fail-safe options like rhubarb, strawberries and tomatoes, so I wasn't convinced they would work out, but I now have 5 small cauliflowers which already look delicious (it's a shame no-one else in my house likes them apart from me - not sure what I'm going to do with 5 cauliflowers that will all be ready at the same time - any suggestions?!)

Sarah Bernherdt Peonies

I've been following a few interior and lifestyle bloggers on Instagram recently, and I'm now making plans for our Utility Room to have a makeover after feeling envious of some I've seen. My husband thinks I'm mad when I come up with lots of grand ideas for what is essentially a room to house the washing machine and tumble drier, but you know, these things are important in life. Right...?!

 

Family

At the end of last month's post, I mentioned that we were in Ibiza for a short family trip. It was such a lovely time away, and I'm currently daydreaming of Formentera beaches as we speak...! My husband travels to Ibiza frequently for work, but I haven't been for a number of years (since we got engaged there in 2012), and I was instantly reminded of how much of a beautiful island it is! Soft white sands, clear blue waters, and the constant background Ibiza chillout tracks playing as you lounge by the pool! This was our first trip to Ibiza with Bella, and she was just so happy playing in the sand, or splashing around in the pool! We took her to a "Go Ape" adventure park, which had a fab smaller course for little ones - which she absolutely loved (once she'd got the hang of it!). We found some new favourite restaurants whilst we were there, and I'm looking forward to heading back there and discovering some more with a couple of my girlfriends for a long weekend once wedding season has ended, as a little treat to myself! 

Madame a la Plage straw tote bag
Ibiza Hotels
Ibiza Bougainvillea
Formentera Ibiza

Mid month, we hosted a brunch for my parents at home, to celebrate my dad's birthday. We don't often get time to sit down and have a meal together at our house, as we're all super busy. My parents currently split their time between our family home in Dorset and their home in Oxfordshire, and they often host us for lunch, so it was lovely to be able to re-pay the favour and enjoy a delicious brunch at home with them. The same day we also welcomed some friends for a late lunch, so we were suitably full come dinner time!

We also spent a weekend in Polzeath, Cornwall, with my parents in law, for Fathers Day and my Father in Law's birthday. It was during the heatwave week, and our apartment was literally right on the beach, so it was a perfect escape to the cool sea for a few days before returning to the sauna we called home early last week!

Polzeath Cornwall Coastline
Polzeath Cornwall Coastline

We're gearing up for Bella starting school this September, and the information has been pouring in thick and fast about term dates, uniform requirements, and what feels like endless forms to fill in. I'm so excited to see her truly flourish when she starts school - she's such a clever little girl, and I'm definitely going to be one of those mums crying at the school gates on her first day! 

 

Hope you've all had a fab month :-).

 

Love,

Jeni x

Monthly Round Up | May 2017

Hi All! I hope you've had a great May, and have enjoyed the few Summers days that this month has (reluctantly!) offered us! Here's what I've been up to this month:

Business

The end of April saw a fabulous weekend for Grace & Dan's wedding celebrations at a private residence in Buckinghamshire, and the Mother of the Bride left me such a lovely review on my Facebook page:

"Having organised my son and daughter-in-laws wedding 8 years ago I was confident to do my daughters. However after booking all the suppliers I started worrying about all the last minute organisation and how I was going to get everything done and still enjoy the actual day. 
I found Jeni after doing a search, I think I had an image of horrendously bossy wedding planner taking over the day......nothing could have been further from the truth.
I met Jeni about three weeks before the wedding when she came to our home (where we were holding the reception) she was so lovely and calm, putting me completely at ease and filling me with confidence right from the start. I handed over all the relevant information on suppliers to her and discussed our vision for the reception, and she took all the worry and anxiety away from me. 
All my suppliers have said to me that she was an absolute pleasure to deal with.
On the day before the wedding she was amazing, styling and decorating our home and marquee, it was literally breathtaking .
On the day of the wedding Jeni seemed to float around us all like an angel, sorting any queries or problems out without me even knowing about them, she liased with the caterers ,band, florist and photographers effortlessly; leaving myself,bride and bridesmaids to relax and enjoy our special time.
I could go on and on about how wonderful she was.... 
Put simply, Jeni made what was always going to be a special day into a truely wonderful day!
I have no hesitation in recommending her to anyone who is planning a wedding,she is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Thank you Jeni!"

I absolutely love hearing feedback like this following a wedding day, as it truly means everything to hear that I've ensured each and every couple have had the best possible celebration they could have imagined, and it re-affirms my love and passion for what I work so hard for in my business :-)

Buckinghamshire Wedding Planner
Buckinghamshire Wedding Planner
Buckinghamshire Wedding Planner
Buckinghamshire Wedding Planner
Buckinghamshire Wedding Planner

All images by Green Antlers Photography

I've had a number of enquiries this month for weddings later this year, and have been busy with consultations and proposals for lovely new couples. I still have some select dates available in the Autumn and Winter, so if you're struggling with those last few months of planning, or feel you might like a Wedding Day Co-ordinator, then I'd love to hear from you!

Last weekend was a wedding that has been long awaited! I've been working with Jamie & Christian since July 2015 to plan their nuptials at the simply stunning Voewood in Norfolk. I have absolutely loved every moment of working with them to guide them through their wedding planning journey, and I've been so excited about seeing everything come together since the beginning of the year! It certainly didn't disappoint; it was a fabulous weekend, everything looked incredible, and I had just the best team by my side! Thank you especially to the lovely Annabelle at Florentina who made everything possible! Here are a couple of sneak peek images from their beautiful outdoor Ceremony:

Images by Julie Michaelsen Photography

Home

I've spent a lot of time catching up in the garden this month; potting up lots of new Lavenders and Cosmos for the front of the house and my plant stand, cutting back some of the wild Eucalyptus that seems to grow at an outstanding rate(!), and keeping everything watered during a super dry spell at the beginning of the month. I think we even had a couple of days of frost towards the end of April/beginning of May, which took effect on some of my hydrangea, the fig tree, and tomato plants. I was mistaken for thinking it was the tail end of Spring, but the weather had it's own ideas, and it's taken me all month to get them back to being healthy again! We had a pizza evening in the garden with our neighbours, which was super lovely, and great to be able to use our pizza oven again. I can't wait to use it every week throughout the Summer (or am I wishfully thinking with the awful weather we had a couple of weeks ago...?!)

Garden Wood Fired Pizza Oven
home grown Lavender
Garden Wood Fired Pizza Oven

Images by Julie Michaelsen Photography

Family

In between a few London days and evening industry events, I enjoyed a rare date night with my husband halfway through the month for a trip to the theatre in Oxford. I've missed being able to go to the theatre spontaneously since we moved out of London 5 years ago, so this was especially exciting for me!  

It was Bella's 4th birthday a couple of days ago, and we had made sure she had a special weekend of celebrations! We went to Peppa Pig world on Friday with some friends, which she absolutely loved! We went a couple of years ago for her 2nd birthday, and this year she was able to enjoy so many more of the rides. We all (the adults!) needed a glass of wine after a day surrounded by small people however. It's definitely a special occasion trip! Over the weekend we held a Frozen party for her with a group of friends from pre-school. She had just the best time, and we had a craft company come to do lots of Frozen themed crafty activities with the children, which was much more structured and calming for the (parent!) soul than just letting them all run loose on a bouncy castle! 

We're currently in Ibiza for a few days of 'Vitamin Sea'. It's been a super busy start to the year, and in the midst of our January Blues, we promised ourselves that we would take regular, short breaks throughout the year to continually keep us feeling motivated and energised. We got engaged on the simply idyllic island of Formentera (which is a small island just a short boat trip from Ibiza) almost 5 years ago, so we just love going back there to spend some quality family time together, as it's somewhere very special to us. Here are a couple of my iPhone snaps from Fomentera, as it's just too pretty not to share, and the colour of that water is the stuff of dreams!

Fomentera, Ibiza
Illetes Beach, Fomentera, Ibiza

I'll write more about our trip when I'm back in the June Round Up :-). 

We spent four days in Marrakech back in March, and we're off to Tuscany at the beginning of July for a wedding and a short break. It's so important to me to take these breaks, as we don't get to spend much time as a family throughout wedding season, particularly as 90% of my weddings take place over a weekend. Bella will be starting school in September, so this is also the last year we're able to take advantage of booking trips outside of school holidays!

June will see two super gorgeous weddings, so I'll look forward to sharing those with you next month too.

Until then....

Jeni x

Monthly Round Up | April 2017

Happy Monday! And it's a Bank Holiday, so hopefully no Monday blues for anyone this week! I've been super busy this month, so here's a snippet of what I've been up to...

Business

April has been the beginning of wedding season for Vanilla Rose, so I've been busy beavering away in my studio finalising all details for my first wedding of the year, which took place over this weekend at a private residence in Buckinghamshire. If you follow my Instastories, you may have seen some sneak peeks of what we got up to! It was a fabulous weekend with just the loveliest family and team of vendors, so I can't wait to see the official photographs! 

I've also been finalising all of the plans for a May wedding at the beautiful Voewood in Norfolk. It's such a beautiful house, and I can't wait to work with another fabulous A-Team of vendors to bring together two years worth of planning with my lovely couple! This is just my favourite part of the journey; when everything that we have all been working so hard on for such a long time finally leaps out of my brain and becomes a reality - and always even better than I had ever envisaged it to be! I am so lucky to have the support of the best vendor teams at my weddings, which I have worked hard to build over the years. 

I spent a fun filled day at my all time fave, Aynhoe Park a few weeks ago with one of my couples for next year, to catch up on stationery designs, photography, floral design and catering. It was a bumper meeting, but I'm so exciting for the plans to continue over the coming months - it's going to be a beauty of a celebration - watch this space! The house have some exciting expansion plans happening very soon, and I cannot wait to see the results!

Image by Barker Evans Photography

Image by Barker Evans Photography

I had the pleasure of attending the Unique Cakes by Yevnig's launch of their 2017 collection at the beginning of the month, which took place in The Ritz. Always lovely to catch up with industry peers and of course eat cake! If you haven't come across Yevnig as yet, you really should take a look at her gorgeous and intricate creations. She is a very talented lady, and I could spend hours pouring over her beautiful designs!

Home

I've been busy planting lots of extra cutting flowers in the garden this month, as I love nothing more than seeing a garden full of colourful blooms in the Summer and being able to cut a selection for the house each week. I love Spring, when everything buds up and begins coming into bloom. I went a bit mad last year planting SO many peonies and soft blousy roses, so they're all looking amazing this month ready to bloom in a few weeks - I can't wait!!

Family

It was my mum's birthday on Friday, but as she was looking after Bella for me whilst I was on site at this weekends wedding, we spent the day yesterday together - for a long walk and stopping for lunch at Daylesford Organic. We just love it there, and wish we lived a little closer so we were able to just pop in more often! 

My husband is currently away in Miami with some friends...okay, on a stag weekend :-| !! So it's been a challenging week with juggling childcare and a big wedding this weekend, but luckily I've had my fabulous parents around to help and it's flown by super quickly! We had a few days away in Marrakech last month, but I've been feeling jealous of his vitamin D top up whilst it's been grey and even a little frosty last week here. So I'm looking forward to another mini European break with some sunshine in May with family. It's so important to us to take frequent short trips as a family whenever we can, to make up for all the weeks we don't get to spend much time together at all during the Summer season. Bella will be starting school this year too, so we're making the most of not being restricted to going away during the school holidays whilst we can! 

 

Hope you're all feeling ready for the Summer (are we skipping Spring UK weather this year?!).

Love,

Jeni x