Planning Tips | Kickstart your wedding plans

If you’re recently engaged, congratulations! It’s such an exciting time, but can be equally quite overwhelming when it comes to knowing where to start. A wedding timeline is so varied, depending on your specific plans and your timeframe. However, this new Wedding Planning Timeline series will hopefully help you on your planning journey to your Wedding Day. My timeline example is based on having 12 months to plan your wedding celebrations, but it can of course be adapted to your own timings. I hope you find this helpful, and if you would like me to include anything specific, or you would like some professional guidance with your wedding plans, then please do get in touch. I still have some limited availability for 2019, and I’m also now booking into 2020, and I would love to hear from you!

12 Months

Write your guest list

  • This is an important first task, as you cannot start searching for venues before you know how many guests you will need to accommodate. You don’t want to fall in love with a venue, only to later discover it’s not big enough, or even too large!

  • Write your full guest list once, and then revisit it a few days later to ensure you haven’t forgotten anyone important and that you still feel happy with it.

  • Don’t feel like you need to invite absolutely everyone who has ever invited you to their wedding. This is your day, and if you’re no longer in touch with some of those old friends, it’s not essential to return the invitation.

  • Equally, don’t feel pressured by your family to invite everyone that they would like to come. Discuss with your family who they might like to invite, but then consider those invites with your fiancé before making a final decision.

Decide upon your overall budget

  • Consider all of your possible avenues of the investment for your wedding and where it will be coming from.

  • Arrange early on to discuss a budget with family members who may have kindly offered to contribute, before you begin to commit to a venue or any vendors.

  • You can begin to put together a breakdown of your overall budget at this stage too, although it might be difficult for you to estimate costs for certain elements if you’re unfamiliar with how much they might be. Top Tip: The budget planning percentages often offered in Bridal magazines are unrealistic, and are based on a national average, so they won’t necessarily apply to your wedding. If you book my Full Planning Service I will create a bespoke budget plan for you, based on our initial consultation, and I will then keep track of expenses throughout our whole planning journey together, saving you lots of time in spreadsheets!

Consider where you might like to get married

  • Discuss with your fiancé whether you would prefer to get married here in the UK or if you would love to investigate the possibility of holding your celebrations abroad, as a destination wedding.

  • Consider the time of year you would like to get married, and whether this lends itself well to a particular location.

  • Is there a particular country / area which is meaningful to you as a couple?

  • Think about the style of wedding you would love. Are you drawn towards having an outdoor Wedding Ceremony, or do you prefer the beauty of British architecture and would love a venue with gorgeous high ceilings, pillars, and plenty of light? I specialise in beautiful Country House weddings in England, specifically within Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds, where we are just so incredibly lucky to have so many beautiful wedding venues, and I would love to help you to find that perfect one! Here are a few of our favourites that we have planned weddings for:

Purchase wedding insurance

  • This is something that is very important to book before you begin confirming suppliers, as some insurers won’t cover your venue or certain vendors which you may have booked prior to purchasing an insurance policy.

  • There are many insurers out there who offer wedding insurance, so do shop around for the best deal.

  • Ensure your policy covers everything you need. For example, if you are planning a marquee wedding, make sure your policy offers extra cover for this.

Hire a Wedding Planner

  • If you would like to hire a Wedding Planner to assist you with your planning, now it the time to search for someone to help you, so you can really benefit from their expertise.

  • If your spare time is limited, a Wedding Planner can help with keeping that time for yourself, and they will ensure that you’re always on track with your wedding plans.

  • Perhaps you have lots of inspiration and ideas about what you would like for your wedding, but are really unsure where to even start in bringing your vision to life. Working with a Wedding Planner would be perfect for you; I have worked with so many vendors and venues, and have a wealth of experience in planning luxury weddings.

  • When looking for a Planner, it’s important to find someone you get along well with, as you will be working with them for the next 12 months. Every Planner has a different style, and way of working, so it’s a good idea to research a few Planners and meet them / arrange a Skype call before making a final decision on who you would like to work with.

  • My advice would be to book the best Planner that you’re able to afford. There are lots of Wedding Planners who are new to the industry and charging much less than experienced professionals. Wedding Planners with higher fees have years of experience and consistently produce beautiful weddings which run like clockwork. Don’t make a decision solely based on their fees, as booking an inexperienced Wedding Planner could end up costing you a lot more in the long run!

Gather design ideas and inspiration

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  • Start by considering the season in which you will be getting married in, what the weather is likely to be like, and the surrounding location. Brainstorm some ideas of ideas what might work well with these as a starting point.

  • Are you drawn to a particular colour palette? Don’t just select one or two colours, as it will appear very two dimensional. When creating a Design Plan for my couples, I tend to bring together a colour palette of at least 5 or 6 complimenting hues to really add texture and movement into the wedding design.

  • Think back to weddings you’ve been to previously. What did you really enjoy / dislike?

  • Do visit Pinterest for inspiration, but don’t allow yourself to get carried away! Many of the images on Pinterest are from styled shoots and editorials, and although work beautifully on a smaller scale, wouldn’t necessarily work when applied to a real wedding scenario with many more guests.

To find out more and enquire about my wedding planning services, please click here. I only work with a limited number of clients each year to ensure I can provide the time, care, and attention to detail they deserve.

Jeni x

Real Wedding | Lindsay & Will

One of my favourite weddings in 2017 was this beautiful weekend celebration for Lindsay & Will. They were just the sweetest couple to work with, and oozed style by the bucket load. They had selected the stunning grounds of Wickham House for their Reception, preceded by a Ceremony in the venues own Chapel. The gardens of Wickham House are simply gorgeous, so I designed their day as an extension of the lush green surroundings, housed in a beautiful sail cloth marquee overlooking the estate.  

Here are a selection of images from their day, but to read more about the fabulous team of vendors and to see plenty more images, head over to Rock My Wedding to read the full feature.

A few words from Lindsay & Will:

"We met one total disaster wedding planner right at the beginning of the planning process and were worried we might never find someone right to help us plan the big day. But then we met Jeni; fun, energetic and super organised; this was the woman for us! I am also super organised, but her to-do lists (always written on the snazziest stationery) put me to shame! From the get-go, she totally understood what we wanted and despite me being a bit of a control-freak at times, I was more than happy to let Jeni do her thing. The day was totally stress-free, all thanks to Jeni. What an absolute star!"

Venue: Wickham House | Photography: Julie Michaelsen | Full Wedding Design, Planning, Management & Prop Hire: Vanilla Rose Weddings | Marquee: The Sail Tent Company | Floral Design: Forage & Blossom | Catering: Spook Cooking | Bar: Cock & Tail

Real Wedding | Jamie & Christian

I started working with Jamie and Christian two years before their wedding day, and it was an absolute joy planning the perfect wedding for them. They adored Aynhoe Park, but as that sadly wouldn't fit within their budget, I scoured the UK to find something which would tick some of the same boxes that Aynhoe had done for them. After several days of venue visits, we settled on the stunning Voewood in Norfolk as the setting for their nuptials. It had a homely feel to it, with the ability to stay for a long weekend, along with dreamy gardens, and being situated close by to Christians family was an added bonus!

A spell of rain the day before scuppered their initial plans of having a ceremony in the woodland, but the centre of the formal gardens with the stunning arts and crafts style house behind them turned out to be the best decision we could have made – it looked absolutely phenomenal, and even featured a beautiful greenery adorned fountain backdrop!

Here are a selection of images from their day, but to read more about our fabulous team of vendors and to see plenty more images, head over to Rock My Wedding to read the full feature!

Some lovely words from Jamie & Christian: 

"We found Jeni from Vanilla Rose Weddings shortly after our engagement. We knew that juggling a busy work life along with planning an event that neither of us had any experience in would be a challenge. Looking back, it’s the best decision we made.
Jeni brought with her a wealth of experience, which meant that we had a range of options to choose from. In that respect we were never starting from scratch and we were able to clearly see what we liked and didn’t like.

Jeni created mood boards that started to bring all the ideas together and focused our attention to the right preparation at the right time in the lead up to the big weekend.
She also introduced us to some fantastic suppliers who understood just what we wanted and were really fun to work with, creative and excited about the project.

On a personal note, Jeni was a joy to work with; she is completely thorough, has amazing ideas based on a huge range of experience and was a total star during the wedding weekend. There is no way we could have imagined the wedding we ended up having without her input and we’re really missing our regular planning discussions! We can’t thank her and everyone else involved enough."

 

Venue: Voewood, Norfolk | Catering: Florentina | Florist: The Country Garden Florist | Photography: Julie Michaelsen | Wedding Planning, Styling & Prop Hire: Vanilla Rose WeddingsStationery: Hollyhock LaneCalligraphy: Merrie & Bright

Monthly Round Up | August 2017

How is it September tomorrow? It almost feels like we haven't really had Summer yet. My daughter starts school next week, and I'm not sure how time has flown this quickly! It only seems like yesterday she was starting one day a week at Nursery at 5 months old, and now I'll be sending her off in her school uniform come Tuesday....! 

Here's a little of what I've been up to in August:

Business

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know all about Lindsay & Will's beautiful wedding over the Bank Holiday weekend! We have been planning their big day at Wickham House for 18 months, and I was absolutely delighted with how everything looked and ran on the day. I had the best team of vendors; each and every one worked so super hard to bring everything together to create something fabulous! Wickham House was a gorgeous setting for their Sail Tent marquee wedding, which was overflowing with all the greenery and candlelight we could get away with! Forage & Blossom outdid herself with the most incredible installation over the Top Table, and I can't wait to share more with you. But for now, here are a few sneak peeks of the day from Julie Michaelsen Photography:

Family

We spent a long weekend at Wilderness Festival in Oxfordshire at beginning of the month, which was an absolute blast. The food was incredible (particularly from Petersham Nurseries, The Pig, and Deliciously Ella), the children's tents and activities were just the best fun, and Aynhoe Backstage was rocking for sure all weekend!! 

Wilderness Festival Wellbeing
Wilderness Festival
Wilderness Festival Wellbeing
Wilderness Festival

The following week, I spent a day in London visiting clients, and catching up with the vendors that I haven't had the time to do over the last couple of months. It was a beautifully sunny day too, so walking between meetings was a joy and reminded me how leafy some of the streets really are in London! That evening, I enjoyed a Date Night with my husband at The Ned, which I've been wanting to visit since it opened earlier this year. It really is a colossal building, with numerous restaurants all in the main hall. We had a couple of pre-dinner cocktails downstairs in the amazing Vaults Bar, which still has all of the 3,000 original safety deposit boxes adorning the walls. Our dinner in Cecconi's was lovely, although we'd really gone for the pizzas which we'd heard great things about, but their pizza oven wasn't working that evening! So I guess we'll just have to go back and try it again soon....!

The Vaults Bar at The Ned London
The Vaults Bar at The Ned London

Hope you've all had a great month, and looking forward to catching up again in September! 

 

Love,

Jeni x