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

Three Fabulous Signature Cocktail Recipes for Your Wedding

The days of a basic bar have definitely been numbered, and having worked in the hospitality and events industry for many years, I’ve seen the art of cocktails flourish into something truly exciting. London in particular is spoilt for choice with the most incredible cocktail bars, and the industry has gone from strength to strength and now creating cocktails has become a true art form -with the creation of craft spirits, molecular mixology and bespoke glassware.

I love incorporating an inviting cocktail menu into the evening offering at my clients weddings and it’s always received well by guests; but if you can’t quite justify the price tag of having a full cocktail list, then why not select a couple of Signature Cocktails in addition to your usual bar offering? Choose two or three of your favourite cocktails, and give your guests a treat with this personal touch. Remember to include a non-alcoholic number for those who are driving too!

I’ve put together a few of my favourites here with some recipes for you to try…

Rhubarb Negroni

INGREDIENTS

  • 25ml Citadelle Gin
  • 15ml Rhubarb Liqueur
  • 15ml Campari
  • 15ml Antica Formula Vermouth

METHOD

Pour all spirits over cubed ice into an Old Fashioned glass. Stir well. Line glass with rhubarb ribbons to garnish.

Rhubarb Negroni
Rhubarb Negroni Recipe
Rhubarb Negroni Recipe
Rhubarb Negroni Recipe

Vanilla French Martini

INGREDIENTS

  • 40ml Sauvelle Vodka
  • 20ml Raspberry Liqueur
  • 25ml Pineapple Juice
  • Fresh Vanilla Pod

METHOD

Add one third of the vanilla pod into cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with cubed ice and all liquid ingredients. Shake hard and double strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a single raspberry and remainder of the vanilla pod.

French Martini Recipe
Vanilla French Martini Recipe
French Martini Recipe
Vanilla French Martini Recipe

English Garden

INGREDIENTS

  • 100ml Cloudy Apple Juice
  • 75ml Ginger Beer
  • 10ml Elderflower Cordial
  • An apple
  • Fresh Mint
  • Sliced Cucumber

METHOD

Muddle the fresh mint, lime and cucumber in a highball glass and add crushed ice. Pour apple juice, elderflower cordial and ginger beer over ice, stir well and top up with more crushed ice if required. Garnish with fresh mint, apple fan and a cucumber wedge.

English Garden Cocktail Recipe
English Garden Cocktail Recipe
English Garden Cocktail Recipe
English Garden Cocktail Recipe

Concept, Co-ordination & Styling: Vanilla Rose Weddings | Photography: Cecelina Photography | Calligraphy: Away with Words Calligraphy | Copper Bar Equipment: Oliver Bonas

This post was written by Vanilla Rose Weddings, and first appeared on B.LOVED on 17th March 2017.

Planning Tips | How to Embrace Spring in Your Wedding Plans

Spring is sometimes a forgotten season. We’ve all spent what feels like an eternity in the depths of Winter, and are waiting for the sunshine that Summer hopefully brings; but often the UK Spring months bring us some of the best warmth and sunshine of the year. And that’s not the only reason to embrace Spring as a great season for your wedding; Many venues can also offer an attractive lower hire fee than the most popular months in Summer, meaning you can finally indulge in those Valentino pumps you’ve been lusting over on Pinterest (they’ll count as an essential wedding purchase, I promise!).

There are so many gorgeous colour choices that can truly encapsulate the Spring season and look totally gorgeous when incorporated into a wedding design. For this mood board I have used a soft blush and fresh greenery palette (my fave!), which can be blended subtly through the design concept from beginning to end. Coloured Bridal gowns are still making their way into the industry, and I absolutely adore them! One of my Brides wore a stunning Hayley Paige gown with a full soft grey skirt last year, and a blush pink gown would be a perfect fit for a Spring wedding with a soft pastel palette.

“Spring weddings will always hold a special place in my heart, as the first wedding I ever photographed was in Spring! If you’re lucky with the weather a Spring wedding has the perfect mix of crisp blue skies and mild sunshine without being overbearing! If your venue has lovely outdoor grounds, the garden will be starting to come alive with glorious fluffy blossom trees, majestic magnolia trees as well as wild crocuses and snowdrops; all of which make stunning backdrops for wedding photos, especially the white flowers and trees which will provide lovely continuity of the white of the bride’s gown.” Julie Michaelsen Photography

Scent is one of my favourite ways to really enhance the atmosphere you’re going for, and by adding some floral scented candles to your dinner tablescape it will fill the air with that beautiful aroma all afternoon (just be sure to light them a couple of hours before guests are due to sit down, to give the aroma a chance to filter through the room). A couple of my fave scents of the moment are Spring by The White Company and Feel Refreshed by Neom.

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Even though Spring often brings sunshine and warmth, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for cooler weather and the possibility of rain. Hire a couple of baskets of umbrellas to have at the ready outside the Church/Ceremony for guests to walk back to your Reception. And if it doesn’t rain? Hey, they double up as sun parasols! Equally, think about what time it will be getting dark in the evening and instead of keeping everyone inside, have a couple of boxes of fleece blankets by the door to outside, and light a couple of fire pits surrounded by lanterns and candlelight, with jars of giant marshmallows and sparklers to keep guests entertained throughout the evening. Freshly cooked, wood-fired pizza would be the perfect addition to this atmosphere, to keep everyone warm and comforted!

“The important thing to remember about a Spring wedding is that although the light will last longer than in January and February, it won’t last as long as during the Summer months, so if getting those gorgeous golden hour shots are important to you, make sure you speak with your photographer and work out what time the sun will set on your chosen wedding day (you can find this online). This way you can make sure your wedding day schedule allows time for these”. Julie Michaelsen Photography

“We adore spring light for portrait sessions. However, it’s worth being mindful though, as the midday sun can be a little harsh for photographs. We always recommend choosing a nice shaded area, which is perfect for portraits and saves any one from squinting at the camera – and you’ll still get the best of those beautiful light and airy images”. Bowtie & Belle Photography

Spring brings a real contrast in florals too, from the colours that have preceded them over the winter months. “They bring mainly wonderful light fresh colours, and I feel they bring a sense of optimism that the cold weather will soon be over and summer and sunshine are coming! Some of my favourites are tulips, ranunculus, narcissi, hyacinths and anemones. Slightly later, in May, comes a real Bridal favourite, Peonies! These are special because they are such a luxurious flower, with layers of fluffy petals and offer the most beautiful colour range”. Joanna Carter Flowers

This post was written by Vanilla Rose Weddings, and first featured on B.LOVED on 22nd February 2017.

Summer 2016 Work Experience Opportunity

Now hiring: Work Experience Assistant for Summer 2016!

If you're passionate about weddings and events, love working with people, are super creative, brilliantly organised, and enjoy working as part of a team, I would love to hear from you!

I currently have a position available for a Work Experience Assistant to work alongside me at a number of weddings throughout this summer. It's an exciting opportunity to immerse yourself in the wedding industry, gain experience in wedding and event planning, and to play an important part in ensuring our couples have the most incredible wedding day!

The Assistant role will involve:

  • Pre-Wedding Admin
  • Co-ordination of supplier deliveries and set up
  • Assisting with the set up and creative styling on the day of a wedding
  • Supplier co-ordination
  • Event breakdown

To apply, you must be based in Oxfordshire, have your own transport, and be available this summer, from June to September. The majority of my weddings are on Saturdays, so please bear this in mind when applying. Please send an email to jeni@vanillaroseweddings.co.uk with your CV, and a heartfelt introduction to you, your life, and why you would like to work with Vanilla Rose Weddings this summer. Think about what makes you stand out from the crowd, and what you can bring to the team. Be original, creative, and most of all honest. I can't wait to hear from you!

Please note this is an unpaid position, although travel expenses will be paid.

The closing date for applications is Friday 29th April 2016, with interviews taking place in early - mid May. Good luck!