Planning Tips | 9 - 11 months to go

Continuing with the Planning Timeline series, here are the next steps for your wedding planning, working from 9-11 months before your wedding. Happy Planning!

11 months

Find your venue

Once you’ve thought about where you would like to get married, now is time to think about whether you would prefer to host your wedding celebrations within a venue or a marquee. A misconception I often come across is that marquee weddings are likely to be more cost effective than a venue, but in actual fact it can be very much the other way around. Building a marquee is a laborious task; everything will need to be brought in - including all furniture, toilets, a generator for power, and heaters in case you might need them! These are all items you will need to budget for.

A Vanilla Rose Wedding at Aynhoe Park | Image by Kylee Yee Photography

A Vanilla Rose Wedding at Aynhoe Park | Image by Kylee Yee Photography

A Vanilla Rose Wedding at Wickham House | Image by Julie Michaelsen

A Vanilla Rose Wedding at Wickham House | Image by Julie Michaelsen

A venue may have lots of these items already, but others may have a “Dry Hire” offering, which means you will need to hire in all furniture, and bring in your own suppliers for catering and production, for example. This is often my favoured choice as a Wedding Planner, as it allows you to have free reign over which suppliers you use - which allows my creativity to flow freely!

Another point to consider before you make a final decision is where your guests might stay; is there plenty of accommodation nearby for them, and is there somewhere for you to stay the night before / after your wedding? Quite often clients ask me to source a venue which allows them to enjoy a whole weekend of celebrations, from a rehearsal dinner or BBQ the night beforehand, and then perhaps a cricket match or Afternoon Tea the day following the wedding. It’s unlikely you will ever get the same group of family and friends together ever again, so why not make the most of the opportunity and really enjoy every moment!?

Confirm your Minister / Registrar / Celebrant

Once you have booked a provisional date with your chosen venue, it’s vital that you now check availability for your Ceremony to be conducted by your chosen Church or Registrar on your preferred date. If you’re not keen on having a Religious or Civil Ceremony, you could also consider having a Humanist Celebrant conduct your Ceremony. This is a non religious service which is completely personal to you both as a couple. A Celebrant will take time to get to know your personalities and your journey as a couple together, to create a truly special Ceremony which reflects you both and the time you have spent together. I have a number of Celebrants who have conducted incredible Ceremonies for my clients who I would love to put you in touch with!

A Vanilla Rose Wedding at Aynhoe Park | Image by Millar Cole Photography

A Vanilla Rose Wedding at Aynhoe Park | Image by Millar Cole Photography

Consider a Catering company

Your venue may have an in house catering team who will provide all food and beverage for you, in which case you can leave this task until a little later, as you have plenty of time to consider your menus and drink offerings. If your venue or marquee site allows you free reign to choose which catering company you would like, then it’s time to start researching catering teams to provide a quote for you. There are some incredible catering companies throughout the UK, all offering something a little different, so do take your time to speak to a number of suppliers about what they’re able to offer you. Your venue may be able to recommend some great companies they have worked with previously, so it’s always worth asking, as a word of mouth recommendation is worth 10 online reviews!

The catering will likely come in at around 25% of your overall budget, so choose wisely, and consider as many options as you can before making a final decision. I would aways recommend booking a tasting in too, once you’ve confirmed who you would like to go with.

A Vanilla Rose Wedding at Voewood | Image by Julie Michaelsen Photography

A Vanilla Rose Wedding at Voewood | Image by Julie Michaelsen Photography

A Vanilla Rose Wedding at Aynhoe Park | Image by Millar Cole Photography

A Vanilla Rose Wedding at Aynhoe Park | Image by Millar Cole Photography

A Vanilla Rose Wedding at Aynhoe Park | Image by Kylee Yee Photography

A Vanilla Rose Wedding at Aynhoe Park | Image by Kylee Yee Photography

10 months

Find your Photographer

The best Photographers get booked up well in advance, so this is a task to start researching as early as you can. I can’t stress enough the importance of having the best Photographer you can afford within your budget. Aside from your memories (and video if you decide to hire a Videographer too - in which case, start this search around the same time!), photographs are the only thing you’ll have from your wedding in years to come. So it’s important to make the right choice and feel completely happy with who you have chosen.

Take some time to research the different styles available, and think about whether you might prefer film photography over digital. Do you prefer the moody darker style, or really light and airy? Most of all though, it’s important that you find a Photographer who makes you feel comfortable and who you enjoy talking to. They will be with you for the morning of your wedding and throughout the day, and when you’re not used to being photographed, it helps when you have a Photographer who you feel you can be entirely yourself around, as this will produce the best photographs!

A Vanilla Rose Wedding at Aynhoe Park| Image by Kylee Yee Photography

A Vanilla Rose Wedding at Aynhoe Park| Image by Kylee Yee Photography

A Vanilla Rose Editorial at Chiswick House | Image by Julie Michaelsen

A Vanilla Rose Editorial at Chiswick House | Image by Julie Michaelsen

A Vanilla Rose Wedding at Aynhoe Park | Image by Millar Cole Photography

A Vanilla Rose Wedding at Aynhoe Park | Image by Millar Cole Photography

A Vanilla Rose Wedding at Aynhoe Park | Image by Barrie Downie Photography

A Vanilla Rose Wedding at Aynhoe Park | Image by Barrie Downie Photography

Find your Florist

It’s also time to start thinking about flowers! This is one of my favourite parts of the wedding planning journey, as I love flowers and think you can never have too many! They add such a wow factor to your day, and can really change the whole feel of a space.

Create a Wishlist of the arrangements you think you would like throughout your day, from your Bridal bouquets through to your Ceremony and Reception arrangements, as well as any other areas you would like to dress. Then the fun part - researching the best florists! There are so many fabulous florists in the UK, and each have their own wonderful style. If you’re hosting your celebrations outside, or in a marquee, you might want something soft and blousy to enhance the garden surroundings. If you’re in a historical building or Palace, something more formal with less or no foliage may suit you better. Look for a florist who has created designs previously in the kind of style you’re drawn towards, as you’ll get the best out of them that way.

Ask each florist for an initial guideline of pricing to see if they work within your budget first, and then build upon that from there.

A Vanilla Rose Wedding at Aynhoe Park| Image by Kylee Yee Photography

A Vanilla Rose Wedding at Aynhoe Park| Image by Kylee Yee Photography

A Vanilla Rose Wedding at Voewood | Image by Julie Michaelsen Photography

A Vanilla Rose Wedding at Voewood | Image by Julie Michaelsen Photography

A Vanilla Rose Wedding at Aynhoe Park | Image by Pippa MacKenzie

A Vanilla Rose Wedding at Aynhoe Park | Image by Pippa MacKenzie

A Vanilla Rose Wedding at Aynhoe Park | Image by Anna Fowler Photography

A Vanilla Rose Wedding at Aynhoe Park | Image by Anna Fowler Photography

9 months

Confirm your Musicians and Entertainment

Consider the flow of your day, from your guests arriving, right through to the end of the evening. Think about how you might see this unfolding, and if you would like to start with something more classic and formal and work your way up to something much more lively and fun for your evening reception. This is an entirely personal choice, and there’s a huge range of talented musicians available - but it’s a fun task researching! You can spend upwards of £7-8,000 for a really great evening Showband, so it’s important to re-visit your budget here.

You can also pair this task with confirming any additional production you might need. If you’re having a band, you may require a stage, or if you’re having a DJ you may need a DJ booth if your chosen DJ doesn’t provide one. Always consider a dance floor and additional lighting, as they (lighting particularly!) have a huge effect on the ambiance of a room in the evening.

Confirm your Stationery Designer

Your invitations will set the tone for your wedding day with guests, right at the beginning of their journey with you, so consider your overall design aesthetic and how the invitations will fit into this. There may be some ready to go collections available which suit your style perfectly, and you’re able to personalise those with your details. Papier and Minted offer some great options. If you don’t find anything you like, most good stationers will offer a completely bespoke service where they will design something perfect for you.

A Vanilla Rose Editorial at Chiswick House | Image by Julie Michaelsen

A Vanilla Rose Editorial at Chiswick House | Image by Julie Michaelsen

A Vanilla Rose Editorial | Image by Jessica Davies Photography

A Vanilla Rose Editorial | Image by Jessica Davies Photography

Think about how long you’ll need for this process, particularly if you decide to go down the bespoke route. Your stationer will be able to advise on this, but you’ll need time for the initial concepts, design, revisions, and then printing and delivery, before you’re then able to send out the invitations to your guests. Aim to send your invitations out approximately 3 - 4 months ahead of your wedding date.


I hope this helps, but do let me know if you have any queries or are feeling overwhelmed at the thought of all of the organisation, and I’d be delighted to help further! I offer a range of Wedding Planning Services, and based centrally to the South East in Oxfordshire I cover the south of the UK.

Jeni x

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

Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 20.31.05.png
  • 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

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 | July 2016

A slightly belated round up for July today, as I've had such a busy month I haven't had the time to sit down and write this post! Hope you have all had a lovely July - the weather has finally perked up a little (sporadically!), and it's felt much more like Summer at last! Here's an overview of what I have been up to recently:

Business

I was back at the gorgeous Aynhoe Park at the beginning of the month for R & S' super fun tipi wedding. Aynhoe is truly the best place to party and this wedding didn't disappoint, with delicious cocktails, two evening bands, and a glitter station for guests to be made up with amazing glitter designs! It really was a spectacular wedding, and it was lovely to work alongside so many great suppliers again. Here's a sneak peek at the glitter station, but I'll blog about this wedding separately another time! 

Glitter Station by  Wish Upon a Sparkle  | Image by  McKinley Rodgers Photography
Image by McKinley-Rodgers Photography

Image by McKinley-Rodgers Photography

Aynhoe Park Wedding
Image by McKinley-Rodgers Photography

Image by McKinley-Rodgers Photography

Later that week I attended the launch of the new Bridal Suite at Oxfordshire venue Caswell House. They have beautifully restored an old storage barn into a stunning Bridal Suite, and also created a special Bridal Preparations barn to get ready with your girls on the morning of your wedding! It's often something that's forgotten about by venues, so I'm delighted that Caswell House have taken extra care to ensure the spaces have everything you could possibly need! 

I have been visiting a few other new Oxfordshire/Cotswolds venues over the last few weeks too. We are so spoilt to be surrounded by beautiful countryside, and one venue in particular really stood out for me. Primrose Hill Farm is owned by John Jeffries, a property developer from London, and it's clear he has really poured his heart and soul into this project. Taking on a run down farmhouse and outbuildings and turning it into a wedding venue must have come with its challenges, but it's absolutely been worth the hard work, and I'm really looking forward to working with them over the coming years! 

Amongst final planning preparations and meetings for upcoming weddings, and driving back and forth from London for client meetings with Caterers, Bar Managers, Florists, and stopping off at my absolute fave; Ham Yard Hotel for a catch up with the lovely Lucy Davenport, I have been meeting with a couple of new clients for weddings later this year, as well as next Summer. Sometimes I really do have to stop and count my blessings for how far I have come over the past four years. I've worked so hard to build my business and reputation within the wedding industry; 2016 has been my busiest year yet, and it doesn't look to be slowing down any time soon! I've been lucky enough to have my glamorous Assistant Esmee by my side for this summer season, and I honestly couldn't have done it without her! 

This weekend was the wedding of R&A in South Oxfordshire. I've been working with them for little over a year, and it really was a truly lovely, fun, natural day. Things by Laura knocked it out of the park with her beautiful paper crafts, The Chipping Norton Catering Company were a dream to work with, as always, and Hannah McClune Photography is just a gem! Here's a sneak peek of the beautiful couple from Hannah, and a few iPhone shots, but I'm sure I won't be able to resist sharing a selection of images from Hannah when they're ready later in the year! 

Mr & Mrs giant light up letters
Crate of flowers for Church ceremony
Bride chair back laser cut paper
initial laser cut chair backs paper

 

Family

July will always be a month of celebrations in our house, as it's my birthday month and also our wedding anniversary! This year I turned the big 3-0, so we held a garden party at home with all of my family and closest friends. I literally had just the best day, the weather was absolutely amazing, and it was so lovely to catch up with all of my favourite people in one place. Our pizza oven is finally finished, so we had a pizza station set up for everyone to make up their own toppings to their hearts content, delicious cocktails, two mouth watering birthday cakes, baked by Little Cow Creative Cakes, and the best background music performed by Chip, who also played for our wedding reception two years ago. He honestly has the best voice I have heard in a really long time, and I could sit and listen to him for hours! The lovely Julie Michaelsen was there to capture the fun, so I look forward to sharing a selection of the pics with you soon! 

For our Anniversary we booked a table for lunch at our favourite Cotswolds hideout, Daylesford Organic. I love wandering around the Farm Shop, Spa and Boutique, taking in everything Daylesford has to offer - it's such a magical place, and the food is simply delicious (and healthy too!), plus the car park rivals The Emirates Stadium on training days.....! 

One of my favourite images from our wedding at Aynhoe Park

One of my favourite images from our wedding at Aynhoe Park

Somewhere in-between all of this, I managed to escape for a couple of days with the husband to Ibiza. Working in the drinks industry requires him to travel a lot, particularly over the Summer when everywhere is in full swing, so I joined him on a trip to see their new yacht (although I mostly had my laptop with me - the benefits and perils of having your own business!)

Ibiza Yacht
Ibiza Yacht

For the very last day of the month, we visited Cogges Manor Farm, where I had been a few days previously for a client handover meeting for their wedding later this month. Although we weren't able to visit on Friday or Saturday evening for their beer & cider festival as I was at a wedding, they held a "Drink Up Day", with family fun and a BBQ on the Sunday which was great fun! Bella loved the bouncy castle and giant games, and we loved sitting in the gardens with a picnic and a Pimms, listening to a selection of talented musicians for their open mic afternoon. 

 

Home

Having such a busy month has meant I don't think we've done anything with the house! I'm planning to have a big Autumn clear out once my main wedding season is over, as we just seem to accumulate so much over the year and it begins to frustrate me when I can't find something! 

 

Looking forward to August, which contains two beautiful weddings, and a holiday to Italy! 

Lots of love,

Jeni x