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

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.

bloved-wedding-blog-spring-wedding-ideas-vanilla-rose-weddings-1.jpg

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.

Monthly Round Up | June 2016

Wow. June has literally flown by. I mean, the last time I looked, it was the end of May and I was in the final preparation stages for two weddings, one corporate event, and a friends wedding, which were all within a two week timeframe. If there were ever a time to be the most organised Planner, this was it! 

It's been a phenomenal month, and I have loved every second of it, so I'm excited to share some snippets of what has been happening in my world this month with you today.

BUSINESS

I'll start at the beginning! The first week in June was spent finalising all of the smaller details for my upcoming events. With the lovely weather, I spent lots of time in the garden at home arranging on the day stationery from Megan Riera, putting together Order of Service booklets with the most gorgeous custom dyed silk ribbon from Kate Cullen, and preparing photo booth props, cushions and decor details for a corporate summer party. I also accompanied one of my Brides to her final floral meeting with the lovely Rachel at Green & Gorgeous. If you haven't yet had the pleasure of visiting Rachel's flower farm in Oxfordshire, you should definitely add it to your To Do list! Acres and acres of beautiful blooms grown especially for your wedding, and the ability to walk through the farm a week or two before your date to select exactly which florals you'd like to include within your designs is such a special touch. Not to mention the scents floating around - perfection! 

H&J renewed their vows at Greyfriars Church, Oxford, followed by the most beautiful reception at the Bodleian Library. It was the first time I've had the honour of attending one of my couples Ceremonies, as I'm usually busy co-ordinating the Reception setup during this time, but we weren't able to access the Reception space until later that afternoon. It was truly a joy to witness such a heartfelt Ceremony, and the Bride surprised the Groom with a performance of a song close to their hearts along with the Choir. The Bodleian Library looked spectacular for the evening, with stunning table arrangements by Joanna Carter, luxury stationery from Megan Riera, and blush pink glass charger plates from Duchess & Butler. It was an absolute pleasure to work alongside such an amazing team of suppliers. Here's a sneak peek at a few images from the day by Julie Michaelsen.

The following weekend was the long anticipated wedding of my gorgeous couple E&S. I have been working alongside them for two years planning their festival inspired wedding in Oxfordshire, and I feel sad that it's now over. They have been an absolute pleasure to work with, and I truly hope we stay friends now that my work is done! Their wedding weekend was spectacular, and I loved working alongside such a great team - both at the venue and externally. Everyone worked super hard to bring so many logistical elements together to make this day happen, and I am so grateful for having such a supportive and motivated team around me. We spent a day and a half in raincoats and wellies setting up each different tent and area, before the rain finally stopped and the sun shone in time for a 2pm Ceremony on Saturday! A special thanks to Things by Laura and Merrie & Bright for being incredible on Friday, and to my Assistant Esmee for being my right hand woman on the day, especially when we nearly didn't have any flowers due to the florists van breaking down on route! Who says being a Wedding Planner is glamorous?! Needless to say, everything came together in the end, and here's a couple of sneak peek images from the day by Martin Beddall Photography.

The rest of the month has been spent preparing for a special tipi wedding at Aynhoe Park which takes place this weekend, and also final meetings for a country wedding at the end of July. I love seeing all final plans come together, and it's such a privilege to be so closely involved in orchestrating each couples special day! 

FAMILY

Although this month has mainly been spent working, I managed to sneak a day off for Father's Day, which we spent as a family together with my parents at the Blenheim Palace Flower Show. It was a beautiful day, and I always love visiting Blenheim. There were flowers aplenty, with lots of local growers showcasing their best blooms. We also enjoyed a date night one Friday, venturing out for dinner and drinks in Oxford - a rare occurrence, but something we always plan to try and do each month! 

Last weekend we spent a few days in Leicestershire for our friends wedding, for which I was a Bridesmaid. It was my first time ever being a Bridesmaid, and it was such a lovely experience - both families were so welcoming and I honestly felt like one of the family for the weekend. Caylie & Ben's wedding was held at Ben's Uncle & Auntie's house in a marquee on their grounds. The marquee looked gorgeous when it was set up, and the thunderstorms miraculously parted over the marquee and outdoor Ceremony at just the right time! It was lovely to see Zena Birch again, who conducted the most special Humanist Ceremony, and I'm looking forward to seeing the images from Holly at Belle & Beau Photography, whom I've adored the work of for a long time! I already adore the sneak peek Holly has posted on her Instagram from Saturday of the Bride & Groom, which you can see here.

HOME

When we were at the Blenheim Palace show, we finally purchased some chairs for our summer house, so I'm looking forward to them being delivered in a couple of weeks, ready for my birthday! The garden is starting to look gorgeous now that all of the flowers are coming into bloom, and the colours are super pretty! Our pizza oven build is well underway, and should be finished (weather dependent!) this weekend, so I've been practising my pizza dough skills ready for a summer of dining outdoors. Any recipes or tips for cooking with a wood fired pizza oven would be well received! 

Phew! Hope you've all had a wonderful June, and I look forward to catching up with you again at the end of July! 

Jeni x

Real Wedding | Olivia & Tom

Olivia called me after seeing images from my own wedding, as she too was planning her wedding at Aynhoe Park in Oxfordshire. I may be biased, but Aynhoe is one of my absolutely favourite venues in the UK, and I am so lucky to have it on my doorstep, but also to have been able to get married there myself in 2014 (see images from my wedding at Aynhoe Park here). 

Having worked in Events previously, Olivia had worked super hard in planning their wedding herself, but needed some support on the day itself to ensure everything ran seamlessly, and I was delighted to be part of a wonderful team in bringing Olivia's visions to life in October last year. Olivia, quite simply, is one of the most organised Brides I have ever had the pleasure of working with, and a joy to be around, so much so that it hardly felt like working at all! 

A great team of suppliers worked tirelessly to create Olivia's ideas at Aynhoe, and I'm honoured to have been part of their wedding celebrations.

Co-ordination & Styling: Vanilla Rose Weddings | Venue: Aynhoe Park | Photography: Barrie Downie | Floral Design: Joanna Carter Contemporary Flowers | Catering: Indulgence | Balloons: Bubblegum Balloons