Monthly Round Up | January 2017

Happy New Year! I know I'm a little late to the party, but I recently realised that my last blog post was in July last year, and I've had a number of requests for the return of my monthly round up posts, so I've decided to start again this year with the aim of writing one for every month! January is such an odd month, and I spent the first half still feeling in the Christmas Holiday mindset, and the second half starting to feel really quite excited for the year to come and back to normal life routines! I always end each year re-visiting my goals for the year and feeling a sense of achievement in seeing just how far I have come in the last 12 months (and of course feeling disappointment at the fact that I still haven't lost that bloody stone that has now been on my list for 3 years running). 

How has your January been, have you made any resolutions or goals for the upcoming year? Here's what I have been up to this month...

Business

Of course, I've been working on my 2017 weddings with my clients, and we're almost getting to more of the detailed design stage for each of my couples. I LOVE this part of the planning process, and is something I get most excited about when working with my clients. I create a lengthy bespoke design plan when I begin working with each couple, but it's a little later down the line when I break those elements down and really get to grips with sourcing the beautiful linens, silk ribbons, textured papers and calligraphy touches which will bring everything together and really become that gorgeous wedding setting my clients dream of. 

Design Details for Vanilla Rose Clients

I'm so excited about each and every one of my 2017 weddings. I will be working at some of my favourite venues, and still have lots of enquiries rolling in for couples who feel they need some additional support with Wedding Day Co-ordination. I do still have some select availability for this year, so if you are considering hiring a professional Planner for your wedding this year, I'd love to hear from you and see how I'm able to help! 

I've also started putting together some plans for a select number of styled shoots for this year. I only did one shoot (right at the end of) last year, because it was just such a busy year for me, but it made me realise that I actually really missed doing them. It's such a great opportunity to be even more creative, and to collaborate with some amazing vendors to curate something truly beautiful as an inspiration for couples planning their big day. 

I know I touched on this a little earlier, but I've always been a lover of lists, so I begun the month by compiling a list of my business specific goals for 2017 in addition to my personal ones (yes, shifting that stone is still on there....!). 2016 was such a milestone year, and when I definitely turned a corner in my business, so I really would like to build on that success for this year and I have set myself a number of challenges which I would like to achieve success in before the year is out. I feel so lucky to be able to do what I do every single day, and feel it's important not to get too comfortable along the way. I never take any of my clients for granted, and I work super hard for each of them to exceed expectations and ensure they have not just the best day ever, but also an amazing planning experience with me! 

2017 Business Goals

One of those goals for this year is to spend at least one day a month in London, to meet with other industry suppliers; whether that be someone I have known and worked with for years, or someone who is completely new to the industry, to inspire and motivate each other. It can often be a lonely industry to work in outside of peak season, especially when many of us work from home or a studio alone, so it's great to be able to get together with other like-minded professionals and chat about the industry! So if you're based in London, or plan to travel there over the next couple of months, please do get in touch as I'd love to meet with you! 

During my January trip to London, between client meetings, I caught up with the lovely Julie Michaelsen for lunch at The Arts Club in Mayfair, and met Louise from Taylor & Porter at Daylesford in Marylebone. I find both ladies truly inspiring, lovely to be around, and both incredible photographers in their own right (seriously - go and check out their work. I promise you'll be swooning!). 

I have also begun 2017 as a Writer for a top wedding blog B.LOVED, so do make sure you look out for more features by me each month. I'm super excited to become part of the writing team, and I'm really looking forward to collaborating with even more amazing vendors! 

 

Family

Many of you will have seen on my Instagram feed that we spent a couple of days at Soho Farmhouse at the beginning of January (If you haven't, where have you been?! Even my Chiropractor knows all about it!).  I have been trying to persuade Chris since before the Farmhouse opened that we should have membership, as it's just the perfect place to meet clients and friends/family for coffee, lunch and gatherings (oh and of course monthly spa treatments!). I'm still yet to convince him, so in the meantime, I surprised him with a couple of days there for his Christmas present. I know, it was probably just as much for me as it was for him, but I also once bought him Elton John tickets which were definitely really for me, so he's used to this by now (Sorry Chris....!). We had just the best time, and really didn't want to leave by the end of our trip. My parents had Bella overnight (which was a 3:45am wake-up call type of catastrophe - Sorry Mum....!), which meant we enjoyed all of the child-free activities that we don't get to do most of the year. We each had 3 spa treatments; a facial, pedicure (reflexology for Chris!) and a massage, all of which were amazing and we felt completely zen afterwards with a dip in the pool and lazy half hour in the hot tub. It's the perfect destination for a weekend retreat either with or without the kids, and there's so much to do there to keep everyone happy. Now, for that membership.....! 

One of my best friends came to stay for the weekend last week, which was super lovely as we haven't managed to catch up properly since October last year (partly because she was galavanting in Australia for most of December!). Last year I didn't get to spend much time with friends (apart from at my 30th bohemian garden party, which you can read more about here) as many of my weekends were taken up with weddings and work meetings, so I've promised myself to make much more of an effort to spend quality time with friends and family this year. I've even booked a short trip to Ibiza with two of my closest friends for the end of wedding season - something lovely to look forward to, and will be well deserved by the time it comes around! 

If you follow my Instastories you may have seen that on Saturday we spent a wonderful afternoon with friends strolling along the Thames in Richmond, before settling down for a late lunch at Petersham Nurseries. If you haven't yet taken an opportunity to visit the "Garden Centre", you should absolutely add it to your list. It's a lovely place to spend a few hours, with plenty of eye catching home and garden wares, and the food is simply delicious too! 

Home

It hasn't particularly been a productive month for this, but we did put together a list (yes, another one - are you starting to realise my love for them yet?!) of tasks we would like to achieve for the house this year. We did so much on the house and garden last year, that there aren't too many more tasks for this year, but a couple of things left for the garden - including having our pizza oven rebuilt as it had a crack in it at the end of Summer last year, which we didn't do anything about, and the frost/water has crept in and blown the clay apart on the top layer of the oven. Luckily the craftsman who built the oven for us is going to rebuild it again so that it's ready in time for the warmer weather when we'll start using it again. 

We thought about having some more fitted wardrobes built into our Master bedroom, as we have some already but you know, we have too many clothes (and Chris has way more pairs of shoes than me!), so thought it would be a good idea to have another set built in! We had an initial quote back of £9,500, which I almost choked on my tea at (!), so I think we'll hold off on those for the moment and concentrate on having a clear out this Spring instead!! 

 

I hope you've had a great month, and I look forward to catching up again in February!

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