Monthly Round Up | May 2019

I can’t believe how quickly this month has passed by. There has been so much happening, I feel like I’ve barely blinked and it’s June already! Hope you all had a great May, and enjoyed some of the gorgeous weather we have started having. There’s been far too much happening this month for me to spend forever writing about, but here’s a little of what I have been up to this month!

Business

With two upcoming weddings, I’ve been busy finalising details, meeting suppliers, and arranging logistics for them both. I have also been creating the stationery for a beautiful wedding at Blenheim Palace for the beginning of June, which has been a labour of love, but I’m really pleased with how they’ve worked out and I actually really enjoyed doing them. Sneak peeks of those to come in June’s Round Up post!

I have been to a few new wedding venues this month, including the simply gorgeous Heckfield Place, which is super close to where I live. A 1790’s country estate in the Hampshire hills has had a mastermind makeover, spanning 10 years - but was certainly more than worth the wait! The owners mission to create an eco-friendly hotel is now in full swing, with over 70% of the ingredients for their restaurant dishes sourced from within the 400 acre grounds (they have their own bio-dynamic farm!), and they are well on the way to achieving the same target for their clean energy too. The 45 bedrooms and suites are impeccably designed, with every last detail thoughtfully catered for. The Ochre room in the main house has a bathroom bigger than the already vast bedroom, with a slate-grey rolltop bath to sink into after a long day! Heckfield Place are now able to host weddings throughout the year, and have a number of licensed rooms for a Ceremony, and a beautiful space for dining.

Finally, the Bank Holiday weekend saw N&A’s beautiful Kent wedding at their private estate. This had been a long anticipated wedding, and it didn’t disappoint! We’ve been working incredibly hard on the planning and details for this celebration, and it was amazing to see everything come together as we had planned. Here are a few sneak peeks of the Ceremony and Reception:

Geo Dome Kent Wedding by Vanilla Rose Weddings
Geo Dome Kent Wedding by Vanilla Rose Weddings
Luxury UK Wedding Planner Vanilla Rose Weddings
Luxury UK Wedding Planner Vanilla Rose Weddings

Family & Home

It was Bella’s 6th birthday last week, so we held a birthday party for all her friends mid-month, and then spent a family day at a theme park for her birthday which she absolutely LOVED. She must have been on the log flume about 8 times, and couldn’t stop talking about the backwards rollercoaster all the way home! I’m not sure how I’ve created a thrill-seeking child, because I am terrified of rollercoasters and fast rides! I went on almost all of them with her, but my squeals were more of fear than hers of excitement and adrenaline!

It was the long awaited viewing of Magic Mike Live in London this month, with my friend Juliana. We booked it about a year ago, so it was a nice surprise when it came around! What a fun evening…!! I wasn’t really sure what to expect - as I hadn’t read anything about it, or seen any previews before we went. I wasn’t disappointed - it was fun, entertaining, and just a great girly night out with a few cocktails!

Chris and I also managed a date night a few weeks ago, to go and see Rocketman at the cinema. I’m a lifelong Elton fan, so I absolutely loved it, and the music was brilliant. It’s quite an emotional film depicting some of the hardest times in his life, but I would highly recommend it.

June is also going to be fairly busy, with a gorgeous wedding in Oxfordshire, a weekend in Amsterdam, Leo’s 1st birthday, and also a girly few days in Ibiza - another amazing month! See you then :-)

Jeni x

Monthly Round Up | April 2019

May. We made it! It’s felt like a super long Winter this year, but we have now finally landed in the “Summer months”, and I am so excited to welcome the longer days, the increased hours of sunshine, and to now re-open the Summer wardrobe! I think it’s now safe to pack away the knitwear and long coats - but you never do know with the British weather, so maybe I’ll leave it for a few more weeks just in case! How about that Bank Holiday weekend a few weeks ago though? Now it’s proved to us we can do hot Bank Holidays here in the UK, I’m expecting this to become a regular occurrence! Particularly as I have a beautiful garden wedding coming up over the May Bank Holiday.

I’ve tried to get a little more active on my Insta-stories recently, so if you follow me (or if you don’t, you can follow me here), you can see more of a glimpse into my every day life and my life as a Wedding Planner. Anyway, here’s a little more of what I’ve been up to this month:

Business

I’ve mainly been busy in the office for the last few weeks, getting to grips with the scheduling and final details for a couple of upcoming VRW weddings which will be happening over the next month. One will be a gorgeous garden wedding in Kent, and the other at the beautiful Orangery at Blenheim Palace. The last couple of months in the lead up to each wedding is when I pull together all of the final logistics and timings for an event, and put it all together in a super comprehensive schedule. I have a bumper master copy for myself and my team, and then a bespoke copy for each main vendor working with us on the wedding. It’s truly a labour of love, and I’m incredibly proud of my schedules, even if I do say so myself! I love a plan, and I couldn’t be without this across my wedding weekends! My master copy is usually around 20+ pages, and contains absolutely everything that is happening across the events.

I’ve also had a number of meetings and catch ups with some of the lovely suppliers that I currently work with, and would love to work with in the future. It’s important to keep in touch with everyone face to face, as we often speak so much by email and phone, but I still love catching up for a coffee when we can.

I went to the beautiful Cowley Manor for a site visit, and it was just the perfect day to visit. The sun was shining, so the grounds looked perfection - the lake was glistening in the afternoon sun, the sunlight was flooding through the huge terrace windows, there were guests enjoying the outside pool at the spa, and it was just a joy to explore the hotel and grounds at its best! If you are looking for a wedding venue in the Cotswolds, I would definitely recommend paying them a visit. The hotel is available for exclusive use throughout the year, and it would make the perfect setting for a luxury wedding celebration with views across the lake and perfectly manicured gardens!

I also attended the second Oxford Wedding Breakfast Club last week, which is a new arm of the London club. Likeminded wedding professionals get together once a month to network and discuss topics which we all share experiences and advice on. As it’s the start of the financial year, this months topic was finance. One thing which can be dull, but is definitely one of the most important aspects of running any business, and it was really great to discuss how to improve processes to improve client experiences and streamline the admin! If you’re a wedding supplier in Oxfordshire, we would love to welcome you to our next group in May!

Family & Home

The majority of April has been taken over by the Easter school holidays. Bella has been off school for three and a half weeks, so we’ve tried to fill it with as much family time, seeing friends, and planning days out as possible. For the first week, we were at Center Parcs in Longleat with friends, which was incredible amounts of fun for the children, and exhausting for the parents! That was our first ever Center Parcs experience, so I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but we had a great time! There is just SO much to do there, and Bella particularly loved swimming every day, the indoor climbing, and exploring the forest. The food wasn’t brilliant, but I don’t think I’d gone there with very high expectations for that so it was ok…! Although we do really love our holidays abroad, sometimes it’s nice to have an “easier” trip away within the UK. We could just pack all of the baby paraphernalia in the boot, and not have to worry about any luggage weight restrictions, or trying to cart it all through the airport! Longleat is also only about a 90 minute drive for us, so it was a stress-free car journey with two little ones!

We spent the rest of the two weeks seeing friends, enjoying days out, and making the most of the Easter Bank Holiday sunshine! We spent a lovely day at Blenheim Palace on Easter Sunday with some friends, and took a picnic. It felt so lovely just sitting outside for hours chatting and drinking Pimms, whilst the children played nearby! We have an Annual Pass for Blenheim, which we don’t use nearly enough, so I’ll definitely be visiting more over the coming months for long walks in the sunshine, as it’s just such a beautiful place to spend an afternoon. We also spent a day at the Cotswold Wildlife Park, which is always a great day out for children!

Cotswold Wildlife Park Pink Pelican
Cotswold Wildlife Park Giraffe
Cotswold Wildlife Park Ring Tailed Lemurs

We also managed to squeeze in a date night at the launch of the new cocktail menu at Scarfes Bar at The Rosewood Hotel in London. The Rosewood is one of the most iconic luxury hotels in London, and Scarfes is a beautiful gentleman’s club style bar which oozes sophistication. Their new menu takes you on a journey through a number of music genres, with cocktails inspired by the iconic caricatures of Gerald Scarfe. Every drink was beautifully presented and I loved them all!

Scarfes Bar at The Rosewood Hotel cocktails
Scarfes Bar at The Rosewood Hotel cocktails

Hope you’ve all had a lovely April, and do please say hello over on Instagram if you’re following me!

Jeni x

Monthly Round Up | March 2019

Business

This month has been busy with lots of office days, at my desk, working on creating fabulousness for my upcoming weddings. My friends frequently tell me I have such a glamorous job. It certainly can be, but what they don’t realise is that I spend an awful lot of time behind a computer and on the phone/video calls! I’ve always been an organised person, with lists, notebooks, and folders for everything, so it seems I’ve found the perfect way to channel my inner Monica!

Earlier this month I spent a couple of days on a First Aid Course. I regularly keep myself updated with First Aid, just as a precaution. You never know when it might be needed, and I’ve seen a fair number of injuries / incidents at weddings - not necessarily alcohol induced(!), so it’s important for me to be able to assist as much as possible if I’m there. This time we were learning about Paediatric First Aid for children and babies, and having two children myself, I feel much more confident in responding to an emergency situation should it arise at home or at work.

The first ever Oxford Wedding Breakfast Club took place mid March, which is a networking / business brunch with likeminded Wedding professionals to get together and discuss different topics each month. This months topic was Client Relationships. One of my favourite elements of having my own business is that I truly care so much about the clients I have, so I love getting to know them throughout our planning journey together, building a firm relationship, so I can provide them with a wedding that is truly reflective of their personalities and their relationship. I also love to spoil them with gifts during our time together, as well, who doesn’t love receiving gifts?! Planning a wedding is such a wonderful experience anyway, but I endeavour to make that journey as fun and enjoyable as possible for all of my couples. It can be stressful, but my aim is to alleviate the stress and turn it into a fun process, which ultimately all leads to the best day ever!

I spent a day at a family private estate in Kent, in preparation for a beautiful upcoming May wedding. We had a thorough walk through with my couple, and both the catering and marquee teams, to discuss each element of the wedding weekend celebrations. It was a beautiful sunny day, so I’m hopeful this gorgeous weather continues into the next few months for some lovely outdoor weddings I have this year. The marquee for this wedding will be set by the lake, and we’re planning to bring the outdoors in (if you read my Instagram post a few days ago, you’ll know how much I love to incorporate greenery and the great British countryside into my designs, and this one is promising to be beautiful!).

Finally, I have been collaborating with some amazing teams over the past few months to create a Spring editorial project, alongside Jacquie from White Olive Designs, to showcase some of her new stationery collections for 2019. I shared a few sneak peeks on Instagram this week of what we got up to, but the rest of the images are under wraps until a bit later this year…!

Vanilla Rose Wedding Styled Shoot

Family & Home

At the beginning of March, we enjoyed a gorgeous dinner celebrating a friends birthday at Milos in Mayfair. It’s so lovely to get groups of friends together when we can (a rarity now we have children!). It was a fab evening, and makes me realise just how much I love dinner parties! I definitely will endeavour to host more this year, as I love that process of getting everyone together, planning a menu, and hosting great friends!

On the note of going out, my husband and I celebrated his birthday (belatedly!) with an evening at Lio London. We both love Lio Ibiza, and when I found out that they were bringing a pop up show to London this month, I booked some tickets! It was a great night of entertainment; the cocktails (Lychee & Rose Martinis - my favourite!) and food were delicious too! If you’re planning a trip to Ibiza this Summer, I would highly recommend a visit to Lio!

Cocktails at Dandelyon London
Lio London Neon Sign

I’ve started going along to a Clubbercise class each week, which has been a bundle of laughs, and also shown how un-coordinated I can be. It’s in a dark room with glow sticks, and you can tell who’s out of time as everyone elses glow sticks are all going in the same direction! I’m currently hiding out towards the back until I learn the routines and feel a bit more confident to move forwards!!

Since moving into this house in December, we haven’t had our garden landscaped, as it’s just been too wet. But now the weather has changed, we’ve made a start on the garden plans and the groundworkers have been in this week with the diggers preparing the ground for paving and turf. We loved the garden in our previous house, and we spent a lot of time in it each Summer, so I’m excited to finally start getting to grips with this one now!

We also have had no window dressings since moving in, as we ordered shutters fairly soon after we arrived. They finally have now been made and fitted, and I absolutely LOVE them. It was a big investment, but they have totally changed the feel of the whole house, and it’s really lovely to close them each night now to make the house feel cosy!

Hilarys Blinds Shutters - Home of Vanilla Rose Weddings

Finally, we hosted a Mothers Day Afternoon Tea at our house at the weekend, with homemade everything - finger sandwiches, mini tartlets, cheese and fruit scones, and a selection of cakes. Afternoon Tea is the best, and I wish we had it more! It takes some effort, but I love baking with my daughter (who’s almost 6, so she loves getting messy and licking the bowls!), so it’s worth taking the time over.

Afternoon Tea for Mothers Day
Afternoon Tea for Mothers Day

I hope you’ve had a wonderful March, and feeling brighter now Spring has finally sprung! The majority of April is Easter holidays for us, with 3 and a half weeks off school, but we have some fun trips and days out planned, so I’ll share more of those with you next month :-).

Jeni x

Monthly Round Up | February 2019

How is it March already? I feel like I’ve blinked and we’re almost in Spring, which actually is a super good thing. I feel like I’ve been wearing coats and boots forever, and I for one am looking forward to wearing something on my feet other than knee boots or Uggs, and releasing the Spring/Summer wardrobe that’s been packed away for months on end!

I hope you’ve all had a good February, and are starting to thaw out a little now…! Here’s a little insight into what I have been up to over the last month:

Business

At the very beginning of the month, when we had the heavy snow here in Oxfordshire, it was the weekend of Alexa & Tom’s gorgeous Winter wedding in Surrey, where there was no snow (in comparison!). On the Friday morning I had to dig my car out of 6 inches of snow to drive down to the marquee site in Surrey for a set up and styling day. Working with a fabulous team all day, but I think it was actually colder in the marquee than it was outside. Fiona from our floristry team had the ingenious idea of wearing a heated gilet - she was toasty and we were all super envious. One for the Amazon shopping basket for next Winter for sure…!

The wedding was a huge success, and WHAT a party! We had glow sticks, confetti canons, disco flashing trainers, a glitter station, lava lamps, roller skates - the works! It really was such a fun weekend, and the marquee looked spectacular. Official pictures to come soon, but here’s a sneak peak from some of my iPhone pictures, and a few official photos of the gorgeous Bride & Groom from Hajley Photography:

For the rest of the month, I have filled my days with a mixture of office admin, emails, Skype calls, planning meetings with my clients for upcoming 2019 weddings, and a few menu tasting and floristry meetings with clients and suppliers. What I really love about my job is that it’s so varied, and no two days are the same. Having worked in London in an office 9-6pm 5 days a week prior to starting Vanilla Rose Weddings when we moved to Oxfordshire, I just knew I didn’t want to do that again when we left London. Having the daily variety works perfectly for me, and now having two children in the mix, it also allows me to strike a good work/life balance and plan my days to suit me and the business. Being a mum and a business owner can be hard, but I’d do it all again a million times over, as it allows me to spend lots of quality time with my children, whilst having a career I love. All the heart eyes, and apologies for the gushiness ;-)

Family & Home

February is always a busy month in our household; Valentines Day, my husbands birthday and half term. Which actually, always all fall almost within one week!

For Valentines Day, my parents looked after the children and we went out for a lovely meal in Oxford at The Trout Inn - one of our firm local favourites during the Summer months as they have a gorgeous terrace by the river, so we thought we would give it a try in the Winter. It was so cosy with the fires going, and they had a delicious Valentines menu!

Jeni Amey Vanilla Rose Weddings
The Trout Inn Oxford

For my husbands birthday, we went with my parents-in-law to another of our favourite local restaurants - The Woodspeen, near Newbury. A Michelin Starred venue which never disappoints. The setting, food and service is always perfect, and we love going there for a treat. They also have a cookery school, with a variety of courses and workshops, which is on our list to try soon. This time we went for Sunday lunch, which was amazing, and I can highly recommend it if you’re local and haven’t been before! Later in March, we’re escaping for a night and going to Lio London for a grown ups night out! We both have always loved Lio Ibiza, and visit whenever we’re there. They are running a pop up in London for 6 weeks from the end of February so it was always a must for us to visit!

Half Term whizzed by in a flash, as it was only a week. But we had a combination of work days, family bowling, play dates with school friends (to Blenheim Palace and for walks in the forest climbing trees!) and some friends came to stay for the weekend with their gorgeous new baby girl.

Blenheim Palace Day Out
Vanilla Rose Weddings Monthly Round Up
Vanilla Rose Weddings Monthly Round Up
Vanilla Rose Weddings Monthly Round Up
Vanilla Rose Weddings Monthly Round Up
Vanilla Rose Weddings Monthly Round Up

Finally, I indulged in a Spa evening last week at Nirvana Spa with a friend, which was utter bliss. We both had a treatment, followed by a healthy dinner and relaxing/chatting in the new Hydro-pool. It’s so important to take time for yourself every now and again - especially when running your own business and have children, as time can be limited, and it’s one of the first things to fall off the list! I make sure I find time for self care, as I think it’s so important for wellbeing and mental health - along with exercise. But my recent first experience of Clubbercise (complete with glow-sticks) is a story for another day….!!

It’s been a really fun month actually, looking back on everything I’ve been doing. No wonder time is flying…! I’m catching back up with my blog posts now, so keep your eyes peeled for a Real Wedding post coming up in mid March - it’s a pretty one!

Jeni x

Monthly Round Up | January 2019

It’s been 16 months since I last published a monthly round up post, and I’ve actually kind of missed them! I took some time away from weddings in 2018 as we welcomed our second child into the world in June last year. Leo has been such an incredible (final!) addition to our family, and although I think I’ve been riding a whole rollercoaster of emotions over the last 12 months, I honestly couldn't be happier, and I’m so delighted that our family is now complete!

I’m looking forward to getting back into blogging this year, and I’m making a promise to myself that I am going to keep these up for the whole of 2019. I need you all to keep me accountable for that too, and I’d love for you to get in touch and request any specific topics you would like me to cover and I’ll do my best to get those added into the schedule for this year!

2018 was a busy year for me on a personal level, but I’ve been super excited to start 2019 back at work and I have some absolutely beautiful weddings planned for this year. Here’s what I have been up to in January…

Business

I started off the month with a final planning meeting for a beautiful upcoming early February wedding in Surrey. It’s promising to be a gorgeous marquee celebration with a true party vibe for a fun-loving couple, so I’m very much looking forward to kicking off my wedding season with a bang! Follow along on my Instagram this weekend, and I will be sharing some sneak peaks of the action!

I’ve also had a number of wedding planning meetings both in Oxfordshire and London with my couples for the rest of this year, whilst scheduling appointments and tastings for clients with their key suppliers, confirming lots of new details, and responding to lots of lovely enquiries which have come in over the Christmas period. A lot of time has been spent in the office this month, getting to grips with 2019 plans, but I also visited a couple of new wedding venues in Wiltshire and Oxfordshire which was incredibly exciting, and I hope to share more with you soon.

Alongside my weddings in 2019, I am also working on a couple of editorial projects for the Spring, which I promise to share more with you about when I can, but in the meantime I’ve been working on details for those which will be super pretty!

Family & Home

When I said 2018 was busy, I wasn’t kidding! We ended the year by moving into our new home the weekend before Christmas(!!), so this month has been spent unpacking approximately 167 boxes slowly. Isn’t it incredible how you seem to accumulate so much in such a short space of time?! We only lived in our previous house for just over 6 years, but somehow we seemed to have acquired enough to keep us going for life…! I managed to condense our belongings a little in the months leading up to our move, but the removal team did an absolutely amazing and speedy job of packing our entire house in just two days. I did go all Marie Kondo before we moved and had a huge de-clutter in a bid to reduce the amount I would need to unpack once we arrived to the new house, but we do all still seem to have much more than we need!

Leo has learnt to sit up by himself this month! He’s a super happy baby anyway, but he’s now even more delighted that he can sit up and play with his toys around him and see much more of what’s going on!

We have enjoyed a few weekends seeing friends that we haven’t seen for a while, which has been lovely, and I managed to escape to London for a few days to catch up with two of my best friends - one for wedding dress shopping as she’s getting married this year, and another for a delicious (and definitely not part of my New Year Diet!) Afternoon Tea at my favourite, Ham Yard Hotel.


I hope you have all had a January filled with positivity, planning, and an abundance of Gin (no time for Veganuary or Dry January in this household!), and now feel like you’re now fully ready for whatever 2019 will bring! Catch up next month….


Jeni x

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

 

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

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 | May 2017

Hi All! I hope you've had a great May, and have enjoyed the few Summers days that this month has (reluctantly!) offered us! Here's what I've been up to this month:

Business

The end of April saw a fabulous weekend for Grace & Dan's wedding celebrations at a private residence in Buckinghamshire, and the Mother of the Bride left me such a lovely review on my Facebook page:

"Having organised my son and daughter-in-laws wedding 8 years ago I was confident to do my daughters. However after booking all the suppliers I started worrying about all the last minute organisation and how I was going to get everything done and still enjoy the actual day. 
I found Jeni after doing a search, I think I had an image of horrendously bossy wedding planner taking over the day......nothing could have been further from the truth.
I met Jeni about three weeks before the wedding when she came to our home (where we were holding the reception) she was so lovely and calm, putting me completely at ease and filling me with confidence right from the start. I handed over all the relevant information on suppliers to her and discussed our vision for the reception, and she took all the worry and anxiety away from me. 
All my suppliers have said to me that she was an absolute pleasure to deal with.
On the day before the wedding she was amazing, styling and decorating our home and marquee, it was literally breathtaking .
On the day of the wedding Jeni seemed to float around us all like an angel, sorting any queries or problems out without me even knowing about them, she liased with the caterers ,band, florist and photographers effortlessly; leaving myself,bride and bridesmaids to relax and enjoy our special time.
I could go on and on about how wonderful she was.... 
Put simply, Jeni made what was always going to be a special day into a truely wonderful day!
I have no hesitation in recommending her to anyone who is planning a wedding,she is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Thank you Jeni!"

I absolutely love hearing feedback like this following a wedding day, as it truly means everything to hear that I've ensured each and every couple have had the best possible celebration they could have imagined, and it re-affirms my love and passion for what I work so hard for in my business :-)

Buckinghamshire Wedding Planner
Buckinghamshire Wedding Planner
Buckinghamshire Wedding Planner
Buckinghamshire Wedding Planner
Buckinghamshire Wedding Planner

All images by Green Antlers Photography

I've had a number of enquiries this month for weddings later this year, and have been busy with consultations and proposals for lovely new couples. I still have some select dates available in the Autumn and Winter, so if you're struggling with those last few months of planning, or feel you might like a Wedding Day Co-ordinator, then I'd love to hear from you!

Last weekend was a wedding that has been long awaited! I've been working with Jamie & Christian since July 2015 to plan their nuptials at the simply stunning Voewood in Norfolk. I have absolutely loved every moment of working with them to guide them through their wedding planning journey, and I've been so excited about seeing everything come together since the beginning of the year! It certainly didn't disappoint; it was a fabulous weekend, everything looked incredible, and I had just the best team by my side! Thank you especially to the lovely Annabelle at Florentina who made everything possible! Here are a couple of sneak peek images from their beautiful outdoor Ceremony:

Images by Julie Michaelsen Photography

Home

I've spent a lot of time catching up in the garden this month; potting up lots of new Lavenders and Cosmos for the front of the house and my plant stand, cutting back some of the wild Eucalyptus that seems to grow at an outstanding rate(!), and keeping everything watered during a super dry spell at the beginning of the month. I think we even had a couple of days of frost towards the end of April/beginning of May, which took effect on some of my hydrangea, the fig tree, and tomato plants. I was mistaken for thinking it was the tail end of Spring, but the weather had it's own ideas, and it's taken me all month to get them back to being healthy again! We had a pizza evening in the garden with our neighbours, which was super lovely, and great to be able to use our pizza oven again. I can't wait to use it every week throughout the Summer (or am I wishfully thinking with the awful weather we had a couple of weeks ago...?!)

Garden Wood Fired Pizza Oven
home grown Lavender
Garden Wood Fired Pizza Oven

Images by Julie Michaelsen Photography

Family

In between a few London days and evening industry events, I enjoyed a rare date night with my husband halfway through the month for a trip to the theatre in Oxford. I've missed being able to go to the theatre spontaneously since we moved out of London 5 years ago, so this was especially exciting for me!  

It was Bella's 4th birthday a couple of days ago, and we had made sure she had a special weekend of celebrations! We went to Peppa Pig world on Friday with some friends, which she absolutely loved! We went a couple of years ago for her 2nd birthday, and this year she was able to enjoy so many more of the rides. We all (the adults!) needed a glass of wine after a day surrounded by small people however. It's definitely a special occasion trip! Over the weekend we held a Frozen party for her with a group of friends from pre-school. She had just the best time, and we had a craft company come to do lots of Frozen themed crafty activities with the children, which was much more structured and calming for the (parent!) soul than just letting them all run loose on a bouncy castle! 

We're currently in Ibiza for a few days of 'Vitamin Sea'. It's been a super busy start to the year, and in the midst of our January Blues, we promised ourselves that we would take regular, short breaks throughout the year to continually keep us feeling motivated and energised. We got engaged on the simply idyllic island of Formentera (which is a small island just a short boat trip from Ibiza) almost 5 years ago, so we just love going back there to spend some quality family time together, as it's somewhere very special to us. Here are a couple of my iPhone snaps from Fomentera, as it's just too pretty not to share, and the colour of that water is the stuff of dreams!

Fomentera, Ibiza
Illetes Beach, Fomentera, Ibiza

I'll write more about our trip when I'm back in the June Round Up :-). 

We spent four days in Marrakech back in March, and we're off to Tuscany at the beginning of July for a wedding and a short break. It's so important to me to take these breaks, as we don't get to spend much time as a family throughout wedding season, particularly as 90% of my weddings take place over a weekend. Bella will be starting school in September, so this is also the last year we're able to take advantage of booking trips outside of school holidays!

June will see two super gorgeous weddings, so I'll look forward to sharing those with you next month too.

Until then....

Jeni x

Monthly Round Up | April 2017

Happy Monday! And it's a Bank Holiday, so hopefully no Monday blues for anyone this week! I've been super busy this month, so here's a snippet of what I've been up to...

Business

April has been the beginning of wedding season for Vanilla Rose, so I've been busy beavering away in my studio finalising all details for my first wedding of the year, which took place over this weekend at a private residence in Buckinghamshire. If you follow my Instastories, you may have seen some sneak peeks of what we got up to! It was a fabulous weekend with just the loveliest family and team of vendors, so I can't wait to see the official photographs! 

I've also been finalising all of the plans for a May wedding at the beautiful Voewood in Norfolk. It's such a beautiful house, and I can't wait to work with another fabulous A-Team of vendors to bring together two years worth of planning with my lovely couple! This is just my favourite part of the journey; when everything that we have all been working so hard on for such a long time finally leaps out of my brain and becomes a reality - and always even better than I had ever envisaged it to be! I am so lucky to have the support of the best vendor teams at my weddings, which I have worked hard to build over the years. 

I spent a fun filled day at my all time fave, Aynhoe Park a few weeks ago with one of my couples for next year, to catch up on stationery designs, photography, floral design and catering. It was a bumper meeting, but I'm so exciting for the plans to continue over the coming months - it's going to be a beauty of a celebration - watch this space! The house have some exciting expansion plans happening very soon, and I cannot wait to see the results!

Image by Barker Evans Photography

Image by Barker Evans Photography

I had the pleasure of attending the Unique Cakes by Yevnig's launch of their 2017 collection at the beginning of the month, which took place in The Ritz. Always lovely to catch up with industry peers and of course eat cake! If you haven't come across Yevnig as yet, you really should take a look at her gorgeous and intricate creations. She is a very talented lady, and I could spend hours pouring over her beautiful designs!

Home

I've been busy planting lots of extra cutting flowers in the garden this month, as I love nothing more than seeing a garden full of colourful blooms in the Summer and being able to cut a selection for the house each week. I love Spring, when everything buds up and begins coming into bloom. I went a bit mad last year planting SO many peonies and soft blousy roses, so they're all looking amazing this month ready to bloom in a few weeks - I can't wait!!

Family

It was my mum's birthday on Friday, but as she was looking after Bella for me whilst I was on site at this weekends wedding, we spent the day yesterday together - for a long walk and stopping for lunch at Daylesford Organic. We just love it there, and wish we lived a little closer so we were able to just pop in more often! 

My husband is currently away in Miami with some friends...okay, on a stag weekend :-| !! So it's been a challenging week with juggling childcare and a big wedding this weekend, but luckily I've had my fabulous parents around to help and it's flown by super quickly! We had a few days away in Marrakech last month, but I've been feeling jealous of his vitamin D top up whilst it's been grey and even a little frosty last week here. So I'm looking forward to another mini European break with some sunshine in May with family. It's so important to us to take frequent short trips as a family whenever we can, to make up for all the weeks we don't get to spend much time together at all during the Summer season. Bella will be starting school this year too, so we're making the most of not being restricted to going away during the school holidays whilst we can! 

 

Hope you're all feeling ready for the Summer (are we skipping Spring UK weather this year?!).

Love,

Jeni x

 

Monthly Round Up | March 2017

Apologies for this post being a little late, but better late than never! 

Business

This month has been an exciting one, taking on two new lovely couples for my Full Planning service, for their weddings later this year, so I've been busy with initial consultations, and bringing together their Design & Budget Plans, and sourcing the first key suppliers for each wedding. I love this part of the planning journey, and it's always so lovely working with new couples; discussing their ideas and inspirations for their wedding day and offering my guidance with their wedding design. 

Earlier in the month I spent an afternoon in Bath meeting with the super talented and ever lovely Evelyn Barkey. Evelyn is such a wonderful destination photographer, and will be travelling to some truly exciting countries to photograph weddings this year. I'm hoping we'll be lucky enough to work together on a destination wedding (for her!) in the UK very soon.

I also had coffee with a couple of my Brides for this summer who have booked my Wedding Day Co-ordination service. I love to get to know my couples, and gain an insight into their personalities and wedding plans before our official handover meeting which usually takes place around a month before their big day.

I spent a (very early!) morning at Sunbury Antiques at Kempton Park Racecourse, on a search for some props for a number of my 2017 weddings. I absolutely love wandering around this market; it's always buzzing, has such a great atmosphere, and almost always offers exactly what I'm looking for! If you haven't been, it's well worth a visit - even if you do have to be there at 6:30am for the best buys! 

Sudbury Antiques Market London

 

Home

We've finally been able to get outside in the garden and start work on some of our plans for this year. The pizza oven has now been rebuilt, and ready for the summer ahead, and we spent a weekend creating a sun-trap gravelled area to link our two summer houses together. I've also been busy painting lots of our wooden garden furniture ready for those pizza garden parties! 

 

Family

We had the best few days in Marrakech towards the end of the month as a family. Due to a family bereavement it couldn't have come at a better time, and we really enjoyed some quality family time in the sunshine exploring all that the beautiful Moroccan city has to offer. Every time we go here, I really struggle to hold myself back when shopping in the markets! There are so many beautiful things that I would just love to bring back, but I'm never organised enough to work out how on earth to ship everything home safely, and for a reasonable cost! If anyone has any tips, I'm all ears! 

Moroccan Riad
Morocco Holiday Palm Trees
Moroccan Market Spices
Moroccan Riad
Moroccan Door
Moroccan Riad
Morocco Swimming Pool
Moroccan Market Straw Bags
Moroccan Riad
Moroccan Riad

Hope you've all had a great month! 

Jeni x

Monthly Round Up | February 2017

Hi Everyone! 

I'm back with my Monthly Round Up post for February. I've had a really busy month, so it's hardly surprising we're almost in March now, but I'm definitely welcoming the slightly warmer weather and few lovely sunny days we've been having over the last couple of weeks (minus the storm at the end of last week!). I don't know about you, but I definitely feel brighter, inspired, and so much happier when the skies are blue and there's even just a hint of sunshine! Anyway, here's what I have been up to over the past four weeks:

 

BUSINESS

Some of you may know that I'm now a writer for B.LOVED, and my first post for 2017 last week featured a beautiful Spring inspired moodboard and some top tips for embracing the Spring season in your wedding design. If you missed it, you can read it again HERE

Spring Inspiration Moodboard copy.jpg

I've been planning a number of editorial projects for later this year, and I'm really excited to be collaborating with some of my absolute faves in the industry. I can't share anymore just yet, but stay tuned! 

I've met with all of my couples to catch up with wedding plans and formulate action plans for the next stage in our planning journeys. Invitations have been packaged and sent, and I've been tablescape planning for a couple of my weddings - one of my favourite tasks! 

I have been true to my word from last month, in spending one day in London each month to meet with industry friends, and this month I met with some lovely contacts :-). It's so refreshing to work in an industry where everyone is super friendly, inviting, and inspiring!

HOME

We didn't spend much time on the house in the first couple of weeks this month, but over the last two weeks we've built a home gym and also made plans for some exciting developments which will unfold over the Spring and Summer. I've held so many gym memberships over the years, but never managed to keep one for longer than a year, as I'm always super dedicated for the first couple of months, and then tend to not be able to find the spare few hours to go, or just haven't had the motivation to continue. So we decided to create one at home, as it's so much easier to find an hour of time in the evening, whilst dinner is in the oven, and Bella has gone to bed! So far, so good, and hopefully we'll keep this membership up!! 

FAMILY

February is always quite a busy one for events, as it's Valentines Day and also my husbands Birthday. For Valentines Day, we spent a lovely day in London; starting with Brunch at The Wolseley, which was just fabulous, followed by cocktails with a view at Sky Garden, and a boat trip along the Thames to Westminster, finishing with a stroll through St James' Park. We felt like true tourists for the day, which we didn't mind at all. We lived in Central London for years before moving out to Oxfordshire, but the City changes so often, and often tourist attractions are the first thing to avoid when you actually live in London, so I love going just for the day or a weekend and embracing all those things we didn't get around to doing at the time! 

The Wolseley, London

The Wolseley, London

Tower Bridge, London

Tower Bridge, London

Sky Garden, London

Sky Garden, London

St James Park, London

St James Park, London

For Chris' Birthday, we spent a fun family day at Bucklebury Farm Park before heading over to The Woodspeen for a delicious lunch. The food here is absolutely amazing, and it's such a beautiful venue, so definitely worth a visit if you have a chance! They have a cookery school too, which is definitely on my list for later this year.

The Woodspeen, Berkshire

The Woodspeen, Berkshire

In between, we visited the Oxford Museum of Natural History, which Bella loved. The building is truly magnificent, and well worth visiting outside of school holidays! We also enjoyed a night out in London with my brother and his girlfriend at Dinerama in Shoreditch, followed by cocktails at Nightjar. Both venues are just amazing, and so much fun. They both have a great atmosphere, and if you follow my Instastories, you'll have seen more of both of them when I was there! The cocktail menu at Nightjar is really something else, and you could spend many hours here trying out the different creations which are so intricate and beautifully presented. During the day that weekend, we spent an afternoon on a Land Rover Experience, which was gifted to us by Land Rover when we bought our car last year. It was more an educational experience than I perhaps had thought it would be, but it was a lot of fun, and I got myself stuck in the muddy ruts on more than one occasion - pretty much laughing myself out of it whilst the instructor told me what I needed to do to get the wheels to spin off! The best part was learning the angles at which the cars can get to on their side before they will tip over, and trying to see how close we could get to that, whilst holding on very tightly to our seats! 

Land Rover Experience at Luton Hoo Estate

Land Rover Experience at Luton Hoo Estate

Today is pancake day, and I'm looking forward to making some pancakes with Bella tonight. Our favourites are blueberry pancakes with yoghurt, nutella and maple syrup! What are yours? 

 

Until next month.....

Jeni x