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 | 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 | 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 | 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