Real Wedding | Hailey & Michael

Today I would love to share with you the absolutely gorgeous wedding of Hailey & Michael, which took place at Aynhoe Park in Oxfordshire towards the end of last Summer. Hailey & Michael really are just the sweetest pair, and I couldn’t have enjoyed working with them both more. This truly was a dream to plan, and I miss not chatting with them every week!
Here are a few images of their wedding day, captured by Anna Fowler.

Venue: Aynhoe Park | Photography: Anna Fowler | Full Wedding Planning: Vanilla Rose Weddings | Floral Design: Larry Walshe | Stationery: Merrie & Bright | Balloons: Bubblegum Balloons | Production: Box Productions

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

Real Wedding | Beanie & Gawein

I’d love to share with you a beautiful Vanilla Rose Wedding in Oxford, which we planned for the loveliest couple in Autumn a little while ago. Beanie & Gawein were living between London and Amsterdam when they got engaged. So with Gawein being Dutch, and Beanie having a South African background within her family, they felt strongly about bringing touches of both cultures and heritage into their wedding celebrations.

The Ceremony took place at St Mary’s Church in Oxford, followed by a Reception at Aynhoe Park. I used a deeper colour palette of greens and navy, teamed with a handful of softer hues, such as blush, lilac and ivory to add depth. Of course there were hints of brass and gold too, which worked perfectly with their Reception venue. Rachel at The Rose Shed truly nailed the brief, and created the most incredible arrangements for both the Ceremony and the Reception.

Kylee Yee, who is an incredible fine art photographer, and the loveliest person to be around, captured this wedding beautifully. You can enjoy some of her stunning imagery from Beanie & Gawein’s wedding day below.

Beanie & Gawein’s wedding was also recently featured on The Knot, and you can read the full feature here.

If you'd like to work with Vanilla Rose Weddings for assistance in planning your celebrations, find out more about my full-service wedding planning service here, or get in touch to schedule a complimentary discovery call. I am based in Oxford, Oxfordshire, but love to travel - so I’d love to hear more about your plans to see how I may be able to help.

A few words from Beanie & Gawein:

“Thank you again SO very sincerely for helping us to host quite simply the MOST extraordinary wedding weekend.  To quote Gawein, “it was the wedding to end all weddings” (well… certainly for us, though hopefully not for you!) and we both loved every minute.  As indeed did all our guests who were blown away by Aynhoe, the food, the flowers… all just fabulous.”

Venue: Aynhoe Park | Photography: Kylee Yee | Full Wedding Design, Planning, Management & Prop Hire: Vanilla Rose Weddings | Marquee: Marquees & Pavillions | Floral Design: The Rose Shed | Catering: Stones Events | Crossback Chairs: Wedhead | Cake: Princess Patisserie

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

 

Planning Tips | How to Embrace Spring in Your Wedding Plans

Spring is sometimes a forgotten season. We’ve all spent what feels like an eternity in the depths of Winter, and are waiting for the sunshine that Summer hopefully brings; but often the UK Spring months bring us some of the best warmth and sunshine of the year. And that’s not the only reason to embrace Spring as a great season for your wedding; Many venues can also offer an attractive lower hire fee than the most popular months in Summer, meaning you can finally indulge in those Valentino pumps you’ve been lusting over on Pinterest (they’ll count as an essential wedding purchase, I promise!).

There are so many gorgeous colour choices that can truly encapsulate the Spring season and look totally gorgeous when incorporated into a wedding design. For this mood board I have used a soft blush and fresh greenery palette (my fave!), which can be blended subtly through the design concept from beginning to end. Coloured Bridal gowns are still making their way into the industry, and I absolutely adore them! One of my Brides wore a stunning Hayley Paige gown with a full soft grey skirt last year, and a blush pink gown would be a perfect fit for a Spring wedding with a soft pastel palette.

“Spring weddings will always hold a special place in my heart, as the first wedding I ever photographed was in Spring! If you’re lucky with the weather a Spring wedding has the perfect mix of crisp blue skies and mild sunshine without being overbearing! If your venue has lovely outdoor grounds, the garden will be starting to come alive with glorious fluffy blossom trees, majestic magnolia trees as well as wild crocuses and snowdrops; all of which make stunning backdrops for wedding photos, especially the white flowers and trees which will provide lovely continuity of the white of the bride’s gown.” Julie Michaelsen Photography

Scent is one of my favourite ways to really enhance the atmosphere you’re going for, and by adding some floral scented candles to your dinner tablescape it will fill the air with that beautiful aroma all afternoon (just be sure to light them a couple of hours before guests are due to sit down, to give the aroma a chance to filter through the room). A couple of my fave scents of the moment are Spring by The White Company and Feel Refreshed by Neom.

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

Even though Spring often brings sunshine and warmth, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for cooler weather and the possibility of rain. Hire a couple of baskets of umbrellas to have at the ready outside the Church/Ceremony for guests to walk back to your Reception. And if it doesn’t rain? Hey, they double up as sun parasols! Equally, think about what time it will be getting dark in the evening and instead of keeping everyone inside, have a couple of boxes of fleece blankets by the door to outside, and light a couple of fire pits surrounded by lanterns and candlelight, with jars of giant marshmallows and sparklers to keep guests entertained throughout the evening. Freshly cooked, wood-fired pizza would be the perfect addition to this atmosphere, to keep everyone warm and comforted!

“The important thing to remember about a Spring wedding is that although the light will last longer than in January and February, it won’t last as long as during the Summer months, so if getting those gorgeous golden hour shots are important to you, make sure you speak with your photographer and work out what time the sun will set on your chosen wedding day (you can find this online). This way you can make sure your wedding day schedule allows time for these”. Julie Michaelsen Photography

“We adore spring light for portrait sessions. However, it’s worth being mindful though, as the midday sun can be a little harsh for photographs. We always recommend choosing a nice shaded area, which is perfect for portraits and saves any one from squinting at the camera – and you’ll still get the best of those beautiful light and airy images”. Bowtie & Belle Photography

Spring brings a real contrast in florals too, from the colours that have preceded them over the winter months. “They bring mainly wonderful light fresh colours, and I feel they bring a sense of optimism that the cold weather will soon be over and summer and sunshine are coming! Some of my favourites are tulips, ranunculus, narcissi, hyacinths and anemones. Slightly later, in May, comes a real Bridal favourite, Peonies! These are special because they are such a luxurious flower, with layers of fluffy petals and offer the most beautiful colour range”. Joanna Carter Flowers

This post was written by Vanilla Rose Weddings, and first featured on B.LOVED on 22nd February 2017.

Monthly Round Up | 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

Monthly Round Up | June 2016

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

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

BUSINESS

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

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

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

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

FAMILY

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

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

HOME

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

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

Jeni x