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 | 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 | January 2017

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

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

Business

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

Design Details for Vanilla Rose Clients

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

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

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

2017 Business Goals

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

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

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

 

Family

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

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

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

Home

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

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

 

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

Love,

Jeni x

Monthly Round Up | July 2016

A slightly belated round up for July today, as I've had such a busy month I haven't had the time to sit down and write this post! Hope you have all had a lovely July - the weather has finally perked up a little (sporadically!), and it's felt much more like Summer at last! Here's an overview of what I have been up to recently:

Business

I was back at the gorgeous Aynhoe Park at the beginning of the month for R & S' super fun tipi wedding. Aynhoe is truly the best place to party and this wedding didn't disappoint, with delicious cocktails, two evening bands, and a glitter station for guests to be made up with amazing glitter designs! It really was a spectacular wedding, and it was lovely to work alongside so many great suppliers again. Here's a sneak peek at the glitter station, but I'll blog about this wedding separately another time! 

Glitter Station by  Wish Upon a Sparkle  | Image by  McKinley Rodgers Photography
Image by McKinley-Rodgers Photography

Image by McKinley-Rodgers Photography

Aynhoe Park Wedding
Image by McKinley-Rodgers Photography

Image by McKinley-Rodgers Photography

Later that week I attended the launch of the new Bridal Suite at Oxfordshire venue Caswell House. They have beautifully restored an old storage barn into a stunning Bridal Suite, and also created a special Bridal Preparations barn to get ready with your girls on the morning of your wedding! It's often something that's forgotten about by venues, so I'm delighted that Caswell House have taken extra care to ensure the spaces have everything you could possibly need! 

I have been visiting a few other new Oxfordshire/Cotswolds venues over the last few weeks too. We are so spoilt to be surrounded by beautiful countryside, and one venue in particular really stood out for me. Primrose Hill Farm is owned by John Jeffries, a property developer from London, and it's clear he has really poured his heart and soul into this project. Taking on a run down farmhouse and outbuildings and turning it into a wedding venue must have come with its challenges, but it's absolutely been worth the hard work, and I'm really looking forward to working with them over the coming years! 

Amongst final planning preparations and meetings for upcoming weddings, and driving back and forth from London for client meetings with Caterers, Bar Managers, Florists, and stopping off at my absolute fave; Ham Yard Hotel for a catch up with the lovely Lucy Davenport, I have been meeting with a couple of new clients for weddings later this year, as well as next Summer. Sometimes I really do have to stop and count my blessings for how far I have come over the past four years. I've worked so hard to build my business and reputation within the wedding industry; 2016 has been my busiest year yet, and it doesn't look to be slowing down any time soon! I've been lucky enough to have my glamorous Assistant Esmee by my side for this summer season, and I honestly couldn't have done it without her! 

This weekend was the wedding of R&A in South Oxfordshire. I've been working with them for little over a year, and it really was a truly lovely, fun, natural day. Things by Laura knocked it out of the park with her beautiful paper crafts, The Chipping Norton Catering Company were a dream to work with, as always, and Hannah McClune Photography is just a gem! Here's a sneak peek of the beautiful couple from Hannah, and a few iPhone shots, but I'm sure I won't be able to resist sharing a selection of images from Hannah when they're ready later in the year! 

Mr & Mrs giant light up letters
Crate of flowers for Church ceremony
Bride chair back laser cut paper
initial laser cut chair backs paper

 

Family

July will always be a month of celebrations in our house, as it's my birthday month and also our wedding anniversary! This year I turned the big 3-0, so we held a garden party at home with all of my family and closest friends. I literally had just the best day, the weather was absolutely amazing, and it was so lovely to catch up with all of my favourite people in one place. Our pizza oven is finally finished, so we had a pizza station set up for everyone to make up their own toppings to their hearts content, delicious cocktails, two mouth watering birthday cakes, baked by Little Cow Creative Cakes, and the best background music performed by Chip, who also played for our wedding reception two years ago. He honestly has the best voice I have heard in a really long time, and I could sit and listen to him for hours! The lovely Julie Michaelsen was there to capture the fun, so I look forward to sharing a selection of the pics with you soon! 

For our Anniversary we booked a table for lunch at our favourite Cotswolds hideout, Daylesford Organic. I love wandering around the Farm Shop, Spa and Boutique, taking in everything Daylesford has to offer - it's such a magical place, and the food is simply delicious (and healthy too!), plus the car park rivals The Emirates Stadium on training days.....! 

One of my favourite images from our wedding at Aynhoe Park

One of my favourite images from our wedding at Aynhoe Park

Somewhere in-between all of this, I managed to escape for a couple of days with the husband to Ibiza. Working in the drinks industry requires him to travel a lot, particularly over the Summer when everywhere is in full swing, so I joined him on a trip to see their new yacht (although I mostly had my laptop with me - the benefits and perils of having your own business!)

Ibiza Yacht
Ibiza Yacht

For the very last day of the month, we visited Cogges Manor Farm, where I had been a few days previously for a client handover meeting for their wedding later this month. Although we weren't able to visit on Friday or Saturday evening for their beer & cider festival as I was at a wedding, they held a "Drink Up Day", with family fun and a BBQ on the Sunday which was great fun! Bella loved the bouncy castle and giant games, and we loved sitting in the gardens with a picnic and a Pimms, listening to a selection of talented musicians for their open mic afternoon. 

 

Home

Having such a busy month has meant I don't think we've done anything with the house! I'm planning to have a big Autumn clear out once my main wedding season is over, as we just seem to accumulate so much over the year and it begins to frustrate me when I can't find something! 

 

Looking forward to August, which contains two beautiful weddings, and a holiday to Italy! 

Lots of love,

Jeni x

Monthly Round Up | May 2016

Hello! Hope you have all had a wonderful May, which seems to have incorporated all seasons and weather conditions available...but I'm so pleased that at least some hints of summer have finally arrived, as it's felt like we have been in the depths of Winter for far too long now!

This month has been very busy indeed, so prepare for a long post....!

Business

This month I have been busy with meetings and admin, finalising arrangements for June weddings. I have been creating super detailed schedules, confirming a few last details and logistics with key suppliers, finalising the floral and tablescape designs, on the day stationery, and collating final numbers and guest menu choices and dietary requirements, before arranging the seating plans to send to the catering team. The last four weeks leading up to each wedding are crucial in ensuring every last detail has been thought of and covered, and planning deliveries and setup times so that everything runs as seamlessly as possible on the day itself. 

Vanilla Rose Weddings Oxfordshire

Consultations with couples planning their wedding for 2017 have been popular this month, with a few planning celebrations at home, and the others in beautiful Oxfordshire venues. In addition to a couple of exciting new weddings for next year, a luxury Oxford wedding for later this summer, a bohemian summer office party is also now in the planning for early summer, so something a little different for me, but an exciting challenge!

At the beginning of the month I travelled to Norfolk with some clients to meet with potential caterers for their wedding next year at Voewood. We had such a wonderful day, and travelled to all four corners of Norfolk in a day to see everyone, so a long day but super productive. It was so lovely to see their venue again, and at the same time of year as their wedding day (Top Tip: try to do this with your wedding venue if planning more than a year in advance, as it will be invaluable to you when planning what the gardens will look like, and where the sun/light is throughout the day).

I held a final run through of timings for my first two weddings in June with the venue teams to ensure everyone is up to speed with the plans, and of course to identify any logistical issues that may occur or have been missed. 

Excitingly, I have now found an Assistant to work alongside me for this summer. I spent a lot of time earlier this month reading carefully through all of the applications I received. It was a really hard decision, as every single person I interviewed would have been amazing, and I'd love to have worked with them all, but I only had one position available, so please welcome the lovely Esmee to the VRW team!

 

Family

The main event from this month is that my little girl turned 3 at the weekend! I'm not entirely sure where the last 3 years have gone, but I'm so proud of the clever, thoughtful and caring little girl that Bella has become. She makes me laugh every single day, and although she is without doubt a challenge most days too, I wouldn't have her any other way! We had a family day on Friday last week at London Zoo to celebrate her birthday, followed by a full bank holiday weekend of celebrations and all round spoiling! We spent the afternoon on Saturday at Blenheim Palace for their Food & Drink Festival, and Bella thoroughly enjoyed the Pleasure Gardens and live music!

I spent 4 days in Las Vegas mid month too with friends to celebrate a Hen Party. I'm not quite sure how I expected Vegas to be, but it was a truly amazing fun-packed long weekend! Walking along the Strip almost feels like you have dived right into a film set; with the most elaborate hotels, fountains, gardens and signage. We took some time to explore some of the hotels, and one of my favourites was the Venetian, with it's gondola filled canals, ornate wall murals and huge shopping centre! We stayed in the Aria, which was amazing, and contained everything you could ever need (and some....!). We dined at some incredible restaurants, with my favourite being Hakkasan. I've never been to the London venue, as it's not the type of cuisine I would normally choose, but I will definitely be visiting after experiencing it's Vegas establishment. So Delicious! 

The Fountains at The Bellagio

The Fountains at The Bellagio

Gondolas at The Venetian

Gondolas at The Venetian

Home

We have spent some time this month getting to grips with the garden, and finally starting our decking area and pizza oven base, ready to take delivery of a wood fired oven in June. Our Summer House has looked a little lonely at the end of the garden for the past year, so I'm really looking forward to making the most of it this summer as it becomes part of our outdoor entertaining area.

A few months ago I planted up a cutting flower bed, full of pretty blooms to cut later in the summer. There's nothing better than filling the house with fresh flowers, and the peonies are doing especially well at the moment, almost ready to burst with colour! 

 

June is a super busy month for me, as it's when my peak wedding season begins. I have two beautiful and very different weddings, a corporate bohemian party and I'm also Bridesmaid for a friends wedding! 

Hope you have all had a great May, see you again in a month!

Jeni x