Three Fabulous Signature Cocktail Recipes for Your Wedding

The days of a basic bar have definitely been numbered, and having worked in the hospitality and events industry for many years, I’ve seen the art of cocktails flourish into something truly exciting. London in particular is spoilt for choice with the most incredible cocktail bars, and the industry has gone from strength to strength and now creating cocktails has become a true art form -with the creation of craft spirits, molecular mixology and bespoke glassware.

I love incorporating an inviting cocktail menu into the evening offering at my clients weddings and it’s always received well by guests; but if you can’t quite justify the price tag of having a full cocktail list, then why not select a couple of Signature Cocktails in addition to your usual bar offering? Choose two or three of your favourite cocktails, and give your guests a treat with this personal touch. Remember to include a non-alcoholic number for those who are driving too!

I’ve put together a few of my favourites here with some recipes for you to try…

Rhubarb Negroni

INGREDIENTS

  • 25ml Citadelle Gin

  • 15ml Rhubarb Liqueur

  • 15ml Campari

  • 15ml Antica Formula Vermouth

METHOD

Pour all spirits over cubed ice into an Old Fashioned glass. Stir well. Line glass with rhubarb ribbons to garnish.

Rhubarb Negroni
Rhubarb Negroni Recipe
Rhubarb Negroni Recipe
Rhubarb Negroni Recipe

Vanilla French Martini

INGREDIENTS

  • 40ml Sauvelle Vodka

  • 20ml Raspberry Liqueur

  • 25ml Pineapple Juice

  • Fresh Vanilla Pod

METHOD

Add one third of the vanilla pod into cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with cubed ice and all liquid ingredients. Shake hard and double strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a single raspberry and remainder of the vanilla pod.

French Martini Recipe
Vanilla French Martini Recipe
French Martini Recipe
Vanilla French Martini Recipe

English Garden

INGREDIENTS

  • 100ml Cloudy Apple Juice

  • 75ml Ginger Beer

  • 10ml Elderflower Cordial

  • An apple

  • Fresh Mint

  • Sliced Cucumber

METHOD

Muddle the fresh mint, lime and cucumber in a highball glass and add crushed ice. Pour apple juice, elderflower cordial and ginger beer over ice, stir well and top up with more crushed ice if required. Garnish with fresh mint, apple fan and a cucumber wedge.

English Garden Cocktail Recipe
English Garden Cocktail Recipe
English Garden Cocktail Recipe
English Garden Cocktail Recipe

Concept, Co-ordination & Styling: Vanilla Rose Weddings | Photography: Cecelina Photography | Calligraphy: Away with Words Calligraphy | Copper Bar Equipment: Oliver Bonas

This post was written by Vanilla Rose Weddings, and first appeared on B.LOVED on 17th March 2017.

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

 

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 | 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

Styled Shoot | Enchanted Forest

Earlier this year I worked on an Enchanted Forest styled shoot, which I would love to share with you today. I enlisted the help of some super lovely industry people to create beautiful inspiration for an outdoor ceremony, cake display and tablescape. I loved working with Green & Gorgeous Flowers, The Little Lending Co, Little Cow Creative Cakes and Things by Laura to bring my ideas to life, which was all beautifully photographed by Daria at Plenty to Declare.

This shoot was featured over on B.LOVED a little while ago, so see the full feature here.

Co-ordination & Styling: Vanilla Rose Weddings | Photography: Plenty to Declare | Floral Design: Green & Gorgeous | Cake: Little Cow Creative Cakes | Vintage Hire: The Little Lending Company | Stationery & Paper Flowers: Things by Laura