Monthly Round Up | February 2019

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

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

Business

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

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

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

Family & Home

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

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

Jeni Amey Vanilla Rose Weddings
The Trout Inn Oxford

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

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

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

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

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

Jeni x

Monthly Round Up | January 2019

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

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

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

Business

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

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

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

Family & Home

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

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

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


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


Jeni x

Monthly Round Up | August 2017

How is it September tomorrow? It almost feels like we haven't really had Summer yet. My daughter starts school next week, and I'm not sure how time has flown this quickly! It only seems like yesterday she was starting one day a week at Nursery at 5 months old, and now I'll be sending her off in her school uniform come Tuesday....! 

Here's a little of what I've been up to in August:

Business

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know all about Lindsay & Will's beautiful wedding over the Bank Holiday weekend! We have been planning their big day at Wickham House for 18 months, and I was absolutely delighted with how everything looked and ran on the day. I had the best team of vendors; each and every one worked so super hard to bring everything together to create something fabulous! Wickham House was a gorgeous setting for their Sail Tent marquee wedding, which was overflowing with all the greenery and candlelight we could get away with! Forage & Blossom outdid herself with the most incredible installation over the Top Table, and I can't wait to share more with you. But for now, here are a few sneak peeks of the day from Julie Michaelsen Photography:

Family

We spent a long weekend at Wilderness Festival in Oxfordshire at beginning of the month, which was an absolute blast. The food was incredible (particularly from Petersham Nurseries, The Pig, and Deliciously Ella), the children's tents and activities were just the best fun, and Aynhoe Backstage was rocking for sure all weekend!! 

Wilderness Festival Wellbeing
Wilderness Festival
Wilderness Festival Wellbeing
Wilderness Festival

The following week, I spent a day in London visiting clients, and catching up with the vendors that I haven't had the time to do over the last couple of months. It was a beautifully sunny day too, so walking between meetings was a joy and reminded me how leafy some of the streets really are in London! That evening, I enjoyed a Date Night with my husband at The Ned, which I've been wanting to visit since it opened earlier this year. It really is a colossal building, with numerous restaurants all in the main hall. We had a couple of pre-dinner cocktails downstairs in the amazing Vaults Bar, which still has all of the 3,000 original safety deposit boxes adorning the walls. Our dinner in Cecconi's was lovely, although we'd really gone for the pizzas which we'd heard great things about, but their pizza oven wasn't working that evening! So I guess we'll just have to go back and try it again soon....!

The Vaults Bar at The Ned London
The Vaults Bar at The Ned London

Hope you've all had a great month, and looking forward to catching up again in September! 

 

Love,

Jeni x

 

Monthly Round Up | July 2017

We're now into the second half of the year, and I'm super proud of myself for posting one of these round up posts at the end of every month so far. I was determined to keep the momentum going, and it's actually really nice looking back at previous posts to remind myself of how much I've achieved in the last 6 months. I'm not usually one for constantly looking back, I prefer to spend my time planning for the future, but sometimes a little reflection is just what's needed to allow myself to continue to grow and flourish (particularly with my business). Here's a little of what I've been up to in July:

Business

I had a super busy final few weeks in June with two big weddings, so for the beginning of July, I made sure I dedicated plenty of time to my couples for the rest of the summer. I ensure I'm as organised as possible with the plans for every wedding before the busy season starts in April, and I always stay in touch with my couples throughout the summer months. However, it's such a busy period for all industry vendors, so each task can take a little longer around this time! 

If you haven't yet come across the fabulous venue that is The Lakes by Yoo, then please do take a moment to check out their website. They have recently made the decision to offer The Barnhouse as a luxury venue for weddings, so I spent an afternoon there earlier this month absorbing all that the exclusive development has to offer. The interiors at The Barnhouse have been exceptionally designed by Kate Moss, and it is now available for intimate weddings. If you'd like to find out more about The Lakes by Yoo as a venue for your wedding, please do get in touch and I'd love to share more about it with you!

Last weekend saw a gorgeous wedding in the Great Hall and Long Library at Blenheim Palace, with floral gorgeousness created by the fabulous Joanna Carter Flowers. It's always a pleasure working with Joanna and her team, and they created some spectacular arrangements which were perfect for the grandeur of the Palace. The cake in particular was certainly a showstopper, and many of you sent me lots of messages on Instagram about this one....!

Asian Wedding Cakes | Wedding Planner at Blenheim Palace

Home

I have tried to embark on a huge decluttering mission this month, as we seem to accumulate so much which we really don't need. I have succeeded in clearing Bella's wardrobe and drawers, which took me a couple of hours one rainy afternoon (with her help!), and ended up with two bin bags of good quality clothing which we donated to our chosen charity. It was much easier than I thought, and I'm not sure why I've been putting it off so long - so in August I'm planning to tackle my own wardrobe (and this gives me an excuse to buy a couple of new pieces - just don't tell my husband!!). 

I'm planning a new gallery wall and Library space at the moment, with some new family photographs by the lovely Sarah Hannam Photography from our mini getaway to Ibiza last month, so this is next on my horizon (along with the Utility Room plans which are now underway!).

Sarah Hannam Fine Art Family Photography
Sarah Hannam Fine Art Film Family Photography

Family

We were in Tuscany for a wedding at the beginning of this month, and then spent a couple of days child-free at a beautiful Italian spa resort before heading home. It was really lovely to spend some quality time together, as it seems such a rarity these days; so a pool overlooking the beautiful golf course with a couple of spa treatments thrown in was just what the doctor ordered! 

I met some girlfriends for lunch one Saturday afternoon at the new Ivy Garden in Marlow, which was a lovely treat to ourselves. The food was absolutely delicious and the setting was lovely, but we came to the conclusion that the Chelsea Garden outlet is still our absolute fave for an all round experience! The following day we welcomed some friends for a pizza afternoon at home in our garden. The pizza oven hasn't had many uses this summer yet, so it was great to fire it up and enjoy some delicious stone baked pizzas, alongside a few healthy salads to balance them out! 

It's been my birthday and also our wedding anniversary this month, so I have been rather spoilt to say the least! We spent a leisurely Sunday afternoon at Cotswold Lavender, near Broadway wandering through rows and rows of purple gorgeousness (somewhere I've been meaning to go to every July for the last 3 or 4 years!) followed by a lovely Sunday lunch at Willow Crossley's new venture - The Swan at Ascott, for our anniversary weekend.

Cotswold Lavender Farm
Cotswold Lavender Farm

For my birthday, we spent a lovely day in London catching up with friends over wine and cocktails at my favourite Ham Yard Hotel, before spending my actual birthday a couple of days later having brunch with my parents, and a family day with Bella at Bristol Zoo, followed by an amazing evening at The Pig near Bath. If you haven't been to The Pig before, you absolutely should! The ambience, service and food were all just incredible, and we couldn't have enjoyed it more. The setting of the hotel is just lovely, with an array of home grown produce finding its way to the majority of their delicious menu. It was so difficult to choose what to have. As a vegetarian, I often find when eating out that restaurants only offer one choice, which of course isn't actually a "choice" at all. You either have it, or you don't! At The Pig, there were around 5 or 6 vegetarian options, and all of them sounded equally amazing! After much deliberation, I opted for a few of the small nibbles as a tapas style starter, followed by a preserved tomatoes and burrata salad with fresh basil and edible flowers, teamed with a side of chilli quinoa. For dessert, we shared a bread and butter pudding (divine!) and the Piggy Fours - a fun take on Petit Fours, which were delicious! We're always looking for new pubs and restaurants to discover in and around Oxfordshire, so if you have any recommendations which you think we'd love, do get in touch! 

Hope you've all had a fab month! :-)

Jeni x

Monthly Round Up | June 2017

It feels like Summer has finally arrived this month, with a mega heatwave taking hold last week. We seem to spend all Winter wishing for sunshine, and as soon as we get some, it's too hot and we can't cope! Of course we all rush out to buy emergency fans, and everywhere has already sold out. Note to self: be prepared!! 

Anyway, it's been a great month here, and I'm excited to share a little about what I've been up to in June:

Business

I've had two fabulous weddings this month, which have both been simply amazing. I know I say this a lot, but I'm so lucky to be able to work with such fantastic teams. Here are a couple of sneak peaks from a wedding at Aynhoe Park last week:

Paula Rooney Flowers Aynhoe Park Vanilla Rose Wedding Planner
Cakes by Krishanthi Aynhoe Park Vanilla Rose Wedding Planner
Paula Rooney Flowers Aynhoe Park Vanilla Rose Wedding Planner

Aside from running the two weddings, I have mostly been working on upcoming plans for my weddings later in the year; with a couple of floristry meetings, site visits, a client menu tasting, a final run through for a fabulous July wedding, and a couple of design brainstorm meetings with new couples. Although everyone always thinks being a Wedding Planner is such a glamorous job (and don't get me wrong, it absolutely has it's glamorous moments!), I spend a lot of my time behind a computer at my desk getting down to the finer details that planning a wedding entails. At any one time, I'm usually surrounded by a number of folders, notebooks, spreadsheets and stationery samples, alongside a lengthy To Do list (in my beautiful Lifestyled Planner no-less!)

 

Home

We haven't actually been home much this month, so I'm not sure I have anything to add here! I've mostly been nurturing the flowers in my garden, enjoying the last of the peonies, and I was excited to discover that the cauliflower plants actually have cauliflowers growing on them now! I haven't tried growing them before, as I usually stick to the fail-safe options like rhubarb, strawberries and tomatoes, so I wasn't convinced they would work out, but I now have 5 small cauliflowers which already look delicious (it's a shame no-one else in my house likes them apart from me - not sure what I'm going to do with 5 cauliflowers that will all be ready at the same time - any suggestions?!)

Sarah Bernherdt Peonies

I've been following a few interior and lifestyle bloggers on Instagram recently, and I'm now making plans for our Utility Room to have a makeover after feeling envious of some I've seen. My husband thinks I'm mad when I come up with lots of grand ideas for what is essentially a room to house the washing machine and tumble drier, but you know, these things are important in life. Right...?!

 

Family

At the end of last month's post, I mentioned that we were in Ibiza for a short family trip. It was such a lovely time away, and I'm currently daydreaming of Formentera beaches as we speak...! My husband travels to Ibiza frequently for work, but I haven't been for a number of years (since we got engaged there in 2012), and I was instantly reminded of how much of a beautiful island it is! Soft white sands, clear blue waters, and the constant background Ibiza chillout tracks playing as you lounge by the pool! This was our first trip to Ibiza with Bella, and she was just so happy playing in the sand, or splashing around in the pool! We took her to a "Go Ape" adventure park, which had a fab smaller course for little ones - which she absolutely loved (once she'd got the hang of it!). We found some new favourite restaurants whilst we were there, and I'm looking forward to heading back there and discovering some more with a couple of my girlfriends for a long weekend once wedding season has ended, as a little treat to myself! 

Madame a la Plage straw tote bag
Ibiza Hotels
Ibiza Bougainvillea
Formentera Ibiza

Mid month, we hosted a brunch for my parents at home, to celebrate my dad's birthday. We don't often get time to sit down and have a meal together at our house, as we're all super busy. My parents currently split their time between our family home in Dorset and their home in Oxfordshire, and they often host us for lunch, so it was lovely to be able to re-pay the favour and enjoy a delicious brunch at home with them. The same day we also welcomed some friends for a late lunch, so we were suitably full come dinner time!

We also spent a weekend in Polzeath, Cornwall, with my parents in law, for Fathers Day and my Father in Law's birthday. It was during the heatwave week, and our apartment was literally right on the beach, so it was a perfect escape to the cool sea for a few days before returning to the sauna we called home early last week!

Polzeath Cornwall Coastline
Polzeath Cornwall Coastline

We're gearing up for Bella starting school this September, and the information has been pouring in thick and fast about term dates, uniform requirements, and what feels like endless forms to fill in. I'm so excited to see her truly flourish when she starts school - she's such a clever little girl, and I'm definitely going to be one of those mums crying at the school gates on her first day! 

 

Hope you've all had a fab month :-).

 

Love,

Jeni x

Monthly Round Up | May 2017

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

Business

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

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

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

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

All images by Green Antlers Photography

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

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

Images by Julie Michaelsen Photography

Home

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

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

Images by Julie Michaelsen Photography

Family

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

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

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

Fomentera, Ibiza
Illetes Beach, Fomentera, Ibiza

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

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

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

Until then....

Jeni x

Monthly Round Up | April 2017

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

Business

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

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

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

Image by Barker Evans Photography

Image by Barker Evans Photography

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

Home

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

Family

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

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

 

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

Love,

Jeni x

 

Monthly Round Up | 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

 

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