Last summer I underwent a complete rebrand of the Weddings by Jenna Hewitt business. Anyone who has started their own business or who works within the creative/marketing industries will know all about defining your “ideal client” and, with a decent dose of industry experience under my belt, I was pretty clear about the clients and the weddings that I love to work with and I wanted to make sure that I was appealing to and connecting with the right people. When you work with a bride (or groom) on a wedding, that relationship typically spans at least a year. It is in everyone’s interest that you get on, that you get one another – if I want to do an amazing job for my clients, I need to know that I really understand what it is they want to create and they need the same reassurance back. And so the soul searching of “what am I about" (as a wedding planner) began. I had to really question and unpick in order to coin/define exactly what my style and way of working was.
It was through this process that I coined the term “laid back luxury” – it was the closest I got to nailing exactly what it is that I think I stand for but, to be honest, even this term takes a little bit of explaining. I don’t mean luxury that is a bit rough around the edges, far from it, I mean all the luxury but without the pomp or the fuss. A year and a bit on and it still has me thinking, especially about the word “luxury” - what it means when it comes to weddings and what it means when it comes to a Jenna Hewitt designed wedding.
FOOD AND DRINK
If there is one thing that my couples care a huge deal about, it's the food and the drink. Sometimes this equates to a fine dining experience, but not always. Sometimes it equates to a relaxed sharing menu. The common thread, however, is the quality of the food, the cooking, the service and the suppliers who deliver and put it all together. Their (and my) standards are high in the food and drink stakes – I’m talking fish so fresh you can see that it is before you even taste it, meat that slips off a bone, vegan or bespoke dietary menus that go beyond a few bits of salad leaves and, above all, caterers who are super passionate and care down the very last detail.
Then on to the drink, and my clients get particularly excitable over this one! But, again, I am not necessarily talking the “throw all the money in the world and buy the best branded champagne” type attitude. I’m talking about hand picked, locally sourced drinks with some meaning. Nyetimber because it is British (and yummy) or a gin specially blended for the couple (as was the gin at Sophie and Tom’s wedding in summer 2018), maybe a bespoke cocktail like the gin and lavender lemonade that Rhubarb created for Michelle and Josh.
The style of a wedding is an all-important piece and, here, I am all about the luxury: beautiful materials; gorgeous colour schemes; well put together pieces but done in an all together stylish way – relaxed but not rustic, chic but not over styled, statement but not ostentatious, wow but not gawdy. I was once asked how I would plan a princess pink themed wedding. My answer was that I wouldn’t – how could I do it justice? It’s not my natural style.
For me, true luxury comes in the little well thought out touches and meticulous details, the things you may not think about but, once you experience them, you wonder how you did without them or, if they weren’t there, you would really miss. Things like making sure that guest are always thought about and comfortable, starting with a well thought through plan (no guest “hanging about” here) and seamless execution that still manages to feel utterly relaxed. This year alone we have managed weddings across 3 days with guests travelling to and from 8 different guest hotels. Of course we arranged door to door transportation, with an emergency car service available for anyone who needed it outside of this. We’ve planned a wedding weekend at a private home with 100 guests glamping on site, complete with luxury showers and an on site pamper tent (where else would you be able to access a hair dryer, phone charger, fridge for a light snack or a sofa for a little downtime – in the middle of a field?). We make sure that everyone is considered – from young through to old. Hannah and Ben had in excess of 20 children across their wedding weekend and with on site childcare (fun and games in bespoke bell tents, child friendly meal times and food and a sleepover den that meant parents could collect them – asleep- at midnight and transfer them to bed) we ensured that not only did the kids have a riot but the parents could too (thank you Susie from The Little Top).
Luxury, it’s a funny old word, that means something different to everyone but, hopefully, you have a glimpse of what it means to me and my kind of wedding celebration.
Image credit and thank you to M&J Photography (all images excluding image 3) and Kitty Wheeler Shaw (image 3).