My week with the Wren- Work Experience with Jenny Wren
Written by Jessica Green a Creative Events Management student, who spent the week with us for her work experience.
‘I am an extremely indecisive person. My whole life I have hopelessly tried to choose my career path and have always changed my mind. Firstly I wanted to be a teacher, then an actress before finally settling on TV producer. I did Media at school, college and completed my first year at Falmouth University in a TV degree before I realised something extremely important… I didn’t want to do TV. I had a camera phobia, I didn’t like the technical aspects and scriptwriting was not my forte. I had a think. I realised I loved organising, meeting new people and creating something from nothing. A few weeks later, I had quit TV and was enrolled in a Creative Events Management degree with the realisation of my dream job clear in my head: Wedding Planning.
I really don’t know why it took me so long- I love weddings (give me a wedding magazine and I will gaze over it dazed and happy for hours), I completed work experience at a hotel within an events team and when at my Auntie’s wedding this summer I was happier helping her decorate her marquee than I had ever been in my TV degree. So I began searching for a work placement within Cornwall so I could gain some experience and truly make sure it was something I wanted to do. I found Jenny Wren Weddings and Events online and instantly knew I had to contact her. Eventually (after begging Jenny and my lecturer to let me have a week off my studies) I managed to land a placement on the 9th-13th November. There wouldn’t be any weddings but I was able to help out on the Cornwall Wedding Meet up; an event Jenny organised with a lovely lady called Hazel Parsons.
My week started meeting Jenny at the bus stop where she’d kindly take me her office in the Wren-mobile every morning. She instantly made me feel welcome and not nervous at all. She has to be the most genuine, down-to-earth, warmest person I’ve ever met. Initially filled with dread that I’d do something wrong, be bossed about constantly and making tea all the time, I was completely reassured by her. In fact, when we got in she made ME a cup of tea! My first task was to create a sign in sheet for the Cornwall Wed meet up. After about forty minutes of tearing my hair out from excel and it’s difficulty with being able to put last names in alphabetical order (it was probably do-able but I’m no pro at excel) I had done it! My next tasks over the day were to decorate candles and a chalk board. The chalkboard was extremely hard to do as I write sideways and without lined paper my writing has a sloping effect no matter how hard I try. Jenny, however, found this hilarious and was nice enough to compliment my handwriting rather than point out the awful, slanting words across the chalkboard that could not be fixed. Now that I think about it, that chalkboard wasn’t even used in the end…
In the afternoon Jenny took me on a trip to get foliage for the styled shoot the following day. What I thought would be collecting a few leaves turned into me shearing off half a tree while Jenny collected them in a giant bucket. However, my slight worry that I’d be arrested by a park ranger for stealing nature was quickly turned to laughter by Jenny excitedly pointing at leafy branches and telling me to: “grab that one!” After about twenty minutes, we were done for the day and in the Wren-mobile with about three trees in the back.
My next couple of days at the Cornwall Wedding Meet-up gave me the most valuable insight as to the life of an events planner. It wasn’t all just laughter and glamour. It was hard work. Starting work at eight and finishing around six, not sitting down for literally more than ten minutes, solving problems to last minute hitches and making sure everything looked perfect while managing time efficiently. It also helped me to realise it was the only job for me. I got to help style and set the table with gorgeous succulents from Stargazey Wedding Hire, beautiful flowers from Ballooning Buds and Bows and simple but stunning invitations from the Paper Princess. I made the finishing touches to the place settings with rosemary and silver ribbon. I signed guests in when they arrived and generally ran about helping anyone and everyone I could. I even got to sit in on a radio Cornwall interview. Sure, I had a ridiculous backache, my feet were swollen and at one point I thought I was going to pass out from tiredness at lunch but I LOVED every second of it and never wanted to leave!
Hazel (who runs the event with Jenny) is the type of person you need to do work experience with. She’ll give you jobs and will have you rushed off your feet but she’s fair, kind and it’s probably the best thing for anyone starting out in the industry. I learnt a lot from her such as how to box a table- although at the time she tried to teach me I looked at her with a blank and concerned face as if she’d just asked me to ride a unicycle, juggle and recite the alphabet backwards in Spanish. However, through my determination to learn I practised at home with a towel (it probably wasn’t the best way to go about things but I’m a student and to me a table cloth is an unnecessary luxury). To which I proudly informed her the next day. She was proud of me- I think- until I mentioned the towel part to which she laughed and told me it probably wasn’t the best thing to use.
I also worked with Becky, one of Hazel’s friends and colleagues at the St Ives Harbour Hotel. Becky and I worked together on event day and I learnt a lot from her too. She was super lovely and whenever I did something completely wrong she’d smile and laugh it off- which was extremely reassuring. For example, not to put a 90×90 table cloth on a circle table as it would completely swamp it with fabric. (I don’t think table cloths are particularly my strong point but I’m working through it).
My last few days at Jenny Wren were more chilled but still really helped me. I organised folders, wrote thank you cards to guests and created a massive wedding inspiration collage of different wedding styles. As a fan of collages since the age of ten I was completely in my element and I don’t think I’ve ever been happier than ripping apart Wed Magazine (my recently found but most admired possession)
Working with Jenny was the most amazing experience. She’s built a successful business and has done so many things but still remains down-to-Earth, funny, humble and just generally good-natured. She makes everyone feel comfortable in her presence and I feel extremely sad leaving her but also very privileged that I’ve had this week with her. Everyone I have had the pleasure of working with this week helped me realise this is definitely the industry I want to be in- more than anything. My hope now is to one day own a successful company just like Jenny (who has- and this sounds extremely cringey- become my future inspiration in less than a week). So to finish I’d like to thank Jenny for the best week I’ve had in a while and to wish working again with you in the near-future.