When you own a wedding venue, and the day finally comes to actually get married yourselves, you begin to feel the pressure build!
Jordan and I had been together for 9 years when he popped the question… It was in a moment of complete surprise, when I was feeling anything but glamorous! (It’s a long story, but if you do want to hear more about my ‘pain’, quite literally! You can read the full story here: http://www.mrandmrsjordan.com/the-proposal/ ) Whilst we had been together for a long time, we had a business to run together and always had bigger, more important things to focus on within the business – The concept of even planning a wedding for ‘myself’, just felt like something I would never have the time to do!!
However, as every ‘bride to be’ does, I found my time and started to begin the planning process!…
The first thing we needed to confirm was the venue!!… Holding our wedding at the Sheene Mill was a ‘no brainer’! Whilst I admit, I was a little worried about the potential added pressure and the concept of being ‘at work’ at first, I also recognise how beautiful our venue is and could think of no place better for us both to get married!
Sheene Mill is so much more than just a venue to us – it is, quite literally our home! I worked at the Sheene Mill from the age of 11, when my parents owned the business, to then come back 10 years after they left to own the business together with my partner, Jordan. The Sheene Mill has been the home to so many of my happy memories, from my childhood swims in the river, to the recent years… My Mum and her now husband got married at Sheene Mill, my Dad and his Fiancee got engaged here!
Getting married at our own venue also meant I had complete trust in my staff and that they would execute everything the way they know we’d want it to be done. It also gave us the flexibility to really go ‘to town’ and actually enjoy the venue from the other side for once!
Selecting the suppliers was perhaps slightly easier for us than most, we see a lot of different wedding suppliers on a regular basis, so were able to pick our favourite suppliers, people that we had built a relationship up with and people who we felt would really look after us.
The suppliers were booked within a few weeks and with just over a year to go until our wedding, well, I just couldn’t stop!!
Unfortunately, finding the dress was not so straightforward, I looked everywhere locally and what felt like every single shop in London too! …Then when I finally ‘whittled’ it down to the final ‘8 dresses’, which I had thought were ‘ok’, my Mum told me she hated them all!!
I had always envisaged a fitted, ‘bodycon’ style dress, in a Champagne gold with a long train. Mum on the other hand, had always envisaged a large, ‘ball gown’ style dress, minimalistic in design – Not my thing at all!!
After many tears, we ‘compromised’ on Mums ‘ball gown dress,’ with my preferred fitted top and low back from Caroline Castigliano, in London. It was a very hard decision to make – I think you just put so much pressure on yourself for it to be perfect, that nothing ever seems right! And seeing hundreds of wedding dresses each year meant I didn’t get that same ‘wow’ feeling that perhaps other brides experience – I just felt like I’d seen it all before!
Happy to have my dress sorted, I went ‘to town’ with the decorations, and bought in a fantastic venue dresser to help. Then in a moment of craziness we arranged for our wedding to be filmed by a major television broadcaster (that certainly added some pressure!!) and subsequently began to ‘prepare’ the venue, so that we knew it would look at its absolute best (not just for us, but for our other brides too, of course!)
After what felt like years, the day finally came!…
I had been up all night the night before (having spent 1 hour in bed from 3 – 4am!) just going around the Sheene Mill, ensuring everything was perfect, and all of my ‘millions’ of decorations were in place (I think I got a little carried away ‘wedding shopping’!) …It’s strange, we do more than 100 weddings a year, the staff know what they’re doing, I ‘normally’ know what I’m doing – but I was just so paranoid I’d forgotten something!
On the morning of our wedding, I woke up bright and early, at 4am to the sound of my hairdresser knocking on the front door! I quickly let her in to set up, ran upstairs to get a shower, then came straight back downstairs, leaving everything else to my hair and make-up artist! …As I came down, my bridesmaids were starting to arrive and there was a general ‘buzz’ in the room! …I popped open some Champagne, turned the music on, opened up a few boxes of my favourite chocolates as we started to get ready!
Before I knew it, my Mums house (where we were getting ready) was full with suppliers, bridesmaids and the mothers of both the bride and groom…. I felt nervous, but was starting to get that ‘tingling excitement’ in my belly! At 7am our wedding co-ordinator at the Sheene Mill, Emma arrived at my Mum’s house ‘armed’ with heaps of breakfast from the Chefs, my favourite rose & white Champagnes and a massive smile on her face! – Just seeing the smile on her face put me instantly at ease, and in that moment I knew everything was in control, and I just needed to relax and enjoy our day!
Shortly afterwards I saw the helicopter arrive (that I had planned for Jordan and his best Men to go up in!)… It was great, from my Mum’s house we had a full view and saw all of the ushers running over to the helicopter in excitement! …They soon ‘took off’ and flew out over the sights of London and some of the football stadiums that the guys were desperate to see! When Jordan arrived back Emma handed him my wedding gift of a watch (to match his suit) with our engraved wedding date on the back.
Then, for some reason, the ushers walked into my Mums house and started fiddling with the TV?!! They put a disc into it and Jordan’s face appeared!… He had made me a lovely video of our memories together as a couple and told me that I needed to be ready at 11am (instead of the planned 11.30am!) that panicked me slightly, so I thought I’d better ‘crack on’ and get my make-up artist to do my make-up next.
At 11.30am (slightly late I admit!) we walked out to see the beautiful horse and carriage Jordan had arranged, and enjoyed a little trip around Melbourn before arriving ‘in style’ at the Sheene Mill.
Walking into the Sheene Mill everything suddenly became very real! The place looked absolutely beautiful, and for a moment I felt so proud, proud of my amazing staff and of our lovely venue!
As I walked down the aisle everything just became a bit of a ‘blur’, (apparently there were television cameras everywhere, but I didn’t notice even one!) …I felt extremely nervous, knowing that everyone was looking at me and that soon I’d be reading out my personal vows in front of everyone! There was a fantastic saxophonist, vocalist and guitarist playing as I walked down the aisle, and playing again whilst we were signing the register, I’ve been told they were great, but I literally didn’t hear a thing! All I could see was the tears in Jordan’s eyes as I walked closer to him …It was emotional, petrifying and perfect all at the same time!
After being ‘officially’ married, the fun could properly begin and I was able to try and ‘soak in’ everything around me! …My bridesmaids looked fantastic in their long champagne gold maxi dresses, with ivory lace trim, Jordan and the groomsmen so smart in their grey tails with champagne gold cravat to match and I finally felt comfortable in my very large ball gown style dress – and was pleased that my Mum had ‘pushed’ me out of my comfort zone slightly and convinced me to get the dress I did!
The pavilion looked stunning, with beautiful deep red, cream and soft peach flowers draping softly from the railings and arching over where Jordan and I had said our vows. Big flower displays lined our walkway (both at the beginning of the aisle and in the pavilion) and rose petals to match lined the cream carpet I’d walked down, matching the cream bows on the chairs and little hearts of rose petal confetti on each seat).
As I started to look around, Emma came over to us with a glass of my favourite Laurent Perrier Rose, and to Jordan with a glass of white Bollinger, and I saw the staff begin to pour these magnums of champagne for the rest of our guests. The magnums were all displayed on a table with a beautiful gold sequin cloth, positioned next to our newly built gin and dry ice bar. Black and white ‘barn style’, (to tie in with the rest of the building) I saw the guests enjoying their Champagne, and then heading over to the dry ice bar for their choice of gin and tonic, filled with excitement by the bubbly ‘smoke’ coming out of their glass!
As the drinks circulated, our magician started to make his way around our guests, the string quartet began to play and the divine canapés were in full flow! I could hear laughter, beautiful music, and smell beautiful food!… I felt happy and relaxed, knowing everything was just as I had imagined.
With the canapés starting our appetites off, it was soon time to make our way through for our favourite 8 course, exquisite wedding breakfast menu!!
As I walked into our dining room, I was literally blown away!… There was a beautiful, floor to ceiling blossom tree as soon as we walked in, with stunning crystals, candles and our guests names hanging from it, there was a guitarist sat underneath it, playing our favourite songs… And the table set up looked, well, absolutely breath-taking!
We had stunning, tall flower arrangements on each table, each with hanging Swarovski crystals and a champagne gold and cream ‘lace effect’, laser engraved table number. Each table hosted beautiful crystal glass wear, with champagne gold beaded charger plates, a deep red rose and champagne gold ribbon on every place setting to match and the tables were lit with what felt like hundreds of candles covering every inch of the beautiful linens! Everyone had their own personal champagne gold candle, with their own laser engraved names as their place setting, to take home and each guest had the ‘task’ of finding their name and table number hanging from the blossom tree as they arrived.
There were candelabras and flowers lining every windowsill and stunning textured linens on every table, with chair covers and bows to match… It looked like something from another world! (I think even Jordan was impressed!!)
As I walked into the room, trying to take everything in, the cake instantly took my eye – It looked amazing!… Sat on a beautiful champagne gold sequin table cloth, standing on its own beautifully made ‘lace effect’ icing sugar legs, it was 5 tiers of perfection, set off by a gold leaf tier, a soft lace and pearl design and absolutely stunning cascading flowers, (perfectly tying in with my table arrangements!) down both sides of the cake!… The sugar flowers were so good, I actually thought she’d changed the design and used real ones! It was incredible!!
The speeches were split up between each course, and we had a friend playing the part of ‘MC’, introducing each speech, telling little antidotes and handing out shots to ‘calm the nerves’ and put people at ease beforehand. The speeches were certainly interesting!! My family are all characters, with way too much to say – so I think each speech was ‘heckled’ (by me to ‘defend’ myself in most cases!) and they definitely all took twice as long as they probably should have!!… There was lots of lovely things said – and lots and lots of laughter!!
In between the speeches we enjoyed a range of different live music, our fantastic magician and beautiful courses of ‘Heritage Beetroot, Goats Cheese & Summer Truffle’ as our pre-starter, followed by a divine ‘Native Lobster, with White Asparagus & Peach’, followed by our main courses of ‘Wagyu Beef, Onions and Bordelaise Sauce’, this was served with a Wagyu Steak, Braised Short Rib and a mini Cottage Pie on the side – which went down amazingly well with everyone! Followed by desserts of ‘Artisan Cheeses’, served with matching accompaniments, a pre-dessert of ‘Yogurt, Pineapple & Coriander’ to refresh the palette and a dessert of my favourite chocolate dessert! Named as a take on ‘Black Forrest Gateau’, it was a rich chocolate delice, coated in chocolate, with a thin layer of cherry jelly underneath, fresh cherries, filled with cherry cream, tempered chocolate gold leaves and pistachio sponge – it was absolutely divine (and somehow I found room to gobble Jordan’s too!!) This was all finished off with individual homemade chocolate sweetie bags!… Heaven!! …We LOVE our food, so this was definitely the best part of the day for me!!
…All served alongside magnums of our favourite wines, champagnes, dessert wines and ports, this was certainly a feast to be remembered!
Feeling fat and full Jordan and I disappeared for a few pictures, whilst our evening guests began to arrive… They were greeted to Moet Ice, served with fresh strawberries and a range of savory and dessert canapés (so that the day guests could still join in – if they had any room left that was!!) …There was a string quartet playing, a magician entertaining, an ‘oyster meister’ (who served fresh oysters and gave our guests the story of oysters and how to eat them), an ice sculpture champagne bar, our outside dry ice gin bar, as well as another gin bar with a local gin supplier, telling the story of his locally made gin– obviously all as well as more food and our two main bars!
When Jordan and I returned after our pictures, our guests had made a long receiving line and literally covered us in confetti as we arrived around the back of the gardens! Looking around, I could see everything had been dressed ready for the evening by the staff… The lanterns on the deck, the tea light candles hanging from every tree and the fire uplighters on the decking. I was so pleased when I saw our beautiful sweetie table, dressed on a large gold mirror with beautiful crystal glass wear, we had a selection of homemade fudge, chocolates, lollipops, marshmallows, shortbreads and much more!…. We also had an amazing dessert table (you’d never guess I have a sweet tooth!) with all of our favourite, homemade miniature desserts, again served in beautiful crystal, surrounded by flowers and candles.
As we walked around to say ‘hi’ to everyone, we felt overwhelmed by all the happy faces and the ‘buzz’ of activity surrounding us! There was a ‘Mirror Photo Booth’ set up, keeping everyone giggling, whilst putting on their funny ‘props’ and posing in the mirror! …It felt magical everywhere, we both just wanted to hit ‘pause’ and take everything in!
Then before we knew it, we were being called off for the cutting of the cake and our first dance!… Our first dance was slightly alternative!! We started a little ‘sloppy’ with Take That, Greatest Day (which we love)… We had a short slow dancing routine, that we did to this for a while to keep everyone ‘fooled’!… Then mid our ‘lift-spin’ (I’m sure there’s a more formal name for that I should have used!) Jordan dropped me to the floor – and we broke into Dizzee Rascal, ‘’Dance Wiv Me’! It was a funky routine, that put a smile on everyone’s faces and was something that actually represented us as a couple! It’d always been ‘our song’, but we were aware it wasn’t a ‘normal’ wedding choice of song, so had had our doubts about using it (and about ‘teaching’ Jordan a faster dance routine!!) As we started dancing to it my best friend instantly burst into tears – she knew this was the ‘real’ us!!
After our first dance, gold confetti filled the room, and our friends all ‘jumped’ on us!! We took the opportunity to relax, and enjoy some time with everyone on the dance floor, I grabbed my Dad for our ‘father –daughter dance’, Eric Clapton, ‘You Look Wonderful Tonight’. He used to sing this song to me when I was a little girl, so for me this was perfect!
At this point our absolutely AMAZING band ‘Rollacoaster’ were in full swing, and the dance floor was packed!! I could see that the BBQ, Buffet & Hog Roast had just been served, but I physically couldn’t pull myself off the dance floor! (Although the evening guests were certainly tucking in!)
At 10pm we were told by the band that the Fireworks were about to start, and we all rushed outside to watch the amazing display! It was perfect, golds, reds – and plenty of ‘sparkle’! …It was at this point the film crew came up to us, and asked us to remove our microphones (mine had been strapped around my leg all day, but I’d forgotten it was even there!) – I almost felt sad to take it off, and felt like the day was coming to an end! We reluctantly gave them our microphones, then ‘dragged’ them onto the dance floor to party with us!!
We danced, we laughed, we ate (some more!) and we partied hard!! …When we left at 5am, my feet were so sore I could barely even walk across the road to our home! …When we made it back, we were so excited and so full of energy that we just sat up all night talking about our day, and our favourite parts of it! – Although, truth be told, there was no real ‘favourite’ part – We literally LOVED absolutely every minute!!
We can’t thank our staff and suppliers enough for all their efforts and for making our wedding day the most AMAZING day of our lives!! (I just wish we could do it all again!!)
Your East Anglia Wedding Magazine:
Scotts of Cambridge
SG8 6DX – Cambridgeshire
SG8 6DX – Cambridgeshire
154 Brompton Road, London
Veil & Belt – Caroline Castigliano, London
Earrings & Necklace – Astley Clarke, London
Shoes – Jimmy Choo, London
James Veal Bespoke
Bliss Perfect Brides
Chimney Formal Wear
Alison – Wildwood Floral Events
Nadia – Pretty Tasty
Jen – Raspberry Bespoke Events
(Used ‘Desi’ & ‘Wedding Day Hire’ to hire from, amongst others).
Helicopter for Jordan
A regular client of ours, Brian Diaf
Snailriver Carriage Company
TV Crew (x15)
Filming the documentary “Title to be released Dec 2016”
Channel 4 & Renegade Productions
Noelle & her partner
DJ – Jason Coles, 3D Events
Band – Rollacoaster
String Quartet for the Reception Drinks (Day & Evening)
Ceremony & Meal Music – Singer, Guitar & Sax
All arranged by Kevin Hall
Ice Sculpture – Funky Ice
Oyster Meister – www.oystermeister.com
Mirror Photo Booth – firstname.lastname@example.org
Magician – Lee Smith, www.walkaboutmagic.com
Blossom Tree – Alice, All in one season
Graffiti Painting Guestbook – Demograffix Graffiti Art