Wedding venue owners Serena and Adam Jordan know a thing or two about organising the perfect wedding. After all, they and their team are responsible for creating a magical day to remember for around a hundred happy couples each year in their beautiful Cambridgeshire venue, Sheene Mill. So, given their wealth of experience, a contacts list bursting with the finest quality suppliers, and a beautiful venue close to their hearts, Serena and Adam’s wedding could be nothing short of spectacular!
Serena’s connection with Sheene Mill goes back many years; when she was a child she often swam in the river there – her parents owned the business at that time, and she herself worked there from the age of eleven. Ten years after her parents left, the business came up for sale again; for Serena and her partner, Adam (usually known as Jordan) this was the perfect opportunity to build something special with Sheene Mill once more.
After Jordan’s proposal, the pair leapt into action to plan their once-in-a-lifetime day; and they really did pull out all the stops! With the venue being a ‘no brainer’ – Serena knew that there could be no better place – and with their extensive insider knowledge on putting together the ultimate celebration, they had no trouble in choosing and booking up all their favourite tried and tested suppliers. The result, as you will see from these incredible photos, captured by Scotts of Cambridge, was out-of-this-world-gorgeous!
Despite being every inch the experienced professional with other people’s weddings, when it came to her own big day, Serena admits that she hardly slept a wink; her nervous energy made her check and double-check every aspect of the venue decoration, before finally falling into bed at 3am. Just one hour later, and the hairdresser arrived, quickly followed by the professional make up artist, bridesmaids and mother of the groom, all filling her parents’ home with laughter, excitement and a flurry of activity.
Looking at her joyous smile, it’s clear to see how relaxed Serena was by this stage; her nerves instantly calmed with the arrival of her trusty Sheene Mill wedding coordinator, Emma, and she knew then that everything was in hand.
Meanwhile, as the ladies were making the final finishing touches, the groom’s party were heading off on an adventure. Serena had organised an adrenaline-fuelled start to the day: a helicopter ride over the sights London, taking in the capital’s famous football stadium. What a treat indeed for the boys!
With her up-do perfectly arranged, and her fairy-tale ball gown style dress, Serena looked incredible. To whisk his bride-to-be to the ceremony, Jordan had booked a traditional carriage, festooned with wedding flowers and pulled by a pair of white horses. Straight out of a princess fairy-tale, and utterly enchanting!
At Sheene Mill, the events team had taken care of every last detail, leaving the bride, groom and all their guests to relax and enjoy the day. What a change it must have been for Serena and Jordan to be experiencing everything from the other side!
And, is if there wasn’t already enough to organise, they also arranged for a major television broadcaster to film it all from start to finish – as Serena recalls, that certainly added some pressure! Their story will be aired on Channel 4 tomorrow (13th February 2017 at 10pm) catch it live, set your box to record or pop along to Channel 4’s catch up TV service and look out for ‘The Wedding’ to see Sheene Mill, Serena, Jordan and the team in full swing.
Both the building and the location of Sheene Mill are absolutely stunning. Dating back to the late 17th century, Sheene Mill is now a Grade II listed building; the presence of the mill on this site is mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1086. With the River Mel (hence the village name of Melbourn) running through the grounds, the gardens are a pretty as a picture, with combination of open lawns, river-side terraces, magnificent trees and lovingly tended flower beds, bursting with blooms.
Built out over the river, the charming white pavilion offers a magical setting for an al fresco wedding. Serena had a vision of how she wanted it to look, and it was truly breath-taking; the wooden railings and pillars were draped with an abundance of flowers, in deep red, cream and soft peach, and a cream carpet strewn with rose petals created an aisle between the rows of chiffon-tied chairs. As they guests arrived, they would each find a little heart of rose petal confetti waiting on the seat – every detail had been prepared to perfection!
The beaming bride, on the arm of her proud father, walked up the aisle to the accompaniment of a fantastic saxophonist, vocalist and guitarist, who struck up again for the signing of the register. Her guests have all since told her they were amazing, but at this stage Serena was too overwhelmed by the emotions of the moment to be able to hear anything!
With the ‘official’ bit over and all nerves dispelled, the rest of the party flowed smoothly with love and laughter all around. The atmosphere was one of happy relaxation in a beautiful and private setting; as the guests caught up with each other, they were entertained by a string quartet, a wandering magician, and trays of mouth-watering delicacies, all expertly prepared in the Sheene Mill kitchens.
Don’t be mistaken into thinking this elegant, Art Deco-style champagne bar is made of glass; look closer and you’ll see that it is in fact skillfully crafted out of a block of ice! There wasn’t only champagne flowing; Sheene Mill has a recent addition of a new gin and dry ice bar, which wowed the guests with the bubbly smoke cascading out of their glasses.
When it was time to move through for the wedding breakfast, Serena remembers how, on seeing the dining room, she was blown away by its beauty. She had arranged a for ceiling height tree, dripping with blossom and Swarovski crystals; not only was it a delightful centre piece to the room, but it also served as a table seating board – the guests’ fun challenge was to find their own individualised name hanging from the tree, on a champagne gold and cream lace-effect laser-engraved tag, tied with silky ribbon, and so locate out their table setting.
Flowers were a major feature of the day, with the theme of deep red roses, cream and peach blooms and rich green foliage continuing from the pavilion and aisle ends, to the bouquets and buttonholes, to the table decorations. These tall table arrangements were stunning, and again, completed with sparkling Swarovski crystals catching the light thrown from the candles and personalised tea light holders in every place setting.
To keep a happy balance of belly laughs and belly-filling, the newly weds alternated the speeches with the eight courses of the wedding breakfast. Serena and Jordan knew the Sheene Mill kitchen team could be relied upon to create the most extravagant and delectable feast imaginable – and they did not let them down!
Having devised the menu of their dreams, the guests were treated to a pre-starter of ‘heritage beetroot, goats’ cheese and summer truffle’, then a delicate ‘native lobster with white asparagus and peach’, followed by a mouth-watering combination of ‘Wagyu beef served with onions and Bordelaise sauce’ served with Wagyu steak, braised short ribs and a mini cottage pie on the side!
There were artisan cheese, a pre-dessert to refresh the palate, and an extravaganza of rich chocolate, cherry cream, tempered chocolate gold leaves and pistachio sponge. Not to mention the ever flowing fine wines, top quality champagnes, delicious dessert wines and ports…
Sheene Mill has many wonderful setting for a wedding photo shoot, and after dinner, the couple headed outside to make the most of the picturesque surroundings. The gently flowing river, lush gardens and the majestic trees all offer a natural beauty that is a wedding photographer’s dream, as do the historic black and white timber building, lavender beds and wild grass meadow looking out to a quaint thatched cottage beyond.
By this time, the light was just beginning to fade, and working tirelessly behind the scenes, the Sheene Mill team had weaved their magic in preparing for the evening’s celebrations. While the guests had been enjoying the speeches and dinner, the already lovely deck and gardens were enhanced with atmospheric coloured lighting, flares and hundreds of twinkling tea lights hanging from the branches of the trees, creating the illusion of magical fairies playing amongst the leaves.
As the evening guests arrived, they were greeted with yet more tasty treats: an incredible sweetie table had been put together offering up homemade fudge, chocolates, marshmallows, swirly-twirly lollipops and multicoloured macaroons almost too pretty to eat. This was in addition to another table bursting with the bride and groom’s favourite desserts, all hand-made in exquisite miniature, and displayed amongst crystals, flowers and candles.
This magnificent wedding cake really has to be seen to be believed; no description could do it justice! Featuring five tiers, each one unique: the middle one completely covered with delicate gold leaf, reminiscent of a wedding band, another with a soft lace design, another with icing pearls… The cascade of flowers perfectly matches the floral displays of the day, yet believe it or not, they are actually each crafted out of sugar, every intricate petal of every flower carefully created and assembled by hand. And check out the cute little sugar paste figurines, mini-mes of Jordan and Serena!
The first dance is often a part of the day that the couple secretly dreads, but not so Serena and Jordan. They launched into this traditional part of the proceedings with a modern twist, bringing energy and individuality to the dance floor, as well as laughter to their guests. Starting out with a slow dance to Greatest Day by Take That, the couple then took their friends and family by surprise with a unexpected segue into something much more ‘them’ – a funky, pre-rehearsed dance routine to Dizzy Rascal’s Dance Wiv Me!
At the end of their first dance, the air was filled with an explosion of gold confetti, kicking off the party proper; now was the time for guests to let down their hair (Serena had already literally done this!) and go wild on the dance floor. There was a live band, Rollacoaster, a Mirror Photo Booth, and a DJ, a barbecue, evening buffet, hog roast and an Oyster Meister… As Serena recalls, the dance floor was packed, we danced, we laughed, we ate (some more!) and we partied hard!
At 10pm the guests were invited outside into the the beautifully illuminated gardens to enjoy a fabulous fireworks display, lighting up the sky with red and gold sparkles. For many couples, the fireworks signal the end of the celebrations, but not so Jordan and Serena – one of the biggest advantages of owning your own wedding venue is that there really is no ‘home time’ – and they partied on until 5am!
What an incredible day! The Sheene Mill team proved their worth to Serena and Jordan once again, demonstrating exactly why they are so good at what they do. In the words of Serena: 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!)
If you would like to celebrate your wedding in this incredible venue, give Serena, Jordan and the team a call to arrange a visit, and start putting plans in place for making your own wedding day dreams a reality!
Main photographer: Scotts of Cambridge
Photographer: Phil Lynch
Bride’s dress, veil and belt: Caroline Castigliano
Bride’s earrings and necklace: Astley Clarke
Bride’s shoes: Jimmy Choo
Wedding Rings: James Veal Bespoke
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Burr Bridal
Hair: Lisa Waller of Bliss Perfect Brides
Make-up: Jane Iredale
Groom’s outfit: Chimney Formal Wear
Stationery: Intricate Creations
Flowers: Alison, Wildwood Floral Events
Cake: Nadia, Pretty Tasty
Catering: Sheene Mill
Venue dresser: Jen, Raspberry Bespoke Events
Helicopter: a regular client of Sheene Mill, Brian Diaf
Carriage and horses: Snailriver Carriage Company
Videography: TV Crew (x15) filming the documentary Channel 4 & Renegade Productions, also Noelle & her partner: www.reelinlife.co.uk
DJ: Jason Coles, 3D Events
Band – Rollacoaster
String Quartet for the Reception Drinks (day & evening); singer, guitar and saxophone ceremony and meal music, all arranged by Kevin Hall, Fire Elephant
Ice Sculpture: Funky Ice
Mirror Photo Booth
Magician: Lee Smith, Walk About Magic
Blossom Tree: Alice, All in one season
Graffiti Painting Guestbook: Demograffix Graffiti Art
Did you watch the C4 documentary? Comment below and tell us what you thought!