If you’re looking for a unique, romantic location to host your Cambridge wedding, you’re going to want to check out Cambridge Mill. This location, which is family-run by life-long restaurateurs, the Ciancone family, has been drafted specifically to be fabulous for weddings and special events. Staff at The Ring sat down with the Ciancone family to find out what brides would most want to know – what does Cambridge Mill offer, how many people can it accommodate, and how soon can they book their weddings there?! Here’s what we found out…
Four venues, five hundred weddings, one busy family
Since 1941 the Ciancone Family have been in the restaurant and events business. For Aaron and Leanne Ciancone, it’s in their blood, and they’ve been proving it since opening their first mill, the Ancaster Mill, over thirty-three years ago.
Finding success in their first location, they expanded, opening Spencer’s at the Waterfront in the summer of 2006 and as of July 2011, the family also owns Whistle Bear. They know their work inside and out and say they do it because they have a passion for the industry. From catering to restaurant crowds to hosting gala weddings, Sales Director, Leanne Ciancone, told The Ring, “We take pride in knowing that we have played an integral part in such a monumental day in the life of our couples.”
The Ciancone family says they’re known for quality, dependability and consistency – qualities that come from both talent and hands-on experience. Between their venues, the Ciancones have hosted 400 weddings in the last year alone.
The Cambridge Mill
Cambridge Mill brings historical and modern design together in one fabulous venue, with its stunning wood beams and romantic room set-ups and a multitude of windows to let the outdoors inside. Cambridge Mill boarders the Grand River in a picturesque setting that should feel as if it were designed just for your wedding day photo shoot. Leanne says, “There are beautifully landscaped gardens and historic architectural features (just because we are only one building). Every room is elegantly finished to provide a room with the décor needed or a backdrop that works with any couple’s style.”
Cambridge Mill is a full wedding day destination venue, accommodating the ceremony, photo shoot, dinner and reception all in this one facility.
Leanne knows that couples are looking for that ultimate location, unique venues that have a character of their own and that will tie in with their own vision of the day. “They’re moving away from church weddings and wanting that destination for all aspects of their day. Couples are more educated in food and want higher quality options in menu choices.”
For most brides, a quality, tasteful menu is a top priority, and the Ciancones know it. That’s why they’d never be caught referring to their food as “banquet food.” The Cambridge Mill management prides themselves on quality, seasonal cuisine – and the experience it takes to prepare and serve it professionally. According to Leanne this is one reason why brides love them. The venue’s management is comprised of seasoned professional with degrees in Hospitality from U of Guelph, Ryerson and the Stratford Chef School. “Our Maitre d’s are trained in-house to provide our high standard of service,” explains Leanne. “Our couples are very diverse with flexible budgets; they value our food philosophy and our tranquil atmosphere.”
Seated meals, buffets, cocktail receptions, and brunch/lunch receptions are an option at Cambridge Mill.
The Cambridge Mill Team
If you decide to hold your wedding at Cambridge Mill, you'll get to know two (among many) fabulous members of their team. Suzanne Flinn, attended the University of Guelph and have a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in Hotel and Food Administration. She comes with twelve years of experience in the Conference and Special Event Department at Langdon Hall Country House Hotel in Cambridge Ontario and over the years assisted many couples in the planning of their special day.
After so many weddings, Suzanne says, she still loves getting to know each couple she works with and assisting in the planning. "Weddings are very personal and each one adds a unique touch to their day. It keeps my job interesting and different. I also get great satisfaction in seeing all the details come together on the day and I enjoy seeing the bride, groom and their families share in the excitement of the day."
Shannon Cousineau holds both a Certificate in Hospitality Management and a Certificate in Event Management from Conestoga College, both of which have helped her tremendously in her career. Shannon explains, "I felt that in order to fully understand an event that you needed to understand how the front of house and back of house function. Hence, I enrolled in the Hospitality Management Program prior to the Event Management Program in order to fully understand how the day comes together."
Shannon is also certified in Smart Serve and the Food Safety Training Course and has a certificate from the Wine Council of Ontario Certificate of Merit.
With her certifications, Shannon comes with five years of experience in the industry, as an Assistant to the Catering Manager at Langdon Hall. Shannon handled all events from start to finish including: initial site visit, setting up contracts, follow-ups, meetings, day-of-coordination and inspection and final invoicing.
While Shannon has a hard time narrowing down her favourite part of Cambridge Mill weddings, she says that she truly enjoys the planning process and all of the personal touches that make each wedding unique. "It is the most important day in the bride and grooms life (up to that point at least) and in saying that, I make sure it is also the most important day in my life. I enjoy creating the vision through regular appointments and then seeing how the vision comes together the day-of. I also enjoy seeing the bride and groom on the day-of and seeing how they light up when they see how everything has come together and that all their planning has served a purpose."
Packages, options & need-to-knows
The Mill offers full bar and menu packages. These can also include the ceremony with a supplied Minister or Officiate, reception, dinner and late night sweet table.
To give you an idea of your options when it comes to food, Cambridge Mill’s packages include served hors d’oeuvres, a three course menu, a full host bar service and a late night sweet table, starting at $112 per person (plus taxes and gratuity). Seasonal packages also available starting at $89.
Cambridge Mill can host indoor and outdoor ceremonies, each with the Grand River as your backdrop. Receptions are hosted inside, with accommodation for up to 190 guests.
Parking won’t be an issue since there’s parking for up to 500. The facility is also wheelchair accessible.
Walking you through it
Initially you can get in touch with Suzanne or Shannon by phone or email. From here you are offered a tour of the Mill where you can find out more about what packages are offered. They aim to be flexible to your needs and are available seven days a week for follow-up meetings, consultations and detail appointments. They understand that couples have normal lives to lead, even if weddings are all you can think of!
Once you’ve booked they will meet with you three to five months before your day to review details and arrange for quite possibly one of the best parts of planning your wedding, the menu tasting. Then you are set to go and you will have a “final details appointment” at least 10 days prior to your wedding.
On the day itself you are greeted by your personal Maitre d’ who Leanne says is yours for the day, making sure that the bride, groom and all of the guests in attendance are well taken care of.
Giving back to their community
Leanne says the Ciancone family is very community-minded. “We support many local charities and organizations.” Among others, she notes their contributions to the Ancaster Mill 10 K Race, United Way, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Slow Food Canada, Hamilton Food Share, and Y.M.C.A.
Details, details, details...
• Prices are subject to taxes and gratuities
• A 20% deposit books your date at Cambridge Mill
• Management recommends booking 12 to 18 months in advance for peak season dates
• Dates are available for the 2012 season
Contacting Cambridge Mill