Bride and Groom in garden with harpist

Harriet and Ben’s November Wedding

There is no doubt that wedding couples are inspired by reading the story of other real life weddings, (and viewing their amazing photographs), so we are thrilled that Harriet has agreed to answer some of our questions about her magical wedding to Ben, which took place at Layer Marney Tower on the most beautiful of November days.

Harriet and Ben certainly had a rollercoaster of a journey to get to their wedding day, thanks to the inconvenience of a worldwide pandemic.  But love conquers all and after some last minute rearrangements, the special day was finally able to take place.  (Karen – Wedding Coordinator).


When did the proposal take place and how did it happen?

It happened on our second anniversary.  We had gone for a walk to Hadleigh Castle, where we had visited on one of our early dates.  On that occasion, Ben had planned a romantic picnic and was planning to use his camping stove, only to find when he came to light it that he didn’t bring a lighter or matches; we still laugh about it to this day.

So when we suggested a walk to the castle, I guessed that we would reminisce about that date only to find that during the sunset walk, Ben produced two tea light candles to represent the two years we had been together.  When he opened the matchbox, the ring was inside and he got down on one knee and popped the question.

Did you have an ideal venue in mind before you began your search?  How did you research your venue?

During our early dating we used to go for a lot of country drives around Colchester as Ben was very proud of where he was from.  As I am originally from South Essex, he wanted to show me all of the wonders of Colchester.  When one day we went over to Layer Marney Tower I was stunned by the beautiful grounds and I knew that if we got married, it would be there.  Low and behold, when we got engaged we both looked at each other and said “Layer Marney Tower”.

How many venues did you visit and why did you choose Layer Marney Tower?

We only visited Layer Marney Tower; it was the only place we could envisage getting married.

How far in advance did you book your wedding day?

Originally we booked 16 months in advance, however due to the pandemic we actually had four different wedding dates.  For us it was fourth times the charm!

Did you have a theme?

We wanted a vintage 1920’s theme so the ground and building suited perfectly.  Of course we had changes across the way where we had to tweak our theme slightly.

How did you choose which suppliers you used?

I did a lot of work myself for the cake, table decorations and flowers as my Mum is a florist.  However we attended every wedding fair at Layer Marney Tower for inspiration where we booked our harpist with Essence Music and discussed our catering with Bouquet Garni.

Have you enlisted help from family and friends with the planning, or was it mainly the bride and groom that made the arrangements?

My Groom had a lucky escape, haha!  Myself and my Mum did the majority of the work with help from my Dad.




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How did Covid impact your wedding day?

Where do I begin with this part of our story…16 months planning our special day for 10th April 2020; dresses collected, cakes made, flowers ordered and last minute preparations in place…then Covid-19 lockdown happened just days before our big day.  We were absolutely heartbroken – we could have never imagined this happening.

A few days into the lockdown we postponed our wedding to 10th April 2021 with the hope that all of our friends and family would be able to celebrate our magical day with us, however on 28th September the government announced weddings were to be for only 15 people until 28th March 2021.  With this restriction in force until only two weeks before our wedding date and the pandemic growing ever more unpredictable, this left us with the uncertainty that our wedding may again be cancelled if it it was to get any worse in the new year.

Date number three was arranged for 7th November 2020.  We were finally getting our special day, then the government made an impromptu announcement, that lockdown 2.0 was going to be in place from 5th November 2020!  We couldn’t believe it, 5 days before our wedding wedding we had the heartbreak again that our wedding would be cancelled.

On Monday 2nd November I frantically called the registrar for confirmation as I was almost in denial this could be happening again.  Unfortunately the registrar confirmed it wouldn’t be able to take place on Saturday 7th Novemer, however…they were willing to do anything to make it happen before lockdown!

With just 24 hours notice to plan a wedding, with all the help from Essex County Council, Layer Marney Tower and our suppliers, we got the special day we had wanted.

What were the highlights of your day or particularly memorable moments?

The biggest highlight was having our last minute day feel the most magical day possible.  Getting married at the foot of the tower, the venue team went above and beyond to make sure it felt special.

Do you have any advice for wedding couples just starting their wedding planning?

Make every moment count, make it as special as you both want and capture every minute, but most of all in all the stress remember this is your day and you will remember it forever.


Thank you to Harriet and Ben for allowing us to share details of their wedding day at Layer Marney Tower.

Thank you also to Naomi Barker Photography for the wonderful wedding photos.