Wedding ceremony room

How to plan your wedding ceremony

Our blog today is to guide you in planning your wedding ceremony at Layer Marney Tower.

So firstly, congratulations…you have decided that our beautiful Essex wedding venue is the perfect location for you to say “I do”.  What should you do next?

If you are planning to hold a wedding ceremony in an approved premises, it is important to liaise with the registration service as soon as you have chosen your venue and have provisionally decided on a date.  Once couples fall in love with one of the licensed ceremony rooms here, we inevitably will discuss availability of dates.  We will happily hold a date for a short period of time, while you liaise with the registration office  in order to ensure that there are registration officers available to attend your wedding on the date and time of your choice.  The phone number for the Essex Registration service is 0345 603 7632.

There is a possibility that the date you have selected is popular and they only have a limited number of registrars that are available to attend a number of approved premises in the local area, so you may have to be flexible with the time of your ceremony.  If you are holding both the ceremony and reception here, most couples opt for a 2pm ceremony time but a ceremony between 1pm and 3pm will also work well.  We are happy to give you further advice on the timeline for your day if required.

Once you have confirmed the availability of your preferred wedding date, before you can marry in the Registration Office or Approved Venue, you must give notice of your intention to marry.   Details of giving formal notice of marriage will be given to you by the registration service at that time.

Some of the key things to note: Notice can be given up to 12 months before your ceremony. It must be given at least 29 days before the ceremony takes place.  Each of you must have lived in Essex for at least seven days before giving notice.  If you live in different districts, each of you must give notice where you live.

Once the legal requirements have been arranged, your thoughts will turn to the ceremony itself.

It is possible to personalise your wedding ceremony and more often than not, this is by providing your own music to be played during the ceremony or by incorporating a reading of verse or suitable piece of prose.  Any of your music choices or selections for the readings must be approved in advance by the registrars beforehand.  Remember, due to legal constraints, no religious material may be used.

Over the years we have heard everything from very traditional to modern music and although you can’t have hymns, we have had a memorable rendition by the wedding party of “Can you feel the love tonight” from The Lion King.    There are endless ideas online of readings that can be used, whether they are serious, romantic or comical.

We believe that our ceremony rooms and in particular the Corsellis Room, (used for the ceremony on the majority of occasions), are beautiful in their own right.  However, we are happy for you to decorate the room to include flowers and décor that fit with your theme and colour scheme.  Very often, the couple will simply use the bridal bouquet as décor on the ceremony table but on other occasions, couples will dress the aisle chairs, bring in pedestals of flowers for either side of the table or adorn the windowsills with a display of foliage and artificial candles.

We suggest to our couples that where possible, to re-use the flowers or décor used in the ceremony room, by transferring it to the reception room.  For instance, the floral display on the ceremony table could be your top table arrangement.

In our gallery of images you will see a beautiful archway of flowers around the Corsellis Room door, provided by The Country Garden Flower Company.  On a much simpler scale but still effective, are the wicker hearts hanging from chairs, using coloured ribbon to match your scheme.

We try to be as flexible as possible with your décor requests but unfortunately we do not allow real candles in the Corsellis Room.  If you have any specific décor ideas that you would like use, please just check with us first so that we can give you the okay.

In the weeks running up to your wedding day, we invite you to make an appointment to discuss the wedding ceremony and how everything comes together on the day.  It is not a rehearsal as such, like you might have for a church wedding, but we run through the timings, make sure the wedding couple know where they will meet the registrars in advance of the ceremony, discuss any specific requirements such as where a live musician or videographer might be positioned, and hopefully put your minds at rest about how it will all flow seamlessly on the day.

Remember, this is your formal commitment to each other and therefore you will want to remember it as meaningful but filled with love and laughter too.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information about planning your wedding ceremony at Layer Marney Tower.

by Karen Brand – Wedding Coordinator


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