Bride and Groom on steps in front of Tudor gatehouse

Josie and Victor’s July Wedding

After an incredibly busy Summer, it is nice to have some time to look back at some of the amazing weddings that have taken place.

We have been chatting with Victor and Josie about their memories not only from their special wedding day back in July but about their engagement, that just happened to take place in a very special place…here at Layer Marney Tower!

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

During one of the lockdowns, we’d stumbled across Layer Marney on Airbnb when looking for somewhere we might be able to take a weekend getaway close to home, while travelling was so difficult.  We booked a stay for February 2021 but ended up having to cancel, as we were still in full lockdown then.

Victor filed away the beautiful Airbnb location in the back of his mind and in Summer 2021 he booked us a weekend at Layer Marney Tower, which unbeknownst to me, was to be our engagement weekend!  It was the perfect location; we enjoyed lovely dinners at nearby restaurants, wandering in the gorgeous gardens at Layer Marney and on 21st August (day two of our stay), we had a picnic lunch in the gardens before Victor brought me into the middle of the lawn “to admire the castle”.

I was standing in front of him and when I turned around he was down on one knee with tears in his eyes and an incredible sapphire engagement ring in his hands!  I burst into tears (the loud, honking kind) and was so busy crying that I almost forgot to say yes!

It was the most special location for the most special moment of our lives so far (joint with the actual wedding!)

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

The day after we got engaged, while still staying at Layer Marney Tower, we found out that it was also a wedding venue – which we hadn’t previously realised.  We even got to take a peek in the Long Gallery which was all set up for a wedding and definitely got us in the wedding planning mode nice and early.

We looked at a few other venues just for the sake of comparison but none could even come close to Layer Marney Tower both in terms of a fantastic, idyllic location to get married and of course in terms of what it meant to us to have our wedding in the same place we got engaged.  It was really a foregone conclusion from the start.

How far in advance did you book your wedding day?

We secured our date and booked our wedding in September 2021 for July 2022, so about 10 months in advance.  We were really keen on a July wedding so that Victor’s nieces could travel from America in their school holidays – so it meant we had to move reasonably quickly.

Did you have a theme?

No, although more than half our guests came over from France, (Victor is French), so we had lots of French traditions mixed in with the English ones throughout the day.  This was evident on the dancefloor as lots of French “dances” involved throwing us up in the air, crowd surfing and general mayhem!

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How did you choose which wedding suppliers you used?

We went to a Wedding show in October which was great because it allowed us to find suppliers who had worked at the venue before and who came recommended.  We booked our DJ and photobooth provider, Blu Ice, on the day of the fair!  The wedding show worked well for us because we found shopping around for every supplier to be a bit too overwhelming.

Victor was really keen to buy the wedding wine from a family friend of his – the perks of marrying someone who comes from the Bordeaux region.  It was great for us that Layer Marney Tower allowed us to provide our own wine.

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

It was mainly us, although Victor’s sisters made the flower girls outfits for their daughters, which was amazing.  My Dad and his partner picked lots of lavender and dried it for us, which made for lovely decorations.  We did a lot of the the décor ourselves and Victor and I tried to keep the planning as simple as possible, mostly deciding everything ourselves and trying not to overthink it too much.

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

It’s a classic one but walking down the aisle was a real highlight.  It was incredibly emotional with both of us crying (although Victor managed more of a single, manly tear whereas I was openly weeping the whole way down the aisle).  The marriage ceremony in Layer Marney Church was so beautiful, joyful and one of the most precious memories of the day for us both.

We loved going for a spin in the Rolls Royce immediately after the service, to have a moment for the two of us to just be together and take in what had just happened!  The car was amazing and we could relax in comfort and enjoy a glass of Prosecco while being driven around the gorgeous countryside.

The whole day was so full of highlights but the dancefloor has to be another one – the party was so much fun, we didn’t want it to end!  (And quite a few of our friends didn’t actually let it end, and went out clubbing afterwards…stamina!)

Do you have any advice for Brides and Grooms just starting their wedding planning?

Our advice would be to remember that all the planning is worth it in the end!  We found the planning to be quite overwhelming, particularly in the latter stages when there is so much to do and so many plates to keep in the air, and so many people to please as well.

The last few weeks of planning were really stressful but everything came together so nicely and with the help of all our amazing suppliers and staff at Layer Marney Tower, so many of the logistical things we were worried about ended up happening seamlessly.

One other piece of advice: everyone told us the day would go quickly but we weren’t prepared for just how quickly – the whole thing seemed to last about 3 hours! So make the most of every opportunity to take a moment for yourselves during the day, to take it all in and to relish every second.

All photos credited to Andy Chambers Photography