Wedding reception table layout

Layer Marney Tower Weddings

The launch of our new website devoted to weddings at Layer Marney Tower, gives us a chance to reflect and reminisce on how we and weddings have changed and developed over the years.

Our long association with weddings actually all began in 1957…when the parents of the current owners, married in the local church. Soon after, they bought the Tower and saw its magnificent Long Gallery as a fabulous space to hold a wedding reception. A traditionalist, Gerald Charrington didn’t think dancing should happen at weddings, so a four hour slot was booked for the wedding reception and extra time had to be booked if dancing was required!

We moved on. Dancing at weddings became the norm and Gerald and Susan’s son and daughter in law took over the Tower. Then Parliament passed a law so approved premises could hold wedding ceremonies and once again, it was all change. Our first ceremony and reception was held in 1996. Layer Marney Tower was one of the first venues in Essex to offer this. As tastes and ideas changed so did we.

You will see from the photographs how the process of making Layer Marney Tower into the best wedding venue in East Anglia is a continuous process – and a fun one.

Plastic green chairs and square tables gave way to gold chairs and round tables, the gold chairs were changed to limed beech wood.

The bride’s parents were no longer responsible for paying for the entire wedding, this cost was taken on by the bride and groom themselves, and so naturally they began to make most of the decisions on how the day would run. Wedding favours were added to the tables, beautiful table plans were designed and wedding cakes moved from a traditional rich fruit, Royal icing encased, three tier construction, to anything goes, from a naked cake to super heroes, cup cakes or doughnuts.

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The de Zoete Rooms became the honeymoon suite. A 1931 Rolls Royce was bought in November 1998 to transport the bride to the wedding. In 2009 a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II, a more recent model, dating from 1961, was purchased with heating, she has proved very popular for winter weddings and longer journeys.

A London Routemaster bus was added to the “fleet” in 2005. She became popular as a mode of transport for guests from local hotels and guest houses, here she is decked out in Layer Marney Tower livery.

Glamping at Layer Marney Tower became a popular alternative accommodation idea.

The make-shift sheds housing loos for the guests were replaced with spacious ones on a purpose built balcony at one end of the Long Gallery, reached by a sweeping staircase and with ample space for a bride to change into her “going away” outfit.

Soon brides and grooms no longer “went away” but danced late into the night with their guests. Guests were with us for a longer time so even more loos were built in the courtyard. Carefully constructed to incorporate modern plumbing expectations, with traditional Tudor architecture. They won prizes.

The replacement of seven oil fired boilers by a state of the art, biomass boiler, made winter weddings hugely attractive. Although this modern heating installation caused more upheaval, as concrete was poured through a tunnel under the Tower and the lawn, for a short time, resembled WW1 trenches, as the infrastructure for the biomass boiler was put in place In the colder months, with the crackling log fire in the Long Gallery and the curtains drawn, winter greenery and sparkling fairy lights, it is easy to create a fairy tale winter wonderland. A new look, so different from the traditional English summer wedding. Both are equally popular.

Our story continues to evolve and change as we adapt to our brides and groom’s ideas and new trends develop. So as we move on to this, our first dedicated web site for weddings, we look forward to continuing changes and improvements that all help us remain one of the most popular wedding venues in Essex. Here to ensure every bride and groom has the wedding of their dreams and the experience and memories to last a lifetime.