Small wedding breakfast set up

Small Weddings at Layer Marney Tower

As a result of the global pandemic, there has been an increased interest in small weddings; also known as micro weddings.  However, did you know that Layer Marney Tower has been offering smaller, more intimate gatherings as an option for our wedding couples for many years?  Whether you are planning a micro wedding from scratch or adapting your larger wedding plans to fit with the restrictions of Covid-19, you can still have a magical day.

If you are unfamiliar with Layer Marney Tower, you may be dubious about how a small wedding can take place at such a grand venue, with such expansive gardens and grounds.  We do not want you to feel overwhelmed by large spaces, that will make you more conscious of your smaller guest list.  The beauty of our Essex wedding venue is that there are a choice of stunning rooms within the buildings, that will still offer you the incredible atmosphere you desire, but with just your closest family and friends joining you.

There are many advantages to a small wedding, and we aren’t just thinking about a significantly reduced budget.  Maybe it will give you the opportunity to be more creative with decor or those personal touches?  Maybe you can now splurge on a designer wedding dress, create signature cocktails or have a gourmet menu?  One huge advantage is how much more time you will be able to spend with each and every one of your guests; no snatched conversations because you have so many guests you wish to chat to.

Wedding traditions can still be observed, whether that is cutting the cake or having a formal receiving line.  If your vision of a perfect day includes these elements, it is your decision.  Your day, your way.

At Layer Marney Tower, there are three licensed wedding ceremony rooms where the registrars are permitted to conduct a legal wedding ceremony.  The smallest of these rooms is known as the Hall of the House and sits at the foot of our iconic Tudor Tower.  This is best suited to an intimate gathering of up to 18, (including the wedding couple).

The warm tones of the oak panelling are highlighted by the beautiful brass chandelier.  Your wedding party will have exquisite views over the formal gardens and beyond to the Blackwater Estuary.

When the weather is warm and dry, the bride will access the room directly from our formal garden and immediately after the ceremony, the wedding party will be able to leisurely wander straight from this room outside, ready for all of those perfect wedding photo opportunities and to enjoy the drinks reception.  If the weather is maybe not in your favour, there is an option for the bride to make her entrance down the inside staircase.

Another alternative is Tuke’s Chamber, which is often used as an area for wedding guests to gather before taking their seats in the largest capacity ceremony room which is adjacent, the beautiful Corsellis Room.

Tuke’s Chamber is suited for any size wedding ceremony up to approximately 40 guests.

The Corsellis Room, used for the majority of our wedding ceremonies, can comfortably accommodate up to 120 seated guests but for a small wedding, will still work well when all of the wedding guests sit together in a group at the front of the room.


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Depending on where you have held your wedding ceremony, there is then also a choice about where you may hold a wedding breakfast.  One suggestion that we feel works really well, is to hold the wedding ceremony in either the Hall of the House or Tuke’s Chamber, before using the Corsellis Room for a wedding breakfast.

Although the Long Gallery is a large room that can potentially accommodate up to 140 seated guests, it has also been successfully used for weddings of 30 and even 15 during 2020, while Covid restrictions were in place.  Clever arrangements of tables and a seating plan deceives the eye, and a cluster of tables in the mid-section of the room, using the fireplace as a focal point has been a popular choice for anyone wishing to make use of this magnificent reception room.

Please note that the Long Gallery is the only room suitable for dancing.  If you wish to keep your wedding party to smaller numbers during the day, you could possibly extend your guest list and hold a bigger celebration in the evening, and therefore use the Long Gallery for dancing to a live band or DJ.

There is no better way to envisage your dream wedding at Layer Marney Tower than by looking round the venue in person, for a private viewing.  However, for occasions when this is not possible, we have created two virtual tours, one of which primarily focusses on the wedding ceremony and the second which incorporates further information regarding the wedding reception.

Please take a look and if you wish to make arrangements for a one-to-one viewing, contact Karen on either 01206 330784 or by e-mail on

For further inspiration, why not follow our dedicated Weddings Instagram?

by Karen Brand – Wedding Coordinator