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A Historic House Wedding at Layer Marney Tower in Essex

I had the absolute pleasure of photographing Kimberley and Spencer’s wedding day at Layer Marney Tower in Essex back in September 2022. England’s tallest Tudor Gatehouse, Layer Marney Tower stands within the Essex landscape, commanding views to the River Blackwater and beyond. Built in the reign of Henry VIII by Henry, 1st Lord Marney, Layer Marney Tower is a statement house. I LOVE shooting at buildings that have so much history and intrigue.

My day began at Kimberley’s house for her bridal preparations. She was joined by her mum, sister and two bridesmaids and of course her gorgeous son Theo. It was a lovely calm atmosphere, with a rotation of Peppa Pig and In the Night Garden (along with shifts from each bridesmaids) keeping Theo entertained, allowing the preparations to get underway. I set about getting shots of all Kimberley’s accessories, including her jewellery, shoes, bag, veil, and trinkets, in between capturing the special shared moments whilst the girls were getting ready. And of course not forgetting the ‘Dad reveal’ moment. I love doing this, as it’s a really special time between Father and Daughter and one I love to capture.

Camilla Legg was in charge of hair and makeup, and she did a fantastic job, all the girls looked fabulous right up until the end of the night.

Meanwhile my second shooter Kim was busy capturing the Groom and his best men at the venue, getting to grips with the birds of prey that Kimberly and Spencer had organised to attend the wedding and deliver the rings at the aisle for them. Kim also took the opportunity for some lovely timeless portraits of the Groom and his best men, before the proceedings kicked off.

Kimberley the bride was arriving at the venue in a classic car from Layer Marney Tower – a 1930’s Rolls Royce, and it was stunning. I was waiting for them to arrive at the top of the drive, and when they began pulling up it was magical - just such a special entrance to make. It was like a moment from Downton Abbey!

They were having their ceremony in the Corsellis Room, a beautiful room with ancient oak timbers and Mulberry wall hangings. You can literally feel the history coming out of the walls, it is just such a magical place to get married. Kimberley and Spencer had an intimate guest list, which made it very personal. They had decided to have an owl deliver the rings to them.

Instead of a confetti throw, Kimberley & Spencer decided on asking their guests to blow bubbles as they walked out as Mr & Mrs King, and this made for some great shots within the grounds, and made a great change from confetti! After this their guests were free to enjoy the birds of prey display, and even hold some of them! The birds were magnificent and did not disappoint (even Kim my second shooter and I had a hold, and let me tell you they are heavier than they look!).

I was absolutely spoiled for choice with locations to shoot in at this venue. The garden grounds were beyond stunning, the architecture was so interesting and vibrant, we had steps, arches, big windows… I literally couldn’t wait to shoot here and had to really focus on what I wanted to achieve given the lighting and time we had to use. Despite the weather being quite changeable all day, we were blessed with dry, blue skies and big fluffy white clouds for these shots. I’m glad I had Kim, my second shooter to assist with these shots - she was able to carry drinks, bouquets, help neaten up the dress and hold the veil - all the hidden bits that make the experience a whole lot easier and more pleasant for my couples.

I was thrilled with how these shots turned out, and they were made all the better by the fact that Kimberley and Spencer were relaxed with me and happy to try whatever I asked of them. I put a lot of this down to getting to know my couples as much as I can before their wedding and a great chance to do that is at a pre-wedding couple’s shoot that I like to carry out. To find out more see here. Also, I just have amazing clients!

I couldn’t help but whisk Kimberley off at a quiet point around sunset to get some killer shots of her by herself in that beautiful dress. I’d already spied a particular scene - with the most magnificent window to frame my shot. I’m so pleased Kimberley was up for this, as I’m just blown away by these shots, some formal and some candid, both for me, capture the day and my bride perfectly.

The wedding breakfast was held in the magnificent Long Gallery. With massive windows and a fireplace fit for royalty this room is also a very special space. Kimberley and Spencer opted for the traditional long top table which hosted the Bride and Groom, both sets of parents, the MOH and both Best Men. Minimal decoration was needed for this room, as it’s grand enough in its own right but the couple did opt for lottery tickets as their guest’s favours which was a nice touch.

Kimberley & Spencer really made use of this entire venue and held their evening reception in the newly renovated mediaeval barn. Which was a fabulously grand open space ideal for partying the night away, with music provided by DJ Buzby.

The wedding cake was created by Paula at Especially 4 U and it was a very elegant creation with a bespoke-made cake topper, in-keeping with the stag theme running throughout the wedding.

I set up my lights in preparation for the first dance and party and then got to work capturing this very special moment for the couple. I like to use lights here to really help pull the couple out of the scene and add some depth and focus to the shots.The barn’s fairy lights and DJ’s lights really added to the effect on these shots too, I just love them!

I was so looking forward to shooting Kimberley and Spencer’s wedding all year and it did not disappoint. I feel like I’ve known Kimberley and Spencer and little Theo for some time now since they first booked with me, and I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with them on a few occasions in the run up to their wedding, which was really nice. That’s one of the things I love about my work is that I get to know and build relationships with my couples and their families, it isn’t just about shooting the wedding for me, that is really just one small part. I love the run up, the planning and then afterwards the detailed processing of all their photographs and the building of their albums and galleries. I really do throw my whole-self into the weddings I photograph and wouldn’t want that any other way.

Thanks for having me Kimberley and Spencer!


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