Today I thought I would share some wedding photos of Summer & Chris’ wedding at Layer Marney Tower near Colchester in Essex. Layer Marney Tower dates back to the first half of Henry VIII’s reign and is iconic with its Tudor architecture.
Layer Marney Tower is available for wedding ceremonies and receptions throughout the year with the Corsellis Room for up to 120 guests or in the hall of the gatehouse with up to 15 guests. Wedding Receptions take place in the Long Gallery, a beautiful room with oak flooring & panelling that can seat up to 140 guests for a meal.
Summer & Chris’ wedding took place on a beautiful sunny day in early spring.
The had only booked Layer Marney Tower for their ceremony with the reception taking place at the Musket Club in Colchester, which appeared to be at the army barracks. They only had one hour at the tower including the wedding ceremony itself so I took along a second shooter – Gavin, a good friend from An Eye for Digital.
Before going to Summer’s mums for the bridal preparations we headed down to the tower to take some pictures in and around the venue without any people present. This is a usual practice of mine to visit either the wedding venue for the ceremony or reception – ideally both. We had visited the tower a few weeks earlier, as it was my first wedding there, however it was raining that day and not possible to determine which direction the sun would come from etc.
The tower is approximately north facing, which means the sun shines directly on the back of the tower and gardens. This causes serious problems photographically because if the tower is used for the background the sun shines directly in peoples’ faces blinking them and creating harsh shadows. Unfortunately this means the only real option for groups shots is to have them facing the tower, as shown in the groups shot below. This may be more of less of an issue depending on the time or year and day. Therefore it is an important consideration when booking the tower only for your wedding ceremony and not booking the venue for the whole day.
The best advice is to book either the first or last wedding ceremony of the day. Alternatively you may be able to negotiate to meet the photographer earlier in the day to take your Bride & Groom portraits when the sun will not be so intense except through the summer.
Anyway getting back to the plot after taking a few photographs at the tower it was time to race off to Summer’s mum’s for the bridal preparations. When we arrived all was in a state of chaos with everyone in various states of preparation. Summer had a make-up artist there who was doing a fabulous job with everybody’s make-up and hair.
With everyone ready to go there was just a minute or two to take as many pictures with the bridesmaids and mock leaving with Summer and her Grandfather – who was giving her away. Then it was time to race back to the tower and photograph Chris with the Bestman and guest arriving before Summer arrived.
After the ceremony it is possible to take some photographs within Layer Marney Tower. There are several little picturesque areas where it is possible to take some more pictures of the Bride & Groom as well as the bridal party. However there would not be much space to take group shots if the weather is bad unless the main hall is available, which would be dependent on other wedding bookings that day. When you book the tower it will be worthwhile checking what facilities will be available to you and for how long.
Although Summer & Chris only had the tower booked for one hour the people running the establishment were reasonably relaxed once we were outside. Allowing enough time for group shots and a few Bride & Groom portraits before leaving. Obviously they were keen to have the tower in the background, which was possible by positioning them so that they did not have to look directly in the sun that would have caused them to squint. We also looked for areas that provided shade in some form from the sun.
It was then time to photograph them preparing to leave for the reception and further celebrations. When possible I will get in the car to photograph the Bride & Groom from the front of the car as seen below. Now that I have a fisheye lens this is one shot that can look great with a large expanse of space within the car surrounding the Bride & Groom.
Click on any image for a higher resolution version.
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