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Wedding DJ at Layer Marney Tower, Essex

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We met Ian and Caroline at a wedding fair, and they subsequently booked us to be their wedding DJ, opting for our DJ only set-up. This was the first trip to Layer Marney Tower in Essex for Disco Wed and I’d been looking forward to seeing the place in the flesh, as it were. I’d seen brochures for the venue at various tourist information spots – it looks spectacular and it bills itself as one of the country’s most dramatic buildings. It was built in tudor times and visited by both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I (look, I was a history student so I like this stuff, ok?! 😎 ) and more recently by lovely Fiona Bruce and the Antique’s Roadshow team. If buildings could talk, then no doubt Layer Marney would share a tale or two with Henry Sandon about the good old days then visibly reel in shock at the unexpectedly high valuation of one of it’s many historic artefacts. Or something… That went a bit weird!

Layer Marney Tower

Anyway, I’m pleased to report that in reality the venue doesn’t disappoint – the incredible tower is a sight to behold, and the rest of the building is similarly impressive. You really do get a sense of the history of the place straight away, it’s kinda tucked away down some lanes and surrounded by trees, so with no real signs of modernity in the vicinity it was easy to imagine the tudor king and his men riding up the driveway and under the archway to the front of the house, striking fear in to the servants upon their arrival! Or in my case, driving up in a Ford Transit and scaring off the friendly cat.

It was still early, and there were no signs of the wedding party – the place is pretty enormous and I’m not sure where they actually got married! But I set up The Long Room, a lovely space dominated at one end (where I was to set-up) by a beautiful, enormous window, and along one side by a huge oak fireplace which the venue had just lit. I was keen not obscure the window so set up just to one side, and spotted guests starting mill around outside for photos.

Layer Marney Long Gallery

With high vaulted ceilings, I knew our up lighters would look stunning, so once the PA and DJ equipment was ready (it’s always a highlight when you can put your first tune to work to on!), I set to work installing these around the sides of the room.

By now guests started to come inside, there was a drinks reception before the meal – though with it being a cold day and the fire roaring away in the Long Room, they started coming in to warm up too! I’d been ready in good time though so hid away behind my decks with my book, enjoying the tunes!

Apparently I hadn’t hidden that well though and before I knew it some kids started playing hide and seek with me. Well, just seek really, my hiding was really lacking on this occasion. And as I sat there, trying to read my book, I was suddenly taken aback by a compliment which both surprised and amused me as a voice piped up with “do you know when you take your glasses off, you look kinda cute.” I wasn’t expecting to look up and see a 6 year old boy but there you go!

So, still in shock, I left the music playing as the guests tucked in to their meal, and headed upstairs to a mezzanine above the bar to eat a meal with the photographer – a lovely guy whose name sadly now escapes me. The toilets were located off this room but the walls and doors of this mezzanine are covered in a brightly coloured mural, so pretty much everyone struggled to locate them – worth considering should you hire the venue, you might want to bring some clearer signs!

Up lights

Our up lights and Disco Wed DJ set-up at Layer Marney Tower

Then, it was time for the party. Ian and Caroline had sent a playlist over beforehand, which contained a rightfully classic choice of first dance in Al Green‘s Let’s Stay Together, some decent indie classics and a LOT of 80s soft rock anthems. Now I’ve never been a huge fan of soft rock, but doing this job you have to have it all! And after playing Lady Marmalade, a big tune from the hen night I believe, I hit them with the big haired big guitared rockers which Ian, Caroline and their guests went nuts for!

After finishing, complete with hugs and profuse thanks from Ian and Caroline, I packed up, taking longer than normal because of the up lights. I started to load in to the van but got distracted by the sight of the tower looking incredible, lit up against the night sky. My phone camera pictures don’t do it justice, but I managed to find this cracking shot of it online by Katherine Ashdown.

Layer Marney Tower at night

It’s an amazing venue – well equipped for all types of weddings – not to mention TV programmes about history and antiques – and I look forward to returning enormously!

Tunes of the night:


Flower bullet First dance:

  • Al Green Let’s Stay Together

Flower bullet Ian & Caroline’s play list highlights:

  • Stevie Wonder Superstition
  • Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton 9 To 5
  • The Jackson 5 I Want You Back
  • Starship We Built This City
  • Theme Baywatch
  • Fleetwood Mac Go Your Own Way
  • Christina Aguilera Lady Marmalade
  • Neil Diamond Sweet Caroline
  • Journey Don’t Stop Believing
  • Bon_Jovi Livin’ On a Prayer
  • Kings of Leon Sex On Fire
  • The Killers Mr. Brightside
  • Queen Don’t Stop Me Now
  • Madness It Must Be Love

Venue details

Flower bullet Layer Marney Tower, Layer Marney, Nr. Colchester, Essex, C05 9US

Tel: 01206 330 784, email:

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