Imagine getting married in a church and then celebrating in one too…
Well that’s exactly what gorgeous Aisling & James did. They couldn’t resist the charms of The Left Bank wedding venue in Leeds, a former derelict church restored into a gorgeous space for nuptials and parties. Letting in gorgeous light through its immense windows and making fabulous use of some of the original features for speeches and celebrations.
It is dramatic, insanely beautiful and most definitely has the WOW factor. As does bride Aisling’s in her stunning mocha satin and lace Justin Alexander gown. Talk about siren. All the epic-ness has been captured perfectly by Andy Gaines Photography, now are you ready to see this venue?
Aisling the Bride: Anyone that knows us well wouldn’t really describe either of us as relaxed people, but somehow when it came to planning our wedding we managed to be pretty laid back! The key for us was keeping it simple and not overloading ourselves with too much choice, or overcomplicated arrangements. We tried to choose suppliers who shared that attitude. This helped keep a sense of calm through the planning, and on the day itself.
The most important thing was that we got to spend a whole day having an incredibly fun time, with all our favourite people. So we didn’t really a theme for as such; we just focused on all the things that we loved; simple, elegant design, amazing food and great photography. We had the best day ever.
Though James and I met, and now live together in London, we both have strong ties to Leeds, so it seemed like a natural choice of location for us to have our wedding.
We got married at St Wilfrid’s Church in Calverley, the same church where my parents married, which was really special. It was lovely to have lots of the same people sitting in the congregation, 30 years later.
We knew for sure that we didn’t see ourselves at an elaborate country house or hotel so we picked The Left Bank, Leeds for our reception – a former derelict church that’s recently been converted into a wedding and events space. We loved the fact that lots of the original features had been left untouched and made sure we incorporated them into our day as best we could; the pulpit – perfect for the speeches, the choir stalls – perfect for dancing and the windows let in amazing light which was perfect for getting some incredible photos.
The Left Bank was essentially a blank canvas. While this was a bit more work, it meant we had the freedom to decorate it exactly the way we wanted.
We spent the day before setting up with our families and the bridal party. It was lovely to get to spend that time together and it put everyone in a fantastic mood for the day itself.
We had festoon lighting and white drapes strung between the pillars which looked really magical, especially after the sun had set. With the help of diligent family members, we sourced cut glass decanters from charity shops across the country and used them as the centrepiece for our table settings filled with sprays of gypsophila and surrounded by white pillar candles. As a lovely reminder of the day we’re now using all the decanters at home; some as vases, some filled with spirits, some just as decoration.
I’m pretty pale and every white or ivory dress I tried on seemed to make me look even paler. Even so, when the lovely ladies at the Harrogate Wedding Lounge suggested I tried on a Justin Alexander gown in a mocha satin I was sceptical, but the second I tried it on, I knew it was the one. Not only did it make my skin look radiant, it was also super comfortable which meant no restrictions on crazy dance moves at the reception!
James loves shoes, so when we were on holiday in Florence shortly after we’d got engaged he decided to buy some handmade petrol-blue leather shoes from Mario Bemer, to form the centre piece of his outfit, which he somehow managed to keep in the box until the big day!
Because James wears a business suit to work every-day, he wanted to wear a morning suit to make sure the day felt extra special. We hired suits from Moss Bros so all the guys could match, and James bought white shirts and navy and gold paisley ties from Charles Tyrwhitt as gifts for his best man, groomsmen and the fathers.
When my Mum got married, she had wanted to have a similar bouquet to her Mum (my Nanna), so I thought it would be a lovely idea to carry on the tradition.
Sally from Serendipity Floral Design did an amazing job of recreating Nanna’s teardrop bouquet for a third generation, as well as making beautiful button holes and bridesmaids bouquets.
Our sister in law Angela is a florist so it was really important to us that she helped with the flowers as well, the only slight complication being that she lives in Rome. Even though she’d only flown in the night before the wedding she was a total star decorating our cake and arranging all the beautiful flowers for the church in record time.
We both love food, and we eat a lot so we knew we didn’t want to scrimp on portions. Bear’s Pantry provided us with delicious canapés and family style sharing food dishes for the wedding breakfast – all beautifully presented and in proper Yorkshire portion sizes!
We knew from the start that having an awesome photographer was top of our priority list. We wanted someone who would capture every little moment but also someone who fitted in seamlessly with all our guests and the relaxed atmosphere we wanted for the day. Andy Gaines absolutely delivered. We’ve got the most perfect photographs as memories of our special day.