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A Fresh, Relaxed City Centre Wedding - Crafthouse and Leeds Town Hall - Sally and Jamie

Meeting for the first time in Laynes Espresso in Leeds, Sally greeted me with a smile, one big hug, and we got to getting to know each other a little before diving into plans for hers and Jamie's wedding.

This small ritual of mine, of meeting for a drink before the wedding day, has become an integral part of my photography practice. It opens up the opportunity to find out what is most important to my couple - as an untraditional wedding photographer, it's incredible how much the plans of any two weddings can differ, and it's all down to the priorities of each bride and groom to be.

Sally and Jamie's wedding plans were to be quite unusual. They were splitting their celebrations over two days.

It transpired that this was to embody the wishes of both Sally and Jamie, who both fancied something different. Their two day wedding plans were the perfect meeting of two ideas.

As I've already hinted, when photographing relaxed weddings, it's common for plans to be anything but 'the usual', so this time together in Laynes gave us the chance to talk freely through the wedding timeline and for me to find out who the key people were to be on each day.

When we parted ways, I to travel back to my small editing mountain in Hebden Bridge and Sally to head on to Leeds Town Hall to check on plans there, I was already looking forward to the first of two great wedding celebrations.

Sally and Jamie's wedding days were back to back. The first was home to their official ceremony and the second was their big reception celebration.

80 Chilled Out, Natural Wedding Photographs - Leeds Town Hall and Crafthouse Leeds - Janet Wareing Photography

Part 1

After exploring Leeds city centre and the Town Hall as day one arrived, camera in hand, eyes caught by a myriad of photographic vistas I had begun setting the scene for the day's plans in images before I joined Sally and her girls at the Raddison Blu, just across the square from the town hall, where we would be joining the rest of the party later.

Welcomed in by Sally's mum, who had been making the bouquets, I joined Sally and her sister, as well as Jamie's daughter who was to be bridesmaid.

The morning felt like best friends hanging out. Nails were painted, songs were sung, and champagne popped.

Before we knew it, it was time for Sally to slip into heels (the best bridal heels, ever) and walk to the ceremony.

Stepping out into the summer sun was glorious.

With an entourage of dad, best friend and bridesmaid, Sally walked to her wedding ceremony. Past the Henry Moore Institute and Leeds Art Gallery, where people sat on steps, eating lunch and making calls. Eyes turned their way as the bridal party made their way to Leeds Town Hall, white dress fluttering in a fresh breeze.

Excitement and nerves were building inside.

Jamie waited with his son and Best Man in the Brodrick suite, and soon the small group of guests joined them. Their ceremony was to be relaxed and intimate, just close family and friends.

As soon as Sally entered the room with her father the nerves dissipated. Eyes met and these two said their vows while smiles filled the room.

Against the backdrop of the Town Hall's spectacular Grade 1 listed architecture, the group of family and friends spilled onto the steps. Under the columns they dished out hugs and congratulations to the newly weds.

Onwards they went, to lunch.

Part 2

The following day, everyone re-united for part two of the epic wedding weekend.

Sally and Jamie had chosen Crafthouse in Leeds as their reception venue. On the fifth floor, rising up above Trinity, in the very heart of Leeds.

Crafthouse combines striking architecture, skyline views of the city and modern decor with the best quality ingredients and sublime menus.

The wedding party had exclusive access to the whole floor, and outdoor terrace.

Guests met in the glass fronted restaurant and began their evening with a champagne reception. The second part of their wedding plans involved a much bigger party, where extended family and many more friends could join in the fun.

The sleek elegance of Crafthouse created a beautiful backdrop for the evening, it was perfect just as it was. This was one of the reasons that Sally and Jamie chose it. Just add a table plan and you're good to go!

If you have followed my photography work for a while, you will know that I am in love with all things linear. So working in the city, particularly at the Crafthouse, which sings with modern architecture, light, lines and colour, I was in my element. To say that the setting for this wedding was the most inspiring place I have worked this year just about sums it up!

As drinks flowed, friends caught up and Sally and Jamie slipped into the room. Happy hours were spent amongst loved ones and soon it was time to eat. With the open-fronted kitchen presented behind the bar, every guest had been able to watch as their meals were prepared and presented.

In the light and fresh restaurant, everyone gathered for a delicious 3 course meal, followed by speeches from Sally's father, then Jamie and, of course, the best man.

And so, to the beginning of the night - as the sun dipped low over the rooftops of Leeds, lights were dimmed and Sally and Jamie took to the dance floor; first alone and soon joined by parents and kids, to mark the start of things to come.

As a wedding photographer who travels across the whole of the UK, I find myself working in new locations year round. Working in new places and stepping into different venues each month or even each week opens up vistas of new ideas, opportunities and ensures I don't fall into a pattern of repeating images or envisaging a wedding in a certain way based on the venue I am working at. The beauty of working for couples who are planning non-traditional wedding days is that no two weddings are the same. To me this kindles the fire of inspiration and fuels my search for the essence of their wedding day, which I distill into my images. Each of my couples bring their own vision and personality to their day and I work through each wedding, paying particular attention to their individuality, relationships and priorities to encapsulate the story of their wedding. A huge thank you to Sally and Jamie for inviting me to join them as their wedding (weekend!) photographer and to everyone involved who made their celebrations such a happy event.


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