Leeds wedding venue Left Bank gearing up to host first full-capacity ceremonies after Freedom Day
A "breathtaking" Leeds wedding venue is gearing up to host its first full-capacity ceremonies in 17 months.
The director of Left Bank Sue Jennings, said she is excited for people to come together and "party like they haven't partied in 18 months".
Before the pandemic, the Burley venue relied on weddings as its single source of income, using the cash to support its arts and community work.
But the venue has managed to survive lockdowns after it was transformed into a hub for the community, hosting a variety of events including band nights, graffiti jams, DJs, artists, roller skaters, knitters and lino printers.
"Left Bank is a completely different venue to the one it was before lockdown," Sue told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
"The good thing that has come out of it is how quickly we adapted to the needs of our community, supporting the musicians, artists and makers that we're surrounded by in Leeds.
"We've managed to cope and get through it and we've ended up with an amazing, vibrant and creative community hub. We've got a bright and exciting future ahead."
Left Bank has battled through the pandemic, but the easing of restrictions on 'Freedom Day' will bring a much needed boost to the business.
The team have had to redesign many ceremonies that were postponed to this summer, with Covid safety measures still in mind.
"It's going to be fantastic," Sue added.
"We've already seen that with the two weddings we've had this month and people are so excited for the restrictions to be lifted. Seeing people come together and party like they haven't partied in 18 months, it's going to be great.
"We've changed the format of a lot of the weddings that have been rebooked for this year - people have had babies in that time!
"And although the restrictions will be lifted, a lot of our couples are mindful that they are inviting a broad range of ages. There will be people who are nervous about being back out, older people who are more vulnerable or people with health conditions.
"We're working around how everybody feels and the needs of their extended family."
Many Left Bank weddings this summer will still have elements of social distancing, hand santising stations and parts of the ceremony outside - if requested by the wedding party.
But this won't dampen the celebrations, said Sue, who is looking forward to filling out the converted church building for the first time in 17 months.
She added: "When you walk through the door, it's awe-inspiring. From the outside it looks like quite a plain structure, but the beauty of the architecture when you walk inside is breathtaking. That's what captures people.
"Although it's no longer a church, it has a spirituality attached to it. It has a really special feel and that's why people choose it for their celebrations."
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