Photograph: Zeba and Nick wedding
Susie Young of wedding planners Knot & Pop knows how to help you celebrate in style. After her role in PR unveiled a talent for organising events (and as she’d always loved a good wedding) she decided to turn her creative skills to helping couples feel more happy and less stressed on their big day.
Susie Young of Knot & Pop. Photograph: Ashlee Taylor
Unlike in the US, in the UK, the wedding planner is not often the first port of call for engaged couples but that’s changing. Being an award-winning, industry expert, Susie has seen an increased demand from British brides and grooms to-be. “Couples in the UK, seeing the role planners play in America (especially via the advent of Pinterest, Instagram and all the many wedding blogs) are realising the importance of having an expert steering things from the get-go, both stylistically and logistically, so all the right questions are asked of venues and suppliers, and later stresses avoided,” she explains. “We want to design a day that really mirrors the couple so it feels individual to them, and all the more personal and memorable.” Who better then to help us plan for that great party atmosphere?
From venues and lighting, to music and some special surprises, here are Susie’s tips to make your wedding evening pop in a way that suits you.
Photograph: Gabriella Silveira
Don’t shy away from the budget
"You have to know the level of spend you feel comfortable with, and have a savings plan in place if needed. Outline a projected budget to see how that splits across suppliers and aspects. Each and every supplier will want to know your budget to ensure they can work within it, or tailor their ideas to it."
Get that guest-list down early on
"At the start of wedding planning, it’s so important that the couple define their priorities together. Pin-point key things such as guest numbers by writing up your guest list as this will feed into your venue search. You don’t want to book a venue you fall in love with, only to then find that you need to make some painful cuts as the location isn’t big enough to host everyone you want to invite."
Photograph: Ellie Gillard
Keep to the schedule
"Timings are also an aspect that couples are mindful of. What time should the drinks reception be, and for how long? How long to allocate for dinner prior to the evening unfolding? I always recommend having at least 3 hours of the evening party once dinner is finished and skew schedules accordingly with finish times and the couples’s priorities in mind."
Set the mood
"Come evening, lighting is so important in creating the right party atmosphere. Gobo projections (stencils or templates placed in front of a light) are a great way to cast a gorgeous pattern or a couple’s monogram over the dance floor."
Photograph: Narborough Gardens
Mix the music
"The band vs. DJ debate is on-going and a personal preference. Being married to someone who DJs, personally I am in the DJ camp. My husband is pretty discerning when it comes to music so the songs we wanted for our wedding weren’t within your run-of-the-mill band repertoire. We therefore opted for a Scottish ceilidh band and then DJs for the party. I do think live music at some point in the day is essential though as it really adds to the atmosphere – whether for ceremony, drinks reception or as part of the evening line-up."
Be creative with the drinks
"Having couple's cocktails, with two signature drinks, is a lovely touch for the evening bar. They could flow all night, or be brought out on trays, a twist on the 'Happy Hour’. You could also have a Shots Station open up for a limited time, depending on how much you want the drinks to flow!"
"Surprises always add some excitement to the party atmosphere. At Knot & Pop weddings, we’ve got the dance floor going by bursting confetti cannons through the night at those big party tunes. We’ve also had roaming artists, magicians, cocktail carts, and jugglers (to name a few) to layer up entertainment – so it’s not just the music that's considered."
Find a photographer you love
"Invest in a really fantastic photographer as so many moments will be captured that you didn’t see on the day – it allows you to relive your day from so many angles."
If you're beginning to plan your wedding, then browse our collection of stationery to set the atmosphere for your big day.