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Five things you need to organise an evening dinner party

An evening dinner party laid out at West Park, Dundee. Whether it’s for a wedding anniversary, birthday or just a special meal, if you’ve got a dinner party to organise you’ll want it to go perfectly. There’s so much to think about though, where do you start? Check out our list of essentials and your event is sure to be a night to remember:

Plenty of space

Sounds obvious, but make sure the space you’ve hired has got the right amount of room. The last thing you want is for your guests to be so close together their elbows are in each other's food, or so far apart they need to shout to have a conversation!

A venue with a range of rooms to choose from is ideal, and at West Park we have several beautiful function suites which cater for different numbers of guests, from 20 to 200. Drop our Events Team an email and they’ll be happy to have a chat with you about your requirements.

A tasty menu

It goes without saying that a delicious menu at a reasonable price is a must. Lots of venues will have a set price menu, which is a great idea for a private party as everyone can order what they want beforehand to save time and hassle on the night. Take a look at our celebration menu, our special three course dinner starts from just £21.95 per person.

Car parking

We’ve all been there – when you arrive nice and early for an evening meal out, only to get flustered because there are no parking spaces nearby or you’ve run out of change for the car park. Try and pick a venue that has a decent car park near; ours at West Park has free parking for over 100 cars.

Events support

If you choose a venue that has an in-house Events Team, that’s a huge bonus. They can support you in run up to your dinner party, answering any questions you’ve got, and be there on the night to sort out any last minute niggles so you can just concentrate on having a great time. If you organise your evening dinner party at West Park our friendly Events Team will be with you every step of the way, just get in contact for more information.

A place to rest your head

Wouldn’t it be great if after your dinner party has finished, your guests could just take a short stroll back to their rooms and not have to worry about having a drink or finding a taxi? If you can, find a venue where there’s accommodation nearby and your guests will definitely thank you for it. Better yet, a venue with accommodation included! If you’re organising a summer dinner party at West Park we can offer you preferential rates for our great value en-suite bedrooms.

Read Five things you need to organise an evening dinner party…

Checklist for a successful fundraiser

The suite Are you arranging an event to raise some funds? Take a look at our checklist to make sure you hit your target:

Select your audience and think about the venue

As with anything, a relevant audience is crucial. Think about the audience well in advance, which will be dependent on the type of fundraiser you’re arranging. How many people are you planning to invite? The venue for the fundraiser should be at the forefront of your thinking and needs to have facilities to cater to the needs of the attendees. Will you be dancing the night away? Some of our rooms at West Park will give you the option of a dance floor.

Send out invites early

You don’t want to leave people with short notice; their calendars may already be full! Invite people early, make them aware of the purpose of the event and encourage them to attend. Send reminders close to the date of the event so that those attending don’t forget it’s taking place.

Choose the right channels for promotion

When promoting your fundraiser, think about the most effective methods. Do you want to advertise it on the internet or social media? Or are personal invites over the phone or by email more suitable?

Think about key messages to convey during the event

Do you want to raise awareness of what you’re raising funds for? You might want to have a stand or some literature for people to take away and find out more. You may wish to seek some volunteers who are happy to be a source of information while the event is taking place.

Make it enjoyable

Everyone attending will be hoping for a fun-filled event, so you’ll want to do your best to make it enjoyable and memorable. Whatever your theme, be sure to focus on the expectations of your guests!

Plan your fundraiser carefully and you’ll be close to hitting your target!

Read Checklist for a successful fundraiser…

Five pitfalls to avoid when organising a conference

West Park conference facilities in Dundee If you’re organising a conference for the benefit of your fellow staff or clients, you’ll need it to be meaningful, effective and memorable! Take a look at what to avoid for everything to run smoothly:

  1. Poor facilities

If you want your staff to stay motivated throughout the event, or if you want to impress your clients, quality facilities are essential. If attendees aren’t impressed with the facilities on offer, it can leave them disappointed, demotivated and unproductive. If you want to make your event memorable for the right reasons, impressive facilities will go a long way.

  1. Venues that are the wrong size

Have you ever arranged an event for 10 people and ended up in a room that can hold over 100? There could be some echoes during any presentations! It’s important that the venue size is well suited to your requirements. At West Park we offer a wide range of different sized venues for you to choose from.

  1. Forgetting something

Do your staff or clients need Wi-Fi access to check their emails? Have they travelled a long way to attend and are therefore expecting refreshments? You’ll need to make sure you’ve catered for the needs and expectations of the attendees. There’s nothing worse than realising on the day that you’ve forgotten something important, so when organising your event make sure you plan well ahead. You may wish to do this by asking for any specific requirements when people confirm their attendance.

  1. An unfriendly service

Have you ever been to a fantastic venue only to have the memory of it ruined by a poor and unhelpful service? When organising your conference, do your research and look for testimonials and reviews on the venue you’re planning to book. A friendly, polite service will no doubt improve the overall experience of your event. At West Park we pride ourselves on providing a bespoke service, and you will be provided with your own event co-ordinator. Get in touch to find out we could help plan your event.

  1. Low quality food

Attendees will be hoping for good quality, tasty food to keep them going throughout the day. If the food served is of low quality, attention levels can drop and attendees can become restless. At West Park we offer varied menus and can cater to any special requirements.

Read Five pitfalls to avoid when organising a conference…

Why you should go to wedding exhibitions

Champagne glasses Something amazing has happened! You're engaged. And after the congratulations have died down and the planning has started in earnest, wouldn't it be great if there was a one stop shop where you could go and get all your wedding queries answered?

Well, there is! Heading to a wedding exhibition is a great way of seeing loads of things and getting your questions answered all at once. Here at West Park our wedding fair will be happening on 14 September 2014, check out our guide to wedding exhibitions and see why you should consider going to one:

Saving some pennies

Wedding fairs are full of suppliers who want to get you to part with your hard earned cash in exchange for their services. As there's so much competition in one room, there will often be deals on offer to tempt you, so make sure you haggle if you find something you like – if you don't ask, you don't get! It's a great idea to check out what suppliers are going to be there beforehand and make a list of what interests you. We've got some amazing exhibitors coming to our wedding fair at West Park on 14 September, check out our list.

Fun

The phrase “wedding exhibition” can be enough to strike fear into the heart of any groom, but the day really will be just a lot of fun! There usually isn't any obligation to buy anything, you can just wander round and see what you like. As suppliers try to lure you to their stand you'll often get free stuff too! And if you really can't convince your other half to go you'll have a great giggle coming for a day out with the girls.

A sneaky peek

Wedding exhibitions are a really good way of getting a sneak peek at some amazing venues where you might consider having your wedding. You're free to stroll round the rooms and grounds as you please, and usually the whole wedding team will be on standby to answer any questions. At West Park we have some beautiful rooms where you can hold your ceremony and reception, and you'll be able to see them all at our wedding exhibition in September.

Contacts and ideas

If you're stuck for ideas for your big day wedding exhibitions are a fab starting point. With so much to see you're bound to find something that inspires you, from bunting and tealights to photo booths and cakes.

And you'll get some really good contacts too. Most exhibitors will have preferred suppliers that they've worked with before, which can be a valuable resource for you to tap into.

If you'd like any more information about our wedding exhibition on 14 September, or just a chat, just get in contact and our friendly team will be happy to help.

Read Why you should go to wedding exhibitions…

Planning the perfect wedding – first steps for newly engaged couples

Engagement ring Congratulations! You’re engaged. You’ve drunk the champagne, shown everyone the sparkling rock on your finger and have finally come back down to Earth …. now what?

It’s time to crack on with the planning of course! We know it can seem a bit overwhelming with so much to think about and do, so check out our guide for where to start when planning the biggest day of your life:

The legal bits

One of the first things to think about is whether you want a religious or civil ceremony.

A church wedding can be very special and dramatic, not to mention a long aisle to show off the train on that beautiful dress! You don’t have to be a member of the Church of Scotland to get married in church, and many ministers will be happy to marry you somewhere else. So you could have a stunning outside ceremony wherever you want if you don’t mind taking a risk on that Scottish weather!

A civil marriage can take place at a registration office or an approved place, and can give you access to a really good range of lovely places, like hotels, listed buildings, pubs and conference centres. At West Park we have several beautiful rooms where you can hold your civil ceremony.

Whichever you choose, you’ll need to submit some marriage notice forms to the local registrar and make sure you have two people to witness your marriage. Check out the Scotland Register Office website for more details.

Where to do it?

Once that’s ticked off, the next big thing on your list should be choosing your venue. Where to start?

Whichever type of ceremony you choose, it’s a great idea to have a look at different venues and check out any wedding exhibitions and fairs they might be holding. You can get some fab ideas and you’ll often get some free stuff!

Our wedding exhibition at West Park is set for Sunday 14 September 2014 and will have lots of things for you to look at, giving you the opportunity to have a look around our stunning rooms and grounds and speak to our friendly team. Keep an eye on our website for details. Even if you’re not free then we’re always happy to have a chat, just get in contact with us.

Very important – make sure you speak to the person who will be solemnising your marriage, whether minister or registrar, before you book your venue. The last thing you want to do is lose a hefty venue deposit if there’s no one available!

Yum yum

And on to one of the most important parts of the day – your food! There’s so much to choose from, an informal buffet, a sit down meal or a barbeque, which way do you go? Most venues will charge per head so work out what your budget is and that can be your starting point. Have a chat with your venue and see what they can offer.

We’ve just uploaded a blog all about wedding breakfasts and other food you might want on the day, so check it out for some great ideas.

THE dress

Here it is, the bit you’ve been dreaming about your entire life, and now you’re planning your wedding it finally becomes reality!

Have a look around to get an idea of what dress styles you like, creating a board on Pinterest is a good way of getting all your thoughts in one place. Another tip is to step outside your comfort zone when trying dresses on, lots of brides find they end up choosing something they never thought they would!

This is just the tip of the iceberg in the world of wedding planning, but when you get these things ticked off you’ve made a great start. Here at West Park we can help you make your day exactly what you want, so check out the wedding info on our website and get in contact if you’d like any further info.

Read Planning the perfect wedding – first steps for newly engaged couples…
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