The blog from West Park - all our latest news and views — articles in the category "Weddings"

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…

Nine questions to ask your wedding venue

A wedding layout in the Balbeggie Suite at West Park. Possibly the most expensive item in your wedding budget is booking the wedding venue. It’s really important to ask the right questions to get exactly what you want from your dream venue and to help your big day to run smoothly.

Here’s a list of questions to ask your potential venue:

1. Is it big enough for all my guests?

Only visit venues that are suitable for your numbers. West Park offers intimate wedding suites to suit small gatherings and can comfortably accommodate bigger celebrations too.

2. Is my preferred date available?

Wedding experts advise you to book as early as you can to get your preferred date. If your dates are flexible, you can get some great last-minute deals. Check out West Park’s late-availability packages.

3. Is there an in-house wedding co-ordinator?

A good wedding co-ordinator will take the organising out of your hands so you can concentrate on the rest of your planning. West Park provides a friendly, personal service from the moment you book right through to your wedding day.

4. Can the venue accommodate my theme?

Check if they can make your ideas a reality and if there are any restrictions with decor. Find out where the photographs will be taken to make sure the backdrop fits in with your theme.

5. Is there in-house catering?

If the venue provides food, ask to see all the menu options and if they’re flexible on menu choices; ask if they cater for children and special diets too. Find out more about West Park’s wedding menus.

6. Is all the equipment included?

Check if the room hire includes tables, chairs, linen, glassware and extras such as; chair covers, personalised menus and a cake stand and a knife. These small things can add up, so if you need to hire them, make sure you include them in your budget.   

7. Is entertainment allowed?

If the answer is ‘yes’, check there is sufficient power supply for any entertainment and sound systems that you may need. Also, find out how late the bar will be open and what time you and your guests will need to leave the venue.

8. Is there sufficient parking for guests?

It may not be a deal breaker but if there isn’t enough parking available, ask the venue for details on alternative parking nearby and let your guests know the location.

9. When does the deposit need to be paid?

To secure a venue you will often need to pay a deposit, so ask how much it is, when it needs to be paid and when the rest is due. It’s worth attending the wedding exhibitions at potential venues, so you can often take advantage of generous discounts. West Park offers a reduced deposit and the previous year’s price, if you attend their free wedding exhibitions.

West Park offers the finest traditional Scottish hospitality, first-class cuisine and a choice of suites. If you would like to arrange a viewing West Park, please get in touch.

Read Nine questions to ask your wedding venue…

Planning your big day? West Park’s Wedding Exhibitions have all the inspiration you need

A bride and groom on their wedding day. If you’ve just started planning your wedding or you’re looking for those all-important finishing touches, a wedding exhibition is a great place to start. At West Park, our wedding exhibitions provide an excellent opportunity to meet with Dundee’s finest wedding suppliers and discuss your specific needs, and to see a wide variety of wedding products and services, all under one roof.

Here are some useful things to consider when going to a wedding exhibition:

Which wedding exhibition?

Small wedding exhibitions are often less crowded and more intimate than the bigger events, so they’re definitely worth a visit. They’re great for finding local suppliers that can provide everything you need for your special day. At our next exhibition, you’ll have a chance to explore our variety of wedding suites and talk to our friendly wedding co-ordinators about your special day.

Who should you take with you?

Take people that you trust and are keen to be involved in the planning of your big day, such as your groom-to-be, your mum or your chief bridesmaid.

Meet local wedding suppliers face-to-face.

You’ll find the best wedding products and services that Dundee has to offer at our wedding exhibitions. By talking to local suppliers directly; whether it’s a florist, a photographer or a venue planner, you can decide if they’re right for you and your wedding. You’ll have a chance to see their products and services, and get some inspiring ideas.

Keep your budget in mind.

It’s a good idea to let suppliers know your budget so they can show you their products and services within your price range. Don’t be afraid to ask how much things cost or get quotes. Suppliers will usually have something to suit most budgets and tend to offer generous discounts and incentives at wedding exhibitions.

Take advantage of offers and discounts.

Exhibitions are ideal if you’re looking for late-availability wedding venue packages and fabulous discounts on everything; from bespoke wedding cakes to entertainment. Any brides-to-be attending one of our wedding exhibitions will be offered the previous year’s prices, if they confirm their booking at the event.

So brides save the date! West Park is hosting a free wedding exhibition on Sunday 26 January 2014. We look forward to seeing you and helping you to plan your perfect wedding day!

If you can’t make our exhibition, you’re welcome to come along another time, just give us a call on 01382 647171 or email

Read Planning your big day? West Park’s Wedding Exhibitions have all the inspiration you need…

Five steps to choosing the perfect engagement ring

A man slips a wedding ring onto a woman's finger whilst she holds a bouquet. Are you planning on popping the big question, but clueless about engagement rings? Or perhaps you’re hoping your Mr Right will get down on one knee? Check out our five tips to help you buy the perfect ring or share this article with the man of your dreams!

  1.  Fix your budget

The tradition is to spend at least a month’s salary on an engagement ring but you should only spend what you can afford. Be determined to only look at rings within your price range to avoid falling in love with one you can’t afford.

  2.  Tune into her taste

Find out your partner’s tastes; what she likes will help you to narrow down the engagement rings on offer. Pay close attention to the jewellery that she normally wears; is it classic or vintage? Which metals does she prefer? Also, ask family and friends for ideas - if you can trust them to keep the proposal a secret!  

  3.  Know the basics

A ring is made up of a band, a gemstone and a setting. The band is the circular part of the ring that sits around the finger and is usually made from gold, silver or platinum. The gemstone is the feature of the ring and is traditionally a diamond for engagement rings. The setting refers to the piece that holds the gemstone in place.

  4.  Diamond jargon busting

You may have heard of the ‘4Cs’ of diamonds. The ‘4Cs’ refer to the cut, carat, colour and clarity of a diamond. The way a diamond is cut gives it its shape. Cut styles include emerald, oval and princess. The weight of a diamond is measured in carats and the average weight of a diamond engagement ring is between half a carat and one carat. Diamonds appear colourless but actually contain subtle shades of colour; the closer it is to having no colour the more valuable it is. Clarity refers to the natural imperfections in a diamond; the fewer imperfections or flaws the greater the clarity and the sparkle (and cost)!

  5.  Pick a jeweller

Choose a jeweller you feel comfortable with; let them know your budget and your partner’s tastes and spend time talking to them about what you want. Sometimes the particular style you like may need to be made, which can take up to four weeks, so factor that into your proposal planning. And don’t forget the boring bits; ask for a diamond certificate, keep your receipt as proof of purchase and consider adding the ring to your content insurance.

Now you’re ready to pop the question!  If you’re looking for a venue in Dundee to celebrate your engagement, West Park has a wide range of affordable options available. Or, if you’re thinking of getting married in 2014, check out our late availability wedding packages. Our Wedding Exhibition, on Sunday 26 January 2014, is the perfect opportunity to start exploring the style of wedding you want.

Good luck with your proposal!

Read Five steps to choosing the perfect engagement ring…