The blog from West Park - all our latest news and views — articles for 2013

Six tips to survive Dundee’s festive party season

A group of friends celebrate with champagne. The party season is here and it’s time to start getting into the festive spirit. Check out our tips for surviving all those Christmas and Hogmanay parties.

1. Choose the right party night.

If you’re not responsible for your Christmas work’s do, you can always organise a night out for friends in Dundee. West Park still has some limited availability on Christmas party nights and if you’re looking to celebrate a traditional Hogmanay with a Ceilidh and a few drams of whisky, we can offer that too.

2. Go easy.

It’s easy to over-indulge on alcohol at this time of year but stick to the same drinks and drink water in between. This way you’ll pace yourself and be more likely to go the distance, and avoid a pounding headache the next day.

3. Fuel up.

Eat plenty on the day of the party to prevent a hangover. Our Hogmanay Party starts with an indulgent three-course dinner, to give you the staying power to see the New Year in.

4. Charge your phone.

Make sure your mobile is fully charged, so you can send those ‘Happy New Year’ texts or let the babysitter know if you need an extra hour’s partying. 

5. Home bound.

Pre-book your taxi before you head out, no one wants to get caught short once the night has finished. See if you can share a cab with colleagues or friends and then you can split the cost.

6. Hangover SOS.

Hair of the dog and a greasy fry-up are traditional ‘day after’ cures but health experts suggest an Alka-Seltzer, sleep and re-hydrating with water is more effective. Squeeze in some shut-eye and avoid making any commitments to family and friends, so you have plenty of time to recover… for the next party! 

If you’ve left your office Christmas party, friends or family get-together until the last minute, don’t panic; you can still get some great last-minute deals. At West Park, we have some late availability for Christmas and New Year’s parties and we can still squeeze you in for our infamous Hogmanay Party and Hoolie - just get in touch.

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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!

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Top tips for planning a team building away day

Customers look over the reports during a team meeting at West Park. The image shows the suited customers pointing and discussing the documents. A team away day can be the perfect opportunity for even the closest teams to come together away from the distractions of the office, to break down barriers and focus on the months ahead. Here are our top tips for planning a team building away day.

    1.  Focus on your objectives.

Team away days sometimes come under criticism as ‘an office jolly with little value’. However if you focus on what you want to achieve from this precious time, you’ll be sure to maximise its impact. Do you want to come away with a new strategy, or bring your dispersed team together to get to know each other? Or do you want to motivate your staff and inspire them for the next financial quarter? Setting out clear goals as part of the planning process will help you figure out what activities you might run and what equipment you’ll need. If you can involve your team in planning their away day, they’ll be more inclined to ‘buy-in’ to its benefits.

    2.  Include a mix of activities.

Not many people want to sit through hours of PowerPoint and flip charts. Of course, presentations and brainstorming play an important role in corporate away days but including team games, team building activities, ways of getting to know your team mates better, workshops, and motivational speeches will keep momentum throughout the day, sustaining interest and engagement from your delegates.

    3.  Choose brain-stimulating food and drink.

A well balanced menu for your team away day can be key to keeping the creative juices flowing. A high protein meal can help avoid the post-lunch lull that all event hosts dread. Regular refreshment breaks will help your delegates concentrate so make sure you have lots of drinking water available to keep your guests hydrated.

    4.  Ensure you have all the equipment you need.

A professional venue will provide all the audio visual and IT equipment you need whatever your planned activities, but not all venues include this in their package prices. If you’re planning a brainstorm that requires flip chart paper, make sure this is on-hand and that your pens are full of ink! Plan for the un-planned where you can… if you think there’s a chance you’ll need ‘post-it’ notes, sticky labels or an extra laptop and internet connection, make sure these can be made available.

    5.  Pick an inspiring location.

An interesting view can stimulate creative thinking. Choose a venue that’s central for the whole team, especially if some have far to travel, but make sure your venue has something unique about it that will help motivate and inspire your staff. West Park is located in the leafy west end of Dundee and with stunning views of the River Tay from the manicured lawns it’s an ideal venue for clear-headed thinking. 

Planning a team away day? Discuss our flexible, professional venue by calling us on 01382 647177 or email

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Choosing a party venue

An empty champagne bottle with bright party streamers and an empty champagne glass. Choosing a venue for a party can be lots of fun but it can also be quite daunting if you haven’t done it before. Our events team has shared their top tips to help you choose a perfect party venue, whether it’s for ‘a family do’, a school leaver’s prom or a graduation ball. When planning a party ask yourself:

  • Is the venue the right size?

When you start making enquiries about party venues, the provider will be able to tell you how many people their rooms can accommodate. If you’re hosting an intimate family celebration, you’ll want a cosy room that feels comfortably full but if you’re hosting a graduation ball, you need a spacious, room fit for all your fellow students. Be honest with yourself about how many people will attend- your guests will become irritable if there’s not enough room on the dance floor, but conversely, you don’t want a room that is so large it feels impersonal.

  • Can the room be styled or decorated in a chosen theme?

Some venue providers will offer styles or themes as part of a package, and some will let you decorate the venue yourself. If you want to bring in your own balloons, flowers, or streamers, check what the venue provider is happy with and make sure you have time to set up before the start of the party. West Park offers a ‘Celebration’ graduation ball package where the choice is all yours- you can even book your own DJ or band.

  • Does the party venue have a great entrance?

A fabulous entrance will set the tone for the party. Do you want your guests to come in to the events room through a balloon arch or a flower garland or is the entrance to the venue grand enough on its own? Choose a party venue that is adaptable and that makes a statement.

  • Is the location ideal?

Make sure your party venue is located centrally for your guests and is easily accessible. A stunning view or unique architecture will make the party memorable.

  • Is there a party planner that can help you?

A professional party venue will support you by providing an expert events planner. They’ll help you work out all the detail from music to catering and decorations which can really take the head-ache out of party planning for you. You’re looking for excellent service and attention to detail, so make sure the venue staff leave nothing to chance.

If you’re thinking of planning a party or celebration event and you’re looking for the perfect venue, look no further than West Park.

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