The blog from West Park - all our latest news and views — articles for 2014

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…

Six ways to make an impact with your wedding breakfast

 

Making your wedding breakfast memorable is an easy feat with West ParkThey say that the things people most remember about a wedding are the food and the entertainment, so you’ll want to make sure you get your wedding breakfast just right! It’s one of the most important parts of your big day, so check out our guide to make sure your guests’ taste buds are still tingling long after the toasts have finished:

1. Food for thought

It sounds obvious, but you need to make sure there’s going to be something that everyone will be able to eat, whether vegetarian, vegan or dairy free.  You definitely won’t want the stress of any of your guests saying on the day that there’s nothing they like! At West Park we can offer you the option of pre-ordering specialised dishes and any dietary requirements from our menu.

A great tip is to write your guests’ meal choices on the back of their place names, so on the day there won’t be any confusion as to who ordered what!

2. Timing is the key

Picture this – you’ve just sat down to your amazing meal, and the next thing you know your evening guests have started arriving and the DJ is ‘discreetly’ setting up in the corner! Not an ideal scenario for your wedding day. It can take longer than you think, so make sure you leave enough time to enjoy your wedding breakfast, you really don’t want to feel like you need to rush. Remember, it’s traditional to have the speeches following the meal, so include enough time for that too.

3. Drink up!

No matter what food you order, you’re going to want delicious drinks to go with it. We can offer you the whole works at West Park, including reception drinks, wine with your wedding breakfast and a bit of sparkle for the toasts. Check out our drinks packages which start at just £13.95 per person. If you prefer, we can offer something tailored just for you, get in contact with us to have a chat.

4. Type of service

Buffet or sit down meal – which way do you go? Lots of couples are opting for an informal buffet for their wedding breakfast these days, often it can keep the costs down and is a great way for your guests to mingle. On the other hand, a sit down meal being brought to you at the table can make your day even more special and sometimes you can get a bigger choice of food this way.

Whatever you choose, we can cater for it at West Park.

5. Food for the kids

We’ve all been there. Those weddings where the little ones don’t fancy the food that’s being served to them, and run around screaming during the meal! Speak to your venue before the big day to make sure they can offer your youngest guests food they’ll enjoy. At West Park we offer a kid-friendly menu, as we want all your guests to feel looked after no matter what their age!

6. Those little extras

That time between the ceremony and wedding breakfast can be when guests’ stomachs start rumbling, so why not think about providing some canapés? It doesn’t have to be huge, just some tasty little nibbles to tide everyone over until the main meal.

Another hungry time for your guests can be during the reception, when the wedding breakfast has gone down and everyone is getting on with having a good time. An evening buffet can be just the thing to keep your guests happy.

We can offer you both of these options at West Park with our special evening buffet and canapé menus. 

Read Six ways to make an impact with your wedding breakfast…

Five reasons to take your meeting away from the office

The large and spacious conference room at West Park.Looking for a bigger and better venue for your team meetings? Why not organise an away day with your colleagues? Away days are great for sharing ideas, brainstorming, fostering team work or communicating key messages. Being away from the hustle and bustle of the office is a bonus and can help get those creative juices flowing.

Do you need some help with planning your away day? Our checklist will point you in the right direction:

1. Location

The location is always important for a group meeting, you don’t want your delegates having to travel too far or hopping from train to train. West Park is located just outside of Dundee city centre, so if you’re on the hunt for a meeting venue in and around Dundee, come and pay us a visit!

2. Facilities

Being away from the office you want to be sure you’ve got the facilities and equipment you need for the day. We provide projectors, screens, laptops and flipcharts upon request. We also offer free Wi-Fi.

3. Refreshments

Providing the catering for a number of delegates can be a real headache. Not all venues provide catering, so it’s important to find this out. We offer a number of lunch packages including delicious delicatessen nibbles and freshly-made sandwiches.

4. Flexibility

Our dedicated team at West Park will be on board from the word go, we can help- you create a successful away day for you and your colleagues. Our team can assist with seating and layouts of your choice, setting up equipment on the day and most importantly, providing your refreshments.

5. Motivation

There are many truths to working away from the office; some have claimed speed and quality are compromised when employees work away. We believe it’s good to mix up your working environment, taking colleagues away from the office at least once a month is a great way to crank up those brains!

If you’re interested in booking an away day at West Park we've got some fantastic packages. Get in touch with our team or fill out our conference and meeting enquiry form.

Read Five reasons to take your meeting away from the office…
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