Before you can book the venue for the reception, you will have to decide what kind of celebration you want and in what kind of surroundings and how much you can afford to spend!
Popular Scottish wedding venues get booked up well in advance (12-18 mths on average), especially on Saturdays and bank holidays, so if you have your heart set on a certain hotel it would be wise to enquire about the availability before setting the date of the wedding! There is often a functions manager or wedding consultant who will send you a brochure outlining what the hotel has to offer and then arrange an appointment for you to visit and see the rooms available and discuss all aspects of the reception, for example:
- What exactly does the price include (e.g. meal, buffet, drinks, flowers and other decorations, changing facilities). Does the price include VAT and service charge? It is best to get written confirmation on this.
- How flexible is the hotel over the menu? Are the caterer's prepared to take your wishes into account?
- Will a bar service be available for guests to buy their own drinks? Check who pays for the drink licence. It is also an idea to check the prices and availability of popular drinks.
- How long will the rooms be available?
Can the hotel provide a toastmaster? Is it possible for you to provide your own if you prefer?
- Will the hotel take charge of flowers and decorations. Can you have a say in this?
Is it possible to arrange for live music or a disco?
- Are there good parking facilities?
- Is there a pleasant area, inside or out, for taking photographs?
- Enquire about arrangements for guests who may be staying in the hotel.
- Does the staff seem generally keen to please?
Once you have booked the reception, the manager or wedding consultant should take over all the responsibility for the day, while remaining in close contact with the bride.
Ok, you've searched and high and low and finally found the perfect place to hold your reception! But wait, before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you've asked all of the right questions:
Please use our Scottish Wedding Venue Selector. Then ask about the facility
Can the facility comfortably accommodate the size wedding and number of guests you are planning? If you're planning a large wedding, inquire as to the largest reception the facility has handled. Does it have handicap access? Does it have air conditioning? Is there a room available for the bride to use during the reception to change clothes or just freshen up?
Ask about your date
Is it available? Ask if there are any other events or weddings booked for that day. Some facilities will only book one wedding a day and that's great! Other reception locations may book two weddings back to back. And of course, large hotels can have many weddings going on simultaneously. Just be sure you know all of the details for the day of your reception.
Ask about the decor of the facility
If you haven't seen it already, ask to see pictures of the facility as it would be set up for a wedding. Can you make any changes? Make sure that if there are certain decorations that you see now and like, that they will still be available on your wedding date. Ask if they are doing any remodelling or redecorating from now until your wedding day. When booking sites sometimes a year or more ahead of time, some brides have been a little disappointed when they've fallen in love with a certain look of their reception site and come back for their wedding to find that it looks totally different!
Ask about the number of hours
Most receptions last for four or five hours. Ask how many hours you will have for your reception. Some facilities will give you four hours and charge you additionally for every additional hour. Be sure to ask when you must be out of the facility and if there is an additional charge for going over the allotted time.
Ask about Money
How much is the total rental fee? And specifically, what does the price include? Ask about the deposit, how much and when is the balance due? Ask if they have any "wedding packages". Sometimes facilities will offer a wedding package including food, flowers, wedding cake and even a limo. Although you limit some of your choices, it can save you lots of time and money!
Ask about any extra charges If it's a banquet hall or historic estate, do you have to rent chairs and tables, and if so, is this an extra charge? What about linens and glassware are they included? Is there a cake cutting fee? What about a corking fee? (When you purchase your own alcohol for the reception, a corking fee is sometimes charged for each bottle of wine opened.)
Ask about the food
If the facility is a hotel or restaurant and will provide the food for the wedding, make sure that you've had an opportunity to sample the food and talk about menu choices. If you choose a location which requires an outside caterer, ask if you're required to choose from their approved list or can you choose any caterer?
Ask about alcohol and bar service
Does the facility provide the alcohol and bar service or do you bring your own alcohol? What about bartenders? Are there any restrictions about the type or quantity of alcohol to be served? Do they require a cash bar or is open bar an option? Ask about their liability insurance and if it is sufficient for your size wedding.
Ask about entertainment
Make sure the dance floor is big enough to accommodate your guests. Ask the facility manager to show you where the band or DJ would set up their equipment. Make sure the facility can accommodate them adequately. Please bookmark this site for more Scottish wedding venues.