Not sure what to expect from a venue package, or worried they make all weddings feel the same? We find out how to secure a deal that’ll keep you at the helm of your day

A large room filled with round tables and wooden chairs set up for a wedding meal

The Ballroom at the Old Course Hotel set up for a reception meal. (Photo: Creation Bureau)

Weddings are very much a celebration of the happy couple and their lives together so far. And with so many friends and family attending, you’ll want to put on a ‘good show’ and throw a celebration that they will never forget.

So, the last thing you want is for your day to feel run-of-the-mill. You don’t want it to look just like everyone else’s – but that’s what a lot of people think package wedding deals are all about. But au contraire, that’s not the case – or, at least, it doesn’t have to be.

We’ve spoken to some top venues across Scotland to find out how you can reap all the benefits of a package deal without losing any of you on your wedding day. Here’s what they had to say.

Wedding venue package or blank canvas venue? 

The great thing about packages is that they do all the hard work for you. You don’t have to spend time sweating about the little details, leaving you free to focus on the more fun aspects of wedding planning.

While blank-canvas venues allow for lots of creativity, they also require you to think of everything. Like, everything. “Blank-canvas venues that invite couples to do it themselves are absolutely beautiful,” says Paige McGhee, sales and events manager at Hotel du Vin Glasgow at One Devonshire Gardens.

“While you have free rein, you do have to think about every fork and spoon, or about how many bottles of wine will be brought in to serve your guests.

“But if you book one of our packages, everything will be here for you, and you don’t have to think about it. We have accommodation too, so you can stay over, relax, and enjoy your day without having to worry – just as if you were a guest.”

A blonde sandstone tenement building with neatly trimmed bushes outside the windows

Hotel du Vin Glasgow at One Devonshire Gardens' famous façade

What does a wedding venue package include? 

A package can include more than canapés and a cake stand – they can cover absolutely everything if you want them to.

Katie MacLeod, marketing manager at the Manorview Group, which is the parent company of venues such as Cornhill Castle in Biggar and the newly refurbished Brisbane House in Largs, says couples can leave the organising of their day fully in the group’s capable hands. 

“We offer all-inclusive wedding packages at all of our venues,” she explains. This includes ceremony room hire, toastmaster, drink on arrival, canapés, wedding meal, drink with meal, linens, personalised table plan and menus, candelabra centrepieces, cake base and knife, DJ, evening buffet and an overnight stay in our unique honeymoon suites. Other options also give you a floral package and a wedding cake.

“It’s more affordable having your wedding essentials under one price,” she concludes. “It also takes the stress out of planning, knowing that fundamental items such as flowers, cake and DJ can all be part of it.”

An all-inclusive package doesn’t rob you of the chance to personalise the small details of your day. It just means someone else is dealing with all the admin, says Katie: “With key items such as the flowers and the cake, our couples will customise their own creation directly with these suppliers, meaning they still get to do the fun part of picking exactly what they’d like.”

Bi-folding doors opened up to show a balcony and a view of the sea

The Caledonian honeymoom suite at Largs’ Brisbane House looks out over the Clyde coast

Can you customise a wedding package?

You might think a package will force your wedding to conform to a shape that suits the venue more than it does you, but that needn’t be the case.

There are still lots of ways to mould a package to your wishes and your taste, whatever that might be. Think of a package more as a negotiation than a ‘take it or leave it’ situation. “We do bespoke packages that are tailored to what you want,” says Paige at Hotel du Vin. “You can even design your own wedding breakfast menu if you want to.

“We had a group of four brides from one friendship group who all ended up having their weddings with us because they loved the venue so much. That was good for them, because they could get ideas from each other’s weddings, and ultimately work on a package with us that was right for each of them individually.

"And all of their days were so different from the others, because they decided to decorate it in a different way or brought in a completely different style of entertainment. There’s always something we can do to make the day uniquely yours.”

You can almost always upgrade, swap or take out part of a package to make it fit the vision you have for your day. Think of the deal as a way to help make planning more straightforward, suggests Laura Russell, weddings and events manager at the Old Course Hotel in St Andrews.

“We just want it to be easy for couples, especially when it comes to budgeting,” she says. “They can clearly see our prices and what’s included, and then multiply it by their guest list. After that, they can work out further down the line if they have budget left to add in that epic sorbet course or buy everyone a cocktail to kickstart the night. They don’t have to make up their mind right away.”

Rows of white chairs and white flower arrangements on either side of an aisle in a conservatory

The Conservatory set-up for a ceremony at St Andrews’ Old Course Hotel

Help with planning your wedding

The other great thing about going for a package is that it ensures there is someone out there just as invested in your wedding as you are.

Often, part of the deal is that it comes with an in-house planner, or at least a point of contact who is determined to help make your wedding day the best it possibly can be.

“We love a challenge,” smiles Laura. “We’ve done all sorts – deep-fried Mars Bar pre-desserts, charcuterie and cheese stations, wines from the vineyard where the engagement took place. I love that I still get surprised, even now, after 20 years in the industry. 

“Our whole resort gets involved in a wedding, whether that’s housekeeping doing something special during turndown to mark your day, or our breakfast team making you feel special the morning after.

Your wedding venue will often treat you like one of the family in the months (or years!) running up to your big day. They will do what they can to help you, be it payment plans, advice or recommendations – and may even go so far as to source items and suppliers for you too.

They’ll invite you to a menu tasting, listen to your feedback and do everything they can to make your wedding the day you always dreamed of.

Want to see more about these amazing venues? Read all about Hotel du Vin Glasgow, Old Course Hotel and Brisbane House on our venue directory 


Package pricing

The price of packages can change depending on the season or even the day of the week. Moving your wedding from a summer month to a winter month, or even from a Saturday to a Sunday, can save you thousands of pounds – and be enough to make that out-of-reach dream venue actually affordable.

The only thing that changes is the date – you can expect to receive the same level of care and service as couples who book the highly sought-after dates.

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