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Where to eat, drink & party...

So with the church decided we started thinking about venues for the reception.

We had a pretty good idea of what we wanted and there was one hotel near the airport (Norton House) that I had always thought would be perfect and that was added to the top of the list. However, in the spirit of wanting to make sure we had the perfect place, we searched around and made a list. We then spent some time gathering lots of brochures & information and taking a drive round some of the venues. The list included the following:

Norton House Hotel - Top of the list especially when the brochure arrived.
Marriott Dalmahoy - Other possibility.
George Hotel - Centre of city, too big & expensive.
Dalmeny Estate - Too far away from church.
Hopetoun House - Too far away from church.
Dundas Castle - Would need marquee for amount of guests which we didn't want.
Melville Castle - Would need marquee for amount of guests which we didn't want.
Dalhousie Castle - Too expensive and one of my bridesmaids got married there so was out straight away!
Broxmouth Park - Too small for all guests to stay and quite far from the city.
Roxburghe Hotel - Centre of city, too busy.
Marine Hotel - Again quite far from the city and a friend had her reception there.
Sheraton Hotel - Centre of city, too big.
Lennoxlove House - Too expensive, would need marquee for amount of guests & too small for all guests to stay.

The list was then narrowed to 2, both the type of venue we had originally wanted (country house with grounds but near to the city) and appointments were made to view both Norton House and Dalmahoy and meet the wedding coordinators. We went to both venues on the 25th Oct. My parents were both going to come but mum had to work so only my dad accompanied us.

We went first to Norton House and think we were almost sold on the spot - it is an old country house set in its own lovely grounds but yet still accessible from the city. It even has a new extension which includes a fabulous spa so you get the best of both worlds. The wedding coordinator was also lovely which I think also helped us to make our decision. She showed us both function rooms so we could go away and have a think about it but before we did we checked out their availability for March / April / May 2010. Turns out they run a winter wedding package until 1st April and as Saturday 3rd April was still available, they could extend the package until then.

Norton House Hotel
(Image from Expedia)

So that was that, the date was pencilled in with the reassurance that we had 2 weeks to decide and pay the deposit. We choose the ballroom function room in the old house which has a stage and a fabulous ceiling with chandeliers as well as access out to the grounds. There is also a beautiful oak staircase in the old house which will be fantastic for photos whether it rains or not (but will serve as one of the back up / internal locations - this was quite important to us as in Scotland there is a fairly high chance that it could be raining!)

Then it was off to Dalmahoy - it is also an old house set on a golf course (which wasn't that exciting for me!) and my parents had been to a wedding here earlier on in the year which they had said was a fabulous day. However, inside it didn't quite have the same impact as Norton House had. The function room was also large but it wasn't quite as nice as the ballroom from earlier and I think we had pretty much decided before we went any further.

My dad did say to us later that as soon as he saw Norton House, he knew we would prefer it to Dalmahoy, as he also felt it was just right, but he wanted to let us make up our own mind before he said anything.

So a couple of weeks later, on 15th November, we went back to Norton House to discuss the contract and further details before we signed and paid the deposit at the start of December.

Since then when have managed to return on quite a few occasions to have some lunch in the brasserie with family and popped along when they had the wedding fayre in February. We even spent the night there on 3rd April this year (part of my Christmas gift to Graham), had a lovely meal at the fine dining restaurant and tried out the spa! Mum and me also went to the spa for the day in April and had a lovely champagne lunch (her gift for mothers day from me & my sister). Grahams sister and the other bridesmaids haven't seen the venue yet so we hope to rectify that in the next few weeks. Hazel will see it when we have lunch there next Sunday for Fathers day with both mine and grahams parents.