Planning a self-catered holiday in Scotland may not just be about getting away for a break. If you have a particular reason for booking your holiday, you will want to make sure your trip goes according to plan, and that your celebration goes off with a bang!
A week or weekend away with family and friends is a great way to celebrate a special birthday, whether it is a 21st or a 60th, we know you will want it to be a memorable holiday. Wedding anniversaries are also a popular celebration, but it could be retirement, engagements or just a one off reunion of a large and widespread family! Whatever your reasons for having a bit of a 'knees up', here are a few things to consider when planning your stay.
The owner will need to know if you are planning a big celebration. Most of our properties are fantastic for a bit of a party, but some have their limitations, rules about inviting additional guests, and potential extra charges depending on the function. To avoid disappointment it is always worth checking the property will be suitable for what you want to do.
Catering is a massive part of hosting a party. You may want to do this yourselves, or hire a company to take the job off your hands. If you want to do it yourself, consider what foodstuff you will be able to buy at home, and what you will need to buy fresh. Make a plan with the other members of your group. It will be easier to share out the catering, but you don't want to end up with 10 quiches, and no deserts! If you plan a really special meal, consider the expectation on the kitchen. All our properties are set up and equipped to cater for a group on holiday, but if you are planning a 5 course sit down meal, you may need to hire additional crockery and cutlery, to avoid washing up half way through! Also things like oven space, if you are cooking lots of dishes, can anything be cooked in advance? And fridge space? Again the house is set up to accommodate a large group, but you may find that you are pushed for space if you are cooking a larger than usual meal! If you chose to outsource this, we will be able to get you connected to the best people to help you. In some cases you will need to arrange your needs with a catering firm, but many owners have preferred caters and cooks that they use regularly, who are local and know their way around the kitchen. Caters will be able to work with you to get the best for your requirements and budgets.
The Cake. An important part of any celebration, if you decide you want to provide a cake, this will require a little planning too. Purchasing one or making it before you go may be the easiest options, but if you plan on this, make sure you can keep it fresh for the special day, and make sure you can transport it as well. Cakes don't always travel well in cars that are packed to the roof with holiday stuff. You may find it easier to wait until you are in your holiday house before arranging the cake. If you plan on purchasing one, make sure you can. Remote properties may be a long way from a town that will have a bakery or supermarket, and if you would like to order a cake to spec, it will be worth contacting the owner or housekeeper for recommendations on the best places to look for bakeries that can do this. Making one yourself when you get there may seem like the best option, but again, make sure you plan your ingredients to be sure you can get hold of everything you need, and a quick chat with the owner will ensure you won't be caught short for cake tins when you get to the property.
Depending on the kind of celebration you are having, you may want to plan some kind of music or entertainment . If you would like to hire a band or arrange a ceilidh, please let us know and we will contact the owner. Some properties may not be suitable for this kind of entertainment so it's worth checking and the owner may be able to recommend someone local who won't cost you too much to hire. If you are planning music, we do ask you to please consider the neighbours. Even our remotest properties may have farmers or estate workers living nearby, and noise can travel. We would ask that you respectfully turn off music at a reasonable time in the evening, even if you intend staying up late.
If you would like some 'easy to come by' entertainment, then have a look at our blog '10 simple party games that will keep adults and kids entertained for hours' for ideas on easy to organise parlour games. Additionally you could take some board games, or a pack of cards to keep a group entertain in an evening.
If you would like to have a few decorations, you will have to plan to bring these with you. Owners are usually quite happy for you to make the party space your own, but be careful not to damage the property. Table decorations and flower displays are a good way to add a bit of flair to a room. If in doubt about suitable decorations, just talk to the owner; they will be more than happy to discuss your plans with you.
You may have chosen a particular venue, as you have friends or family who live nearby. If you would like to invite additional guests to your party, (who would not be staying over at the house) please talk to the owner. Depending on numbers and the kind of function you are holding, some owners may charge facility fees for additions, and again extra guests may cause a strain on the house (ie number of chairs around the dining table, crockery etc) so it is always worth checking to avoid disappointment.
And now for the boring bits…
Don't forget, when planning your extra special function, about the clean up. We ask guests to leave the house in the condition that you found it, so if you have a function, you may need to rope all your guests in to helping with returning the property to normal. The vacuum cleaner and mop will usually be easy to find, and you may be blessed with a dishwasher to help with the dishes. Many of our owners have recycling bags/bins for the house, and would ask that you use these as best as you can, to reduce refuse.
We all know accidents can happen, especially when everyone has let their hair down. For this reason many owners take a Good Housekeeping (security) Deposit. Should you accidentally break anything, please let the housekeeper or owner know, they will be able to start making the arrangements to get it fixed if required. Please also be aware that the Security Deposit also covers the owner for any undue cleaning and tidying required, and you may get charged if the property is not left in a reasonable state.