Becoming a Wedding Planner at Smiths Hotel – Introducing Ashley!

October 23rd, 2015


We’ve recently welcomed a new member to our Wedding Team here at Smiths Hotel! Ashley joined us a couple of months ago …. we’ve convinced her to introduce herself!

My name is Ashley Louise Conlan and I am 18 years old. I studied at Annan Academy for 6 years then furthered my education at Dumfries & Galloway College studying another 3 Highers last year. Before starting at Smiths hotel I used to work at Gretna Gateway Outlet Village for over a year. I was first employed when the shop was just being refurbished ready to open so it was a great experience to be a part of opening a new, exciting and fashionable store. It was sad to leave there but I’m pleased to have taken a step towards my future career (hopefully as an Events Manager!).

 My role as a wedding coordinator I do everything from answering the phones, taking bookings for weddings, decorating the Bride & Groom’s function room with their chosen favours, sprinkles & table decorations, put buttonholes on wedding guests, look after the Bride & Groom by ensuring their wedding day runs smoothly, putting the bride into her wedding dress, helping brides and bridesmaids get into the cars that take them to the wedding venue & witness weddings for couples that are eloping.

 The best part about being a wedding coordinator is being hands on with the bride & groom – literally (as I sometimes have to put the bride in her dress or put a buttonhole on the groom). I am able to create more of a relationship with the couple by making sure their wedding day runs perfectly and they have a lovely time. I also love decorating the function rooms as I feel I am very creative and have a good attention to detail.

 I am excited about progressing and being able to book a wedding from the very beginning and seeing it through until the newly married couple check out. I am also excited about looking after a larger wedding with around 75-100 guests as I love a challenge and I would love to say the wedding ran just as smoothly as a smaller wedding.

 The biggest challenge so far has to be days when we’re VERY, VERY busy! I was on my feet for most of the day looking after the wedding parties marking sure each party was made to feel special and ensuring they received the best Smiths has to offer. The hotel was buzzing with people with nearly 100 guests being treated to the Smiths experience at about the same time! The time flew by because I was so occupied with making sure every wedding had a great experience at Smiths hotel. It was tiring but rewarding at the same time.

Welcome to the Smiths family Ashley!

6 top tips for the perfect winter wedding!

October 15th, 2015

The crisp clear air. Sparkles everywhere. Rich sumptuous colours, roaring log fires and hopefully a sprinkling of snow…winter weddings are magical, romantic and – most importantly – budget friendly! We all love the thought of a winter wedding…so we’ve put together some of our favourite suggestions …

Candlelit Wedding Reception Ideas Smiths Hotel Gretna Green

1. Keep the Cosy. What do we mean? Well, think about bringing in light and warmth – from materials to colours. Keep your guests comfortable with little touches such as candles, twinkling tealights or fairy lights, or rich coloured blankets if your ceremony is outdoors. Deep colours as accents add to the rich warm feeling.


2. Match your colour theme with the type of winter wedding you want. A sleek white winter wedding comes to life with silvers, whites and accents of green. Going for starlit/candlelit? Choose gold or bronze instead! Go wintery with your favours such as blankets or pashminas, sparklers, cookies, mulled wine spices, candy canes or little bottles of Baileys are all cute & doable winter wedding favour options. Love the winter look of trees coated in snow or the glitter of freshly fallen snow? Hang garlands or icicles or add candles, pinecones and glitter into your table centrepieces or room decorations.

3. Choose hearty, warm dishes for your wedding breakfast. Tasty soups during cocktail hour, shortbread with coffee, spiced cider or mulled wine for toasts. Another great option? A decked out coffee bar with extras like whipped cream and chocolate shavings will warm everyone up.


4.Hold your ceremony earlier during the day to leave enough time (and daylight) after the ceremony for any outdoor shots….or later afternoon if you’d love that warm winter sunset light! Nobody has fun when they’re shivering, so work with your photographer to plan group shots in advance and ensure guests aren’t left standing around for hours outside.  And perhaps consider handing out warming drinks and blankets for guests whilst photographs are being taken….it will be much appreciated!

5. Remember the accessories. …it’s likely to be a wee bit chilly so accessories will be important to keep warm. A faux fur stole, a veil, a cape or a chic cardigan are all good options. None of these have to be white! Boots can be a stylish (and warm) bridal shoe option for winter weddings, especially if it rains.


6. Last but not least….Locate your ceremony & reception in the one venue, or venues very near to each other. This will make transport easier, no matter what the weather does! On a similar note, remember that it goes dark quite early (something to keep in mind if your guests need to travel between venues especially if they’re unfamiliar with the area).

We’ve love seeing these setups here at Smiths at Gretna Green and we’re happy to help turn your Gretna Green wedding into your white winter wonderland. The only thing we can’t guarantee is the snow…

Did you have a winter wedding? Any tips or suggestions for future brides and grooms? Leave them here!


Top Tips for Planning A Vintage Wedding

September 4th, 2015

Recently engaged and starting to plan your wedding? Congrats….that’s fab news!

We wanted to give you a wee bit of a hand to get your wedding planning underway… we’ve put together a few pointers from our wedding team on how to plan your perfect vintage-theme wedding!

Vintage themes are incredibly flexible with lots of accessories, colour schemes and decorations which can all be worked into your vintage wedding set-up!

Here our top tips for creating your ideal vintage style…

1. Age your venue with carefully placed, charming decoration – antique detailing on a few items, a touch of lace, and weathered accents go a long way to creating that vintage/decade feel!  Let your venue define your style. Some places suit certain vintage décor better than others so let the room do the talking! For example, if you’re having your vintage reception in a ballroom, 1920s art deco would be perfect! Hosting the wedding breakfast in a barn? Rustic, lace and hessian work their charm best! Whereever the venue, a simple touch not only adds a period feeling but simply oozes romance! This hessian/lace tablerunner, spotted at one of the wedding breakfasts held in Smiths at Gretna Green, set the room perfectly for this reception tying together the timeless atmosphere created by flowers and accessories placed around the room.


2. Use your invitations and  to set the tone – from ‘old-world’ font to aged paper to antique designs, creating your save-the-dates and invitations in the same style lets your guests know what to expect….and sets the mood!


3. Keep your flowers simple. Loose bundles, centrepieces made from pastel colours or light flowers (such as these baby’s breath-inspired vases from Smiths) add a wonderfully vintage feeling to any space….especially when paired with lace or hessian ribbon or table runners!


4. Work in your family history. From old photos to heirlooms (if you’re happy and willing to share these ….), pocket squares to watches, nothing says vintage like pieces from the period!

5. Live music! Have a look at what bands are available in your area – live music, especially if the band plays tunes from the decade of your choice, will not only compliment your theme but get your guests into a dancing mood! Here at Smiths, our wedding team is happy to recommend or help put you in contact with musicians who will help kick off the exciting entertainment you’ve got planned!

6. Colour/Table Setup – choosing neutrals (ivory, silver, beige) with subtle pastel accents, coloured glass and antiqued details (stacks of old books, clocks, birdcages) is the way to go! Need inspiration – here’s a few photos from a couple of our favourite vintage-theme weddings spotted at Smiths Hotel! For even more ideas, why not check out our Wedding Receptions album on facebook!

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Got that all sorted? Thought about your send-off? Classic confetti or even white rice will do the trick!

So there you have it! One vintage-themed wedding checklist ready to go….fancy planning your own vintage ‘do here at Gretna Green? Our talented wedding team love themed receptions so give us a quick call on 01461 336001 and we’ll get your vintage wedding underway!

6 Ways To Plan 20 Guest wedding for £2000!

July 21st, 2015

DSCN1769 Recently engaged and starting to plan your wedding? Congrats….that’s fab news!

We wanted to give you a wee bit of a hand to get your wedding planning underway… we’ve put together a few pointers from our wedding team on how to plan your perfect big day…..including 20 guests……..all for under £2000!

Here’s 6 pointers to get you started….

1. Have you considered getting married during the week?! Not only are your legal fees less, venue and packages prices are reduced too….. in fact, our Gretna Green weekday offers reduce prices by 25% making them even better value if you’re flexible with dates – this may be even more other places! Accommodation is also likely to be less expensive (and may even be included such as in our Smiths Hotel Late Date package) – a benefit which will be appreciated by both you and your guests!

2. Speaking of packages, have you considered booking your wedding as a package? These can often be cheaper than booking everything separately as special discounts are often included when booking several things together. Many packages will include a photographer, room hire, and a meal at reduced rates making it less expensive and better value for money.

Here at Gretna Green, our wedding team has designed packages with everything you need for your special day here in Gretna Green with a limited budget in mind including this all-inclusive 20 Guest Package! There are a range of wonderful venues to choose from the Original Marriage Room in the Famous Blacksmiths Shop to the marriage room in Smiths Hotel. These packages accommodate up to 18 guests (plus yourselves) and include your ceremony, photography, arrival drinks (toasting your new status of course!), three course meals, accommodation and much more….each package is slightly different designed to create the perfect day for you! (Why not check our website here for more….)

3. Consider choosing a wedding and reception venue close together between which guests and bridal party can walk… the Famous Blacksmiths Shop is itself only a short stroll away from our reception venue, Smiths Hotel, and both are a favourite combination for many of our couples as both are located within the magical village of Gretna Green! A saving on transport too for those on a budget as it would be FREE to get from ceremony to reception…!

4. Feeling creative? Take a look through sites such as Pinterest for inspiration for save the dates, invitations or even name cards for table settings….or check our Facebook page for inspiration for favours, cakes, flowers and more….you may even want to make some of these yourself!

5. Watching your guest list and asking for wedding help rather than wedding gifts can help too….from hair to makeup to decorations and photography there may be somewhere you know with a talent which comes in handy for that big day! Also a great way to come up with other ideas for anything from outfits to flowers to cake and more! Check if these can be worked into a package or perhaps consider them as gifts!

6. Worried about entertainment? You don’t need to have a band or disco…..many hotels will be willing to lend speakers or a music station which you can use on the night…just check in advance that it’s available. Here at Smiths hotel, we’ve got music docks available to borrow for your reception….so bring your favourite tunes from home to keep the celebrations lively and completely unique to the two of you!

Don’t forget – we’re here to help! Stuck on something …. Our wedding team is more than happy to help with suggestions – give them a call on 01461 336001!

Good luck (and congratulations)!


Smiths Cocktail Menu

June 16th, 2015

Have you seen the new Smiths Hotel cocktail menu?


Such a fun design don’t you think? We’ve carefully selected a range of favourites and classics, all served with our signature Smiths twist of course! Only the best cocktails here at Smiths….plus a few wee surprise scattered throughout the menu….have you found them yet?

Perfect for a night out, a catch up with friends, birthdays, anniversaries, bridal showers and more, there always something for everyone on the Smiths cocktail menu! We’re quite fond of the idea of relaxing on the patio with one of these fabulous cocktails….next sunny evening! Who can resust them when they look like this??

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Of course we’d love to share the recipes but we can’t give away all our secrets…see if you can figure the magic touch by watching our talented bar staff prepare yours!

Summer’s upon us….why not bring a friend or three and come enjoy one (or two…..) soon!? Don’t forget to share your selfie with us on Facebook, Twitter or on Instagram using #gretnagreen1754!

Meet Smiths Hotel’s new Wedding Concierge…

June 8th, 2015

Holding your wedding with us here at Smiths Hotel or Gretna Green Famous Blacksmith Shop? India, our Wedding Concierge, is ready to meet you and help make sure your Big Day goes off without a hitch!


We’re thrilled to have India back with us again….we caught up with her recently and had a wee chat about her exciting new position!

What will you be doing as Smiths Wedding Concierge? I’ll be looking after the couples on the day, meeting with them the night before to answer any last minute questions and run through their day with them. I’ll also be helping to set rooms with decorations, help get guests together and ready before the ceremony, and see the bride, groom or couple out on their wedding to their ceremony.

Favourite part of your new role? Definitely looking after the brides and grooms – making them feel individual and special and getting to know them the night before to ensure they have a very special wedding day. I want each bride/groom to be comfortable asking any questions they might have….to be a familiar face for them within the wedding team.

What are you most excited about for the summer? Meeting all the couples who will be joining us this summer for their wedding! I will be starting to call couples prior to their arrival at Smiths to establish a connection with each couple, making sure they’re looked after from start to finish and that their Special Day meets all their expectations and hopes!

Make sure to look out for India this summer….she’s looking forward to meeting all our bridal couples! Have you met India? Leave her a message here or on our Facebook page!

Powerful Plates! How what you’re eating off is as important as what you’re eating!

May 29th, 2015

Quick – the last plate you used…what colour was it? Shape? Most of us just grab a plate out of the cupboard when making ourselves something to eat without even glancing at it!
We’ve heard about the importance of presentation for years….but did you know that the plate itself also impacts how a food is perceived?


Apparently it’s not just our mouths and noses that we use to ‘sort’ the flavours! That scrumptious dessert that you just had at your favourite restaurant…..what colour was the plate? Dark or light, circular or square? Have we got you completely confused as to what we’re on about now?

According to recent studies on neurogastronomy (that’s studying how the brain creates and defines flavours in case you didn’t know) the plate has almost as much impact as the ‘actual’ flavour of the food! We certainly didn’t know that dessert served on a white plate tastes 10% sweeter than one on a black plate! Would you believe that the difference is even more distinct when a square or angular plate is used (who knew corners reduced the sweetness?!?)!

black forest

We may be more familiar with this than we realise – have you ever marvelled at the creations of celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal? Do remember that there were sounds of the seaside playing in the background when the dish was presented? One of his latest creations – bacon and egg ice cream – may sound a little odd but alongside the sizzle of frying rashers, it’s quite palatable!

Now you can stop wondering why your meal came on a square white plate while your partner’s was on a round, black one! The flavours and taste of the meals are very important to our Smiths chefs – we’re looking forward to see what the next creations will be now but also what plates will be used!

Fancy reading the article for yourself? It can be found here Sweet or Sour? Altering how we taste our food!

What’s On @SmithsHotel

May 25th, 2015

WhatsOnSmiths Halloween-Disco-2015

Got your calendars ready? We’re just about ready to start the countdown to this year’s fantastic party season! We’re kicking it off with a fabulous themed disco for Halloween before getting into the spirit for Christmas and Hogmanay with a fantastic range of events here at Smiths Hotel! We’ve just received the latest What’s On Guide which features the latest dates and times!

Time to start marking off dates!

HalloweenRocky Horror Tribute Show and Disco Party NightSaturday 31st October! Join us for a spooktacular 3 course meal and a rocking disco from 7 pm until midnight!

Christmas Party Nights – perfect for a celebration with work or a friends! All include a mouth-watering 3 course festive meal and a disco until midnight…

  • James Bond Theme Night – Friday 4th December
  • Gary Barlow Tribute Act – Friday 11th December
  • 70s and 80s Night – Saturday 12th December
  • Winter Wonderland Theme Night – Saturday 19th December

Hogmanay – welcome the bells here at Smiths:

  • New Years Eve – Dinner for 2 – 31st December
  • Smiths New Years First Footing Brunch – from 12noon until 6pm 1st January 2016

Hurry – tickets are limited for these events and booking is essential! Save your table today by giving us a call on 01461 337007! Let the countdown begin!

Looking Back: Vicky’s first year in Smiths Hotel’s wedding team…

May 14th, 2015

Happy work-versary to one of our very special wedding planners Vicky! We sat down with Vicky recently to chat about how her first year with us at Gretna Green has gone! ….

Highlights? All the weddings! I knew coming into the job that I would be dealing with weddings but I never anticipated what that really meant until I started. It is so lovely to be part of couples’ special days. I get to not only make the booking for them but be there throughout the day to ensure that things are set up correctly for them, and then see them out ahead of the ceremony. (Sometimes I even get to watch the wedding take place!)

Also, the team – our wedding team is a great place to work. It is certainly a highlight coming to work with such a fantastic bunch of women!

 I absolutely enjoy watching couples come and go – our lounge is a fantastic hub of activity throughout the day and into the evening and night! There is always a mix of couples and other guests and locals all making the most of our bar and lounge area that makes for an amazing atmosphere no matter the day.

What’s been the most surprising? In a wonderful way, I am most surprised how many weddings take place at Gretna Green. I am so happy to work for the company where it all started and just love to hear the stories of couples and why they have chosen to have their wedding with us.

What’s been your biggest learning curve? There is a lot that goes into booking a wedding, I did go in knowing this but there is a little more than I expected. The great thing about this is we keep records of everything we do and help to ensure the day runs smoothly.

We also took on another hotel which is very exciting and challenging all in the same breath. Greens at Gretna hotel is newly refurbished and looking stunning making this new challenge very manageable and inviting for guests and locals alike! (We can’t wait to see this new place develop and grow either Vicky….)

What are you most excited about (for next year)? The new hotel has just completed its facelift so very excited about the weddings taking place there in the year ahead. Our function facilities and reception area are stunning and our weddings are taking shape now and already starting to happen so very excited about the progress of this growing asset to the Gretna Green family!

Vicky’s here ready and waiting to help you plan your Gretna Green wedding…..give her a call today on 01461 336001! And do say hi when you’re here – Vicky loves seeing her couples back time and time again!

Smiths Hotel Wedding Myths: The Waiting List?

May 14th, 2015

We have many hats on here at Smiths Hotel – and helping couples plan their Big Day is one – meet some of our fantastic wedding team!


These lovely ladies receive all sorts of queries – and a popular one is the waiting list for getting married at Gretna Green Famous Blacksmith Shop or Smiths Hotel!
Well….There isn’t one! Yay (cue happy dance now)! But do let us expand on what we mean just a wee bit…..

Popular dates (such as Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve) DO get booked out very very quickly here at Gretna Green Famous Blacksmith Shop and Smiths Hotel ……in fact, we’ve already had enquiries for dates like these arrive for 2017!

If your heart IS set on getting married on one of these iconic days, booking quite far in advance may be necessary….. and is definitely a good idea! Not to worry though…….often, there will be space especially if you’re willing to make a few compromises (for example, changing to earlier or later in the day, having a smaller reception). Don’t be put off – contact our wedding team here at Gretna Green even if you think you’ve left it too late!

Found the perfect package or venue but not attached to a specific date? Consider a weekday wedding! Especially in shoulder months (that’s usually up to about the beginning of June and after mid-September), these weekdays can be quite quiet……giving you heaps of choice over the time of day! Not to mention that mid-week weddings are occasionally on offer or free from weekend supplements! (And who doesn’t love a bargain!)

Whether you’re set on a particular date or are leaning more to getting married at Gretna Green, don’t hesitate to ask about your ‘wish list’ dates …. More times than not, you will be able to have your cake and eat it too……..or get both your dream wedding venue AND date.

Need more information? Please contact us on or ring us on 01461 336001!