I attended my daughter’s wedding at the Antonine Hotel in August 2012, and it had both good and bad points. I know this is a lengthy review, but I feel both good and bad points need to be highlighted.
John and Elizabeth (the owners) were extremely helpful during the planning stages, and bent over backwards to accommodate the requests, including allowing access to the service lift for disabled guests and providing some materials to help decorate the hall for the reception. Set-up for the daytime reception with large round tables was ideal. The bride negotiated a custom package price, which was reasonable, and allegedly included a double room for the bride and groom BUT: although this was confirmed by a phone call to the owner (Elizabeth) 3 weeks before the wedding; they were charged as they left, £60 for a room that was essentially shabby, stuffy and sub-standard - the charge didn’t even include breakfast! If they had known they would be charged, they would have got a taxi home instead, for much less money!
The evening reception room was meant to seat 80; we struggled to get 50 in, with the tables so close together there wasn’t room to breathe, and nobody bigger than a size 10 could sit on the inside seats! The ‘overspill’ guests had to sit in the bar next door, which was very nice, cosy and intimate with a giant fan to keep the air circulating (it was very hot). There was a larger reception room upstairs which would have been ideal for us but there was a staff party booked which only around 30 people seemed to attend; it would have made more business sense to move the staff party (lower priority) to the smaller room and give the wedding party the larger of the rooms.
The bar was well stocked with spirits and bottled beer, and prices were commensurate with other hotels in the area, but it did not stock any draft beer or lager which was not communicated to us in advance, so many of the guests had to go downstairs to the rather rough bar to get their drinks. Due to the many stairs involved several of the guests had difficulty transporting their drinks back up to the wedding reception. At 11pm the guests were told they couldn’t take any more drinks upstairs and they had to either drink them in the bar, or do without draft beer. We found out later that there was another bar upstairs where staff could have got access to draft beer, but we were never told about this.
Although comfortable, the seats were mismatched, with a selection of blue, red and (bizarrely) zebra striped patterns! We didn’t have chair covers, only bows for the chair backs, so the different colours/patterns were obvious and the zebra striped chairs weren’t shown to us in advance, they just appeared on the day.
The food was lovely both daytime and evening, very well prepared and presented, plenty of it to go around, and the offer of more if required. Catering staff provided for all dietary needs, including diabetic, coeliac and vegetarian; there was plenty of choice for all.
All of the staff were friendly, helpful and pleasant; the catering staff in particular made a good impression by coming out and speaking to the organisers to make sure they were happy with everything, and to find out if there was anything else they could do. Bar staff were friendly and efficient, even when the queue at the bar was 3-4 deep.
The deejay was fantastic, good music and read his audience well; the dance floor was never empty and he kept the party going well into the night. Unfortunately, halfway through the night, the fire alarm went off – apparently this was caused by a smoke machine in operation downstairs in the bar. This was a bit of a mood killer, and using a smoke machine that would set off the alarm was a bit of stupid.
All in all, I would say that the Antonine Hotel could be a good wedding venue if they could iron out some of their issues; however I would advise that you get everything in writing from them, details of what is included in the price, so there are no misunderstandings. Also, there is NO WAY that the small back reception room can seat 80, unless you have no dance-floor. This is a tight squeeze for 50 people; it would have been more sensible to give us the bigger room which was reserved for a poorly-attended staff party. If we’d had the bigger room, we would definitely return to this venue; as it stands, we will probably not use it again.
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- Also Known As:
- Antonine Hotel Falkirk, Scotland