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Dry Hire Wedding Venues

Updated: Mar 28

A dry-hire venue is a blank canvas for you to work your magic with the help of a wedding planner and all your chosen wedding suppliers. It's typically a more cost-effective option but where do you start, what is needed for this type of wedding?




A typical recommendation to couples planning a dry hire wedding for up to 100 guests is that, depending on their needs, they should be thinking about reception budgets of at least £20,000. This amount does not include personal expenses like the wedding dress, suits, rings, hair, and makeup. Every dry-hire wedding venue is different, certain features might be included, but basically, it's an open space that can be customised to your tastes for your wedding day.


Dry vs Wet Hire Wedding Venues

When compared to wet wedding venues, which typically offer the venue space, their staff, caterers, tables, chairs, tableware, glassware, and their preferred suppliers, dry-hire wedding venues are frequently a more affordable, customised option to plan out your wedding with greater thought and coordination. Unlike with a wet hire venue, you can personalise your options concerning food, beverages, music, entertainment, décor, and photography, things a wet hire venue cannot provide. Having said this, some dry hire venues run approved supplier lists and advise their clients they need to sign up with their approved caterers and this is when dry hire weddings can become more expensive if their caterers are more expensive than the food trucks you were thinking to bring in for your wedding, and this is where you can go over budget, so do check with the venue if you can have your chosen wedding suppliers before you book them.


What do I need?

When planning a dry hire wedding make sure your budget covers the essentials, consider what matters the most to you, a photographer, food, a cash bar, and/or a free drinks bar for your guests. A DJ or a live band, flowers, and styling elements. A significant portion of your budget will go towards the catering hire expenses, which include tables, chairs, tableware, waiting staff, chefs, and kitchen expenses in addition to the cost of the food! Enjoy the freedom to let your creativity run wild when it comes to your menu selections at a dry-hire wedding. Maybe your favourite meal at a restaurant you love food from a country you have loved to visit, or your favourite family dishes. Bring in your food either made by your family members or hire street food trucks. You will need power generators, and fridges to keep your food and beverages in. You may want a tipi for shelter in case the weather suddenly changes. Lighting to see your way at night, toilets, and enough bins dotted around the venue. On the evening of the wedding, some locations demand that all rubbish be collected. The catering crew may handle this, or if you are working with a wedding planner, they should handle the logistics for this. This must be undertaken to prevent losing your deposit. Check if there are any clean-up charges after the event.

And don't forget tents for the bride and groom to get changed in and out of your wedding attire, and also a good place to store your personal belongings if the venue doesn't provide this.





Think about the location, does it work for your dream wedding date? Outdoor wedding venues in summer and snug and romantic in the colder months of the year. Is the location licensed for ceremonies if you intend to hold both the legal ceremony and the reception there? Is there enough space at the venue for everyone attending if you're having a sit-down meal? Does the location meet your must-have requirements? For example, a food truck needs a location with plenty of outdoor parking. Is there enough space for dancing and does the venue serve its intended purpose? Check there is enough parking for all your guests. Two Become One Wedding Planner can help you find your dream dry-hire venue in London and the surrounding counties.


Styling and Décor

When thinking about the style you want for your wedding day creating a mood/vision board helps you and your suppliers to visualise how you would like the space to feel and look. The board can be shared with your suppliers and gives them ideas to help bring your wedding style to life. Remember to add your names to it so everyone knows it's yours.


Insurance and Wedding Day Schedules

You must obtain an event insurance policy that includes a minimum level of public liability coverage to use any dry-hire location. Although some wedding insurance policies cover it, this is not the same as wedding insurance, so make sure your coverage satisfies the venue criteria. Each of your suppliers will need a unique insurance policy and in certain situations, a risk assessment and your wedding planner can organise all of this.

A detailed wedding day timeline/schedule and floor plan are necessary for any event, most venues want them well in advance, and they are important for all your suppliers. A complete schedule that includes information about delivery and pickup times, phone numbers, sound checks, parking limitations, staff instructions and more should be created by your planner or coordinator and managed on the day.


I hope this has been of help in understanding all that is needed to plan a wedding at your chosen dry-hire wedding venue. At Two Become One we can help you avoid the pitfalls of planning a dry-hire wedding, and assist you with having your dream wedding day.


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