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Dry hire wedding venues - what you need to consider

Planning your dream wedding involves countless decisions, and one of your main priorities is first to choose your wedding venue. You might be curious to know what a ‘dry hire’ venue is and what the benefits are, so keep reading to find out more.

What is a 'Dry Hire' Venue?

With a dry hire wedding venue, you are hiring the building or space itself without any suppliers or other services attached. In essence, a dry hire venue provides you with the space and freedom to design your wedding exactly as you envision it. This is a flexible option and allows you to be as creative as you like! But with this freedom also comes with a lot to think about and consider for logistics and budget, so as with anything you book for your wedding, be sure you have done your research before securing a wedding venue. Below you will find my insights and recommendations if you decide to go down the dry hire wedding venue route.

Wedding Breakfast in Barn Venue

Choosing your Wedding Suppliers

Unlike venues that offer set wedding packages with specific suppliers, dry hire venues offer you a blank slate, allowing you to handpick every wedding supplier you want to work with —from the caterer to the decor to the entertainment. When contacting a dry hire venue, ask if any services are included within the hire of the venue or if they supply a list of recommended suppliers that you can take a look at. This is always a good starting point and working with suppliers who have experience at your venue is a bonus.  


This can be the hardest part of choosing a venue as a lot of traditional venues will only work with either their in-house caterers or with a set list of approved caterers. So be sure to ask if your venue has any limitations on which caterers you can work with or if you are free to bring your favourite suppliers to their venue. 


If you are planning to serve alcohol or work with a bar company at your wedding, you need to ask your venue if they hold an alcohol licence. If they do, you have the option for your guests to have a cash bar and pay for their own drinks. If the venue does not have an alcohol licence, then you will need to buy and supply the alcohol and hire a bartending team to serve the drinks, so essentially having an open bar.  You may need to just get a Temporary Events licence if wanting to guests to buy drinks or the bar company may hold one and can help.

Wedding Licence

This is an important question to ask your venue if you want to legally get married at the venue. You will need to know if the venue holds a marriage licence and in which rooms or space this is for. If the venue does not hold a marriage licence, then you can still have a symbolic or humanist ceremony at the venue, but you will need to officially and legally get married elsewhere such as at the local registry office.

Production and Furniture

While the freedom of a blank canvas space is exciting, it's essential to assess what is already at the venue that you can use and what external lighting or power you need to add. This could be checking if there are enough power outlets, asking if there are any restrictions with large installations and if you are allowed to add a dancefloor. You may need to bring a production company to handle all things technical related and also is any furniture included or do you need to bring all tables and chairs in too. Some historic buildings or rustic barn conversions will have regulations you have to abide by, so ensure you know about these restrictions before booking.

Venue Facilities

Ensure you ask about what spaces are included in your dry hire. This could be the use of the kitchen facilities, a green room for your suppliers and if there is a car park available. Be sure to ask what the access times are and load-in procedures for suppliers to ensure a smooth coordination and set up at your venue. Equally ask what their rules are regarding the take-down and clearing of your venue at the end of your wedding. It is also a good idea to enquire with the venue if they provide assistance with setting up any aspects for your wedding and who will be a point of contact on the day.


Understanding the venue's pricing model is vital to ensure you stay within your wedding budget. Enquire whether you hire based on an hourly rate or a flat day rate. Also ask if accommodation is included in the day rate and if they offer a special rate if you want to hire the venue for the whole weekend.  Before booking,  clarify if there are any additional fees or charges that will be added onto your venue hire cost such as cleaning services or security/ stewards.

Wedding Day Management

Decide who will oversee the logistics and coordinate the day. Will there be anyone at the venue to ensure running on time or do you want to work with a dedicated Wedding Day Coordinator to ensure everything goes smoothly? I offer a Wedding Day Management service that is perfect if you have found your venue and planned your special day, but want a professional to help check through all the plans, ensure the day runs on time and is set up just as you envisioned.

If researching and choosing a dry hire wedding venue sounds like a daunting and time-consuming task, then I do have a full service wedding planning package where I can offer my expert advice, guidance and venue recommendations as your wedding planner. So if you are ready to start your wedding planning journey together, check out all my services here.

Photographer: Emis Weddings


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