What Is a Dry Hire Venue and What Are Its Benefits?

By Emily /Editorial Manager

Thu 3rd Sep 2020 Wedding Venues · Corporate Venues · Social Venues ·
OXO2 dry hire venue London

Have you come across the words ‘dry hire’ before when planning a party, wedding or corporate social and wondered what it all means? The term crops up a lot in the event world and it’s often not fully explained. That’s why we’re here to help – this article will outline what ‘dry hire’ is and showcase its many benefits.

Our team at VenueCrew are clued up when it comes to finding the best dry hire event spaces in Sydney, Melbourne and London. We’ve spent a lot of time exploring the ins and outs of the top function rooms on both sides of the globe and can link you up with a dry hire venue that fits with your ideal. Chat with one of our Venue Finders to start your dry hire venue search today.

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So, What Is Dry Hire?

‘Dry hire’ is the phrase used to describe a venue that only provides the use of their space, such as a hall or room, without any of the added extras like catering, decorations or production. It’s when you hire the venue’s outer shell and fill it with your preferred suppliers.

So, as you traipse around venues hoping to find the one that ticks all the right boxes for your next celebration, a dry hire option can be revolutionary. They provide the ultimate blank canvas to put your unique stamp on. It’s no surprise that some of the most groundbreaking events have happened in dry hire spaces. The potential is off the charts when the only limitation is your imagination. 

Read on to discover the advantages of opting for a dry hire party venue, the types of dry hire venues you’ll come across, and some useful advice from our expert Venue Finders. 

OXO2 dry hire venue London
The Landmark Hotel, London

The Three Key Benefits of Choosing a Dry Hire Venue

1. You Can Get Creative as You Wish

The greatest advantage of dry hire venues is that you can have more choice about every touchpoint of the day, from the colour of your napkins to the style of the banqueting chairs. You have the ultimate freedom to handpick all of your suppliers and create the theme you were hoping for. It’s always useful to look at photographs of how your chosen dry hire space has previously been styled to get your creative juices flowing. 

It’s so exciting to see how a dry hire event space can be transformed with just a hint of personalisation. I’m always impressed by what’s achieved at the Grand Connaught Rooms in Holborn, London. It’s lavish Art Deco interiors suit so many styles. In this photo, the client has followed a neutral ivory palette and even brought in a new carpet to follow the theme!
Aneeza Qureshi London Event Planner

Aneeza Qureshi | Venue Finder

OXO2 dry hire venue London
Grand Hall at De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms

2. There’s More Flexibility With Your Drinks and Menu Packages

Are you tired of having to stick with typical menus and predictable dishes at your wedding or corporate event? Well, dry hire could be the answer. If you bring in a different caterer, you can infuse the event with new flavours, cuisines and menu formats. From roving degustation meals to artisan charcuterie platters, there is no end to the kind of gastronomy you can bring to the table. It’s particularly useful to opt for dry hire if you are hosting a religious event, where vegetarian or halal meals might be necessary.

Dry hire venues will make your event stand out with different flavours. There are all kinds of exciting caterers out there, from Teppanyaki sushi stations to rustic pizza vans or strictly vegan-only cuisines. Your chosen caterer will make you a bespoke quote, so you can tailor everything to taste. Oh, and don’t forget the drinks! There’s often no corkage charges at dry hire venues so you can bring in wine a cost price.
London Event Planner Brittany Smith

Brittany Smith | Venue Finder

OXO2 dry hire venue London

3. It Can Be the Most Cost-Effective Way to Celebrate

There’s no doubt about it – dry hire venues are the way forward if you want to make some considerable savings at your next event. You have the autonomy to pick and choose suppliers and source numerous quotes before settling on a price that works for you. If you don’t mind doing a bit more research and shopping around, it will reap rewards when it comes to paying the cheques. Being resourceful and creative is the name of the game with dry hire, so if you like the idea of DIY events and putting your handmade touch into your celebration, it will be an enjoyable process too!

I always love hearing how creative our clients get with their dry hire weddings, as handmade touches are a beautiful and emotional addition to the day. Weddings are meant to be a reflection of the couple getting married and so the little details matter. It’s always a bonus when the wedding is a fraction of the usual cost, so they can spend the rest on their honeymoon. Some UK couples even drive over to France to pick up their wine at wholesale price and make huge savings that way.
Kelly Collins Venue Crew London Event Planner

Kelly Collins | Venue Finder

OXO2 dry hire venue London

What Kinds of Dry Hire Spaces Are There?

Dry hire venues come in all shapes and sizes. From versatile outdoor venues to decadent ballrooms in the city centre, our VenueCrew can offer up all sorts of stylish event spaces in Sydney, Melbourne and London that suit the vision you have in mind. 

  • Dry hire marquee venues. If you are thinking of throwing a rural festival themed party, a dry hire marquee could be your best bet. The teepee or bell tent can be transported to your desired location (even your back garden!) and transformed with your decor, chairs and tables and a pop-up bar.
  • Dry hire hotel venues. Some 5-star hotels allow you to bring in caterers if you’d like Asian or Kosher cuisine. Our most popular London dry hire hotel venues for Asian weddings and Jewish Bar Mitzvahs are The Langham London and The Waldorf Hilton.
  • Dry hire ballroom venues. Our Venue Finders love discovering heritage banqueting halls and ballrooms in the heart of the city with stunning architectural features. We’d recommend visiting the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms on your London dry hire venue search – it’s a real showstopper.
  • Dry hire waterfront venues. Sydney has some stunning dry hire waterfront venues with outlooks over Sydney Harbour and beyond. The effortlessly cool Boathouse at The Spit and The Beachouse at Point Piper in Sydney allow you to bring in your preferred caterer upon approval. London’s dry hire waterfront venues also have spectacular views over the River Thames – check out OXO2, Old Billingsgate and Royal Horticultural Halls
  • Dry hire brewery venues. If you’re looking for something non-conventional, it might be worth looking into unusual dry venues with a quirky history. The Brewery in London is a former beer brewing factory, with its exposed beams and industrial elements still intact.
OXO2 dry hire venue London

VenueCrew Tips for Dry Hire

Our team of experienced Venue Finders speak to new customers every day about dry hire venues and there are a lot of things that are useful to know from the outset:

Tip #1: Get Your Suppliers to Communicate With Each Other

At a dry hire event, you’ll tend to have a lot of different suppliers that need to work together on a strict schedule. For example, the caterers need to leave room on each table for the florist to do their work, or the DJ needs to work closely with the lighting technician to get the disco atmosphere just right. 

It’s useful to share the appropriate contact information to each supplier as well as a timings spreadsheet so they can collaborate more closely. Alternatively, you can hire an event planner to do all of this for you! They can help organise suppliers and make sure everyone’s in the right place at the right time.

Tip #2: Everything Takes Longer with Dry Hire Venues

Some external suppliers might not be familiar with the event space and will occasionally need a tour of the venue before the event. Whilst it might take more time, it will improve the event flow and the overall service that you’ll receive. 

You also need to bear in mind that suppliers need time to set up and break down their equipment, particularly if you are bringing in large installations and production elements. It might be worth speaking with the venue manager about the earliest access time and if it’s possible to set up the night before.

Tip #3: Check the Facilities Before You Book

We’d always recommend checking the AV equipment, PA systems, rigging and sound systems that are included with the venue hire so that you don’t waste money on items that are already in place or forget to bring the right technology with you.  

Sometimes the venue will provide you with tables, chairs, cutlery and crockery within the dry hire, so check if they are the style you like or if you’d like to swap them with your own. There also might be heavy-duty items you need to invest in such as toilet blocks or heating systems if it’s an outdoor venue or security staff depending on the number of guests. It’s best to see what is covered before you sign the dotted line.

Are you searching for a dry hire venue and need some help? Contact our specialist Venue Finders to find a suitable dry hire venue within your budget.

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