What is a dry hire wedding venue?
Essentially, dry hire allows you to bring in all of your own suppliers and caterers, given that they have the appropriate health and safety documentation. The venue provides you with the outer shell, and you can decorate it to your heart’s delight. There are many advantages to booking a dry hire wedding venue, including the fact that you’ll typically only be charged a venue hire without all the add ons. This means that you can cut costs down and keep within your budget.
Instead of the usual venue wedding packages that include your multi-course wedding breakfast, drinks, furniture and styling, dry hire enables you to bring in food, beverages and decorations to make it your own. With these personal touches, opting for a dry hire London wedding venue helps you to stay clear of planning a generic all-inclusive wedding. Dry hire encourages you to think outside the box and leap from the ordinary to the extraordinary.
How to Find a London Dry Hire Wedding Venue That Stands Out from The Crowd
Luckily in London, you’ll never fall short of options when it comes to finding a dry hire wedding venue. Not only are there an abundance of blank canvas spaces that you can transform to fit your vision, but there are also idyllic country manor houses, royal palaces and banqueting halls that give you the option to dry hire.
Sometimes it’s difficult to sift out which venues do offer dry hire and which ones don’t. For example, some central hotel wedding venues only allow dry hire for Jewish weddings, when a specific kosher caterer is required. Our local Venue Specialists know the specifics of hundreds of venues in and around London, so they can help you shortlist your favourites, send out bespoke quotes and showcase some stunning dry hire venues you might not know about.
Venue Specialist Tip No. 1: Choose an inner or outer London suburb that’s convenient
- Looking for an outdoorsy feel that’s not too far from London? We’d suggest the counties of Surrey, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire on the outskirts of Greater London. You’ll find dry hire wedding venues with green space for photos or a marquee.
- What about a huge heritage Freemasons’ building or an old brewery with excellent public transport links and famous London architecture closeby? We’d suggest the City of London or Westminster, near to the River Thames, Big Ben and The London Eye.
- For cool music halls, banqueting suites and alternative London dry hire venues, Hammersmith and Fulham, Hackney or Islington are your best venue search spots.
- For the highest levels of luxury, such as 5-star hotels with the option to dry hire, we recommend the areas of Mayfair, Kensington and Chelsea and Marylebone. Often these hotel venues come already furnished in their signature style, so only a few decorations will make it look wedding-ready. Just pick your perfect caterer, and you’re good to go.
Venue Specialist Tip No. 2: Brainstorm some suppliers to amp up the atmosphere
- If you’re planning on creating a disco element to your wedding celebrations, you could hire colour changing LEDs, light-up dance floors and smoke machines. Before you browse suppliers, check which on-site facilities are already in place for production.
- If your chosen dry hire venue doesn’t include furniture, look into the style of ceremony of banqueting chairs you would like, and whether you’d prefer table rounds or long tables.
- Music is a great way to create an ambience, so check the late license and what AV equipment and PA amenities are available at your dry hire venue. Having an amplified playlist or a live band will get your guests in the mood for dancing all night long.
- Fireworks, ice sculptures, flamethrowers and magicians are just some of many incredible suppliers you could bring in for your big day. Our Venue Finders will be able to run you through all of the restrictions at your venue if you have something specific in mind.
Venue Specialist Tip No. 3: Transport is an important consideration
- In the early venue finding stages, you need to take guest travel into account. Thankfully, London has a great mix of public transport options, including the tube, train, bus or boat. Keep this information readily available via your invites or on your wedding website.
- Parking is notoriously limited in central London, so keep this in mind when selecting your dry hire venue. Our Venue Finders can point out local car parks, where you can drop off elderly guests, as well as dry hire wedding venues with parking discounts.
- If you’d like to provide overnight accommodation for your guests, to save them chasing the last train, there are many dry hire wedding venues with hotels nearby or guest rooms on-site. Give us a call and we’ll be able to sort an affordable deal for you.
- Have you thought about international guests? To make their journey to your dry hire venue as seamless as their plane ride, you could even arrange a party bus or car share.
Venue Specialist Tip No. 4: Choose your caterer wisely
- Dry hire venues often direct you to a recommended list of caterers who are familiar with the venue. It’s worth looking over their list if catering is a top priority, as you might want to go elsewhere if they don’t have the one you were hoping for.
- Sometimes, you are allowed to bring any caterer, as long as they have the correct public liability insurance. This gives you even more flexibility over the food and drinks that are served. The caterer can tailor the meal rather than making you choose a set menu.
- If you’re opting for dry hire, don’t forget that you might need to source the tables, chairs, tableware, a bar, pop up kitchens, electricity generators and waiting staff. Some caterers might provide these services for you, so do your research first to see what’s included.
- Caterers need to know the access times and unloading locations so they can get to work seamlessly, receive deliveries with ease and pack up discreetly after the wedding.
- Dry hire venues are fantastic for large cultural weddings when you need specific cuisine that respect all religious laws. There are a huge selection of specialised caterers for Indian weddings, African weddings, Jewish weddings and more!
- You have the freedom to get creative with dry hire catering. Why not hire in a wood fire pizza van for snacks on the go, or a pop-up cocktail bar without the inflated hotel prices? The world of weddings becomes your oyster when you choose a dry hire venue.
Venue Specialist Tip No. 5: Hone in on the style you’re looking for
Dry hire venues are the ultimate canvas to create your own love story. Plus, they can be a more cost-effective way of hosting a stylish wedding. Our Venue Specialists can give you insightful industry tips and find you an affordable dry hire wedding venue with all the inclusions you need.
- You could choose a traditional ballroom in central London that will set the stage for a glamorous Art Deco affair. Some of our top dry hire ballroom wedding venues in London include the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms and The Waldorf Hilton.
- Some 5-star hotels allow dry hire for particular religious occasions. The Langham London and Claridge’s accept dry hire for external Asian and Kosher caterers.
- There are stunning waterfront dry hire wedding venues in London, with gorgeous backdrops for photos. Check out Old Billingsgate and Royal Horticultural Halls.
- Dreaming of your happy ever after at a Georgian manor house surrounded by rolling lawns and a characterful suburban village? Belair House is the go-to for dry hire.
- There’s also plenty of unusual dry hire wedding venues in London, including The Brewery, a historic beer brewing factory with exposed beams and industrial elements.
Venue Specialist Tip No. 6: Speak with a Venue Finder
With endless information online, it can get overwhelming. How useful would it be to have a team of friendly advisors who can answer all your dry hire questions for free? Well, that’s what we’re here for. Our local Venue Specialists cut out the time and effort it takes to narrow down your search, and they have all the information readily available. We look forward to helping you find a dry hire wedding venue as quickly as possible, without all the fuss.