Venue Based vs. Dry Hire Weddings … What’s the difference?

As you begin your exciting search for wedding suppliers you might find you come across various terms and bits of wedding jargon that leave you stumped. Today I hope to explain one such term – dry hire weddings … what are they? This is a term used across a few different sectors of the wedding industry, with styling services and venues being the main place you’ll find this term used. It is also a term I use to differentiate some of my service investments. So, what’s it all mean?

Long dining table set up for a wedding breakfast inside a dry hire tipi structure

In terms of venues, dry hire is used to reflect that a venue or venue space is a completely blank canvas. These are spaces in which you are free to do whatever you wish to make the space your own (although restrictions can and often do apply, after all you’re probably using someone else’s space or structure so they do still get a say!). This makes dry hire venues the perfect starting point if you wish to really stamp your own personality on your wedding day and ensure it’s your day your way.

A prime example of dry hire is the use of a marquee, tipi, yurt or other temporary structure that is erected and disassembled purely for your event. These structures could be for use upon your own private land or garden, or on space you have hired for this purpose. Physical and permanent venue structures can be considered dry hire too, and this is where the distinction becomes blurrier for many people. Barn venues, warehouse spaces and other permanent structures can be considered dry hire if what you are essentially hiring is just the shell of the building and any land around it.

Dry hire barn venue set up for a wedding reception with fairy lights and ceiling drapes

A key factor of dry hire, and often a useful distinguisher between dry hire or venue based physical buildings, is that in dry hire scenarios you are typically responsible for sourcing everything, from each table and chair used during the day to the lighting, power source and toilets too. Whilst the business you are hiring your dry hire structure from may have these on offer, or have recommended suppliers for these, the responsibility for ensuring everything is arranged falls down to you and they won’t be automatically included.

Another common factor that differentiates dry hire from venue based weddings is the presence of a wedding venue coordinator. Venue based weddings will often supply a venue coordinator, someone who guides you through the planning process from a venue-relevant perspective and will be present for much of your day itself to keep an eye on all things from the venue side. In contrast, whilst dry hire spaces may have a land owner who wishes to be involved in helping you with logistics and supplier recommendations and might offer their helping hand on the day, they are often more hands-off with the wedding itself and leave you to it when it comes to creating and having the day of your dreams.

Guests dancing with the bride and groom inside a tipi

So, what does this mean for you as you begin planning your celebration? Well, dry hire options are amazing as they offer so much flexibility and choice, but the sheer volume of choice available, the logistics to be thought through, and the decisions to be made regarding aspects that venues would normally simply have as given, mean that dry hire weddings inevitably require more planning. Don’t let this put you off though, the flexibility to be able to really personalise the space far outweighs the extra hours spent planning for your big day, and many couples simply wouldn’t consider another option! It’s your day your way, go for the venue that best represents your personal style and fits within your budget.

And what about my services? Well, I’m here for you, regardless of what type of venue you feel will best host your day. As such, I work with many styles of venue and the investment required for my services varies across venue based and dry hire weddings to reflect the amount of input required from me. If you’ve got your heart set on a venue but need planning support beyond the logistics that your venue coordinator is assisting you with, then my various package options include something for you and you’d be looking at the venue based price where there is a differentiation shown.

Alternatively, maybe you want the flexibility of dry hire and you’d love to hire a space or host your shindig in your own back garden, but you are getting lost amongst, or daunted by, the extra work this brings? This is where I become your wedding planner best friend! Not only will I help you to find and coordinate the necessarily larger team of fantastic suppliers, but my dry hire wedding investment includes more hours of set up and on the day co-ordination time too. This allows for overseeing the additional deliveries and preparation required when building your day completely from scratch. I’ll also be the first one there and the last to leave on your wedding day so you’ll always have someone to call on even if you’re in the middle of a field somewhere!

Newlyweds looking across a pond to their outdoor wedding venue site at sunset

So, there you have it, the difference between dry hire and venue based weddings, I hope that has provided some clarity. Please take a look at my service offerings to see which of the flexible packages on offer best suits you and your day; there’s something for every stage of the planning process and every venue type! I always clearly discuss this venue differentiation at your free no-obligation initial consultation, but if you have any questions prior to this please do not hesitate to get in touch, I love to hear from you.

Are there any other wedding terms causing you confusion? Let me know in the comments and I’ll happily shed some light on them for you!

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- Hannah -

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