I love dry hire. There are so many reasons why it can be a perfect fit for a wedding. It’s personal, it’s bespoke and it allows the bride and groom to make their wedding unique to them. Yet so many people do not know what dry hire is, so please let me explain. 

Dry hire is when you hire a venue as a blank canvas. This means that catering, corkage, flowers, decorations and often furniture hire are not included. Sometimes venues will have a selection of recommended suppliers, yet it is up to the bride and groom to decide on the style of their wedding and which wedding suppliers will be most reflect this image. There are so many benefits to this approach, so I am going to highlight a few. 

  1. Let your creativity flow! 

Dry hire means that you escape any sort of production line wedding. Venues with set suppliers and set catering means that your choices are limited and your wedding may appear much the same as many other couples before you. While this is appealing for couples short of time, my job as a wedding planner is to do the hard work for you to create a bespoke wedding as traditional or as creative as you may desire. The appeal of a dry hire venue is that they will allow you a free site for the variety of suppliers that you will need to fulfil your wedding dream.

Tipi by World Inspired Tents. Photograph by Green Antlers Photography

2. On-site accommodation

Many dry hire venues provide on-site accommodation included in the hire of the whole venue. This is dependent on how long you have hired it for, but often venues may be available to hire for a whole weekend, rather than just a day. This means that after a long day of celebrating, friends and family of the happy couple can enjoy the benefit of overnight accommodation, rather than having to find it elsewhere.

3. No corkage 

The average fee for corkage is between £12 and £15 per bottle of wine, £15 to £20 per bottle of prosecco and £20 to £35 per bottle of champagne. For spirits you could pay up to £50 per bottle. This is why a huge appeal of dry hire venues is that you are not required to pay corkage and you are able to choose to bring in whatever alcohol you would like, free of charge. There will however be a charge from your caterers, or you may have to hire bar staff to chill, open and serve your drinks for you. Despite this, the no corkage policy of dry hire venues is much kinder to your budget and allows for more imagination for what you would like to serve. Anyone for a cocktail?


Photograph by Susie Elizabeth Photography

4. Bon appetite! 

Food is another essential part of a wedding which is gaining more and more attention. With an increasing variety of diets and tastes, the flexibility of dry hire venues allows you to cater for everyone. If you prefer a more relaxed approach to your wedding catering, then a dry hire venue will also welcome the huge array of food vans that you may hire for you big day. The big question is where to start? 

Canapés by Greens Catering. Photograph by Susie Elizabeth Photography

5.Your space is your own

The most common form of dry hire is a marquee, either in your garden or hired grounds. There are some amazing options that you may be able to choose to create the canvas for your big day, such as the beautifully decorative marquees available from the Raj Ten Club and LPM Bohemia. Alternatives include spacious tipis such as those from Amazing Tipis, World Inspired Tents or Papakata, or stunning yurts such as those from Roundhouse Yurts. 


Tipi by World Inspired Tents. Photograph by Green Antlers Photography

6. A personal approach 

 Dry hire venues guarantee that the venue or site will be exclusively yours during the time that you have hired it. This means that timings and any special requests are more flexible and you do not have the pressure of having to make way for someone else’s big day. As well as this, suppliers may have access to the venue earlier in the week and you may also be allowed to visit in the days leading up to the wedding. It is far more relaxing for everyone involved to be able to personally check that everything is well prepared and in place, rather than turning up to your venue on the wedding day, and finding something is missing, or not to your liking. 


Thorpe Manor. Photograph by Chloe Ely Photography

If you decide that a dry hire venue is for you, you will have to be prepared to do quite a bit of research and legwork to pull together a team of fantastic suppliers, but it is worth it to have that truly bespoke wedding. Most of my weddings are dry hire, so if you are considering it, but need help along the way, please do get in contact. I would love to hear all about your ideas and make them a reality.