What Does Dry Hire Venue Actually Mean When Planning a wedding?

Having planned and coordinated weddings at dry hire venues across the South East, I find that it is still something that couples are a little unsure about, so I decided to dedicate a blog post entirely to the topic!

A dry hire venue is a venue where you are only hiring the space – whether that’s a barn, a country house, an event space – or even a semi-permanent marquee at a venue. There are no catering teams, bar staff or other services included in the hire; sometimes there isn’t even any furniture or equipment included either. 

The benefits of having a dry hire venue

Dry hire venues are the perfect option for people who really want to put their own stamp on their wedding day, sometimes even being referred to as ‘blank canvas’ venues. If you don’t have to pick a certain package, or use certain suppliers, you have more freedom to organise your event how you wish, decorate how you like and serve up your favourite food and drink! 

Questions to ask before you book a dry hire venue

It’s important that you ask the right questions when booking any venue, for any occasion; but even more so, when you’re looking to book a dry hire venue.

Here are my top 5 questions to ask:

  1. What equipment is included in the hire? Just to make things more confusing – not all dry hire venues are the same! I’ve been at venues where they have a fully equipped catering kitchen for you to use, and others where there isn’t even an oven or fridge! It is essential that you find out what is and isn’t available at your chosen venue.
  2. Is there any furniture included in the hire price? Like above, some dry hire venues have furniture included that you are welcome to use; but at other venues you will need to hire in everything from dining tables and chairs to relaxed seating areas for your guests.
  3. Will there be any members of staff on duty on the day? Even if you have a wedding planner or coordinator for your big day, it is important to find out if there will be venue staff on site. Sometimes they are on site, but in an office – there for any essential queries such as dealing with sound limiters that keep going off! At other venues the staff member simply unlocks the venue, leaves you to it, and then locks up at the end of the night.
  4. When do you have access to the venue? With a dry hire venue you will have to organise a larger number of suppliers, and possibly spend more time setting up and decorating. That is why it is so important to find out when you are allowed to have access to the venue. You won’t be able to fully style and set up your wedding ready for a midday ceremony if you only have access from 10am.
  5. Do you have to use certain suppliers? Some venues will give you total free rein to choose the exact suppliers that you want; however, others may ask you to choose from a list of approved suppliers. This can be quite common when it comes to choosing your caterers, as the catering is a large part of any event – and it can help when they know the kitchen that they are working in.

Things to consider when organising your wedding at a dry hire venue

  • Are there suppliers who work there regularly and know the venue?
  • Who will coordinate your wedding on the day?
  • Are your bar team providing glassware and/or washing glasses on the day?
  • Who is providing any linens, crockery, cutlery etc? This could be your caterers – but double check.
  • Who is responsible for clearing up at the end of the night?
  • How do you dispose of any rubbish?
  • Is there an emergency contact for on the day?
  • Do you need event security?

To summarise, a dry hire venue is where you are only hiring the event space, you are not hiring a team of caterers and staff along with it. The major appeal of a dry hire venue is being able to put your personal stamp on your day – but along with that freedom comes a greater level of required planning.


At The Country Blush, I specialise in design-led, marquee and dry hire celebrations set in the English countryside. I’m not here to tell you what to do. Instead, I present you with carefully researched options and encourage you to make choices that feel personal and intentional. It’s about creating the wedding you want with minimal stress or hassle. Working hard to exceed expectations, ensuring you enjoy every minute of your wedding – before, during and after you say, ‘I do’! 

Get in touch to start planning your celebration. 

Photography Credits: Duntons Photography 

love, evie x