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We have created a series of blogs that will help with your planning if you are new to your wedding journey. So do come and delve in….

So far in this series you have

· How to make a wedding budget

· How to spend your wedding budget

· How to create your perfect guest list

· Choosing your perfect date to marry

Today we are going to cover:


So far in this series you have considered your budget, how to divvy it up on what is important, how to create your perfect guest list and choosing you ideal date. Now we need to tackle your venue.

However, first let’s just delve in further to the nitty gritty of venues so that you can make a fully informed decision what suits you. Do you want a dry hire or a wet hire?

A large amount of your budget is going to go on your venue, so your decision making here will define your entire day.


To get the most from your venue, I would just like to share with you the differences in a Wet Hire Wedding Venue and a Dry Hire wedding Venue Choosing a venue space for your event can be a difficult task especially when there are so many options.

A ‘Dry hire’ is the phrase used to describe a venue that provides only the use of the venue space, such as a room and potential grounds whereas a ‘wet hire’ allows you to use the venue space along with their catering team and staff, buying their drinks and also “potentially” having to use their preferred suppliers and audio-visual services.

While this could seem like an easy decision to choose between to begin with, I would like to explain the benefits and drawbacks of each venue hire so that you can see if a wet hire venue may be better for your event than a dry hire venue or visa versa.


When you hire a wet hire you get the use of the space plus their full catering service, staffing, crockery, cutlery, glassware, everything you can imagine to deliver your event for your Food & Beverage.

The benefit to this is that not only does the catering team know the venue they may also offer you a wedding coordinator. (not to be confused with an independent planner’s service for on the day which is way more robost)

They will often have a list of suppliers that will also be familiar with the layout and access restrictions of the venue that you can tap into, so the event will be able to run smoothly, and they will be more prepared to deal with any issues that come up with the venue.


There are moments where using a wet hire venue could also be looked at as a potential restriction, depending on how you wish to run your event.

While you do get the use of their caterers and other service providers, it can mean that you cannot use your own suppliers. So if you had a friend that works in weddings that would have done you a great deal, or your auntie can make you a killer cake, you just won’t be allowed to use them. (so make sure your suppliers are “recommended” and not “approved” as usually approved means they are the only suppliers you can use at that venue.

The cost to hire the venue and its services will be more expensive than the cost of hiring a dry hire venue space but will most likely cost less overall since you won’t have to hire any additional services beyond what is already provided.


A dry hire venue space will only allow you the use of the space itself and comes without any services bar overseeing your registrars/ceremony.

These type of hires are very popular for budget weddings where you can make savings, and also for Jewish and Asian weddings who need to have their own caterers for religious or cultural purposes.

You can bring in your own bar service, which means you can bring in your own alcohol.

Everything else you need for your event you would have to provide yourself. This means that you can be flexible about what suppliers you use which gives you more control over your budget and how you want your event to run and can often be cheaper than a wet hire.


The suppliers may have a lot less experience working at your chosen venue since they do not work there all the time.

It will be a lot more responsibility on your shoulders to make sure everything runs smoothly, and any issues may take longer to sort out. - This is when it’s worth investing in a wedding planner for on the day coordination.

In terms of cost, hiring the venue itself will most often be cheaper than a wet hire, however the cost overall may be higher if you make either the wrong choices with your suppliers.

The only time a dry hire may not be more cost effective is you are having a home marquee wedding as you are then having to hire in toilets, generator, refrigeration, catering equipment, caterers, staff, the list is long. They are much more complex to plan and manage and I would always recommend a qualified well established planner to help you through the process.


Venues can have one of either supplier listings. There are approved suppliers which generally you have to use, this maybe because the venue is listed building and they need to ensure that the suppliers conform to their special requirements, and then there are preferred suppliers which more often you can choose to use or not (although some still say you have to use them, so you need to ask)

Inside information Alert: What you won’t know is that venues, more often than not, have a deal with suppliers that they are on their list, which gets them lots of guaranteed business, and in return have to give them anything up to 15% of your spend back to the venue in commissions, so its worth finding out if you have to use their suppliers.

The benefits being that you won’t have to spend time looking for your own suppliers, the downside is that In reality you will be paying that commission as it will just be added to your bill, so your wedding is likely to cost you 15% more at that venue than if you were to pick your own suppliers.


If your eyes were set on a dry hire, don't forget you could also hire some land and hire a marquee. These weddings are highly complex so be prepared to put in some leg work or consider getting in a planner. You have to hire everything right from the venue itself down to bin bags and everything in between. But there are savings to be made and you have complete control over every aspect of your wedding design.


Now that you have all the details about both dry and wet hire venues, I would like to share my views.

If you have a good budget and you want less responsibility on your day, then choose a wet hire and if you want less stress in choosing suppliers, then have a wet hire with an preferred list to take all the thought process out of finding the right suppliers or an ‘approved supplier’ list, but be prepared to pay a little extra (albeit those costs won’t be transparent to you).

If you want more control of over who you use, how much you spend, especially the catering, then you would benefit from a dry hire. Although it is worth noting that some venues only offer dry hire to those with cultural or religious needs. i.e. a jewish wedding will need a halal caterer etc… so ask the right questions.

There are many questions over what is cheaper, but it is all in the planning and how much involvement you want on your day. Although this is where a planner can give you a stress free wedding day whilst still have the enjoyment of planning your own wedding.

It's fair to say however that you will get more choice of venues if you opt for a wet hire.

The next in our series is finding your perfect venue

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