With dry hire weddings, come a bit of extra prep and project management, so who are the key suppliers you need for your dry hire wedding?
So, you may be wondering what exactly is a dry hire wedding? It’s mainly meant in catering terms when you hire the venue ‘dry’, as in, with no food or drink included and no on site caterer, and usually no furniture either. The venue can appear in many guises, from a warehouse to a gallery space to a barn to a marquee to a stately home, but it essentially means you don’t get a caterer or a bar or any staff with your venue hire – that all has to be hired in additionally. And all that comes with that, too… meaning your caterer will charge you to bring in a kitted out kitchen, and your bar will charge you to bring in everything from glasses down to bins. As well as all the staff you need to actually run your day.
So, what are the benefits of a dry hire wedding? Well for starters, it really gives couples the opportunity to think outside the box. No fixed packages and no set structure means you get to really make the wedding your own. From the furniture and decor, to the suppliers, to the alcohol, and the whole entire running order of the day. Obviously as your need to hire in each supplier separately, this will obviously add to your overall costs, but it means you can have your day completely bespoke to you two as a couple – and do what you want!
So who are the key suppliers you need for your dry hire wedding?
A Wedding Coordinator
The most important thing after your caterer! Especially if you don’t have a planner on board.
Booking a blank canvas venue can give you absolute creative freedom. But as such, your venue won’t come with any kind of event manager, planner, or coordinator – that’s the freedom! You won’t be put into a cookie cutter wedding; you are hiring the venue for the building alone.
And that’s where people like me come in! 🙋🏼 I specialise in dry hire weddings; it’s mostly all I do! Hosted venues (hotels etc) usually have an equivalent of me working in house for them, so I don’t get hired so much for hosted venues for my ‘on the day’ services.
I’ve personally worked on just about every single style and vibe of wedding from elegant English country manor to boho festival weddings in tipis. They are wonderful and give you the opportunity to really put your stamp on the day, but you need to allow plenty of time for prep and set up, and get someone to run it for you while you are off having fun all day! Someone to host for you, manage your suppliers and guests, ensure the set up is what you want, keep to timings, and ensure you are having the time of your life – without having to worry about any of the above.
I always use the analogy… a dry hire wedding without a coordinator is like a plane without a pilot!
An Ice Delivery
… or a couple of staggered deliveries throughout the day. This only applies if you are supplying your own booze or running your own bar, as otherwise your caterers and/or bar should provide this (but obviously do check with them too!). Often there’s no fridges in dry hire venues, and hiring them in is much more hassle (and cost) than just getting some big buckets and some ice deliveries. Easy disposal too, and next to nothing in delivery fees compared to the delivery and collection again of fridges. Plus ice is the fastest way to chill anything, especially a constantly restocked bar!
If your dry hire venue only allows you access to set up on the day (which is quite common), this is key to get your signage, table plan, favours, decor, booze, and any other bits and bobs delivered to your coordinator for them to set all this up for you while you are off getting ready or actually getting married. And you may also need a courier to take some of your bits and pieces home at the end of the night, too.
Add Lee is my fav for accessibility, flexibility, and cost in London. Plus, they have van options too for courier trips. Plus, their app is great, and they have always been super reliable for me, compared to a few others who shall not be named..
Enough Waiting Staff
They don’t just wait, they are responsible for setting up all your dinner tables, keeping your guests happy, serving food, serving drinks, clearing, taking rubbish out, and cleaning up after guests. Sometimes also washing glasses, depending on your hire agreement and if your venue has any washing facilities (most dry hires don’t though).
Enough waiting staff can be the difference between your dinner running over, everyone being served on time, and everyone’s glasses being full – as well as no lost deposits for the clear up at the end. Waiting staff aren’t paid that much more than minimum wage, but they worth their weight in gold.
The key to a good wedding is your guests feeling happy, comfortable, and content – and enough waiting staff will be crucial to this. Do not scrimp on waiting staff.
A Good Wedding Party
Who can help out where needed – deliveries, set up, showing guests in, where loos and coat rails are, pressing play for ceremony music, assisting with take down… If you are having a dry hire wedding your day will be DIY behind the scenes, so make sure you have your trusted wedding army to help you make that happen. This is what they are for! And are very much needed at dry hire weddings. Many hands make light work, after all…
This all makes it sound like dry hire weddings are incredibly hard work and difficult… but they don’t have to be. They definitely take a bit more consideration, a bit more careful planning, and often a bit more money, but what you get in the end is an amazingly bespoke wedding day – your way. ❤️
…and if you need a hand, I specialise in dry hire weddings! I am a wedding planner based in Walthamstow, East London, and offer fun, flexible and affordable wedding planning, planning help, and coordination services. I offer pick and mix services; clients can pick and choose what elements they need help with and we’ll take it from there. I’m personable, relaxed, yet highly organised. I help people have the party of their lives, and have fun, while taking away all the stress. I am an On The Day Coordination and Wedding Day Management pro, too.
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