Devine Bride: Avoid a dry hire disaster

For some couples, hiring a wedding venue only is a way to really put their stamp on their day.

Blogger Laura at Devine Bride hits us with the pros and cons…

IMAGE | Devine Bride

As a wedding planner, I’ve noticed the demand grow for personalised details and flexibility when brides ask for planning help, with more of my London brides are turning their backs on hotel and all-inclusive venues.

Not because they don’t like them, but because hotels and all-inclusive venues limit what they allow clients to do, bring in, eat and drink.

My couples are paying more to have pizza delivered, to have their own local beer brought in, and to have a custom ceremony arch made.

Most hotels won’t allow customisation like this because they will have their own food, drink and ceremony facilities to upsell “ and because they are well-oiled to have a fast turnaround for the next wedding, often the very next day.


Dry hire, simply speaking, is the hire of a venue alone with no package. That means you have to arrange everything else yourself.

Dry hire venues usually cost a bit more, but it’s great for couples who have a clear vision of exactly what they want for their wedding day.

You can bring all of your own furniture, decor, food, drink and suppliers in, but that usually means that the basics, like tables, cooking equipment and sometimes even toilets, might have to be arranged.

For example, if you’re having kids at your wedding then you’d need to consider things like high chairs, checking the loos for baby changing facilities and if there are any kettles or microwaves for heating baby food and milk.

IMAGE | Cotton Candy Weddings


The result of a dry hire wedding is a completely different and very personal day, done exactly your way.

However, one of the main differences for me, as a wedding planner, is that there is usually a host or co-ordinator at hotel weddings (or at the very least, a duty manager), whereas at dry hire and marquee weddings, you will be on your own, unless you hire an on the day co-ordinator, of course!

IMAGE | Fleming Photo


Working between London and Glasgow, my most popular service is my on-the-day co-ordination package.

Often it’s for dry hire and marquee weddings, but sometimes it’s just to come in on the day to give the bride and groom peace of mind.

It’s my job to make your day run seamlessly, manage your guests, suppliers, and entire timings for the day (including leading you into each section of the day) “ and generally making sure everything is perfect and everyone is attended to at all times.

Hotel weddings are somewhat easier to manage because all the staff are part of the same team, and have all worked together before, and do the same things together week in week out.

So, at dry hire weddings, a co-ordinator is the glue that gels the team that have never worked together before “ I am the link between all the deliveries, the venue owner, the celebrant, the caterer, the cake maker, the band, the DJ… the list goes on.

A co-ordinator is the manager who knows how to set everything in motion, who know what’s going on, who will check up on suppliers, who will herd your guests, and keep things running to time.

Additionally, hotels will often take on odd jobs as they have teams around the hotel they can pull from, but at dry hire weddings co-ordinators will finish off décor, lay favours, make sure your place settings are perfect, erect your table plan, and will act as a comp¨re to host your day too.

In my opinion, not hiring a co-ordinator for a dry hire or marquee wedding is like hiring a private plane without a pilot. And¦ it’s always better not to ask a friend to help, because who wants a drunk pilot?

IMAGE | Devine Bride


I’ll leave you with my checklist of things that are always forgotten by my dry hire clients, that will make your day run more smoothly, coordinator or not…

  • Bottle openers
  • Ice
  • A (nice) knife to cut the cake
  • Lighters for candles and/or sparklers
  • A kettle (for baby bottles)
  • High chairs
  • Extra toilet roll
  • Ladders
  • A dustpan and brush
  • Bin bags
  • Bins


All that said¦ don’t be put off! Dry hire and marquee weddings are amazing, just make your life easier and hire a coordinator!

If you need any inspo, I’m @devinebride on Instagram, or feel free to say hello via too “ I’d love to hear from you!

About the author, Laura Devine of Devine Bride

Laura is a wedding tasker and runs the multi award-winning wedding blog Devine Bride.  Laura offers pick and mix wedding planning, from stationery to styling, hire a bridesmaid to help on the day, and from wedding planning to wedding websites. Her honest and practical blog covers hen parties to honeymoons and everything in between.

Laura won Best Rising Star at the Wedding Blog Awards 2016, Wedding of the Year 2016 with Your London Wedding Magazine, and was highly commended in the Wedding and Events category at the UK Blog Awards 2017.

Laura is Glasgow born and bred but now splits her time between Scotland and London, where she lives, works and plays. She is a graduate of the Glasgow School of Art and the London College of Fashion.

In her words, “Weddings are important because they celebrate life and possibility, and ultimately, it’s all about making people happy “ and I love that.”


Are you looking for more wedding inspo?

Click here to visit Laura’s blog, Devine Bride