Dry hire venues give planners additional freedom when it comes to suppliers and event design, although typically with more responsibility and work required from the event organiser. Many event bookers will choose a dry hire venue if they have their own specific caterers or suppliers they wish to use, or when they have very specific ideas and vision for the event design and production. Finding a dry hire venue in London that is right for your event brief can be challenging. With dry hire rules varying from one venue to another, clear communication between yourself, the venue and suppliers is essential. You need to ask the right questions to reduce the risk of any nasty surprises down the line. Some of our favourite dry hire venues are below (some of which can also be hired with catering and other recommended spaces.)
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Dry hire venues will generally give event planners greater control and flexibility over there event, the suppliers they use and the way the event operates. For large productions and very creative events this can be very important. However if you are searching for a dry hire venue because you are attached to one specific caterer then it is always a good idea to check out the alternatives as many of the amazing venues in London, whether available for dry hire or not, have taken a huge amount of time effort and research to ensure that their approved supplier list is the best available in London. There will always be incredible independent and upcoming suppliers that will work better for a particular event or offer a better deal, although many venues that do not offer a dry hire will still be able to approve specific suppliers on a case-by-case basis, so do check before you rule anything out.
Often our clients are searching for dry hire halls in order to keep things as cheap as possible, with the idea of bringing in their own caterers or providing the food themselves at a much lower cost than professional catering companies. If this is your reasoning for choosing a dry hire venue then be careful to read through all of the dry hire fees and restrictions, as many dry hire venues in London will require corkage fees to be paid for drinks such as bottles of wine, beers and sometimes soft drinks, whereas others will have restrictions regarding health and safety that may roll out some of your catering ideas. There are many dry hire halls in London that can accommodate such things, it is just important to make sure that you find the right place for your event, budget and needs.
Particularly for corporate event managers, there is usually a lot more legwork to do if you are ringing your own suppliers to a dry Hire venue. Many venues with in-house catering and approved supplier lists will have a tried and tested formula for successful events so before you hire a dry Hire venue just run through the extra jobs required and make sure that you have the time to do it and the benefits are actually worthwhile.
Check that any suppliers you wish to use at your dry hire venue have seen the venue, have run a similar event at the space and know the layout of the venue, access routes and equipment that the venue has in house. One of the biggest problems that clients have with dry hire venues is a misunderstanding about equipment or access, where the venue and suppliers think that one another had such things covered. It is a good idea to get the managers for all of your suppliers and the venue manager to meet and run through their responsibilities for the day. You will be surprised how often this highlights potential issues that can be easily fixed ahead of time but are difficult to do so on the day of the event.
When you book a dry hire venue this essentially means hiring the venue as an empty shell, often with some on site furniture and key staff to oversee the event, offering flexibility when it comes to catering and production. Due to the huge range of dry hire venues London has, the specific terms of a dry hire can vary greatly from venue to venue. As such, it is important to give each venue a detailed brief of what you want to do and be clear from the very start of the venue booking process what you need from your venue.
We often hear about the plights of event planners who have hired a venue without checking the fine print and found themselves in tricky situations. There are various pitfalls to look out for, from finding out that a caterer or supplier is not approved or health and safety restrictions hinder their production plans. Be sure to talk through every idea you have, right from the ofset, get it approved in writing and you will be fine!
From iconic contemporary structures to beautiful creative spaces, event planners will enjoy the huge range of dry hire venues London has to offer, no matter what type of event you are looking to organise.