How to plan a wedding in a dry hire venue

Dry hire venues are amazing wedding venues as they give you the space to do essentially whatever you want, limited only by your imagination.  They are some of my favourites, full stop, and there’s lots of them in London too. They gave you a completely blank canvas on which you can paint your own wedding of dreams, with no ugly carpet to have to compromise on or recommended suppliers you have to use, meaning you can make it totally your own. The only downside to dry hire venues is that it can be a lot to deal with, and as the day inches closer you may feel it’s only you that can pull it together as you know you want it. What has all that planning been for though, if not for you to enjoy it? You want to be relaxing on the morning of your wedding, not stressing about marquee lights, so here’s my advice on how to plan a wedding in a dry hire venue the stress-free way.

One. Be prepared. There’s a lot to think about with the set up, so be prepared to momentarily become a project coordinator, people manager, and logistics expert all in one. One of the most important things is creating a detailed timeline for the day, so that everyone knows exactly what is happening and when. This helps you to keep track of what’s arrived so far, what’s not turned up, and what you’ve still got to allow for. When you’re making this timeline, always allow more time than you think you’ll need as set-up can be surprisingly long! Make sure you have all the contact details of the suppliers too, in case anything does happen and you need to get something sorted quickly. It may seem a little OTT, but it’s only what your venue coordinator would have been doing in another more traditional venue anyway.

Two. Delegate cleverly. If you have friends and family helping, things can get done a lot quicker, but they need to be done correctly or you’re only making the whole process even longer by having to add in time for reshuffling. Give each person clear instructions and detailed info about what you want things to look like and where you want them to go. Don’t assume people will know exactly what your wedding vision is – even if they’ve heard you talk about it for months on end – because if they don’t, it’s a high price to pay when you’re disappointed with the final result. If you’ve got reference photos or Pinterest boards, share those too. Do remember though that these people have volunteered to assist because they love you and want to help, so be appreciative and don’t take the mickey! (Also, if it’s going to be a labour-intensive set up, let them know that, politely. They may be envisaging fluffing up centrepieces rather than hauling heavy furniture).

Three. Nominate someone to field questions and calls on the day to give you chance to relax and actually enjoy yourself. Traditionally this is part of the role of the maid of honour or the best man, but it can be anyone who’ll be there for the whole day, who’s good at putting out fires (hopefully only metaphorical ones), and who you trust will make the right decisions on your behalf, only pestering you when it’s really serious. Let your suppliers know their name and their phone number in advance, and that on the day they’ll be the Point of Contact for the wedding. This also goes for if you have family and friends helping you out with setting up: firmly but nicely let them know that you’ll be out of action because you’ll be busy, you know, getting married, so any queries and quandaries should be directed to them.

Four. Hire an on-the-day coordinator. Getting a professional is more affordable than you think – and I know, I would say that, but it’s true! On-the-day coordinators work with you in the run up to your wedding (usually around a month before) to create a detailed timeline for you, and on the day they take the responsibility of organising everyone and everything to your specifications. They are the point of contact on site for suppliers, and will have talked through your styling extensively with you to make sure they get it bang on. If they’ve worked at your venue before, they can also troubleshoot any issues or give you any tips from previous experience. When you think about what they actually do for the wedding and, equally as importantly, how much they can do for you in minimising stress, they’re a really good investment. 

Five. Alternatively, you can get some help with your timeline and logistics without having to go the whole hog and hire an on the day coordinator. I offer one off planning sessions to help couples talk through how many suppliers they’re coordinating and walk through what will be needed on the day, giving you all the preparation you need but leaving it up to you for the actual setup itself.

Whether you’re getting married in a warehouse, a barn, or anywhere in between, dry hire venues can make weddings SO much fun. They do take a little more planning and prep than weddings in traditional venues but are totally worth it when everything is done. If you’re planning a wedding in a dry hire venue and think you may need a helping hand, check out what I can do for you here.

Happy planning!

All images courtesy of the fabulous Will Patrick who will do an amazing job of shooting your wedding whether it is in a dry hire venue or not!