Is Dry-Hire the Cheapest Option in London?

by Catalina Reano,

23 September 2020

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Dry-hire venue in London

Choosing a venue for your event in London isn’t always as simple as it sounds. There are so many variables and options to choose from that it can quickly become overwhelming.

It’s essential to become familiar with the terms dry-hire and wet-hire when deciding which one to go with for your particular event. People tend to think that a dry-hire is cheaper because you can bring in your own caterers, decorators and even have a go at doing some things yourself. But is this really the case?

 

Beware of hidden costs

A dry-hire may seem cheaper when you close the deal with the venue because you are getting the space for less money. However, you’re basically paying for an empty building. You now have to contract other individual services. It’s a more flexible option, but the costs of having to pay caterers, decorators, servers, assistant staff, cleaning staff, tech crew, (among others) all separately, can far outweigh what you’re saving on the price of the venue.

There can also be unforeseen hidden costs or limitations that can appear along the way which, if not previously discussed with the venue, can significantly add to your budget or frustrate your customisation plans. Some venues in London require you to use their kitchen staff despite hiring out their space on a dry-hire basis. This is because their staff know exactly how the kitchen works and more importantly, their insurance will only cover their staff if something were to happen.

Other venues in London can add penalty fees like a corkage fee, a cloakroom fee, or a parking fee to the original quote. You opted out of the package deal so they will try to take back a portion of it in several ways. They may also have some schedule limitations that can cut your event short, not allow certain activities or ask that you return the venue clean. Will you be up for sorting out the mess after an exhausting day of event coordination? 

The venue can have a furniture stipulation, limiting your options on furniture despite having technically hired an empty venue. Some venues may even have a list of suppliers who they do not allow to serve within their venue. If the chef you had your heart set on is on that list, your whole theme may be in danger.

Keep the size of your event in mind. If you’re planning a small affair, a wet-hire venue will offer you everything you need in a package deal. This eliminates surprise costs and unforeseen eventualities that you would otherwise have to solve yourself.

 A small group doesn’t imply much in the way of added expenses for a venue, so in the long run, it’s more cost-effective for you to wet-hire a venue, leaving you free to plan your event’s activities. Chat with your preferred venue and ask them what their policies and options are before you decide on a dry-hire. You’ll be surprised at how many places are willing to accommodate your needs (and budget) in order to win your business!

 

Save yourself a (massive) headache 

When you wet-hire a venue, you pay for so much more than just the physical space. In London, there are usually many more services included in the price of the venue, which can save you time and money. Typically this includes the caterers, the decorators, AV system and maybe even other assistant staff like attendants or security. If you can get a package deal where you pay only one lump sum and get all these services included, why make it more complicated?

There are many advantages to wet-hire. First of all, think of all the planning you are saving yourself. Your time is valuable, and every minute you spend on minutiae is money you are losing, as it’s costing you precious time. With a wet-hire the venue and their team, who probably have done this hundreds of times and can go through the drill with their eyes closed.

You won’t be in charge of logistics because the venue will generally offer you a package deal that includes almost everything. This way, you can concentrate on the purpose of your event and attendees. After all, why are they there? Are they there for the flowers or the networking?

The second major advantage of opting for an all-inclusive venue is tapping into the expertise of the staff and their providers, like caterers. They are familiar with the limits and capabilities of the venue and will be able to solve an issue much more efficiently should it arise. 

They won’t bother you with every little issue because the kitchen staff knows where everything is and the decorators know exactly what the space can and can’t cope with. This applies to all the other staff that the venue offers as opposed to the different teams that you would bring in to work on the event.

 

Final thoughts 

On the surface, a dry-hire venue may sound like the most versatile option. But this can turn out to be both costly and unnecessary in the long run. There are so many styles of wet-hire venues in London that it’s easy to find one that accommodates your event’s needs. Many wet-hire venues offer all-inclusive packages that not only free you from the logistics but also give you flexibility when tailoring the specific details of your event.

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