Dry Hire Wedding Planning Guide 2019-2020

Image: Victoria Somerset-How

Image: Victoria Somerset-How

Planning your wedding? Firstly, congratulations, we look forward to hearing about your wedding plans and booking you in to see our dry hire wedding venues Shoreditch Studios and Kachette. Chances are, you discovered our Shoreditch wedding venues because you are looking for something different for your wedding day. With more couples looking for a unique space to host their wedding ceremony and reception, dry hire warehouse venues have become a popular choice. This dry hire wedding guide offers a range of tips to help you plan your dry hire wedding with Shoreditch London. 

Every week we will be adding even more dry hire wedding tips to this guide so save the link to your favourites! For more general wedding planning advice, please also take a look at our Wedding Planning Checklist.

What Is A Dry Hire Wedding?

A dry hire wedding venue is a wedding venue that is hired as an empty space. Dry hire wedding venues are sometimes referred to as blank canvas wedding venues. Dry hire means that you will hire the venue empty, without catering, furniture, entertainment, or lighting included. It is then up to you how you set up the venue how you like.

Some dry hire venues make you book their suppliers or charge a corkage or buyout to use external suppliers or a different caterer. At Shoreditch London, you are not restricted to use our suppliers or caterers and there is no corkage, no buyout. You can shop around to find the right caterer, bar supplier, furniture company or wedding entertainment to fit your budget and your personal taste. We can also put you in touch with our recommended suppliers who know the venues and have worked on previous weddings with us. Your wedding, your way! Hosting your wedding in one of our dry hire venue gives you total freedom to create the day that you want and the flexibility to set up the venue how you like. 

Your Wedding, Your Way! 

Unlike traditional wedding ceremony and reception venues or hotels that only provide fixed wedding packages, every wedding in our East London wedding venues is bespoke, planned your way! You have access to the venue from the morning to set up and you can start or finish your ceremony and reception at a time that works for you. You can have a seated or standing reception, invite more guests to your party, its all up to you.

You can customise every moment of your wedding day and allocate more of your wedding budget to the aspects of your wedding that matter most to you. If you and your partner love food then you can go all out on a gourmet menu, if music and dancing until late is your number one priority, you can book your favourite band or a great wedding DJ and party late into the evening. In our dry hire wedding venues, you have the freedom to get creative and decorate the venue how you like, make the venue feel like home. 

Exclusive Use

Once your wedding date is confirmed and booked, the date is yours. We never double book our venues. Yours is also the only wedding in the venue on the day so you have exclusive use of the venue all day and night.

Want to party past midnight? No problem, we will apply for a temporary event notice with Hackney Council and you can extend your opening hours for an additional fee. We also include two hours pack-down as part of your dry hire booking. 

All Welcome

London is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. We welcome this diversity in the weddings hosted in our venues. Our venues are licensed for civil ceremonies and welcome all religious or non-religious couples. We work with a wide range of wedding planners, caterers and wedding suppliers including a range of specialist suppliers and wedding planners for Jewish weddings, Asian weddings and Indian Weddings. Please let our wedding team know what you are planning for your wedding and we will direct you to the right suppliers. We are able to accommodate any religious traditions you would like to incorporate into your wedding.

We regularly host weddings for LQBTQ couples and actively support equality in the wedding industry through our membership of LGBTQ Equality Weddings and the Gay Wedding Blog.

Wheelchair users are always welcome in our venues. Wheelchair users have hosted their weddings with us and regularly have wheelchair users attend events and weddings in our venues. Both our venues have wheelchair access toilet facilities. Shoreditch Studios is a step free venue (with the exception of the mezzanine lounge), Kachette has one step into the venue from the Old Street entrance but we can provide a ramp on request. If your wedding has two or more wheelchair users, please let us know and we can look into hiring additional access toilets for your wedding.

If you, your partner or any guests at your wedding have a disability, visual impairment, hearing impairment or require additional help, please let us know when you enquire so we can accommodate.

If you need inspiration for your wedding and are yet to find a blog that speaks to you and your partner, here is a list of 20 of our favourite UK wedding blogs. If your favourite wedding blog is not listed, please leave a comment on the bottom of the blog post so we can add it when we next update the list.

Enquire now to start planning your wedding in one of our stunning railway arch wedding venues. 

No Hidden Costs

We are transparent with our dry hire rates, venue extras and booking terms from your initial enquiry so there are no nasty surprises or hidden costs. Our dry hire rate card breaks down everything which is included with dry hire in each venue and mandatory extras like security, public liability insurance, waste collection and a refundable damage waiver.

There is also a list of rates for optional extras including late access after midnight, additional staffing costs for cloakroom staff or toilet attendants, venue dimensions, sound level restrictions for each venue and room, links to our FAQ page and venue floor-plans.  

Our experienced wedding and events team are happy to help with anything you need for your wedding day. Once we know your guest numbers, opening hours and an estimate on your total wedding budget, we can sit down with you and work out the best options for your budget and offer you a comprehensive breakdown of your dry hire and production invoices with VAT included. 

We are also happy to share money saving ideas from previous weddings hosted in our East London venues. You may also find some wedding inspiration on our Pinterest boards or check 40 of our best featured weddings.


Budget Saving Tip #1:

Host your ceremony and reception in the same venue. You save on transport and your wedding guests and family only have to commute to one venue.


Budget Saving Tip #2

Half of your wedding expenses go to wining and dining your guests. If catering is costing you £80 to £100 per person, removing one table of 10 can save you £800 to £1,000.

Catering & Bar

After venue hire, catering and drinks is often the next biggest expense for your wedding day. If you’re struggling to find a venue that offers an affordable per-head catering cost, our flexible dry hire venues are the answer. We welcome couples to shop around for caterers to find the best deal and menu that works for you. As mentioned previously, we allow external suppliers and caterers with no corkage or, buyout.

When finding a caterer, don’t just make a choice based on the food they offer or their prices. You need to be clear about what is and isn’t included with your caterer as not all caterers include service staff. If you do choose to book a caterer who has yet to work in our venues, we ask that you invite them down to meet our wedding and production team so we can run through wedding service in our venues. Here is a helpful guide via Confetti with 20 questions to ask a wedding caterer. 

Fancy a pizza truck or summer BBQ at your wedding? Street food weddings are a popular choice for couples who choose to focus their budget elsewhere, like booking an award-winning wedding photographer. After all, it's not always the food which will be remembered long after the wedding reception is over. For food buffs, feel free to go all out with your gastronomic menus but keep in mind that every guest you plan to feed and provide drinks for can drastically increase your catering budget. You can also invite extra guests after the wedding breakfast and keep the meal for your must have wedding guests.

Some couples manage their own bar stock either by buying alcohol during Christmas sales or crossing the border to buy tax-free alcohol at Calais. Before you consider BYO alcohol for your wedding, make sure you work out if this is the best and most cost effective option and check that your caterer is able to manage a bar with your alcohol. Not all caterers will do this and you may end up paying more than a bar supplier would charge once you factor in hiring bar staff and a bar structure. Its also worth mentioning that many couples that bring their own alcohol have boxes and boxes of alcohol left after their wedding so don’t over order! 

From a budgeting perspective, we recommend finding a caterer who is a one-stop for catering, bar and staff as its often cheaper and easier than booking several suppliers and you save on delivery and set up. It also makes the day a lot easier to manage for your wedding coordinator. Finding the perfect cater and bar supplier for your wedding may require some research and a few tasting sessions but is worth it so you can enjoy your first meal as a married couple and not exceed your wedding budget to pay for it. We can recommend several one stop catering and bar supplier who have worked on previous weddings in our venues.

Up in my grill catering at shoredtch studios

Up in my grill catering at shoredtch studios

Image: Andy Gaines

Image: Andy Gaines

We have been hosting weddings at our East London venues for 12 years so if you don't have a caterer in mind, ask us to connect you with our recommended caterers who will offer you a great deal and have years of experience catering weddings in our venues. 

Our recommended caterers offer a range of menus from silver service three course meals and gourmet sharing platters to popup street food vendors. There are many other cost effective catering options too. Our caterers can also provide vegetarian, vegan or organic menus, vegan cakes and can also cater for guests with dietary restrictions or food allergies.

We have specialist caterers offering halal catering, kosher catering and welcome couples to request any cultural cuisine (or a mix of your favourite global foods) and our experienced catering suppliers will come up with a unique menu just for you and invite you to their kitchen for a tasting!


Lighting is extremely important and often overlooked in couples wedding budgets. Lighting sets the mood for the venue and if a venue is too bright or too dark, it will make it difficult to capture great wedding photos. Wedding clients usually book a range of dimmable lighting to create different moods throughout the evening and reception party. This includes festoons, up-lighters, fairy lights and some party lighting in Studio 2.

Lighting packages in our venues usually cost around £1,500+VAT including lighting, crew, delivery, collection, install and de-rig. Our lighting suppliers can provide you with a no obligation quote for any lighting you need or you can shop around a find a lighting supplier of your own choice.

Wedding Planner

If you have reached this point and a dry hire or DIY wedding sounds like too much work for you and your partner, consider using a wedding planner. We can recommend wedding planners who have years of experience working in our venues. They can look after your catering, bar, staffing, furniture, lighting, deliveries, event management and also advise on all the other wedding necessities including photography, flowers, entertainment and decor. A wedding planner can provide a 'one stop shop' for every thing you need for your wedding.

You are welcome to book your own suppliers too or you can book everything venue related direct with our event team. If you do not want to book a wedding planner, we still advise all couples to hire a co-ordinator on the day to manage your wedding and all deliveries. Please ask Andrew Clawson or Tom Pardhy to refer you to a wedding planner or wedding co-ordinator.

Any Questions ?

Visit our wedding venues page to find out more information on booking our Shoreditch wedding venues. Read through the FAQ's which tells you how to secure your wedding date or book your registrar with Hackney Council. We also have a comprehensive event manual on each venue which includes a full suppliers list and venue specifications.

Ready For A Site Visit ?

The best way to decide on a venue that is perfect for your wedding is to come down for a site visit. Even if you are in the early stages of wedding planning, a site visit is a great opportunity to see the space, meet our team and tell us more about what you are looking for in a wedding venue.

Wedding viewing appointments take place weeknights at 6pm (Kachette) and 6:30pm Shoreditch Studios and are subject to availability. Weekend viewings are not possible at either venue due to weekend events, weddings and photographic studio bookings. 

We look forward to meeting you!

Phone: 020 7033 9006
Send us a text: 078 2464 3668
Shoreditch Studios: link@shoreditch.com
Kachette: info@kachette.com