Five Types of Dry Hire Venues in Hampshire

Dry hire venues you can really put your stamp on!


Many couples are happy to go for the whole wedding venue package when planning their wedding day. But there are more and more couples now who are leaning towards something a little more bespoke for their special day. And so dry hire venues, or blank canvas spaces, are increasing in popularity! Here are my suggestions for five types of dry hire venue you can look at booking here in Hampshire. I’ve also included a few of my favourite venues offering this service.

What is a dry hire venue?

I suppose we should consider this question first of all as this may be the first time you’ve come across the term. Dry hire venues, sometimes known as blank canvas spaces, are venues that offer a location for you to have your wedding and that really is about it! Being “dry hire”, or a blank canvas, means you get to choose every other aspect of your day. It’s fast becoming a popular choice for couples who want to fully personalise their wedding day, instead of being tied to a set package.

So, what kind of venues can you consider?

The truth is, just about anything goes! But here are my top picks for suggested dry hire venues in and around Hampshire.

The Village Hall

There are around 10,000 village halls all around England so you’re not short of choice when it comes to using these spaces as a dry hire for your wedding.

The village hall is at the heart of most rural communities. They are spaces where many community activities take place, but they are also usually available to hire for private events too. I’m sure we all remember going to someone’s birthday party at a village hall at one time or another!

Typically, village halls include a large room and facilities, so they make great spaces to have a wedding party with a more rustic feel. They’re also usually low cost to hire, so they’re a great option for those of you planning a wedding on a tight budget.

Check out this lovely wedding I photographed at Cliddesden Village Hall.

Another suggested venue: Rotherwick Village Hall, I’m sure you’ll agree, is stunning. And do check out this Woodgreen Village Hall reception with it’s amazing murals and how this couple made it their own.


Barns have been popular wedding venue spaces for many years now. There are plenty that are hired out as a full package or are run by an events company. There are, however, still some barn locations that lend themselves well to the dry hire title. They may be barns on working farms or run by non-profits as community spaces, for example.

The beauty of a barn dry hire venue is you have so much space to work with! Those super high ceilings, big doorways and rustic walls and floors are just waiting for you to dress them up and put your own personal stamp on them.

Michelmesh Barns is a wonderful space for a dry hire wedding with so much scope for making the day personal to you both.

Avington Barn is a superb example of a more industrial looking barn on a working farm. I love how versatile the space is!

The Boat Shed SALT is not quite a barn but is a barn style industrial looking venue which is brand new this year and right by Southampton waters.

Church Halls

While the village hall may usually be run by the local authority, church halls offer a similar sort of space but come attached to a nearby church. Church halls can be a good option if you’re considering having a church wedding too. The short hop from church to hall is great for your guests and it’s a lovely way to support your local church too.

Church halls are commonly managed by volunteers, so do bear that in mind when you’re inquiring. But they do also come equipped with facilities and would be a wonderful location for an English afternoon tea reception!

Unfortunately, church websites aren’t always up-to-date or easy to navigate. I find information about church halls is usually better found through local knowledge. So, get asking your friends and family if they know of any good ones near you!

Fields and Outdoor Spaces

There is nothing more blank canvas than an empty field or wide-open outdoor space to plan your wedding in! And we’re not short of some beautiful rural spaces right here in Hampshire either.

The beauty of hiring a field is that you can literally bring everything to the party, even the structure you want to celebrate in! I’ve shot weddings at organic farms, trout fisheries and yurt holiday homes, to name a few. But the options are endless. If you are looking for a field with a view above Winchester city for example, then take a look at this brand new Land For Events.

Things to bear in mind with this option… you will need to bring everything in, including power and facilities to keep your guests comfortable. Weather is a big consideration here too. But don’t let these things put you off. It is entirely possible to have a beautifully bespoke and fully customised wedding this way, as this wedding in a tipi shows!

Local Authority Spaces

I know we’ve already considered the village hall earlier in this post. But there are also other authority run locations you can consider.

Town halls typically have event spaces you can hire but there are also other options. Research your local authority’s public spaces and see what other interesting venues are on offer. Places like library spaces, art galleries, museums and so on all make interesting venues. For example, the Southampton City Art Gallery is a beautiful space for a wedding. It offers a great alternative from the usual types of venues you might expect to find. And if you’re looking for space with great views over the sea, you can’t go wrong with Branksome Dene in Poole. This quaint building has loads of scope for personalisation and is absolutely perfect for you beach-loving couples!

Ultimately, if you’re considering a dry hire or blank canvas venue for your wedding, then there are lots of different alternatives out there. The only thing limiting what you choose is your own imagination! Yes, there may be more planning to consider with using a dry hire venue. But the vast possibilities and customisations this option offers you may be exactly what you’re looking for. Especially if other full-service venues aren’t quite hitting the mark for you.

The option is to look at a service the deals with blank canvas venues almost exclusively. We are lucky enough to have access in this part of the world to a great little company called Blank Canvas Weddings. They specialise in recommending the best dry hire or blank canvas venues in the Home Counties and they also have a small directory of suppliers to help you get started with your wedding plans.

Do weigh up the pros and cons of both options before you make your decision. And if you do decide to plan a dry hire or blank canvas wedding in Hampshire, I would absolutely love to hear about it. So, do get in touch and let’s talk about how I can help you!

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