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Everything you need to know about venues

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Written by

Joe Dodwell

Venue Partnerships Manager

Joe is Togather's Venue expert. Initially onboarding all of our venue partners, Joe's long-lasting relationships with some of the UK's best-hidden gems and iconic venues now mean Togather customers find exceptional event spaces which tick all of their boxes.

Joe's dedication to staying ahead of the curve keeps him at the forefront of the event industry, allowing him to identify and partner with the latest and most exciting venues. You'll find Joe at the latest restaurant or venue opening, chatting away to the owner, or tucking into the newest foodie trend.

Published on Mon 15 April 2024

Looking to hire a venue?

Great, you’re in the right place. If you’re reading this article, it’s likely that you’re hiring a venue for the first time or don’t do it frequently so need a helping hand with the how’s, what’s and why’s of venue hire. We’ll be upfront - venue hire is commonly the most expensive part of organising an event, so it’s important you have a good understanding of the jargon, process and questions that’ll likely crop up along the way. Luckily, we’ve helped over 15000 event planners, office managers, brides, grooms, birthday organisers and more through this process and this article is here to lift the lid, beginning to end.

The Venue Hire Process

Finding a venue

First up, you’ve got to find potential venues. Size, budget, location, accessibility, style, type…they all come into play. There’s many ways to find a venue; Google Search, a venue specific marketplace like Venuescanner, through a friends recommendation. We’re of course going to be bias and say our platform, Togather, is the best place to do this, and we believe it. We’re a curated platform, only partnering with handpicked venues and our blend of tech as well as every enquiry getting an event expert to guide them means we’re able to make finding and getting quotes from well-suited venues super straightforward.

Venue Types

Everyone knows you can hire a hall, church, warehouse, hotel & more but the key thing to check is whether they are dry hire or blank canvas (more about what that means here). These two terms are often used interchangeably and basically mean all you get is the venue and little else. That means for things like catering, bar hire, decorations, tables, chairs and AV equipment you’ll have to source it yourself. Each dry hire venue will usually have key partners that will be able to provide whatever you need but it’s only likely you’ll be looking at this kind of venue for things like corporate parties, product launches, conferences and potentially some higher budget private events. The cost of the venue may initially look cheap but just bare in mind everything else you’ll need to hire. 

Additional Equipment Hire

As we mentioned it above, we thought we’d touch on other things within the venue you might need to purchase. For dry hire, it’s pretty much everything but even if you’re booking a hotel or hall, make sure to check with the venue for things like: 

  • Tables & tableware

  • Decorations 

  • AV equipment

  • Lighting 

  • Dance floor

The last thing you want is DJ with no speakers. For non-dry hire venues it’s likely all of this will be dealt with in one package but make sure when you’re in the process of getting quotes that you check what’s included and what are additional line items. Speaking of cost…

How much does it cost to hire a venue?

How long is a piece of string? We joke, we’ll be more insightful than that don’t worry. The honest answer is that it can really vary and we’ve taken a more detailed look at this in our venue cost guide, but we can give you a heads up here as to what is factored in and what to look out for.

You don’t need us to tell you that it depends on location, size of venue or how sophisticated it is (a 3 star hotel will of course be cheaper than a 5 star hotel). If you’re hiring a venue you’re going to have a budget, type of venue and location in mind, so the best advice we can give is that cost will likely vary based on the following: 

  • Time of year

  • Be it weddings, summer or Christmas parties, they all have their peak months and even days. You’ll pay a premium for the most popular. We’ve written a guide to saving on summer and Christmas party venues by looking at 4 years worth of our data

  • Number of people attending

  • This seems like an obvious one but for conferences and meeting rooms there’s something called a day delegate rate (DDR) where you pay a set price per attendee for either half or full day packages. For hotels, this might even include overnight stay.

  • Minimum spend venues

  • Minimum spend venues don’t charge a hire fee. These venues will do all F&B in house and and will stipulate a minimum spend on these goods. Do the maths though. For example, if the minimum spend is only £200, but drinks cost twice as much as at other venues, it’s not a good deal. If prices are comparable, and you know you’ll reach the minimum spend threshold, why pay extra for space hire?

  • The level of “extras” you choose.

  • Most venues will charge a fixed hire fee and then charge for extras like catering. When discussing catering options, venues often have preferred suppliers (we’ll come on to this) and usually present a range of options which will have an effect on overall cost.

Preferred suppliers

We find it surprising the number of event organisers, particularly those planning weddings, who aren’t aware of the term preferred suppliers. But we need to remember we do this day in day out and people looking for a venue probably only do it once or twice in their lifetime. Most venues will have what’s called a preferred supplier list, a list of services like catering, photography and florists that the venue has partnered with that they either suggest you also use, but in most cases stipulate you can only use. Seriously, bare it in mind…if you’ve dreamt of having that pizza truck at your festival-themed wedding, double check the venue will allow it. Fear not though, we’re on the list of a lot of venues and if you do want to book your catering through us and find that we’re not, mention it to the venue as we’re often then put on! 

Event types

Venue hire for weddings, corporate events, conferences and product launches vary a lot, and for each there’s a different set of criteria to keep in mind. We’ve written specific guides on each of them above, but for a quick overview we thought we’d highlight the key differences and what you should keep in mind:


You’re probably going to be hiring hotels, function rooms, wedding-specific venues like country estates or halls. Most of these will operate with a hire fee, then all of the additional extras (tableware, tables, AV equipment) dealt with in house and a preferred supplier list for catering, floristry etc. With this in mind, make sure you get itemised quotes, and that you’re happy with the preferred suppliers or that there is some level of flexibility there. You may also need to think about things like marquee hire. But don’t worry we’ve written a whole separate guide on marquee hire too.

Corporate events

For celebrations like summer and Christmas parties we see a few trends. For smaller companies of 50 or less it’s common they will hire a room in a restaurant which you can do on Togather but carries less logistical complexity. Beyond that, companies usually split into one of two camps - hotel hire or blank canvas venues. Both of which are possible on Togather, both of which are slightly different booking experiences. With dry hire you’ll have more flexibility and customisation but also more to take care of. With hotel hire for big events they usually charge a fixed price per head with set menus and the option to hire things like DJs and bands.

Private parties

For private parties, our most common enquiry is for bars, of which we have numerous on Togather. In all honesty, if you’re just looking for a table are room in a bar, we’d recommend contacting them directly. Where Togather a more useful is for hiring an entire bar or like the above, entire venues for events.