Wedding cars and limousines
“Get me to the church on time – and in style!”
In the movies, the scene where the bride’s limo breaks down, or her driver is arrested for DUI, usually gets a big laugh. But in real life, unreliable wedding transport isn’t all that funny.
Not only do you want to arrive on at your wedding ceremony calm, composed and on time, you also want to do so in a way that perfectly complements the theme and styling of your big day.
The earlier you book your wedding transport, the better your choice
Booking your wedding transport should be somewhere near the top of your to-do list – just below booking the church or ceremony and the reception. If you like choice and don’t want to find yourself gritting your teeth and saying, “I guess that will do”, you should try to book your transport at least six months in advance. Even more importantly, if your wedding coincides with an event such as one of the major racing carnivals, football finals, Valentine’s Day, the school formal season or the lead up to Christmas, you’ll probably have to book even earlier.
Likewise, if your heart’s set on something a bit more unique such as a vintage car or limo that’s not black or white, you’ll need to get your skates on fast.
Planning the perfect wedding day transport
Organising wedding transport is one of those nice tasks you can delegate to the bridegroom and best man. But whether you’re looking at a traditional wedding car or limousine, or thinking of something a bit more out-there and individual, here are a few things you’ll need to consider:
1. Do you need one wedding car or a fleet of limos? If you’re planning a formal wedding, there are usually three groups of people who travel together. The bride’s mother and bridesmaids travel in one car and arrive first, while the bride and her father (or whoever is giving the bride away), follow in the main vehicle. The bridegroom and best man should arrive at the ceremony before the rest of the bridal party and usually make their way together. After the ceremony, the bride and groom depart for the reception in the main vehicle.
Of course you may need more car or limos, perhaps even something like a stretch Hummer if you’re planning a large wedding with lots of bridesmaids and groomsmen. Then again, you may prefer to be much more casual and simply borrow cars from family members and friends. No one has to follow the rule book. This is your day.
However, whatever your choice, plan your wedding day transport arrangements well in advance, and make sure that everyone knows what vehicle they’ll be travelling in – both to and from the ceremony.
2. Will there be enough shoulder and head-room? When you’re in your wedding gown, you need at least half the back seat of a sedan-sized vehicle to be really comfortable. A sporty coupé may seem like a nice idea, but you may arrive at the ceremony a bit crumpled and crushed. Not a good look! And what about your fabulous updo? Will there be enough headroom in the wedding car to sit up straight, or will you be travelling like the leaning tower of Pisa?
Similarly, the bridesmaids’ car will need to be spaciousness enough to allow them to look their gorgeous best when they alight at the ceremony. Remember, most of this day will be captured by photographs and video, and you don’t want to end up with images that are just right for a blooper reel.
3. Make your booking in person. Although you’ll probably do your research online, it’s important to make the wedding car or limousine booking in person. Look at the type of vehicle you’ll be driven in on the day and check the general condition of the company’s fleet. If you can speak with the person who’ll be your chauffeur, that’s even better. You’ll now know who – and what – to expect on the day, which will help provide a moment of calm in a day of nerves. Your driver will also be able to give you extra hints and tips to make sure everything runs smoothly, as well as check through your running sheet to see whether your timings are realistic and that you’ve added some padding for unexpected traffic delays. Of course if at any stage, from looking at the wedding car or limo through to meeting the personnel, you don’t feel comfortable, trust your instincts and continue your search.
4. Know exactly what’s included and allowed. Make sure you have everything in writing from pick-up time, addresses to and from, make, model and colour of the vehicle – the lot. Be sure to allow for changes in plan – perhaps you want to party longer, or maybe you want to use the vehicle to shuttle your parents back to their hotel (if they’re no longer up for an all- nighter). Check that all this is possible, and if there are extra charges, know them in advance and insist they’re written to the contract.
5. Plan to party! You can’t drink and drive, but it’s fun to drink and be driven. Although you love your friends and family, there’s nothing more special than the moment the limo door closes as you depart the reception. Finally the two of you’re alone. (Well, almost alone, but the driver’s seen all this before, so don’t worry.) Make the moment special by arranging to have a bottle of good champers chilled and waiting with glasses on the back seat. Also plan to have some snacks on hand. It’s amazing how many brides leave their reception having eaten almost nothing – there’s just so much else to do on that very special night.
Don’t forget your guests’ transport needs
Okay, so the wedding is all about you, but great wedding planning means thinking about everyone and everything. So, even though you’ve sorted your own wedding transport, think about the logistics for your wedding guests. It’s not just about out-of-towners, but also the fact that no one wants to drink and drive.
You don’t need to hand out cab vouchers or organise a fleet of mini buses but it’s nice to provide guests with information such as hotels close to the reception, secure parking places they can leave their car for the night and local taxi company phone numbers. (They probably won’t appreciate bus timetables.) It’s little moments of thought like this that will help reduce stress and add to the total enjoyment of your Perfect Day Wedding.