Whether you plan to arrive at your wedding on a tandem, in a vintage car or in a horse drawn carriage there are certain considerations, such as cost, distance and style, which may affect your choice. Unless you are fortunate enough to live close enough to your church or wedding venue to be able to walk there, you will need at least one vehicle to get you to your place of marriage. As well as being functional, this provides a wonderful opportunity to make a grand arrival.
When deciding what transport you will require for your wedding you should consider the distance to the venue from your home. If you live close enough, only one vehicle may be necessary, which can do more than one journey, taking your bridesmaids and mum first, and coming back for you and your giver away. Clearly, for venues further away, more than one vehicle will most likely be required.
Transport to the Wedding Venue
Your bridesmaids are the first to leave for the ceremony and your mother will either travel with them or follow directly after. You and your father will follow later, arriving a few minutes before the ceremony is due to start.
It is the best man’s responsibility for getting himself and your groom to the church on time and is one of his more important duties. The ideal time for them to arrive is at least thirty minutes before the ceremony is due to start. Generally the best man drives to church in his or the groom’s own car, or arranges a taxi. No doubt he will ensure that apart from getting there on time, he allows enough time for a quick stop for a ‘nerve-calming’ drink on the way!
After the Ceremony
The wedding car will be waiting to take you both to the reception and, if there is a second car, this will transport your bridesmaids. It is not uncommon for your bridesmaids to be accompanied by the bride’s mother/parents, although, more practically, your father’s car is often left at the church earlier in the day so that he can drive himself and you Mum to the reception. Guests are responsible for their own transport between the church and reception, although it may be necessary to arrange lifts for elderly/disabled guests or those without a car. It is essentially the responsibility of the best man and the ushers to ensure that everyone gets to the reception with the minimum of fuss, but it would be wise to check requirements beforehand.
Traditionally the bride and groom say their goodbyes and leave the reception in a car that has been thoroughly decorated, with tin cans, old shoes, balloons and the essential ‘just married’ sign. However, nowadays many couples spend their wedding night at the hotel of their reception and leave for their honeymoon the next morning. Bearing in mind the drink driving laws, this would be a preferable choice. However, if you are leaving for your honeymoon directly after the reception, unless one of you has agreed not to drink, it would be a good idea to arrange for a friend or relative who will not be drinking to drive you to your destination. Be prepared beforehand and make sure that your car is full of petrol and, if you are staying overnight at the reception hotel, that it is left there the day before.
If you are leaving your reception by taxi or mini-cab it should be booked in plenty of time before the wedding day, especially if you need to get to a particular place, such as an airport, by a certain time. Occasionally, if the taxi company is advised that the car is for newly weds, they may allow the car to be decorated to a point, but you will need to check this out first.
Traditionally, it is your groom’s responsibility to organise and pay for your going away transport.
Types of Transport
You can arrive at your wedding in all manner of transport from a vintage car, to a helicopter, but there are certain considerations you need to take into account such as your budget, the distance between your home and venues, the style or theme of your wedding, and even the weather, all of which may affect your choice. Listed below are the various forms of transport you may wish to consider:
Wedding cars are traditionally large, luxurious limousines such as Rolls Royces, Daimlers and Mercedes and are easily obtainable from wedding car companies. However, if the car you want is something special or unusual – a vintage car or an open top Rolls Royce perhaps, these are available from specialist companies, and may involve a bit of extra phoning around. Some vintage car enthusiasts will hire their cars out for weddings and perform the role of chauffeur themselves, most often dressed in a uniform that is in keeping with the era of the car. However do make sure the car is properly licenced by land transport NZ, as there are some additional restrictions for hiring vehicles in New Zealand.
While most limousines are black, grey or white, they are available in other colours, although these may be harder to find. However, white, cream and specialist cars are very popular and can get booked many months in advance, so you will need to make an early decision and book promptly.
Before you make a final decision on a more unusual type of car you should take a few points into consideration particularly if you want a vintage car:
If the car breaks down, does the company have a replacement car they can call upon quickly.
Be sure that the interior of the car is big enough to accommodate you, your dress and the person you will be travelling with (the person who is giving you away). Some older style cars have very restricted internal space. Be especially careful if you intend on having a dress with a large skirt or long train.
As the law stands, you are required to wear a seat belt in both the front and rear of a car if seat belts are fitted. However, most vintage models only have them in the front or not fitted at all. This may be an important consideration if the fabric of your dress is easily creased.
Be sure to use a reliable and reputable company that will not let you down at the last minute. These can be found in your local telephone book, in the local press and at Wedding Fayres or check out the advertisers on our website. You should obtain quotations from several local companies, since you will find that prices vary.
Wedding car companies generally charge for the entire day. Vintage cars are by far the most popular for weddings and for a Saturday wedding during the peak season, can range from £295 to £365 for the day for local journeys. Extra mileage will be charged if your wedding is out of the area; generally a radius of 20 miles. It is worth noting however, that in most instances, a discount is offered for weddings on other days of the week, including Sundays and also the time of year. Wedding cars, such as a Silver Cloud or DS420 tend to be less expensive, from £195 to £250, making them more popular as second cars.
Most firms will require a deposit at the time booking and settlement in full either a week before your wedding or on the day. If you are paying on the day, have a cheque or the money ready beforehand; it would very unglamorous to have to make a stop at the cashpoint machine on the way. Before booking your transport and confirming with a deposit, take a little time to visit the company to view the vehicle and to check on important points such as:
Will the car be decorated with ribbons and flowers – will flowers be fresh or silk, can they match your colour scheme?
What will the driver wear?
In the event of your car be involved in an accident or breakdown on the day of your wedding, what procedures do they have for replacing the car and what alternatives could they offer?
Will the car be required for other weddings on the day, and if so, how long is given between each wedding? You do not want a chauffeur who is racing along to get to his next wedding?
Will there be an appropriate sized and coloured umbrella available in the car?
Is the car that you see, when you visit the company, the one that you will have on the day?
Finally, make sure you get full details of all the charges in writing when making the booking, and remember that wedding insurance is available, which covers any financial loss due to the car company going broke or not turning up on the day.
Borrowing a Car
If you are on a tight budget you may be lucky enough to have a friend that owns a special car who is happy to loan it to you for the day, and even act as chauffeur. This can be a particularly pleasant role to fulfil, as he/she will play an important part in your wedding but is free enough to enjoy both your wedding service and reception.
Horse and Carriage
Horse drawn, open carriages are very romantic and can be as grand or as simple as you like, although they do have some disadvantages. They are only suitable for short journeys and extra time will need to be allowed to get to the wedding venue then onwards to the reception. Also, the effect can easily be spoiled by adverse weather and it is wise to ensure that the carriage has a protective hood in case of this eventuality, although some companies may be able to offer a closed carriage that can even be heated for winter weddings. You will need to book well in advance as summer dates can be booked up as much as two years in advance. Some companies will only travel within a given radius, while others will cover a very wide area. However, bearing in mind that afterwards the horses will have to be returned to the stables, the whole process including the wedding, can take two people up to six hours, plus travelling time. This of course will be reflected in the cost. A minor consideration to consider is that, unless the horse(s) are stabled near to your home, it will be necessary for the horse and carriage to be transported to a suitable area close to your home where they can be prepared and dressed. This does not need to be an enormous space; a drive or even just the pavement outside your house, is often all that is necessary.
The cost of hiring a horse and carriage varies greatly from company to company. However, you can expect to pay between $350 and $400 for a single horse and carriage and £525 to £600 for a pair. Also, some companies will charge extra if you live outside a certain radius, while other simply have a set price. As with car hire, you can expect to pay more for a Saturday wedding during the peak season, (June to September).
Details of companies providing horse and carriage services can be obtained through our Wedding Directory pages or by enquiring at local stables.
If you are lucky enough to live near to the venue where your ceremony is to take place it might be a nice idea to walk to your wedding, or from the ceremony to the reception with your new husband and bridal party in procession. Not only will it give you a chance to relax, it will provide a wonderful spectacle for your friends and neighbours. However, you should have a contingency plan in case of bad weather
A helicopter provides a glamorous and convenient, if expensive way of travelling to or from your wedding. You will need to check with your venue that they have a safe landing area and of course, get their permission first, however most places are fairly liberal and the helicopter companies do not usually experience problems in this area.
Helicopter charter companies usually charge for the time their helicopter is in the air. Expect to pay about £500 per hour with a minimum charge of one hour. Helicopters flights are also subject to weather conditions, but as the company will have a good idea several days before your wedding, they will let you know if there is likely to be a problem. It is therefore important that you have a contingency plan just in case. Details of helicopter services can be found under air charter and rental in the Yellow Pages
If your wedding or reception is to take place near a river or lake it might be a lovely idea to use a boat at some point as transport, whether it be to the ceremony or onwards to your reception. Details can be found locally through the telephone directory or directly from your venue.
For the less conventional brides, why not consider an open top London bus, a black cab, a Harley Davidson Motorbike, a fire engine, or a shocking pink Cadillac – the list is endless, all that is required is your imagination.
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