The first thing to consider is how many guests you will need to transport. Obviously, you will need to provide for the bride and groom, but you can also include the bridal attendants as well as parents and grandparents. If you have a smaller wedding party, consider renting a chauffeured town car in lieu of a limousine to limit expenses.
You will also need to decide whether to take everyone to the ceremony only; the ceremony and reception; or the reception and home/airport. You can conserve costs by having people drive some part of the way themselves, such as the best man giving the groom a ride to the church. Trying to determine who should drive where and when in the case of a larger wedding party sometimes requires an organization chart to help you keep things under control.
When contacting a commercial vehicle company, make sure you get on their calendar in advance to reserve your selection, usually at least six to eight weeks in advance. Find out how they calculate costs up front: per hour, per mile or both, and if the gratuity is included in the price. Providing a route map of your destinations that the company can use when gauging cost can make for a more accurate quotation. Make sure you are aware of their policies for deposit and cancellation and whether they require your venue to provide blocked-off space for their vehicles.
You may want to inquire about package deals that include decorations, champagne or an upgraded vehicle as these can offer cost savings over purchasing items separately. Ask what the chauffeurs wear and, if necessary, ask if they are amenable to wearing clothing you provide, such as kilts for a Celtic wedding.
Planning a Celtic wedding? Arriving at the church on horseback if you’re adventuresome, or in a carriage drawn by horses will add a romantic element to this special theme. A golf cart or a speed boat can be an exciting way to arrive at your beach ceremony and plenty of intrepid bridal couples have chosen trolleys, antique cars, hay wagons, motorcycles and even hot air balloons to get them to the church. Wedding transportation is only limited by your imagination and your budget!
Special Considerations for Special Transportation
If you do choose an unorthodox mode of transport, be aware of any special issues it might pose. For example, horses, while beautiful, can also be unpredictable and messy. Make sure the stable owner provides a “canopy” to catch horse manure and will clean any unforeseen messes. “Meet” your horses before you engage their services to ensure they are gentle and well-trained. Ask if it is possible to have special plumes, halters or other decorations up front, if this is something you are interested in.
If you are thinking about something even more extravagant like a hot air balloon, make sure you find out if anyone that will be traveling in it has an aversion to heights. Ask about constraints, like space for landing and travel speed so you don’t end up hovering above the church, unable to attend your own wedding. Each mode of transportation has its own special considerations, so make sure your choice is well-researched to avoid unpleasant wedding-day surprises. It might be a good idea to appoint a member of the wedding party to handle these details for you to free up your time for other tasks.
Besides ordering smaller vehicles and having people provide some of their own transportation, you can conserve costs by keeping an eye on the clock. Most limousine companies charge by the hour, so even if you use them for one hour fifteen minutes, you will be charged for two hours. If you don’t need the vehicle for your entire event, arrange for pick-up and drop-off services only. This way you are not paying a driver for time spent waiting.
If you have any friends or relatives with vintage cars, see if they will let you “borrow” them for the day. Similarly, you can also borrow less traditional means of transport like horses, motorcycles, bicycles, ski-doos and more.
Whatever you choose, make the most of your transportation budget. It is exciting and fun to make a grand entrance or exit on your special day, and a little bit of planning and forethought can result in lovely memories in the years to come.
Did You Know?
Since most Celtic weddings took place in small villages, the bride usually walked to the ceremony, escorted by attendants and following a flower lined path that had been strewn from her house to the church by the wedding guests. After the ceremony, the bride would take a different route home, signifying her start on a “new path”.
This old Irish proverb is particularly appropriate: