Planning 101 26th October 2013

Wedding Transport - Cars to Carriages

From a horse drawn carriage to a sleek limousine, there's a whole choice of exciting means of transport for your wedding. Whatever you choose, reliability is of the upmost importance to make sure you get to the church on time! 

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Choosing your vehicles

Your choice of vehicle will depend on the style and theme of your wedding. If it’s a thoroughly modern affair, maybe you can all travel together in a stretch limousine, except the groom of course. Maybe he would quite like to arrive in a Ferrari or something really spectacular like a fire engine!

The important thing is to book early, especially if your wedding is on a Saturday or, if you want a more unusual mode of transport. If possible, get at least 3 quotes for similar vehicles before finally booking.

Specialist wedding transport includes cars such as Rolls-Royces, Daimlers, Cadillacs and Mercedes or even classic and vintage cars. If the car was genuinely built before the seat belt laws, you are exempt from wearing them. If it is a winter wedding remember that vintage cars probably have no heating. So have something warm with you, just in case!

Maybe your dream is to arrive at the church, or leave the reception, in a romantic horse drawn carriage, a boat, a hot air balloon or a helicopter!

Transport tips and advice

Make sure that your transport will provide sufficient interior space so that the bride's dress, train and veil will not be crushed!

If you choose a horse and carriage, or an open top car, make sure that the roof can be closed in case it is a wet or blustery day.

Formal transport is usually arranged for the bride’s mother with the bridesmaids and pageboys, and for the bride and her father. The bride’s car is usually used to transport the newlyweds to the reception. If there are a large number of attendants you may need more than two cars or consider hiring a limousine!

Always ask what additional services are included. For example, do they offer ribbons and flower arrangements for the car, music for the journey, uniformed chauffeurs, an umbrella in case of rain?

What is the company’s policy on tipping the driver? Some companies offer a second car included in the price and others will serve Champagne to the couple before they set off for the reception.

Breakdowns can happen, so ask what the alternative arrangements would be.

Confirm all booking details in writing, stating the pick-up times and the addresses of the brides home, the church and reception venue.

Double check everything the week before. Have a practice drive in your own vehicle beforehand on the matching day and time of your wedding so that you can specify the exact pick-up times, allowing for a slower journey for a horse and carriage and any possible traffic hold-ups. If your dream is to arrive in a horse-drawn carriage but the venue is a long way from your home, you could liaise with a wedding car company to rendezvous with the carriage company for the final part of your journey. This will work in reverse when the bride and groom leave the church. Make sure there are no cattle grids on the approach to your venue - the horses will refuse to negotiate them!

Arrange with neighbours to leave parking spaces outside the bride’s home. To prevent delays, have you let the car company know if access or turning at the bride’s home may be difficult?

An usher should be appointed who will ensure the approach to the venue is clear for the bride’s arrival.

If the wedding and reception are at the same venue the bride and groom could take a drive after the wedding to make the most of their first time alone together as man and wife. Or, they could take a longer route to the reception venue if it’s close by.

Together with the ushers, the best man should make sure all the guests have transport from the church to the reception. It may be a good idea to hire a mini-bus. Arrangements should also be made for transport home for elderly friends or relatives or, make arrangements for overnight accommodation at a local hotel.

In case of breakdowns or emergencies it is advisable for the best man to have a list to hand of taxi telephone numbers!

It would be wise to draw a map giving directions from the church to the reception to give to all drivers, along with a note of the details of lifts they may be providing. These could then be sent out with the invitations.

If relying on friends to provide transport, do ask those who are trustworthy and who don’t mind sticking to soft drinks at the reception!

Finally, if the newlywed’s car is to be decorated, do make sure that the decorations can be easily removed, especially if the bride and groom are going on a long journey. It would be advisable to have a window leather and cleaner in the boot just in case.

Arrivals and departures

Arrangements are usually in the following order:

  • The bridesmaids and bride’s mother travel to the church first. If the journey to the church is 15 minutes and this car is to be used by the bride, the bridesmaids and bride’s mother will have to leave 30 minutes before the bride. If the bride’s gown requires careful attention it may be worth considering having a bridesmaid travel with the bride!

  • The best man drives the bride’s groom to the church. After the ceremony he takes the car on to the reception.

  • The bride arrives with her father

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