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Arriving At Your Wedding In Style
When the über-cool James Bond was best man at Felix Leiter’s wedding, he and the groom arrived by parachute. As get-me-to-the-church-on-time goes, it was pretty spectacular. Sadly, you’re not James Bond and this option probably isn’t open to you, so you need to find some other form of stylish or unusual wedding transport that makes the wedding day extra special and not death-defying or suit crumpling. Your hair and make-up will only take so much.
Cars for weddings, either vintage or modern, are the most popular form of transport for the wedding party. You can hire anything from graceful old Rolls Royce wedding cars, to a kitsch stretch limo. Horse and carriage hire is impractical for long journeys, but nevertheless, as romantic and elegant as it gets and will definitely bring out the bride’s inner princess. Think larger cars as the order of the day when the bride is decked out in her wedding finery (crumpled isn’t chic), and leave taking a leaf out of the James Bond style textbook when it comes to choosing a car for going away.
This is a big occasion with an even bigger choice. A chauffeur driven wedding car such as a beefy Hummer is a real head-turner, while classic silver Bentley wedding cars are the outright winners for elegance. Mercedes wedding style can be short or stretched and is a natural choice for a bride because of the spacious interiors. On the other hand, a flash red Ferrari could be the perfect match for your new wife’s sleek going-away outfit and not bad for you, either. But if you want to dig deep, helicopters are at the top of the list of breath-taking forms of going-away transport.
Both brides and grooms occasionally opt for off-the-wall transport to the ceremony. Some brides ride side-saddle on their own horses, on their father’s tractor, by boat, by motorbike and side car – the options are endless. It’s important, though, that whatever the bride chooses is safe. Accidents can happen with impractical transport and long frocks. And, yes, occasionally grooms drop in by parachute, but it’s probably only a good idea if you’re a professional.
If you live close to the wedding venue, and even better if it's just a stroll down a country lane, you might be tempted to get there via Shanks's Pony (in other words, your own legs). Living in a small village where the church is just a few yards away, or even the reception venue is close by the church, make it possible for either the bride or groom - or both, to walk to their destination surrounded by family and guests.
10 things to consider before booking any form of wedding transport:
- Looking for the cheapest isn't a good start. Don't make the mistake of thinking you can still get an immaculate service and at the same time go cheap. Check all vehicles well beforehand for cleanliness, any signs of being under-maintained, or smelly from damp or old cigarette smoke. Check that any running boards and door casings are as clean as the interior and make sure that the car you're shown is the one that turns up on the day, by noting the registration on your booking form.
- No one expects a catastrophe on their wedding day but it's wise to ask the hire company or car owner for their unlikely disaster recovery plan – e.g. what would they do in the event of a breakdown, or in the case of hiring a horse and carriage, the horse goes lame on or before the day. Is a comparable car available and how long would it take to organise.
- If you are hiring only one wedding car and looking to use the same car to take the bridesmaids and bride's mother to the ceremony before the bride, you'll need to check this is included in the price and not charged additionally.
- Ask for a specifically written service schedule or timetable to be prepared by the hirer so that you are sure that you will 'get to the church on time'. A couple of weeks beforehand, do the journey yourself, at the same time you'll be travelling to your wedding and adjust the timetable if you want.
- It's highly unlikely that something will go wrong, but ask to see all insurance documents that the hire company has, particularly to see that vehicles are insured as wedding carriages and that you are insured while travelling in the vehicle against personal injury. Ask for a copy.
- Ask how long the hire is for. Some will charge you by a fixed hourly period while others may charge a booking fee plus add-ons by the mile. Ask if vehicles will be used for any other weddings on your day of hire. The best wedding transport companies will arrive at your pick-up address at least 45 minutes before the first occupants need to leave for the ceremony. This gives you piece of mind that your carriage has arrived, is ready and waiting and gives ample time for photographs.
- If bridal car hire is Vintage, your driver should be wearing full chauffeurs uniform and hat in keeping with the car's age and style. If hiring modern vehicles or limousine wedding cars, a limousine chauffeur will wear a grey or darker lounge suit or blazer, plus a chauffeurs cap and Cockade. If travelling by horse and carriage, you can expect the drivers to wear Bowler, top or horse-riding hats, jackets, boots and jodhpurs or breeches. And if you hire an Aston Martin (007 style), your driver may even turn up in a black tuxedo, patent dress shoes and bow tie.
- Always sit in the car or carriage beforehand and try getting in and out. If either is difficult or cramped, think again.
- Watch out for protruding door catches on the bodywork that can tear or soil a gown with grease or oil. These should be covered before you enter or leave the car with either the gloved hand of the Chauffeur or protectors made of fabric or carpet laid over.
- If you choose a modern car manufactured with seatbelts then the law governs that all occupants must wear seatbelts. If however the car you are hiring was manufactured without seatbelts, the law allows the occupants to ride without them. This is worth bearing in mind when booking a car, either for those that want to wear them or those that don't, you need to check beforehand and know how you stand – or maybe that should be sit!