Your beat-up, rusty old junker may be good enough to get you from A to B in your everyday life, but on your wedding day, you’ll probably want to opt for something slightly more sophisticated – or at least a mode of transport where there’s no risk of tetanus. The most popular vehicle is a limo because it can fit several people and the bridal gown in (plus it can make you feel like a celeb for the day!). But if a limo just isn’t your bag, check out these alternative ideas:
Things to Consider
- The procession to the ceremony venue usually starts with the bride’s mom and the bride’s attendants in one vehicle. It may be necessary to get a second vehicle for the remainder of the attendants, depending on how many there are. The bride and her dad will follow in the final vehicle, which will later take the bride and groom to the reception.
- If you have a lot of out-of-town guests, you may want to organize a bus for them.
- Make sure you choose a dependable company. Any reliable businesses will be listed with the Better Business Bureau, local chamber of commerce and National Limousine Association.
- When you have narrowed it down to three companies you may go with, arrange a visit to check out each fleet. Are you treated well? The customer service in the office is often an indication of how your driver will behave. Ask about special services: A chauffeur wearing a tuxedo might roll out a red carpet, or your vehicle may include champagne. Some companies offer signs for the car, like “Going To The Chapel” or “Just Married”. And some cars have musical horns to announce your arrival.
- If guests are expected to drive to your ceremony/reception, you’ll need to consider parking. Depending on the number of guests, you can choose parking attendants only or a full-service valet team. About four valets (or two or three attendants) plus a site manager can generally handle 100 cars.
Questions to Ask When Choosing Transportation
How many years have you been in the transportation business?
While there’s nothing wrong with new businesses, for peace of mind you may like to go with an established company.
What types of vehicles do you have available?
Even if they specialize in limos, they may have other car models as well. And if color matters to you, ask about these options too.
What vehicles do you have available on my wedding date?
It’s no good selecting your dream vehicle and then realizing it’s not free when you need it.
How many vehicles do you have available? How many people does each one hold?
Make sure you’ve done a head count so you know how many vehicles you’ll need before speaking to transport companies.
Do you have back-up vehicles in case of an emergency?
Every wedding vendor should have a Plan B. If they don’t, you should pass. You don’t want to be hitchhiking to your wedding if the car breaks down!
How old are your vehicles?
Newer cars are generally more reliable.
How will the driver/s dress?
Is it important to you that the driver/s look smart? More often than not, they will probably be dressed well (perhaps with a spiffy hat) but it’s best to check beforehand.
What is the minimum amount of time to rent a vehicle?
Some companies require a minimum three-hour booking fee.
Do you charge by the hour or by the mile? How much? And how much does overtime cost?
Transportation costs are rarely fixed – your final bill will usually depend on overtime, changes in itinerary or other delaying factors. Be sure the contract lists all the stops and allows for at least one extra, just in case.
What is your payment/cancellation policy?
If you cancel, you’ll probably lose your deposit, but find out if you’re liable for any other costs.
Traditionally, the bride’s family would pay for the transport on the wedding day for her side of the family (to the ceremony, reception and wherever the newlyweds are going afterwards), plus any parking expenses, while the groom’s family would just pay for the groom’s and best man’s ride to the ceremony. But these days, it’s really up to the individual families how they want to split the bill.
In terms of prices, it depends on the type of transport you choose, but if you’re going down the car/limo route, use this as a general guide:
- $50-$75 per hour per car
- $20-$25 per hour per valet for parking service
Remember to factor in tips – about 15-20% of the bill (often added to your total in advance).
Your contract will guarantee you will receive the service and prices that you’ve been quoted. Read yours carefully and ask about anything that’s confusing. If things go awry, this will be your only recourse legally.
The transportation contract should include:
- Date of the wedding and times that driver/s will need to pick up/drop off people
- Exact locations of sites, including street address and home/room number
- Estimated hours of work and any provisions for overtime
- Cost per hour/mile
- Vehicles being used
- Attire of driver/s
- Any special requests and fees
- Number of pick-ups/drop-offs
- Contingency clause to cover emergencies such as a sick driver or vehicle failure
- Proof of licensing and liability insurance
- Deposit amount and date due
- Balance amount and date due
- Cancellation and refund policy
- Drivers’ names, contact information and signatures