There’s no better way to start your big day than arriving in a cool car, slick limo or romantic horse-drawn carriage
Words by Emma Langman
As someone who identifies cars by colour rather than make, I’m certainly no expert on choosing the right wedding wheels and I’m sure there are many brides-to-be out there in that position! It’s a cliché, but some grooms may have a firmer idea of the type of transport they’d like to travel in. Either way, there are lots of considerations, so searching for your wedding transport is something you should ideally do together.
For starters, consider what type of transport you need. Unless you’re staying in the venue overnight before your big day, you’ll need something to get you and the rest of the bridal party to the top of the aisle. Many couples will hold their whole celebration under one roof, in which case you’ll only need to account for this journey, but for those with a separate reception venue, you’ll need vehicles to transport you, your new husband and the bridal party to the second venue. If the second venue isn’t within walking distance, you’ll need to consider hiring a bus to transport your guests there and probably back too. Once you’ve worked out how many vehicles you need and for how long, it’s time to consider what type of transport is right for you.
Many brides and grooms choose to travel to their ceremony in a classic car such as a Beauford or Rolls-Royce. There generally aren’t many other chances in life to ride in one of these elegant cars, so it’s a lovely way to mark the day as a special occasion from the start. And you don’t have to stick with tradition entirely. For example, there are Beaufords available in colours other than white and silver. “Our Beauford is a lovely blue colour, which is really unusual and shows up the bride’s dress in the photographs,” explains Teresa Doherty of Erin’s Chauffeur Drive (erinschauffeurdrive.co.uk). Beaufords are also a great option for putting the top down, but it’s weather dependent whether you’ll be able to take advantage of this, as Teresa Doherty explains, “Unfortunately in Scotland, the hood-down option on the Beauford is something that has to be decided on the day – we can’t plan it in advance with our weather! But we do try to use this as much as possible, even if it means dodging the showers.”
A true vintage car might not be able to travel lots of miles, so make sure to check this with your chosen supplier. Graham Ogg of West of Scotland Chauffeur Drive (westofscotlandchauffeurdrive.co.uk) recommends taking this into consideration before you put your deposit down. “Choosing something vintage often has its pitfalls because of reliability issues. Genuine vintage vehicles can be at risk of breaking down, so choose your wedding car supplier carefully. Often they are limited to what speed you can travel at and how comfortable they are, so perhaps not a good idea for longer journeys. West of Scotland Chauffeur Drive has a full-time mechanic who looks after our vintage cars ensuring an all-round first class service.”
If the best method for your journey is by car, but you’d like to try something a little bit different, how about hiring a luxury modern car? Palladium Executive Hire (palladiumexecutivehire.com) has a fleet of some of the world’s most sought-after vehicles, such as the Rolls-Royce Phantom, Bentley Flying Spur, Range Rover Vogue and Ferrari 458 Italia. Asif Ali of Palladium Executive Hire explains, “A couple would choose our cars if they are looking to arrive in something modern or make an entrance like a star in comfort and style. Our cars make sure the wedding guests know that the bride and groom have gone for nothing but the best.” It’s a great treat on your wedding morning being chauffeured in the style that normally only celebrities are accustomed to.
One of the most romantic options for wedding day transport remains the horse and carriage – a perfect accompaniment to the fairytale celebration, it’s an enchanting way to spend your first moments together as husband and wife. “Horse-drawn carriages give newly married couples the spectacular entrance they deserve, catching the eye of guests and onlookers alike. The clip-clop from the horses’ hooves travelling along the road also creates a restful atmosphere, giving the couple time to relax before they reach their destination,” suggests Lorraine Stewart of Studlearoyal (studlearoyal.co.uk). Bear in mind that our four-legged friends can’t travel far without a break. You could always drive part of the way to the destination, then have the horse-drawn carriage take you the last stretch.
If you’re having a particular theme, consider tying your wedding transport into this. Limousines, Volkswagen Campervans and American Chevys are all on offer in Scotland, so if these fit into the look of your day, they could be the perfect option for you. You could also hire a self-drive car for your groom as an extra-special wedding present – he’ll love rocking up in his own Ferrari or Jaguar.
Whatever type of transport you decide on, there are several key considerations to take into account. Whether you opt for a four-wheel drive or a four-legged animal, most suppliers will offer ways of personalising your transport, coordinating it with your overall look and making for some fantastic wedding photos. Be sure to ask your supplier about this option, and double-check if it incurs extra charges. “We provide non-decorated or decorated carriages. Decorated carriages come with all-white flowers and bows, with additional coloured flowers and bows of your choice at no extra charge. We also supply a wedding gift courtesy of Studlearoyal Horse Drawn Carriages,” says Lorraine Stewart.
Asif Ali explains Palladium Executive Hire’s options: “All of our cars come with a ribbon colour of your choice and a floral display in the rear parcel shelf. If you book three or more cars, the bridal car will get a complimentary bottle of bubbly. We also allow clients to bring their own CD if they wish, so they can listen to music that they like.”
Before you finalise your booking, take the time to check the practicalities with your supplier. Confirm with them how far they are taking you and if there are costs for any added extras. If you’re booking more than one vehicle with the same supplier, enquire about discount offers and how they can accommodate your wedding party in the most cost-effective way. Graham Ogg explains, “It’s all about what the bride wants and what they have in their budget for wedding cars. Many brides want something special for themselves but perhaps are happy to save money on the back-up cars, even using seven-seater vehicles to accommodate a large bridal party, for example.”
As with the majority of suppliers, if you’re getting hitched on a weekday or in off-peak months, you could be eligible for a discounted price. Make sure to check this with your supplier when you’re making initial enquiries.
It may be customary that the bride doesn’t make it to the venue on time and while you may want to keep your groom waiting an excruciating extra five or 10 minutes, you definitely don’t want to turn up any later than that because of a breakdown or an ill driver. As with all of your suppliers, be sure to check that the company has the appropriate insurance and that there’s a back-up plan in place in case something goes wrong on the day. Furthermore, check that your supplier knows where they’re going well before the day and that they have worked out the timings you’ll need. Many companies will undertake practise runs a week or so before the big day, to guarantee that they’re not hit by any last-minute roadworks or changes to the route. Erin’s Chauffeur Drive do just that, as Teresa Doherty explains, “Our cars are very well maintained and will be thoroughly valeted on your day. We will always do a practise run beforehand so we know exactly where we are going.” It’s a good idea to give yourself a bit of extra time anyway – you certainly don’t want to be arriving to meet your groom all hot and bothered because you’ve had to rush to the venue. “Always leave extra time to get to your venue, even if it means parking up around the corner. That way you can arrive at the exact time. Your wedding car company should always keep you right if they feel your timings are a bit optimistic,” advises Graham Ogg.
Booking your transport might not come first on your priority list of wedding-related tasks, but don’t leave it until the last minute either. In-demand suppliers will get booked up to a year in advance, especially those with more unusual forms of transport on offer. “In my experience, people start booking a year in advance to make sure they get what they are looking for. As there are not many Phantoms in Scotland, for example, you need to book early,” says Asif Ali.
If you’re getting married at a peak time, you should also start thinking about your transport earlier, as Teresa Doherty recommends, “As soon as you know your date, I would suggest researching your cars, especially if your wedding is in the summer months. Ideally, this should be 12 months before your date, if not sooner.”