Get to the venue on time… and on budget
Words by Ali McCulloch
Limo, classic car or even horse and carriage, there are so many options when it comes to choosing how you and your wedding party will travel on the big day. It’s hard to know where to start looking – let alone how much to pay!
Graham Ogg, managing director of West of Scotland Chauffeur Drive, says “The cost of a wedding car is very much related to the value and age of the vehicle. Our average wedding car package is around £650 with limos and classic cars generally ranging from £300 to £500 dependent on quality.”
As with everything, beware of any deal that seems to good to be true, as Graham advises, “There are wedding car cowboys who have got into the business by buying a second-hand Mercedes-Benz, Beauford or Beetle to try out the wedding car industry. These people sometimes charge as little as £130 per car but often don’t have proper insurance, don’t properly maintain the cars and don’t use a qualified chauffeur.” Given that you don’t want to get lost, or break down on the way to the church, make sure you check the details of your chosen company carefully and try and view the cars and chauffeurs in person before you part with your cash. Remember reliability can be a problem in classic cars, so if you go for this option, ask if the company has spares and find out what happens if your dream motor turns nightmare and breaks down.
Don’t worry if you’d like to stop for photos between the service and reception, this is usually covered in the cost, as Graham advises: “Most wedding car packages should cover costs up to four hours. In most cases, this is more than ample to include photographs en route.” However if you’re concerned that you will take longer, negotiate an hourly rate with the car company to ensure you’re not stung with unexpected costs later on. You should also be careful if your venue is far away from the church as Graham explains, “Excess mileage is generally charged at around £1 per mile with different companies giving anything between 20 and 80 miles as part of the standard hire cost.” You should also consider how many cars you’re going to need as this, of course, impacts on budget.
If you have a large bridal party, but are concerned about escalating costs, there are ways to slash your budget, other than making your mother-in-law trek to the church! “If you’re booking a classic car, which is chargeable by the hour or mile, for your exit, you could ask it to take you a short distance round the corner and then hop in to a cheaper taxi for the rest of the journey,” suggests John Wickens from Escape Weddings, while Graham at West of Scotland Chauffeur Drive suggests considering getting hitched at an off-peak time. “We offer a 15% discount if your wedding is planned for a Sunday to Thursday, or during the winter months you may be able to negotiate a better price when the cars would otherwise be sitting idle.” You could also consider asking the chauffeur company to make two runs, rather than hiring two cars, as the groom tends to arrive at the church before the bride.
If you’re concerned about spiraling costs, mixing the styles of the transport you choose can help save cash. “It is the bridal car which is the focus of the photographs, so get the car of your dreams for the bride and save on the other cars by using vehicles that carry six or seven passengers,” suggests Graham. “Throw in a couple of bottles of bubbly and it can be a real party atmosphere, which carries on through to the rest of the day.” Expect to pay between £150 to £400 to hire people carriers, depending on the size of the vehicle and time they’re needed for.
If you are planning on conveying your guests from wedding venue to reception, bus is normally the most cost-effective option with double-deckers weighing in at around £350. Of course, if you’ve always had a fairytale wedding in mind, nothing but a traditional coach and horses will suffice. Andrew Campbell, from Carriages for all Occasions, says, “Our prices start at £500, for a carriage with two horses, but cost really depends on location and how far we have to travel.” So it’s worth researching the company based closest to you to ensure you get the best price. A good company will check the route you plan to travel to ensure it’s safe for the horses and not too tiring. Again, make sure you view the horses and carriages before hand, and be clear about exactly what services are being provided.
Whichever way you decide to get to your wedding, it’s the one day that you’ll be able to travel in style, so make the most of it and it’ll be a journey you’ll never forget.