Your carriage awaits – so will it be a vintage Bentley? A double-decker bus? A VW Camper? Nicole Conner gets to grips with all you need to know when you’re organising your wedding cars and transport in Scotland
When you picture your wedding, you no doubt have your ideal venue in mind – but have you ever given any thought to how you’ll actually get there on the day? Picking the right transport is certainly one way to set the tone for the whole day, so we hooked up with some of Scotland’s leading hire companies to find out how to go about getting your wheels moving.
“Once you see the cars in the flesh, it can become obvious which style of transport will or won’t fit in with your wedding,” says Joyce of Anvil Wedding Cars. Her advice is to go and view your shortlisted suppliers’ cars in person if possible, rather than relying on photographs. “And always double-check the car you want will available on your date,” she adds.
Darrell at Nithsdale Wedding Cars agrees that it’s wise to not only go and physically view potential cars – you should also try them out so you can see if you’re comfortable with them. “By seeing the vehicles in person, you’ll find out if the level of accessibility provided is right for you,” he explains. So think about fit – you might end up having to reconsider your choice of transport, particularly if you have a huge bride tribe, as some vehicles just won’t be able to squeeze everyone in.
Better get booking
Like everything else when it comes to wedding suppliers, it is best to get in quick to avoid the disappointment of missing out on your top pick. “If you are looking for a certain style of car for an event in peak season, I would say it’s worth booking two years in advance,” warns Emma Rennick of Rennick’s Weddings Cars.
Her view is echoed by Sam Phipps at The Red Bus: “For popular Saturdays in spring, summer and autumn, we do tend to get booked up several months in advance,” he says. “Many of our clients will book more than a year ahead.”
Don’t panic if you feel you’ve left it late, as Sam insists there’s no minimum lead time: “We’ve taken bookings only a few weeks ahead or even, on a few occasions, with less than a week to go!”
Hey big spender
Prices can vary wildly depending on the style of the car and the package on offer, but Rennick’s promises it has something for every budget. “We have cars ranging from £250 to £430,” says Emma. “We take a small deposit to secure the date, and then the balance is due a month beforehand.”
Some companies will offer champagne en route to toast the day (and calm the nerves) which can be included in packages. Darrell says Nithsdale’s prices reflect a full day’s hire, and the company only accepts one wedding booking per day. “Our price will include an allowance of 60 miles, a bottle of wine or fizz plus tasty treats, and our cream and green decoration scheme,” he says. “Our 1947 Rover would be £400 for the full day while two of our historic cars combined under the same terms and conditions would be £600. Our retro-modern Rover 75 can be provided for £200 for the day.”
For larger parties, The Red Bus’s 64 guest capacity may be a key factor, and a £180 deposit is required to secure your booking for one bus. And good news after lots of Covid uncertainty: the whole sum is transferable in the event of postponement. “Our basic package includes ribbons, fresh flowers and a personalised sign,” adds Sam. His buses are the only authentic Routemasters operating in Scotland and retain all their original features and interiors.
On the day
So you’ve picked the transport and it’s available on your date, but what sort of timeline can you expect on the wedding day? Joyce from Anvil says chauffeurs will arrive a little early, and are happy to sit and wait if things are running behind schedule. “You’ll then travel to your ceremony with time for some photographs afterwards, and then to your reception venue, again allowing time for photographs on arrival.”
Drivers from Rennick’s will arrive at your address around ten minutes before you’re due to set off, and a typical booking is four hours from showroom to showroom. All of the company’s cars come dressed with silk flowers and silk ribbons.
Nithsdale’s drivers, like those at many hire firms, like to be well prepared: they’ll test the route at least a fortnight before the wedding, and can have back-up cars nearby in case of emergency. On the day, they’ll offer you the chance to take an elopement trip for some extra-special pictures: “We can take you to a nearby beauty spot for an hour before returning you to your reception dinner and guests,” offers Darrell.
One for the road
“You’ll get the most out of your transport provider by making it personal,” claims Joyce at Anvil, who ensures her cars are dressed with fresh ribbons for each wedding. “We really do care that your day is exactly how you want it to be,” she says. “So keep in contact with any changes or questions.”
Emma at Rennick’s believes that leaving promptly means you’ll have the most time with your vehicles and gives you the best chance of getting beautiful photographs. “Asking your photographer to work with the cars after the ceremony and when you arrive at the venue keeps it all running smoothly,” she adds.
For Sam at the Red Bus, enjoying the journey in the company of your new spouse is his top tip. “There’s always plenty of time for photos,” he adds, “and often the couple come on board with family and friends after the ceremony. But we love it when the couple come on board just the two of them.”
And according to Darrell at Nithsdale, which offers cars that are full of period character and have been authentically restored, “Transportation is as much a part of your day as the dress you wear or the rings you exchange. So choose the method of transport that best reflects your passions, interests and aspirations.”