Ride on time

You’re princess for the day and only the best will do – and picking the right transport will guarantee you meet your Prince Charming in timely fashion at the top of the aisle, writes Sarah Gillespie

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Photo: www.gibsonphoto.com

Even if you usually roll your eyes at Top Gear and gripe about how dull it is, you can’t help but be impressed when you see the gleaming, spotless classic cars at a wedding show or when you see a laughing bride and her ’maids stepping out of a cute VW camper van. Even before you got engaged, you probably craned your neck to get a glimpse of the bride every time you saw a wedding car driving past all decked out in colourful ribbons. You deserve to have all eyes on you on your wedding day, and a show-stopping car – or helicopter – is certainly one way to guarantee this.
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The most important consideration in wedding transport is your route. Take a drive to your venue and make a note of the journey time. If you live quite a distance away and aren’t planning to stay there the night before, be aware that it will be pricey to transport everyone to the ceremony. If you have your heart set on arriving in a horse-drawn carriage, you’ll need alternative transport for the majority of the journey as you don’t want to tire the poor filly out. If you have a massive entourage and a remote venue, make sure the roads can accommodate a stretch limo (the venue’s wedding co-ordinator should clear this one up). Write a list of everyone you’re responsible for transporting to the ceremony (and to the reception, if it’s somewhere else) and divide this up into cars – especially if things can get a bit ‘political’ (I think my parents would rather walk ten miles in the rain than share a car with each other). Armed with all this info, you’re ready to start choosing vehicles.

TAKE YOUR PICK

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A beautiful Beauford, just one of the many stunning cars in the Top Class fleet, www.chauffeursinverness.com

It’s always better to see cars in the flesh, so look out for wedding shows with car showcases. You’ll be able to hop inside the vehicles, which is great for gauging how roomy they are. If you’re planning to travel with your bridesmaids and mum, you’ll need lots of space. The last thing you want is your carefully steamed dress all crushed because the flower girl had to sit on your knee!
You might be a vintage-loving gal, in which case you’ll love Beaufords and classic Rolls-Royces. Beaufords are the most popular wedding cars in the UK, mainly because they are 1930s ‘style’, but were built in the last 20 years (making them extremely reliable compared to even the most sensitively maintained classic car).
If you’re a little bit more modern and glam, there’s a host of supercars available in Scotland – including Kim K’s favourite whip the Rolls-Royce Phantom. These cars can cost over £300,000 to buy, so unless you get lucky with the Euromillions your wedding day might be your only chance to go for a spin in one. One good thing about modern cars is that you might be able to play your own music en route, meaning you can get some relaxing music on the go if you start feeling nervous.

It’s traditional for the bride to be a little late, but not if it’s because she’s crying at the side of the A9, waiting for the tow truck to arrive

GOOD COMPANY

Getting a rough idea of which cars you are looking for will make it easier to narrow down your options – there is an over­whelming number of Scottish wedding transport companies out there. Local firms will be cheaper, as there will be no need to charge for excess mileage.
It’s important to ask what’s included in the price and also what the company’s plan B is if something happens to the car or the chauffeur. It’s traditional for the bride to be a little bit late, but not if it’s because she’s crying at the side of the A9 as she waits for a tow truck to arrive.
If you’re looking for a few cars, most companies will offer packages or discounts, and it’s always cheaper to book cars on the ‘off-peak’ days (Sunday to Thursday). Beware of anything that’s too cheap, though. If your cars are under £100-£120, check they are properly insured and ask if they are maintained regularly and if the chauffeur is fully qualified. Wedding transport might seem like a big expense, but it creates a sense of occasion and looks great in photos. Your favourite taxi company is great for getting into town on a night out, but a silver Skoda with four different Magic Trees looks distinctly underwhelming in wedding snaps.

CRUNCH TIME

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Above: A cute blue Morris from Skye Wedding Convertible, www.skyeweddingconvertible.co.uk

To ensure you have your pick of the fleet, aim to book your cars 12 months ahead of the big day. Don’t forget to confirm with the company a month beforehand. When confirming your booking, research any possible delays or disruptions to your route: are there any parades, gala days or roadworks planned, for example? I recently spent a very tense hour stuck in traffic when an essential section of the motorway was closed, and can testify that it will make you say totally unacceptable things to your family as the ceremony time speeds ever closer. There’s no point in being an angel throughout the planning process, only turn into Bridezilla by shrieking ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ in the car.
Ensuring your transport goes smoothly and without a hitch means you can arrive serene, calm and collected. And if you do end up running late, it’ll only be because you’re finishing off a nice glass of bubbly!