Whether you’re heading for the local church or a castle 100 miles away, you will want to arrive in style on your wedding day.
Words by Holly Jones
The transport options are many and varied – you could go for a horse-drawn carriage, a vintage Rolls or a luxurious executive car – and the decision to stay traditional, go adventurous or choose something very personal is entirely up to you. We list of some of the most popular types of transport brides and grooms use on their last journey as a singleton, along with lots of tips to think about when organising your big day.
The horse-drawn carriage is without doubt the fairytale option for a bride on her wedding day – many people would agree that this old-fashioned form of transport is the most romantic way to arrive at the church or venue.
If you are tempted by the steady clip-clop of hooves, bear in mind that a horse-drawn carriage is only really suitable for covering short distances – if your heart is set on this option, it could dictate where your ceremony and reception are held.
Ask to be taken for a drive in your favourite car – to see if it’s big enough for your dress!
The other major consideration is the weather. If you are getting married in Scotland (or anywhere in Britain, for that matter), remember it’s Mother Nature who’ll have the final say on whether there’s rain or sunshine. Open-top carriages look fabulous, but make sure your chosen supplier has an aesthetically pleasing wet-weather alternative that will keep you warm and dry. Finally, and most importantly, remember to allow lots of extra time for the journey, however short: a horse-drawn carriage is beautiful, but it certainly isn’t speedy.
A chauffeur-driven classic car is an elegant and romantic method of transport, and one that is justifiably popular with bridal parties. It’s not entirely problem-free, however, and there are several factors to consider before you book your perfect vintage ride. Clare Niven of Something Old (something-old.co.uk), the vintage and classic car company based in Fife, has a few pointers: “Take into account the length of the journey and the time of year, as well as the reliability factor.” Bear in mind too that “many vintage cars do not have heaters fitted and have thin narrow tyres which don’t appreciate icy or wet roads”. So if you are having a winter wedding and want a classic car for a truly romantic feel, certain models might not be at all suitable. Clare recommends you ask to be taken for a drive in your favourite car to see if you find it comfortable – and, most importantly, if it is big enough inside for your wedding dress!
Hiring a limousine for your big day may not only be a fancy idea but also a practical one too. The huge advantage of one of these beauties is space – if you’re pushed on your budget, a limo could be the perfect solution: instead of hiring two, three or even four wedding cars for the bride and bridesmaids you only need one…big one! John Boyd, managing director of Collumbine Limos Ltd. (collumbine.com), has a wide selection of cars, from six- and eight-seater Lincolns in white and silver to the much sought-after vintage Excalibur. One new trend in wedding cars seems to be big Hummer-style vehicles – Collumbine can offer its alternative: a huge Ford Escalade with eight seats and lots of room. So if you have a big posse of bridesmaids and are wearing a big dress with a lot of underskirts and still want breathing space on the way to the wedding, a limo could be the answer.
Luxury executive cars are the most popular default wedding car. Large, smart and sexy models such as the Mercedes S Class, Rolls-Royce Phantom and Bentley Flying Spur are a reliable and versatile choice for wedding transportation. But while you won’t have to worry about breaking down en route to the church, you do sacrifice the distinctiveness that certain other transport options give. You could add a ribbon to the car in your chosen colour theme or put your flowers in the back, but even so, such cars will jar slightly if you’ve gone for a boho theme or a vintage look. That said, as Asif Ali from Palladium Executive Hire (palladiumexecutivehire.com) tells us, in other forms of transport you might have to think about “how much leg-room you have” or whether “there is enough space for the bride’s dress” – in a squeaky-clean executive car you’ll have no such worries and can just concentrate on your perfect wedding day.
If you want something a little different on your wedding day but still want to keep things smart and fairly formal, you might like the sound of Dubz4hire’s (weddingcarsscotland.biz) vintage VW Beetle and or super-cool VW camper van. The Beetle is the perfect retro accessory, while your bridesmaids and flower girls can have a ball in the camper van. Of course, if you have a huge dress, you can swap over and you can have the benefit of the extra space, arriving in style in everyone’s favourite vintage ‘Microbus’. Both of Dubz4hire’s vehicles are wedding white and would look perfect at a beach or coastal wedding. The firm is based in Glasgow and extra fees apply for going long distances, but they’ll be worth it for the cool fun factor the VWs bring.
If you don’t really want the glitz and glam of a big wedding car, why not go for a simple, efficient and cost-effective option – a taxi. When we say taxi, we don’t mean just any old black cab, but a smart white wedding taxi. Citycabs (citycabs.co.uk) offers wedding packages starting from £95, including ribbons and flowers. The firm doesn’t only offer white cabs either; it also has a Saltire taxi for patriotic types or an Irn Bru cab if you want to go for something a little more tongue-in-cheek. So don’t worry about the meter ticking while you are in the church, book a cab.
A rickshaw may not be the first thing you think of when mulling over wedding transportation, but it’s an increasingly popular option for couples who want to keep their carbon footprint low on their big day. “Cycle rickshaws offer a fun alternative to traditional wedding transport,” says Joe Allenza of B-spokes (b-spokes.com), a rickshaw company based in Edinburgh. If your wedding is at one side of the city and your venue is at another, a rickshaw is also a clever way of giving guests from out of town the bonus of a city tour. So while you are having your photos taken, your guests can be seeing the sights around town on the most eco-friendly mode of transport.
But while rickshaws are certainly original and eco-conscious, they do have their drawbacks – a warm, cosy, fully enclosed car will certainly be more comfortable in winter. Most come equipped with a weather-proof covering for damp days, but passengers are likely to still get very cold in the winter. And while you don’t have to worry about a rickshaw breaking down, per se, remember that it is basically just a bike so it is a no-no in heavy snow and ice. But in summer, on a gorgeous sunny day, this mode of transport is hard to beat, and will certainly keep you cool and calm.
According to Graham Martlew, chief pilot at HG Helicopters (hghelicopters.co.uk), increasing numbers of his private hires are wedding transfers, so we didn’t think this list would be complete without mentioning this high-flying way of making an entrance.
First things first: can your venue actually accommodate a helicopter? Is there enough space in front of it for all your guests to see you arriving in the utmost style? “Collection and drop-off points need to have an adequate area for the helicopter to land,” says Graham. HG Helicopters will make sure “these sites are surveyed by the firm to check they’re acceptable” for use on your big day.
As a once-in-a-lifetime experience (and a handy way to avoid traffic), helicopter rides don’t come cheap – choosing this option will take a big bite out of your budget (HG Helicopters charge a minimum of £1000 + VAT, for example).
Finally, and most importantly, make sure that whoever is travelling in the chopper with you isn’t scared of heights – you don’t want your groom turning green due to a nasty bout of vertigo!
AND THE REST…
If none of the above tickles your fancy, what else is there? Well, if you’re about to become a farmer’s wife or are just holding your wedding in a fantastic rural setting, why not hop on a tractor? We have seen brides turn up to a wee rural kirk on a tractor, and have even seen one happy couple leave aboard a trailer. The key, of course, is to make sure the tractor is sparkling clean – you don’t want mud (or worse) all over your gorgeous gown.
If you’re getting married by a lake or on a beach, how about arriving by boat? It could be a little fishing boat or a luxury sailing yacht – just have someone ready to moor it, and be careful you don’t fall in.
Finally, if you want a properly special treat on your wedding day, why not hire a sexy little sports car? Turn up to the wedding in it or send it as a surprise gift to pick up the groom on the morning of the wedding. You can both share the fun and take the car for a spin after the ceremony. Just think: your first drive as a married couple in a super-charged sports car – how very romantic!
Images – Top, A classic car. Below, A sleek and luxurious car from West of Scotland Chauffeur Drive (westofscotlandchauffeurdrive.co.uk) is a great choice for stylish, modern couples. Middle, A B-spokes rickshaw would suit an eco-friendly summer wedding. Above, Brides with a head for heights (and a large budget) can hire a helicopter from HG Helicopters to beat the traffic and make the entrance of all entrances.