Selecting Wedding Transportation
"Love and marriage, love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage. Dad was told by mother. You can't have one without the other.”~Sammy Cahn
Transportation arrangements usually falls into the hands of the groom. Depending on the size and location of the wedding, planning may require more than just transportation for the bride and groom. There are a multitude of transportation options nowadays. You can pretty much hire out anything from a Ferrari to a Bentley to a Horse Drawn Carriage. The possibilities are endless if you are willing to pay for it.
The most popular type of wedding transportation is a limousine service. Depending on the type of package you choose, hiring a limo service and driver takes the guess work out of your transportation needs for the day. They pick you up and drop you off wherever you need to be, in most cases, on time.
If you plan on hiring a limo service, and you want to rent a specialty brand such as an Excalibur or Rolls Royce limo, it is a good idea to book the service at least three to eight months before the wedding. If you are looking for a standard limo, then booking three to six months in advance is fine. It is a good idea to take a few days to call and interview all the prospective limousine services your interested in and then book one day to inspect at least three to five companies.
Here are some helpful tips to consider when booking a Limousine service:
-Do Your Research and Talk To People-It is always recommended that you do your homework when it comes to hiring any kind of vendor or service for your wedding. Look online and see what others are saying through forums and blogs about limo companies. Also, talk to family members or friends that have recently had a good experience using a limo service.
-Visit The Limo Company-Nothing will give you a better idea of what to expect from a limo service until you visit their location and inspect their fleet. Ensure that all vehicles are in good condition and won't break down on the way to the chapel. Also, if you plan on hiring a unique limo like an Excalibur, Limo Bus or Rolls Royce, make sure they are on the premises before you visit for an inspection. A good time is usually early on a Saturday morning before they leave for a wedding or on a Sunday. The average life of a limo is approximately three years owing to mileage, so inspect all vehicles thoroughly. Warning, watch out for services that say they have certain models and use gimmicks to lure you to their place of business. If you don't see it and they give you a story, walk away.
-Ask For Referrals-As with any vendor or service, request a referral list from any potential limo service provider. Find out what others have to say.
-Package Prices-Ask to see their package prices and any promotional flyers with limo photos on them. Prices will vary depending on the type of car, hours of service, extras like champagne (ask if it is included), and location. Some companies will charge upwards to 20% gratuity for the driver up front. If you are renting several cars, they should be able to offer you a deal.
-Ensure That You Have A Clear And Concise Written Contract-Make sure that you have a written contract and that everything you agreed upon is in writing. The contract should state the type of limo selected, number of seats, and what package you chose. It should also state the number of hours they are hired for as well as the overtime rate for each vehicle. If they refuse to do this for you then you should not be dealing with them. Reputable companies will have standard contracts with this information already on it. If you interviewed a certain driver(s) you liked, make sure their name(s) is/are also on the contract. The contract should also show your deposit and how much you owe. Standard method is payment in full two weeks before the wedding.
-One Week Before Wedding-You should contact your limousine service one week before the wedding to confirm the date and time. You should Fax or E-Mail the company with typed information on how to get to your house, reception, church, etc. Any maps you can include will be helpful. Make sure you get the driver(s) cellular and pager numbers as well. The drivers usually call you from the limo on route.
-Keep An Extra Copy Of The Map And Directions On The Wedding Day-It is a good idea to keep an extra copy of the map and directions with you in case there is a change in drivers at the last minute or the original instructions get misplaced.
Regardless of whether you hire a chauffeur driven limousine service or rent a high end vehicle you plan on driving yourself, it is important to always make the right inquiries. You don't want disappointment on your wedding day.
Questions To Ask
Here are a few questions you should ask any prospective wedding transportation vendor:
1) What are your packages and prices?
2) How much deposit do you require?
3) How many years have you been in business?
4) Are you a member of the Better Business Bureau?
5) When can we come to see your fleet of vehicles?
6) Do you have a flyer showing prices in writing and pictures of vehicles?
7) Do you provide your own vehicles or is another company providing them on your behalf?
8) What is the year of the vehicle that we will be using and is it properly licensed and insured?
9) How much is the overtime rate?
10) Who will be our driver?
11) Are the vehicles equipped with a GPS navigation system?
12) Since we are being chauffeured, can we bring our own champagne?
13) What beverages are stocked in the limousine?
14) Will you be providing us with a thorough and detailed contract?
15) If we have to cancel, can we get our deposit back?
16) Is there a contingency plan if a vehicle breaks down?
17) Does your company screen chauffeurs before hiring?
18) What kind of professional training must your chauffeurs have?
18) Will your chauffeur(s) be attired proper on our wedding Day?
Various Types of Wedding Day Transportation
Hiring a Horse Drawn Carriage Service
If you have always dreamed of a fairytale wedding, then hiring a horse drawn carriage service to transport you to the ceremony may be the answer. There is nothing quite like a regal looking horse drawn carriage to evoke whimsy and romance on your wedding day.
If you plan on hiring a carriage service, locate at least three companies and make an appointment to visit with them to see what they are all about. Remember, you will have to do this at least six months in advance. Most carriage companies have distance restrictions so ask about this and figure out how far their service is from your ceremony or reception venue.
There are different types of carriages that a company may offer. Here are a few popular styles:
-A Hackney Carriage-This is a light carriage usually pulled by one horse and it is spring mounted.
-Stagecoach-This is a heavy carriage which needs the help of four horses to pull it. This is an ideal coach for a bride that wants to make an entrance because she sits behind a closed door.
-The Post Chaise-This is an ideal carriage if you have a small distance to cover. It is pulled by four horses, sprung and light.
-Barouche-This larger carriage is suitable for a bride with a bigger dress and several bridesmaids.
Questions To Ask
Here are a few questions you should ask prospective carriage service providers:
-What are your package prices?
-How much deposit do you require?
-What are your cancellation policies?
-What type of contingency plan do you have in case it rains?
-What is the alternative mode of transport and is it just as impressive?
-What about tipping and gratuity to the horse and carriage staff?
-What is involved in getting the horse and carriage ready for our wedding day?
-What makes your company the best choice for us?
-What extras do you offer that makes you stand out above the rest?
-What colour is the carriage?
-How many can travel at once on the carriage?
-How quickly can a horse and carriage travel per hour?
-How far will a horse and carriage ride go?
-Does pulling a carriage hurt the horse in any way?
-How calm are the horses?
-Are the horses accustomed to traffic?
-Is it okay to pet the horse(s)?
Regardless of your selection, if you follow the tips provided and ask the appropriate questions, you should be able to find the ideal mode of transportation that will meet all of your needs on your big day as well as keeping you within budget.