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How to: Choose Your Wedding Car
One of the more important visual aspects of your big day is your wedding car. Getting this right can be the hood ornament on a beautiful ride, so to speak, and for many couples it’s one part of the planning process that both you and your partner can have some fun with. When narrowing down your options, it's important to consider all visual and practical aspects- including: the look/ feel, budget and practical needs of your wedding day.
Planning is Key
It’s easy to underestimate the planning involved in choosing your transport- after all, there are limos a-plenty, right? Unfortunately, absolutely wrong. Many wedding car hire companies can get booked up to 12-24 months in advance, depending on the popularity of the car (deep breaths ladies). The good news is that what many anticipate to be the hardest part of choosing a car- ensuring that your practical needs are covered- is actually one of the easiest parts. Basically, you need to consider:
- How many people you have to accommodate in each vehicle (Note: It’s traditional for the bride to travel to the ceremony with whoever is going to give her away, and from the ceremony to the photograph venue and on to the reception.)
- How far you’re going to travel
- How much you want to spend
- Comfort. Will it fit your dress/ everyone else’s outfits? (this seems a little trite, but then again I’ve had to help pry a bride in a hooped bridal gown out of a Mini)
Choosing the style is the more difficult part. Usually, plenty of cars will fit your practial criteria, so choosing a car, like everything else in planning a wedding, depend highly on your personal taste. Not only should the car represent (at least a slice of) your personality, but it should suit the tone and formality of your wedding.
How Much Should I Budget for a Wedding Car?
Most wedding experts recommend budgeting at least 5-10% for the bridal party’s transport, but this can of course be adjusted to suit your needs: if a car is something you want to splash out on, that’s absolutely do-able, but it means that you’ll have to tighten your budget elsewhere. Similarly, if you happen to have at your disposal a cheap alternative, be my guest and make your wedding one to remember! It means you can spend your money elsewhere (I suggest more cake), or simply save more.
Finding the Best of the Best
Recommendations from friends and family tend to be very reliable when searching for a wedding car company, along with reviews from previous customers. Go to local wedding fairs and see which companies are recommended by the best hotels, as well as looking in magazines and online wedding sites.
Booking through reputable and professional wedding car companies is usually the best idea. Larger companies generally have the widest array of options, competitive prices and offer assurance that you’ll get quality for your money. Smaller companies, however, are often more hands- on and may be more flexible in fulfilling your requests. Check out our absolutely fab directory for the best distributors around the country.
Alternatively, if youre lucky enough to have a friend or relative that owns a suitable vehicle, ask if you can borrow it. They might even be happy to dress nicely and chauffeur you around, which is a lovely way to make your day personal and special. The downside to this plan is that if things go wrong, you might not have a back up. Contact a taxi company and book a taxi on stand-by in case of emergencies for peace of mind.
Once you’ve found a car you like, go and see it in person. It’s worth the extra effort. Photographs on websites can be misleading and it also gives you a chance to see whether your fabulous dress will fit inside. If you’re providing transport for the wedding party as well, bear in mind that some cars advertised as seating 5 or six people might not be taking into account bulky bridesmaids' dresses, so choose accordingly.
Important Bits and Pieces to Watch Out For:
- If a company is offering their vehicles for a price that seems too good to be true, beware of potential problems. The company might be keeping a low price due to their hiding behind caveats you hadn’t anticipated: some companies restrict the number of hours you can hire for, or limit your mileage. Hefty ‘additional’ costs can be incurred on top of the basic price if you go over on either. Similarly, there are tales of people receiving cars that haven’t been maintained to a high standard, or that simply aren’t decorated nicely, if at all. It pays to ask as many questions as you like to get both as much information as possible, as well as ensure your own peace of mind. See Questions to Ask When Hiring Your Wedding Transport for a more complete list.
- At any company you use, you should always as ask whether they have a back up vehicle available in case the one you’ve booked breaks down on the day (which is particularly relevant if you’ve chosen a classic or vintage vehicle). You can always claim on your insurance for the failure of the company to provide a vehicle on your big day but, financial compensation won’t make up for the distress and upset caused by not having that beautiful Jaguar Mark V that your fiancé has always dreamed of.
- Prices can also rocket if your wedding is booked at peak season, so if you’re booking more than one vehicle from the same company ask if they offer a discount. Ask for a list of incidental prices up front and then compare quotes from several companies before making your final decision.
Always get written confirmation for the prices they give you, and remember it really does pay to shop around!
- Finally, remember to ask about any extras included with your transport. Find out if they’ll co-ordinate the ribbon with your colour scheme and whether they provide flowers to adorn the parcel shelf? Does the car have heating/ air conditioning? If you’ve decided on an open-top wedding car, do they provide umbrellas in case of rain? Are any food and beverages provided in the vehicle?
Good luck, and happy hunting!
If you have any further questions at all, don’t hesitate to visit our Ask An Expert Section.