One of the most overlooked aspects of planning a wedding is figuring out the transportation. It might seem simple – just get a car and go – but there are many behind-the-scenes factors in creating the perfect transportation plan. Do you want to stick with the classic limo or go more creative? Are you going to the wedding by yourself or with the whole wedding party? What about out-of-town guests? How are they getting to the ceremony? It can all seem very overwhelming, but these questions are just an example of what you as the bride should consider to make sure your trip to the aisle is just as memorable as your walk down it.
When To Book
When it comes to booking transportation, six months to a year is a good amount of time to ensure you will have the car you want to use on the day you want to use it. “As soon as the date is locked in and the church or reception is reserved, I would recommend booking transportation next,” says Chris Bonomolo, the sales account manager at Bonomolo Limousines.
Jennifer Christ, the sales and marketing manager at Audubon Limousine, agrees that it is important to book transportation early, especially if you plan to get married during a popular wedding month. “Each company is only going to have one or two of a particular vehicle,” Christ says, “so if it’s October and you want a specific vehicle, then you have to make sure you book early enough so that they will have it.”
How To Plan
A typical wedding only needs two vehicles, one for the bride and her maids and another for the groom and his men. While it’s easy to think that’s all you need, make sure to think about who’s coming to the wedding. It can be difficult to organize rides, and who wants to get stuck with the responsibility of being a chauffeur?
If you have a lot of out-of-town guests coming in for the wedding, think about how you want them to get around. Arranging some sort of shuttle can be helpful as it can take a lot of the stress off the guests, the wedding party and you and your groom.
Make sure you plan out where the guests will have to go. Do you need a shuttle to bring them from the church to the reception, or just from the hotel to the ceremony? Also make sure you ask how long it will take the driver to get from point A to point B, as this is crucial when planning your itinerary for your wedding weekend. Limo companies have different policies on times; Big Easy Limos, for instance, guarantees they can get guests from point A to point B within an hour, says Stephen Wetzel, the company’s general manager.
What To Book
While a bus is always a good option for guests, it’s fun to get creative for the wedding party’s arrival. A limo is a great wedding standard, but it’s not your only option.
One idea is a trolley. “We have begun to see a rise in reservations for trolleys for the rehearsal dinner, given the fact that the majority of the time a discount rate is applied,” says Bonomolo of Bonomolo Limousines. Whether it’s for the rehearsal dinner or to bring your bridesmaids and groomsmen to the ceremony, a trolley is a standout ride that can fit your whole party inside and will look great in pictures.
If a trolley isn’t quite your speed, Bonomolo recommends a mini bus. “This option eliminates the use for multiple limos and it’s more cost effective,” he says.
Other options include a limo bus, which strays slightly from the conventional limo. Executive Limousine of Louisiana’s limo bus holds 20 people, but the company also offers a stretch SUV if that is more your style. Audubon Limousine has a luxury sedan Cadillac, in addition to the 24-passenger limo bus they offer.
It’s also possible to have a variety of vehicles. “Some people like to mix it up by taking a limo to the ceremony and a limo bus to the reception,” says Christ of Audubon Limousine. “The bride, bridesmaids, groom and groomsmen can get to the wedding separately but then ride together afterwards.”
For style on a smaller scale, there is always the antique Rolls Royce, a wedding gem that is offered by most transportation companies in the city. If you want to ride in the Queen of England’s 1956 Rolls Royce then check out the professionally restored model Executive Limousine of Louisiana has. Big Easy Limos also has a Rolls Royce for rent, and a client can combine it with one or two limos to make a package.
While antique cars are an elegant way to ride around on your wedding day, their size can be impractical for a big wedding. “In place of a Rolls Royce we would offer the eight-person white limousine,” Christ says. “It still stands out but it’s bigger than just two seats.” Deciding on what to ride in is the beginning of the myriad of options available to a bride, and companies will work with you to decide what’s best.
Booking Your Ride
When finalizing your transportation, be sure to ask the company what packages they have. For instance, Celebrity Limousine offers three packages at various price points, but it also offers a “Create Your Own Package” option. Many other transportation companies will let you create your own package so you get exactly what you need. “The client will say what they want and we set it up,” says Dwayne Levine, the CEO and president of Executive Limousine of Louisiana, who co-owns the company with his brother, Trent Levine. “Depending on the direction the client is going in, we just see what they need and make suggestions.”
In addition to choosing a package, ask potential companies if they have a discount for less busy times. “The time slot between 5 and 8 p.m. on a Saturday is the most popular time,” says Joe Sagona, the owner of Celebrity Limousine. If your wedding is on a Friday night or during the day on a Saturday, you might be able to get a lower rate.
Finally, once you get everything booked, don’t forget to leave some room in your wedding budget for tips. Sagona says the standard gratuity in the industry is 20 percent, and that’s per driver. So, for example, if you paid $200 for one limo, you would owe the driver a $40 tip. Some companies make it mandatory, but some companies don’t, so make sure you know before you book.