Wedding Limos & Transportation Options
When deciding on transportation options, you need to think of (1) transportation for you and your bridal party on the day of the wedding, and (2) transportation for your guests.
Transportation for your guests
Given that on the day of the wedding, transporting your guests around will be the last thing on your mind, we advise you provide your guests with suggestions regarding transportation options well in advance. For the guests flying in from out of town, suggest a couple of car rental companies.
If you have a large number of guests flying in, you can often negotiate a group rate for your guests in advance. Call a local office of a car rental company and see if they can give you and discount or promotion. They might not be able to create a "custom" rate for you, but they in most cases can apply additional promotions, discounts and even apply coupons that you might not even be aware of.
You can also suggest your guests carpool on the day of your wedding (ask if any of your friends would be interested in coordinating this). As part of the "day program" packages that will be distributed when your guests arrive (see WeddingVenture.com's day program sample), include local taxi numbers (just to make sure that those drivers that may have had too much fun at your wedding actually got home safe).
Transportation for bride, groom and the bridal party
Depending on your wishes, budget and how far you will need to travel on your wedding day, there are a couple of transportation choices to consider:
- You can hire a limo or another type of luxury car from your local limo company.
- You can rent a luxury car from a regular local car rental company for a day and have a friend or relative drive you around.
- If you have a friend with a luxury / really cool / brand new car, you can ask them if you could use their car for the wedding day.
Hiring a car from a local limo company
This is generally a good, affordable option if you only need a car for a couple of hours and are not going to travel far. Some popular car choices to consider include:
Limos, of course, are the most traditional choice. Limos are a good option for local travel if you are going between your home, the ceremony and reception sites and all of these places are located within 30 mins of travel from each other. That is, if you are only going to need a limo for a couple of hours and are not going to travel outside the city limits, limos can be surprisingly affordable (~$200 per hour).
In fact, if you are only hiring a limo for a couple of hours, this option could be more affordable than renting a luxury car from a local rental company for the wedding day and then having a relative or a friend drive you around. Most limos also come with amenities to make your ride more fun and enjoyable (champagne glasses, napkins, music, lights, etc.).
Our advice from us at WeddingVenture.com (something one of the catering companies taught us a while back): when ordering food for your wedding, you will reserve food choices for the reception. But with all the time spent doing make-up, hair, preparing for the ceremony, etc., you will be very hungry by the time you get into the limo after a ceremony.
Order a bunch of food for yourself into the limo when you're heading from the ceremony to take some photographs before the reception of simply moving between the ceremony and the reception. Unlike your guests, you will not have time to participate in the cocktails before the ceremony and will be intolerably hungry by the time you say "I do."
- Antique and classic cars.
As an alternative to hiring a limo, most limo companies also provide antique and classic cars. Some couples consider antique cars to be a more romantic choice than limos (limos make you look like you're going to a prom, not getting married). Antique cars will also cost less (net price) than limos, but will not generally fit more than 4-5 people. Thus, if you have a large bridal party, they would need to travel in a different vehicle.
- Large vans
If you have a large bridal party that you would like to travel with you (15-30 people), limo companies can also provide you with a large luxury wedding van or even a luxury mini-bus. These, however, do not provide the same sense of luxury and exclusivity as do limos or antique cars (they may be black and shiny, but they still look like a bus rather than a luxury car), so are generally less popular than smaller vehicles.
How do I choose a limo company?
There are quite a few limo companies in the area. They all offer fairly competitive prices, have very similar vehicles (colors, makes and models), and offer the same types of amenities. So how do you choose the best one among them? Here are a couple of tips from WeddingVenture.com:
- Check if the company requires for you to hire the car for a minimum number of hours.
Some companies would require for you to pay for, say, at least 3 hours of service even if you only need the car for an hour (to travel between your home and your ceremony and reception site).
- Look for great customer service.
Before you settle on a particular company, spend some time on the phone with them asking about various details and options available. Based on this interaction, you are trying to figure out how good their customer service is. Why is this important? It's important because you want to make sure ahead of time that on your day of your wedding whether you will get timely, courteous and professional service on the day of your wedding, or if you are you going to be hopelessly waiting on the car at the curb and getting an answering machine if the limo is running late or you think they've got the wrong address.
In your interaction with them, do you like that staff's attitude and think they work like a team? Call them a few times with a couple of random questions at different times of the day: it will give you the sense of how responsive they are (you really want to make sure you can get hold of someone and now answering machine - nothing is worse than talking to an answering machine or dial a non-responding telephone number on the day of your wedding).
- See the car options for yourself.
Once you settle on a particular option or two, go to the area and actually see the vehicles for yourself. That's right, see the cars! Surprisingly, a lot of limos for hire out there are old and do not look the same way in real life as they look in the pictures on the company's website. Also, if you do like the car that is shown to you, avoid bait-and-switches and put in your contract that you are paying for this specific vehicle!
- Check which specific amenities are provided, and which ones you are expected to
In most cases, the limo companies will provide champagne flutes, napkins, utensils and plates, and ice, but will not provide the actual food and champagne. If you and your bridal party are planning to eat and drink on the way, you would need to make plans to provide the food and drinks ahead of time.
Renting a car from a local car rental company
Luxury or premium rental car from a local rental company becomes a more useful and affordable option than hiring a limo if you need to use the car for longer than 3-4 hours and/or you have to travel between your home, the ceremony and reception sites more than 30 minutes. For instance, if you live in the city, but have decided to hold your wedding in the great outdoors outside the city limits (where there are no local limo companies you could hire), you could rent a luxury car for a day at your local rental car company.
Of course, if you are going with this option, you would still need to find a chauffeur (ask a friend or a family member to be one), provide your own amenities (such as champagne flutes, for example) you desire and deal with the headache of picking up and returning the car to the rental agency in mint condition.
If your wedding is taking place several hours away from a major city or town (say, you live in Seattle, but your wedding will be taking place at Lake Chelan), also consider hiring a large van (your own mini-shuttle-express) to transport anything that you may need at your wedding that will not be provided at your ceremony and reception sites (for example, chairs for your ceremony, decorations, drinks, audio and video equipment, etc.).
Also feel free to ask your guests who will be driving to the site to help you transport some of the things you will need. Ask your friends to come to you the night before and pick up anything you may need at the wedding, or even consider hiring a separate moving company altogether (such as one of those Student Movers companies, for example).
Asking a friend to drive you
...So, do really need a limo? Many couple assume that a limo is a must-have when they start planning their wedding, but in our experience at WeddingVenture.com, surprisingly many change their opinions towards the end.
The main reason for this change in attitude is, in most cases, the growing cost of the wedding itself. After you have paid for the site, the food, the photographer and a million other things, paying hundreds of dollars more for a very short amount of time that you will actually spend inside the limo is starting to make less and less sense.
One great alternative to hiring a limo or getting a rental car is asking a friend or relative with a new and expensive car (Mercedes, Jeep, Lexus, etc.) to be your chauffer / "friend driver" for the day. To your friend, a wedding day will be much more interesting too since they will be with the wedding party most of the day - and they do not need to be a designated driver since you only need their help really during the day!
Offer them to pay for their car wash / wax / vacuum the day before the wedding. This way, you will be traveling in clean luxury and you will have a much happier driver on the day of your wedding. As a final tip, once the car is washed and vacuumed, remember to decorate it with lace, ribbons and flowers!