1. Don’t limit yourself.
Okay, let’s say you’re the traditional types who just can’t bear the thought of speeding off in anything that doesn’t come with a mini-bar — your local limousine service has the souped-up options to roll away in that you’re looking for. Test-drive everything from the classic white Rolls-Royce (seats 2) to the stretch SUV (seats 22) to the super-luxe limo-bus (seats dozens). And while we’re breaking the rules, who says your getaway vehicle has to be white? A shiny, black limo offers the high-society, I’m-with-the-President look.
2. Go all the way.
Many transportation companies offer more than just the wheels and will pull out all the royal stops for you and your groom, what they call the “wedding package.” Often you can find the “red-carpet treatment” where the driver literally rolls out a red carpet (that’s right!) to the door. You can also request that your favorite romantic comedy or your make-out CD be cued up bridal boutiques in the car’s entertainment center. And many companies will stock the vehicle with chilled champagne and caviar. But just when you think you’ve hit the ceiling of ultimate luxury, you can ask for one more thing…the horn that toots “Here Comes the Bride.” Now that’s class.
3. Keep an open mind.
Where in the bridal rulebook does it say that you have to leave your reception in a limo? (How many times do we have to tell you to throw that old book away?) We can think of scads of other options that’ll zip you off in style. You can go for something with personality — a VW Microbus (think Haight-Ashbury and free love, baby!); a Harley-Davidson with sidecar (straddling anything in a gown is just plain tacky); or an old-school trolley (it’s not just a San Francisco treat). Or slip into something a little more Beverly Hills — a cherry-red Lamborghini, a jet-black Camaro SS, or a silver BMW Z3 roadster.
4. Save in sneaky ways.
The great thing about wedding-day transportation is that it’s the part of planning where you can save the most, and still ride in ultra-posh style. For example, think about a one-trip wonder. If you’re making a grand entrance, rent a vehicle for the arrival (and drive your own wheels home). On a similar note, if you’re going to take off with the whole party watching, best to get a fancy mobile for the bridal shop farewell. Pinch pennies by signing up for an hourly rate, rather than an entire evening. That way, you’ll pay for the car and driver combo only when it’s being used — and not when it’s sitting idly in the parking lot of the reception.
5. Know the owner.
Although it might not seem like a big deal, it’s a good idea to know who actually owns the vehicle you’re renting. If the transportation company you’re dealing with doesn’t have the car you’re looking for, they’ll often “borrow” a car from another vendor (and basically pay them a rental fee). Here’s where it gets sticky — since you’re one more middleman away from the wedding car of your dreams, you leave the door open for lateness or, even worse, a no-show. If you have your heart set on a particular car, you’ll be better off finding a vendor that actually owns the one you’ve got in mind.
6. Express yourself.
You needn’t feel limited to automobiles — period. For example, a horse-drawn carriage has become the option of those brides looking for an all-out Cinderella experience (a bit much, we think, but to each her own). We’re talking about a little self-propelled action: with one of you sporting “Just” and the other “Married” signs on your backs, hop into a pair of in-line skates or onto a scooter, or peddle away on a bicycle built for two.
7. Add variety.
Why be a one-car couple? In just one wedding day, you’ve got so many chances to get folks (and yourself) all revved up. If you can’t decide between the stretch Hummer and little green Beetle, choose one for the way to the wedding and one formal dresses for the way home. Don’t think that you have to get the same type of car for everyone in the wedding party — maybe indulge your attendants in some 4-wheel-drive action, but have Mom and Dad roll up in a sweet midnight-blue Porche. Show off more than just one set of hot wheels.
8. Spread the wealth.
While you’re maxing and relaxing in all-out style, let your guests in on some of the transportation fun. A luxury bus (seats 50-75) has become a popular — not to mention a super-safe — way to transport family and friends (no drinking-and-driving worries, no guests lost between the ceremony and reception). And what’s a wedding vehicle without a sign? Equip your party bus with an announcement along both sides: “We just watched Jen & Andy tie the knot!”
9. Get a contract.
We never tire of saying it: Don’t even think about hiring your transportation vendor without getting everything in writing. And we mean everything: arrival time (pad an extra 20 minutes for safety’s sake); reception departure time; addresses to and from where you’re going; the size, color, and model of the car (with the license-plate number if you’ve chosen something specific); the name of the driver you want; gratuity; plus any special requests that you have. You’ll have peace of mind — and a piece of paper — to ensure it all goes smoothly.
10. Stock the car.
When the party is over the real party will just begin, so make sure you’ve got the supplies. Enlist a bridesmaid to pack up a small after-the-festivities package for the two of you to indulge in as you make your getaway. Include something to eat because — trust us — you’ll be hungry (the more protein, the more energy you’ll have for after-hours activities); something to drink (water, soda); a comfy blanket (for snuggling); and something protective to slip on. Ahem…we were talking about slippers.