Booking Your Transportation

"Goin' to the chapel and we're gonna get married..." but how are you going to get there? Limousine? Vintage car? Trolley? This is one part of wedding planning that couples tend to wait until the last minute to arrange. It's a pretty important thing, so here are some tips on how to book your wedding day transportation.
Lindsay and Kevin's Wedding
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Childress Photography
When to book your transportation
The sooner the better! You should do this at least 6 months prior to the wedding, if not earlier. Depending on the time of year of your wedding, transportation companies can get booked up quickly. If your wedding is in the spring (April, May, June), prom season is in full swing so a lot of limos will be sold out on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Who needs a ride and how many vehicles to get
Before you book your transportation you will need to think about how many people you need to transport to the ceremony and reception. Typically, you will need to provide transportation for the bride and groom, bridal party, both sets of parents, any siblings not in the bridal party, and possibly the grandparents. For the ceremony, you will most likely need two separate vehicles (limo, town car, etc.), one for the bride and her party/family and one for the groom and his party/family. After the ceremony, a larger vehicle (trolley, bus, etc.) might be useful to transport everyone to the reception together.

Depending on the time and place of your ceremony, some couples also provide transportation for guests. This is not mandatory. Most couples only provide transportation to the reception for guests. A bus is a great option for this and allows guests to enjoy themselves and have a safe ride back to the hotel.

When counting the number of vehicles, be sure to factor in the space that you will need for the brides gown, veil, etc. This stuff takes up room and you may want to think about having another seat so you can spread out. You don't want to fill the car to the max, you might need that room for extra things. 

Note: If your budget does not permit, you are not responsible for providing transportation for the entire wedding party, but you do want to make sure that VIPs are going to arrive without any trouble. Just make plans to carpool prior to the wedding day and make sure everyone knows what is going on!

What type of transportation
A limo is the classic option for weddings. However, depending on your wedding party, it may not accommodate everyone comfortably. A stretch SUV, trolley or party bus might be a better suit. It all depends on what you want and what will work best for you and your budget.
Christina and Frankie's Wedding...coming soon!
Photo courtesy of mkPhoto
Timing and logistics
Before you call transportation companies, figure out your itinerary for the day. Figure out how long it takes to get to each location and add at least 10 minutes to that time to account for unexpected delays (traffic, running late, etc.). It's also recommended to add on 15 minutes so you can plan on arriving early. Calculate the total amount of time that you will need to have the vehicles for the day (pickup, driving time, waiting time, etc.). You will also want to have the addresses of each location available prior to calling as well. 

Most transportation companies charge by the hour or have a minimum rental time. Once you know this information, you will be able to determine if it makes sense for the vehicle to wait or just do a pickup/drop off. Ask if the company has any special wedding day packages. Be sure to call multiple companies to compare quotes. Also, don't forget to ask if the tax and tip are included in the total cost. 

Book it!
Once you have found the best company for your transportation needs, be sure to review your contract before signing. Verify that the date, time and locations are all correct. Make sure the number of vehicles are listed and each are rented for the appropriate amount of hours. Check if total cost includes gas, mileage, tolls, tax, gratuities and any overtime fees. Review cancellation and refund policies. Be sure to get a receipt with your deposit and check to see what type of final payment is accepted.

Note: Another thing to check for is proper insurance. Just because a company has the cheapest prices doesn't mean they are the best. Be sure that the company has legitimate licensing and insurance.

Things to remember
-Be sure to ask how the driver will be dressed the day of the wedding (tux? suit?)
-Be sure to call and confirm all details the week prior to your wedding
-Have a detailed sheet that contains directions, maps and contact numbers for each driver. You don't want to be scrambling at the last minute telling the driver how to get to the location. 
-Most companies provide extra touches such as bottled water or complimentary champagne for the couple. Ask if anything is provided, if not you may want to think about providing a small cooler of drinks for the ride. 
-If the tip is not included in the total cost, give the money to your wedding planner or a friend to give to the driver at the end of the night so you don't have to worry about it. 
-Ask your wedding planner for advice on who to hire. Most likely they will know the best companies to work within your area. 


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