“Limousines are the most common mode of wedding transportation. You can seat ten or more people comfortably, watch television, serve yourself from the bar, and have a chauffeur at your beck and call. Add a sunroof and a drunken best man, and you’ve got instant entertainment! A big, shiny limousine is also impressive enough to instill awe in the occupants of those traveling in regular cars who are sitting next to you in traffic.”
Fleet to hire
The type of fleet you hire all depends on your budget. If your budget is on the smaller side you may want to make some compromises and hire just one limousine. However the bride would have to be within 10 minutes of the church. The limousine will pick up the groom, bring them to the church (since the groom needs to be at the church 30mins before the bride), then go to pick up the bride and deliver her to the church. This vehicle would have to be large enough to bring the bridal party to pictures and also to the reception location. If your budget permits, you may want to rent additional limousines, for example a specialty car for the bride and groom, a parent’s car, shuttle buses for the guest to and from the hotel, etc. You may even want to consider transportation after the reception.
If you hired limousines for your guests, bridal party and parents to get to the church or reception, you need to consider how are they all returning home? If your budget is tight and you only had one car for the bridal party, arrange for other family members to bring them home. If you had a more generous budget and booked transportation for everyone to the reception, you will need to consider providing transportation for the return trip back to the hotel or their homes. It is customary in the business to provide the bride and groom with complimentary transportation after the reception to wherever their final destination may be at the end of the event.
When is the best time to book your limousines? If you are getting married during peak season (April-October), you should book sooner rather than later so you have prime selection as opposed to what is “left” on your date. Also, keep in mind that May & June is also HIgh School Prom season. It is not uncommon for a limousine to be booked up to a year and a half in advance during peak season. Typically people book limousines 9-12 months in advance.
Finding the right limo for your special day
When looking for the right limousine company for your special day, start with asking recently married friends or family members for recommendations. Another good place to start is on wedding websites to see what companies brides are recommending. Once you have a few limousine company names, always check out the Better Business Bureau to see reviews and ratings. It is recommended that you find a company that owns its own limousines since they are more likely to keep track of the maintenance of the vehicles. Another recommendation is to visit the company to see the exact car that you want to book. While you are there you should also take note of the other vehicles in the lot to see the condition the company keeps their fleet when off the road. In particular, you may want to make sure to notice if the cars are modern and up to date, shiny clean and fresh smelling? In choosing a vehicle for your special day make sure there is enough space in the limousines you are looking at to comfortably seat the number of people you need to transport? You also may want to consider how professional and knowledgeable the staff are and if they convey that they will cater to your needs? Lastly, you may also want to ask the company about their drivers. Does the chauffeur receive any special training especially for weddings and do they wear special attire?
Most limo companies charge by the hour, and depending on how far the garage is from your location will determine if the company will charge you travel time. Therefore it is in your best interest to pick a company closer to your locations. Most wedding packages start at 3 hours. At first, glance that may appear to be enough time however you have to take into consideration how far all of the locations that you need to get to are from one another. Another consideration is if there is a long break between church and reception and your picture location with your photographer. Most weddings encompass 3-5 hours worth of limousine service. Before you book with the limo company you may want to find out if there are any other details that you desire that are included in the package price and what (if any) may be the extra fees. For example, does the wedding package come with a runner for the church? Is champagne and a fully stocked bar provided in the cars? Is there a Red carpet roll out & tuxedo attired chauffeur?
Speaking of contract
Once you choose which limousine company best fits your needs get all the details of their rules, regulations and contract in fine print. Ask lots of questions as you don’t want to be thrown for a loop the day of your wedding because you did not read all the small print. The contract should state what limousine you will be getting for the date of your wedding and for the exact amount of time you reserved it for. Inquire about what happens if the car you ordered is unable to make it to your wedding for many reasons. Would you be entitled to an upgrade at no extra charge or will they refund some money back to you? One last tip is to make sure you inquire about any overtime rates should the need arise. Keep in mind that these rates are usually very high to help you and your party stay on schedule. It would be more cost effective for you to purchase a longer package before your wedding date so that you can savor each moment as your wedding day dreams unfurl.