Two weeks ago, Echo Limousine guest blogged with advice on choosing your wedding day transport, and I wanted to share my first-hand experience on how this went at the Reflective Wedding and – of course – how it turned out. Their article struck a cord with me, because as they mentioned the transportation decision is one that often gets put off until the last minute… and that was certainly the case with us! We, too, were caught up in the fun of designing wedding cakes, choosing menus and compiling reception playlists to worry about booking transport. But that wasn’t the only reason we let things slide…
It’s hard to believe, but selecting the wedding day transport for our bridal party was actually the most stressful decision in our planning process. These were the main reasons for our stress:
• With our beach wedding, any transport would need to drop us off about 50 meters from our tree-surrounded spot on the shore, so no one would actually see us arrive. As the bridal party would be staying behind at the beach for photos while our guests headed to the cocktail hour, our guests also wouldn’t see us depart. And with our resort reception venue, the cocktail hour would take place on the second storey – so, again, no one would see us arrive. What then was the point of spending a lot of money on a fancy car that no one would see? The only positive would be a photo opportunity, but neither of us are into cars enough that we desperately needed an automobile snap.
• The Reflective Groom and I discussed then whether we should in fact spend no money on a car, and simply have a family member or friend drive the bridal party to the ceremony. But did we know anyone who had a nice enough car? Sure, no one would see it, but I still didn’t want to arrive to our special day in my sister’s red Toyota or my dad’s SUV, and didn’t want to risk any bridal party member’s outfit getting dirt smudges from a car that’s not so clean. Also, at a popular beach on a long weekend, it’s likely whoever would be driving would have to go some distance – and take some time – to park, so that person would have to miss out on the first part of the ceremony, which is a bit much to ask of family and friends. So then we’d have to ask someone to drive us, who is close enough to do us the favor, but not close enough that they would be offended not to have gotten an invite to the wedding. This was starting to sound complicated.
• For alternative transport, there were no horse-drawn carriages available locally, nor were kitsch options like old school buses or vintage trolleys. Although we were getting married by the water, it would be difficult to pull up on a sandy beach (without ruining our outfits) and the reception venue – also the place we were getting ready – was nowhere near the water, so there would be no place to board.
• Our bridal party consisted of the bride and groom, three bridesmaids and the best man. I had read that when calculating how much space you need in the bridal party car, the bride should count as two if she has a large dress or one that could wrinkle easily. (Tick for both!) So that would mean that in a regular five-seater car with driver, there would only be space for me and two bridesmaids; one would have to travel earlier with the boys. And what about my father giving me away? Yes, there would be a spare spot in the first “boys” round, but that would be three adults squished in together in the back seat. The easy solution of course, would be to hire a limousine for the day. But…
• As mentioned previously, my groom and I are from different countries. And while limousines for weddings are perfectly normal for me, in his culture limousines are the height of tackiness and there was no way he was turning up on his wedding day in a limousine. And don’t even get him started on any kind of hummer, especially a stretch one.
• My suggestion instead was to book a stretch vintage car. But those were really rare, and therefore really expensive, and why spend all that money when no one is actually going to see us arrive or depart on it? And so it went on, around in circles… It was like the wedding version of “there’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza”.
In the end, not making a decision forced us into a particular decision – the only transport left for our wedding date were the white five-seater sedans with a local limousine company.
The pluses of our decision? As most people do want something fancier on their wedding day the price was less than half that of a limousine, and it satisfied my criterion of having a clean and nice-enough car to arrive in. Another plus was that it came with a company-provided driver, in full chauffeur costume, who helped me and my massive dress get in and out of the car. They even included ribbons on the front of the car in the color of our choice, and rolled out a small red carpet for us on our arrival.
Down sides? We did indeed have to send one bridesmaid ahead with the guys (I would have loved to have her with me), and my father had to meet me by the car when we arrived for the ceremony (I didn’t mind this at all, but never asked him what he expected for the day). For transporting us all to the reception, the bridesmaids and groomsmen went together in the first trip (perfect fit with four people), and my groom and I went later once we’d finished the photo shoot snaps with just the two of us. We took a couple of pictures with my groom and me by the car, but being just a white sedan, these snaps are definitely not the ones taking pride of place on our mantle piece. And indeed, no one but the bridal party saw the car.
All in all, things went smoothly on the day with the bridal party transport – much smoother than the planning! However, I definitely share the sentiment of Echo Limousine: book early to avoid ending up with fewer choices. At the same time, be realistic about what you can afford, and what is needed for your location and bridal party size.
What kind of transport have you decided on for the bridal party on your wedding day? What factors led you to that decision? Join in next week as we look at Before and After: Guest Transport.