Arriving at your ceremony relaxed, unruffled, and elegantly chauffeured is the perfect way to begin the celebration that is your wedding day. We highly recommend that you make an entrance to the ceremony. There is nothing more dramatic than arriving via chauffeur just prior to your walk down the aisle.
Before designing your own entrance and exit, careful consideration of transportation for out-of-town guests is an important piece of planning that can make them feel welcome and alleviate the stress of navigating a new city or neighborhood. Letting guests know what to expect is the best way to assist them in getting where they need to be at the time they need to be there.
Here are some hints in selecting your transportation and valet services:
• Think about the style of the exit you want to have. Is it a more formal affair? Then a limousine filled with your entire bridal party is the way to go.
• How many people do you need to transport? When your wedding party is very large you may need more than one limousine. You might also consider a luxury bus.
• Transportation companies will need you to book with them for at least 2 hours. So be useful with this time. This is a great opportunity to go take some fun pictures with your wedding party off-site.
Some ideas to help guests: Make sure you enclose your directions from the ceremony to the reception. This can be a huge help to out-of-town guests that will not know the area. You could also include information for shuttle services and rental companies if you expect many out-of-towners.
Enclosures in the invitations or directions on a wedding website, if you have one, can convey routes, schedules and phone numbers for shuttle or taxi service. You can also arrange for trolley or minibus transportation, which will vary in cost depending on the number of hours needed. Luxury minibuses or coaches (seating 24 to 55) or retro-style trolleys (seating around 40) can add a bit of comfort or character to the ride as well as encourage out-of-town guests to get to know one another on the way to the wedding. If you are expecting guests to rent cars, do everything you can to get them to the wedding so they can concentrate on having a good time. Maps and drive times are helpful to send along if your wedding is a distance from the hotel or if the airport and hotel are not close to one another. Mapquest.com and the local convention and visitor’s bureau are great sources for accurate local maps. A personal touch would be to include the name and phone number of a knowledgeable, reliable person in the wedding party or family who guests can call in the event that they do take a wrong turn.
Most services will require a minimum car amount. Be sure to check into this before you book, since you don’t want to be left with a tab. Most services will have one valet for every 20-25 cars. This can be arranged by your venue or an outside valet service company. You may also want to consider a coat check service for your guests contingent on weather.
In addition to providing professional attendants who will perform added perks like walk guests from their cars to the building holding umbrellas on a rainy day, valet services can handle the behind-the-scenes details such as reserving parking permits for weddings at public sites. Image and safety are considered top priority in professional valet companies, which include uniformed, insured attendants. Most weddings will require one valet for every 20 cars, but for those with more complicated parking situations, one valet for every seven may be needed. Many can also provide coat check services if desired.
Once you’ve arranged transportation for everyone else, you can have fun planning your entrance and exit along with your wedding party’s. Our recommendation is to ride to the ceremony with your father or with both of your parents. This is a great opportunity to share a quiet moment in what will prove to be a very busy day.
Horse-drawn carriages, seating four, six or nine passengers, are ideal for weddings with ceremony and reception sites that are close together. You can also walk to the site with your guests, which enables them to steal a quick, personal moment with you before the festivities begin. Arranging for a car that will transport just the two of you from the ceremony to the reception is another way to steal another quick moment; one that’s intimate, memorable, and made for you alone.