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Wedding Car & Transport Etiquette

19th July 2013 |By | 2 Comments

Will you arrive fashionably late with your father and keep your groom waiting at the altar, or turn up on time with all your bridesmaids in tow? There’s more to booking your wedding cars than you might think. Here’s your guide to wedding car etiquette and how to make sure your wedding day travels all go smoothly.

Wedding Bus

Image from Carly & Rowan’s Brighton wedding

Booking your wedding cars is as much about budget as about timings and who goes with whom. With a few careful considerations you’ll need to work out:

  • Numbers – How many cars you need
  • Style –What kind of cars/alternative transport you’d like
  • Budget – How much you want to spend on your wedding cars
  • Passengers – Who needs to travel with whom
  • Timings – Collection and arrival times (plus extra thought given to traffic congestion)
  • Locations – Where exactly each collection address and destination will be

Rolls Royce Wedding Car

Image from Janine & Gary’s wedding in Ireland

Traditional wedding car etiquette

It’s up to you whether you choose to follow traditional etiquette or do your own thing. A combination can work well with lower budgets as you may want to arrive in a vintage car with your father and depart as newlyweds in a horse and carriage, but have everyone else travel by minicab! Here’s the traditional way: 

On the way to the ceremony:

1        The ushers travel to the ceremony together first

2        The guests start to arrive

3        The groom & best man travel together

4        The bridesmaids & mother of the bride travel together

5        The bride & father of the bride travel together

The ushers should arrive at the ceremony venue first, in order to direct guests to the correct seating, hand out orders of service and be on hand to assist with any other issues that may come up.

The groom and best man should arrive next, and with some fanfare, just after the guests begin taking their seats, followed by the arrival of the mother of the bride and bridesmaids. The bride and her father arrive last.

London Wedding Bus

Image from Ruth & Toby’s wedding in London

After the ceremony, on the way to the reception:

1        The bride and groom travel together, usually with glasses of champagne after photos are taken outside the ceremony venue.

2        The rest of the bridal party should aim to arrive at the reception ahead of the guests to ensure all is as it should be.

3        The parents should be there with the bride and groom to greet their guests on arrival.

How to decorate the wedding car

Finally, it’s a lovely tradition to decorate the wedding car with a Just Married sign, ribbons or even tin cans trailing from the exhaust! Your hired wedding car is likely to come decorated with an ivory wedding ribbon and white flowers so if you’d prefer to have something slightly different, discuss this with them well in advance. However you choose to travel to and from your wedding venues, do it in style!

Wedding Car Decorations Confetti

You’ll find lots of wedding car decorations at the Confetti shop!

Search our supplier directory to find your ideal wedding transport in your area!

Written by

Kate Thompson is the features editor and wedding expert at Confetti. A widely published lifestyle writer, she has worked in the wedding industry for 15 years and has made BBC television and radio appearances discussing wedding trends in the UK.

2 Replies to “Wedding Car & Transport Etiquette”

  1. Lenore

    How does the groom’s mother/parents get to the church?

    Reply· Jan 29, 2018 7:27am
    1. Kate Thompson

      The groom’s parents usually travel to the wedding together, sometimes this is in a bridal car and sometimes by taxi or other means of transport. Traditionally the bride travels with her father, the bridesmaids travel with the bride’s mother, and the groom travels with the best man.

      Jan 29, 2018 10:13am

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