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.
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
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.
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!