What you need to know to get to the ceremony and reception in style.

If you're used to riding around in a car that gets good mileage but rarely get admiring glances from passersby, you'll be in for a treat when you rent a luxury ride like a limo or vintage set of wheels on your wedding day. But selecting transportation requires more thought than just aesthetic preferences. Follow our directions on hiring your perfect ride.

Don't: Put off booking.

Reserve your cars at least four to six months before your wedding, or as soon as you've nailed down the date and venues. As with any vendor, if you wait until the last minute, you may not get your first choice. It's especially true if the vehicle you want is in limited supply, such as a vintage Rolls-Royce. Reserve even earlier if you're marrying at a peak time for renting limos like prom season. Get referrals from recently married friends and family, and check that whomever you hire is fully licensed and insured and has an excellent safety record.

Do: Offer rides to the bridal party.

Besides being a great bonding experience, riding together also guarantees you all arrive at the ceremony at the same time. Think of it as a red-carpet moment when you and your girls step out of a grand car or limo in front of your adoring fans (that would be your family and friends!).

Do: Consider shuttling guests.

If you're marrying in an urban area where public transportation is available to your wedding venues or everyone is local and won't have a problem getting to and from the party, providing guest transportation isn't necessary. But if your wedding is in a remote location or is far from where the out-of-towners are staying, it's a thoughtful gesture to offer rides. Plus, guests will be able to imbibe in your signature cocktails safely.

Don't: Forget to get a head count.

Since you'll need to know if 15 or 50 guests would like a ride, add a line to your RSVP cards asking who's interested in day-of transportation. The number will also influence which mode of transport-a trolley, school bus, van-best fits the size of your crowd.

Don't: Be surprised that most car companies charge a minimum.

Most require a three- or four-hour minimum and charge by the hour. Ask about any available packages, which may be more affordable. An example: A three-hour package that includes transportation for the bride and groom to the ceremony in separate cars and then together to the reception. If you want the car to pick you up at the end of the reception, you'll pay for all those hours when the driver is waiting for you.

Do: Ask about discounts.

Some hotels and transportation companies work together, and if you book a certain number of hotel rooms, you may be entitled to a discount on limos and other vehicles.

Do: Read your contract before signing.

The agreement should list all the details-hourly and overtime rates, cancellation and gratuity policies, deposit due date, types, color, and number of vehicle you'll be renting, and pickup and drop-off times and addresses.

Do: Be prepared to tip the drivers.

Whether it's a limo or a van, it's customary to give the driver a tip. But check your contract ahead of time to see if a tip-usually 20 percent of the base price-has already been added.

Do: Make an exciting getaway.

Consider unusual leave-the-ceremony transportation that works with the style of your wedding: a lobster boat, bicycle, vintage motorbike, snowcat (this won't work on a beach!), Vespa, motorboat, horse (with or without a carriage), golf cart.


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