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Choosing Limousine Services for Your Wedding Day
. . . Organize Well and Travel in Style
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The well-organized bride will pay as much attention to selecting and arranging for her wedding day transportation as she does to all the other details which will be a part of making her special day perfect. As always, making some basic decisions and then asking some important questions will help to make the process run more smoothly and yield the most satisfactory results.

Begin by deciding how many vehicles you will need.
The basic "package" which most brides choose includes transportation . . .
. . . to the ceremony for the bride and her dad
. . . to the ceremony for the bride's mother and any children in the wedding party
. . . to the reception venue for the bride and groom
. . . to the reception venue for attendants
. . . to the reception venue for the bride's parents
. . . return transportation from the reception venue for all of the above
If the budget allows, additional transportation may be provided for special guests, grandparents, or anyone else you wish to treat.

Next, get a list together of prospective companies with whom you will wish to talk. Ask your friends and family for recommendations. Call the local Better Business Bureau to check on complaints which may have been lodged. Check references with your other wedding service providers. Being in the business gives them a heads up on both good and bad references. When you interview the companies on your list, ask them to provide you with references. If their reputations are good, they should be eager to accommodate your request.

Check out ads in the Yellow Pages and look on the Internet at regional sites. Take everything you have heard into consideration. Cull your list and then make your calls.

When making your decision you will need to keep in mind several criteria. Of those, dependability is first and foremost. Nothing else will matter if the vehicles don't show up on time, or don't follow prearranged plans. It's perfectly appropriate for you to ask questions when you "interview" the prospective businesses and get their feedback. These are the things which need to be discussed:

1. Number, Size and Type of Vehicles
What types of cars, limousines, vans (or other) does the company offer?
Keep in mind that vehicles today run the gamut in terms of their style and the numbers of people they can accommodate. There are six, eight, ten, and more passenger vehicles. Ask how many passengers each type of vehicle will hold comfortably and discuss what vehicle options are available (e.g., stretch van, stretch limo, stretch SUV, standard limo, Rolls Royce, vintage car). Don't be embarrassed to ask about color and don't assume that your vehicle will be a particular color, unless you have contracted for it. Vehicles come in any number of colors which include white, gray, navy and black.

2. Condition of the Vehicles
Before you're ready to sign a contract, ask to see the actual car(s) you will be renting and ask for that information to be included in your contract. You should note the year, model and color of the vehicle. Wedding vehicles get lots of wear and tear, so make certain that your particular vehicles are in good condition (both inside and out). If you possibly can, visit the company before you sign a contract.

3. Vehicle Operators
The drivers of your wedding vehicles will be carrying precious cargo, so you are perfectly within your right to ask some pointed questions and see proof of the answers of you receive. Are the operators all licensed for limo./van transportation? Have they any outstanding citations? What level of professionalism does the company require for the chauffeurs whom they hire? Inquire as to how the drivers will be dressed. Formal dress is appropriate for a formal wedding.

4. Cost
Whatever you do, do not make your decision based on price alone. The standard in the industry is that price is based on time, either per hour, or by package (several hours). Some companies also base price on distance. You will need to know what the overcharges are if you exceed the allotted time.

You will need to include tips to the drivers into your budget. Sometimes tips are included in the price quoted. If not, 15% is customary and 20% may be given for really good service.

Ask about discounts and packages. Some companies will offer a deal if you also book for pre or post wedding parties (e.g., engagement, rehearsal dinner, bachelorette, bachelor, etc.) and some discount prices when quantity increases.

Some transportation companies include goodies like complimentary champagne, stocked bar and red carpet. Some customize their packages with a "Just Married" sign (with the bride and groom's names) and decorations to match wedding colors. You will need to ask about these special packages and make certain, when comparing costs, that the freebies are really that.

Once you have made your decision, enumerate all the details and have them written into your contract. It's up to you to provide directions, especially if the company isn't local and familiar with the area(s) where you will be traveling. Send the company written, detailed instructions that include all pick up and drop off points, times of pick up and drop off, and if you can, include driving time. The effort will be worth your having peace of mind.

Finally, before your special day, call the company you have selected, review and confirm all the details. Reconfirm your reservation the week before the wedding and make sure the company has your schedule and directions. Your Best Man is the perfect choice of someone to be responsible for making sure that all members of the wedding party (including parents and close family) have transportation.

Remember that good organization and planning will reward you in the end. Sit Back and Relax. Happy Traveling!

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