Who knew the Wedding car hire business was one to navigate with such care?! Jenny Phipps from Ridgmont Car Classics provides all brides with valuable advice on how to make sure the car you pay for is the car you get on your wedding day!
“Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, and half shut afterwards” – Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
In days of yore, the blushing bride was taken to the local chapel in her fathers’ pony-driven cart. The cart would be decorated with flowers or ribbons to make it look a little bit special since it had been used the day before (and every single day before that) in the fields.
If a girls’ dad wasn’t a farmer and there was no access to said pony and cart, she would walk to her local church or chapel – and when the happy couple had tied the knot, they would walk on to the village hall for their reception, to be greeted by friends, family and neighbours, several of whom had been hard at work making sandwiches and brewing tea so that everyone was fed and watered, and the newlyweds had been provided with their wedding breakfast.
One of the loveliest and most meaningful weddings I attended in recent years was when my old schoolfriends’ eldest daughter got married, in a Somerset village. In honour of old tradition the bride walked from her parents’ house to her local church, then afterwards the entire wedding party walked from the church to the village hall. The weather was kind that day and the journey wasn’t terribly long. I was able to walk and chat with my old friend as the wedding party weaved its way down the road, several ladies tottering on their high heels as we made our merry way.
However, most couples need other means of transport than by foot, as the perfect ceremony and reception venue are not always in walking distance! The modern mode of wedding day transportation has become as important as ever. Everyone has their own idea of their perfect transportation, and wants to be driven in style.
There are so many modes of transport available to couples that the choice is bewildering…. There are modern cars, Vintage cars, Classic cars, boats, helicopters, Stretch Hummers, camper vans, or for the really alternative take, “his” and “hers” paddle boards!
Once the tough decision is made on what kind of wedding transportation you would like on your big day, there’s unfortunately a few more steps in the process. Sourcing it. Typing “Pink Cadillac” into Google, contacting various wedding car hire companies, and trying to find the right car at the right price is work. But most importantly it doesn’t always leave you in safe hands.
I hate to talk about things going wrong, when a wedding day should be one of celebration, love, happiness and general pink fluffy wonderful stuff, but I feel I would be ducking my responsibility as one of the good guys if I didn’t use this platform to point out a few truths.
Sadly, there are people out there who just want to take your money and have no intention of providing the car you think you have booked. When your wedding day arrives and the car that turns up bears no resemblance to the one you booked – and have paid for – the wedding car operator will refer you to their Terms & Conditions.
The thing is that all wedding car companies contain the same sort of clause within their Terms & Conditions to protect them, in the instance of a vehicle breakdown or other mechanical faults or failures. This happens to all wedding car operators, so despite the fact that all cars are checked regularly, and rigorously so just prior to a wedding, these things can happen. Hence the clause in our Terms & Conditions.
An honourable hire company will provide a substitute car on the day if the worst happens and inform their client accordingly. They try to send a replacement that is as close in make, model and colour to the one originally booked, and occasionally a superior car is sent, at no extra cost to the client. Thus, this clause in the small print is there to protect both client and supplier, but is also used by some to get out of providing what they have sold.
Sadly, no one can expect to tell good from bad when dealing with the provider of their wedding car (particularly on email or telephone), but please take note of the following advice which I sincerely hope will prove valuable.
· Expect to pay a deposit, but if the company asks you for the entire fee up front, be suspicious.
· Avoid any company that boasts a “nationwide service”.
· Avoid call centres.
· You have every right to view the car before you book. Be ready to have to travel, and be willing to make an appointment, but be suspicious if the provider is reluctant or unwilling to let you see the car. They should be happy to show it off!
· Search for reviews against your chosen company. Don’t be put off by the occasional bad one – so long as the good vastly outweigh the bad! Some unscrupulous people make up their own reviews but these are usually “too good to be true” and very gushing with praise.
· Go local if you possibly can. You will be more likely to receive a personal service.
Your wedding day should be just as you pictured it, arriving in style, with the transportation that you have always imagined. By taking this simple yet useful advice, I hope that you will be able to navigate the slightly murky waters of wedding car hiring and have the perfect car to your perfect day.
I will leave you with some words that mean a lot to me; my husband quoted them at the end of his speech on our daughters’ wedding day.
“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make” (Lennon/McCartney)
This blog post was written by Jenny Phipps at Ridgmont Classics based locally in Bedfordshire. Contact her to find out more about hiring your perfect wedding car.