Planz schmanz – Wedding (the limousine)

Posted on December 31, 2008

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Updated Jan 6 2010: Michele with our limo on our wedding day. Late guests in background not included.

One of the simpler aspects of my wedding is picking the car company. Believe me, just looking at the list Michele and I have finally drawn up (after much debate, grief and an abrupt 15 minute stand off that culminated in an unemotional gorging of Subway cookies) a rather exhaustive list of what’s what, who’s who, when’s that and every other possible permutation of the fabled 5W1H.

Until recently, the idea of paying $1000 for a chauffeured limousine was met with ridicule and scorn from a very budget-conscious wallet. Companies out there – and there are heaps – charge an arm and a leg just to drive people around in a fancy car that looks like a page out of a science-fiction story. If you’ve actually been in a stretch limo, you’ll know what I mean.

Michele and I have done a bit of research on limousines and have even been into a few, but it simply boiled down to economics. If you’re paying $1000 for three or four hour on Melbourne roads, you’re either:

a) Extremely stupid,
b) Extremely wasteful,
c) All of the above.

What’s more shocking is, most companies start their clock when they leave their premises en route to the bride’s place. Well knock me over with a feather boa, but there’s no way in hell we’re paying another $150 for half an hour of service.

Lame attempt at humour aside, I was pleased to have had dinner with a dear friend of mine from university days. Monica had gotten married last year and she could not stop gushing over Classic and Prestige Car Hire’s attention to detail. As we chatted over spanish tapas, I learnt that her wedding day had many highlights, but the car company’s service left an indelible impression on her.

Turns out, it’s run by a family who drives a fleet of white Rolls Royce Silver Clouds. John Gordon and his wife are the drivers themselves and just so happened they weren’t booked out on our wedding day. I’m sure they’ve got a couple of part-time drivers as well, but don’t quote me on that.

Not only was I impressed with John’s attitude over the phone, he treated every phone call or email as a paying customer. A rare commodity these days. Michele had spoken to him in the earlier parts of December and I had not followed up on it. An email sent just two days ago reiterating certain parts of the conversation (minus our wedding reception and an effusive apology for not following up since he came highly recommended) was met with a response that indicated John had not only written down every detail of our wedding in the conversation few weeks prior (Michele must have filled him in), he also dissuaded us hiring two Rolls Royce (as we have initially planned).

It’s simple. There’s no point in hiring two Roll Royce(s?). While it looks really pretty on the roads (the first car with the bride and family in it, the second with the bridesmaids. The boys will make their own way there.), come photo time the newlyweds will only be posing in front of one car. It’s simple economics. Common sense prevails and I saw the error of my ways. I was also impressed with John’s honesty – he wasn’t in the business to make a quick buck and seem very keen on emphasizing quality over quantity.

And quality, for once, doesn’t come any better than this. John quoted us $375 for three hours of usage. Timing starts when the bride is picked up, so we end up not paying more for John’s drive to our home. It should take about 45 minutes to get to our reception, and as Michele and me pledge our undying love to each other, the car (and driver) waits patiently outside for us. We return about an hour later with about an hour left for photo taking. Perfect. I cannot have asked for anything more.

I’ll find time over the next weeks to write about other aspects of our wedding. While some were easy, it’s the difficult ones that have you asking yourself “Why am I getting married? It’s not worth all this hassle!”

Image from ClassicandPrestigeCarHire.com.au

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Posted in: Wedding