Getting Married – How to arrive in style

South Asians weddings tend to have guest lists that easily reach up to 400 or more guests, so we think its safe to assume you won’t be saying “I do” on a beach somewhere. The festivities will probably take place at a beautifully decorated venue with all the traditional touches. Why not splurge a little and go beyond the conventional route to arrive in style?

Arriving at your wedding can be done in almost any possible way. Some of you may make your grand entrance riding a horse or an elephant. Others may want to add some creativity and there is no limit to your options. From a classic Rolls Royce to a stretch Hummer, from a horse-drawn carriage to a helicopter ride, the choices are endless. You may decide to go with the traditional limo or even decorate your dad’s beat-up old station wagon with streamers, a “Just Married” sign and some dangling cans. Let’s be honest though, after spending thousands on getting this day off without a hitch, do you really want to travel to the tune of some beat up old cans hanging off your bumper?

“With all the planning and pre-wedding travel, I completely overlooked the way we would arrive,” says Asiya Javed from New Jersey. “When we began planning our wedding we both lived in different cities. Throughout the year we were so busy shuttling back and forth between our homes and thinking about where the wedding would be that we never even stopped to think about how we would get there. In the end we all rode in our regular old cars minus the decorations or the fan fare. Although everything else was perfect, I still look back and wish we had splurged for a luxurious 1940’s Cadillac Fleetwood Limousine or a 1960’s Bentley. Instead we arrived in a 1989 Honda Civic hatchback!”

First things first
Rolls, limo, or horse, space should be your first factor when choosing what to rent. If the car will be transporting several people there should be enough room to accommodate everyone with as little congestion (and wrinkles) as possible. If you decide on an antique car don’t forget to take into account heating and air conditioning depending on the season and time of day.

Decorating the car is an old tradition that adds a touch of festivity to the occasion although sometimes it just turns in to a silly way to embarrass the newlyweds. Special car decoration kits can be found at party supply stores. They will include everything from plastic streamers to the ‘Just Married’ sign. Remember; never attach decorations to the surface of the car with clear cellophane tape because it can strip the paint.

Who to take along for the ride
In traditional North American weddings, the affair starts off in style with the bridal party arriving for the ceremony. In South Asian weddings this could include everyone from your father’s cousin once removed to your next-door neighbor. You definitely don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by leaving them out so it might be best to only take immediate family. Grandparents, parents, and siblings should be the first choice. If you opt for a fleet of limousines, then you can accommodate everyone that wants to go along.

Remember to have the same or a separate limo sent to pick up the groom’s family and close relatives when its time for the baraat to arrive.

If a car just for two is being rented, it’s always nice to make sure that the bride and groom’s parents don’t have to drive themselves to the ceremony (unless they really want to). Perhaps a relative or close friend can be designated for this job.

Additionally, when deciding on the venue, remember to check on parking facilities. If only street parking is available you will need to contact your local police department to ensure that guests won’t wind up with a parking ticket as a wedding favor! If possible, include a map and directions with parking information noted on it in the wedding packet.

And we’re off
For chauffeur driven cars, the driver normally waits at the ceremony to drive the newlyweds to the reception. If budget permits, he or she will return to drive them to their hotel or home. If not using a chauffeur, be sure that a designated driver is available for the final ride home of the evening.

A great choice for many families, especially if there are a lot of out of town guests, is to rent some form of mass-transit. An old-fashioned double-decker bus, a trolley car or even a touring coach is a neat option. Just make sure that everyone is ready on time so no one person is holding everyone up. Don’t forget that guests will still need a way to return home or back to their hotels.

Planes, trains and automobiles
When you start to think about your arrival don’t be afraid to get creative. The way you enter will not only leave a lasting impression but also reflect your personality and the theme of the wedding. If you are having that beach wedding you won’t want to arrive in a horse-drawn carriage but a speedboat could be lots of fun.

The groom’s arrival on a horse or even an elephant is a common tradition, but what about the bride’s grand entrance? How about arriving to your wedding Mughal style? Picture four strong men dressed in traditional kurta pyjamas carrying you in a beautifully crafted dholi. Your entourage is led by a procession of family and friends dancing in the street. What says style better than that? Or you may fulfill your Cinderella fantasy by arriving in a horse-drawn carriage. These are both practical and fun options. Get even more creative and have family and friends decorate your dholi or carriage in keeping with your wedding theme.

The normal mode of arrival is still by car. When people think of wedding cars the first thing that comes to mind is a stretch limo. Limos have definitely come a long way but there are other options that can create just the right arrival affect. Old-fashioned vehicles such as a Rolls Royce, Packard or Bentley are a lavish alternative. They can even be an elegant lead car to a fleet of limousines carrying family and friends.

If the fast and furious is more your style, then choose from a range of sports cars such as a Porsche, Ferrari or Corvette. For the sake of the bride we would not recommend a convertible unless she has doubled up on the hair spray!

Black or white seem to be the conventional colors of choice when it comes to wedding cars however these days they are available in a rainbow of colors. Personal favorites or perfectly coordinated colors are options but make sure you give the color good consideration. A pink Cadillac may be your dream car but may not go well with your groom’s custom made emerald green outfit.

By Seema Shah

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