On a brisk December evening in the heart of Mankato, Maria and Jim Plaetz celebrated their vintage-glam-themed winter wedding.
Arrive in Style
(Above) Just think of the photo ops, as you and your beloved sail away from the ceremony in a gondola made for two
With tasty cakes to sample, sparkling wines to sip and gorgeous bouquets to choose, transportation can often take the back seat in the wedding planning process. But because you and your spouse-to-be will likely need help going from hotel to ceremony to reception, and everywhere in between, transportation is one element that shouldn’t be overlooked. Plus, with so many brides opting for unique modes of transport on the big day, there are ample options to choose from, whether you’re looking for a romantic gondola ride after tying the knot or a sleek getaway car at the end of the night.
When couples consider transportation for their wedding day, limos and charter buses are often the easy choice. They’re luxurious, can fit big groups, and radiate a special “just married” vibe. But with such a diverse selection of rides available across the state of Minnesota, why not make your transportation a focal point—a part of the day you and your groom won’t forget?
“You see the charter buses and the limos all the time,” says Ashley Ebert, owner of La vie Charmé by Simply Elegant. “Two things that are really cool are classic cars or luxury cars. One of our brides surprised her groom with a fun ride for the day, but had a driver so he could still be present and enjoy with her.”
Classic and luxury cars are also dual-purpose. Not only do they get you from Point A to Point B on your big day, but they can serve as a fantastic prop for photo ops. Classic cars like a 1962 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud can give your day a royal and romantic feel, while luxury cars like the Maserati GranTurismo from Morrie’s Heritage Car Collection lend a sophisticated, luxurious vibe.
“I love to see a beautiful garland on a classic car versus the ‘just married’ tin cans” strung from the back, Ebert says. The garland can also be repurposed in reception décor.
For a more casual take on transportation, look no further than the pedicab. These bike-taxis are a great option if you’d like to take a ride along the Mississippi River before heading into the reception, or if you’re looking for a way to ease the strain of walking around for photos.
“A lot of people like to get pictures by the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis, but there are great stops on both sides of the bridge,” says Rachelle Mazumdar, owner of Style-Architects Weddings + Events. “It can take a lot of walking in heels, which is no fun. I like to have one pedicab for the bride and groom, one for the photographer and one for the videographer, and just cruise from photo stop to photo stop.”
Plus, with Twin Town Pedicabs’ hourly rate of $30, this fun and functional option won’t break the bank.
For mass transit with a twist, try a trolley. These classic rides also make for great photo ops, whether it’s the wedding party posing in front of the trolley or a romantic snap on the conductor’s platform with your groom.
“Folks really enjoy our trolleys because they fit into a lot of different themes, whether it’s vintage or something more whimsical,” says Chad Peterson, owner of Renee’s Royal Valet – Limos, Coaches & Trolleys. “They fit many different options for something unique and memorable.”
Trolleys are also a great way to provide transportation for your wedding guests from the ceremony to the reception space, or back to their hotel at the end of the night.
Dreaming of a chariot fit for a princess? Look no further than a horse-drawn carriage, for an unforgettable Cinderella moment.
“The horse-drawn carriage can make for great photos,” Ebert says. “I see the groom grabbing the bride’s hand at the first-look photos or riding off together after the ceremony.”
Johmar Farms offers a number of elegant carriage options, including a glamorous and appropriately named Cinderella Carriage, a large wagonette that can accommodate the entire wedding party, and reindeer sleigh rides during the winter season.
“If you rented a chauffeured classic car or a horse-drawn carriage, you could have people ride in it or take photos with it during cocktail hour,” Mazumdar says.
Trips and Dips
Got your head in the clouds? Grab your groom and take flight in a romantic helicopter ride over the Twin Cities. Jet-setting for just the two of you after your “I do’s” can be a great way to have some alone time before dancing the night away; the gorgeous views keep that floating-on-air feeling going, too.
Minnesota Helicopters, which offer a variety of ride packages, have experience working with newlyweds. One piece of advice: You, your groom and the glam ball gown you’re wearing may not fit comfortably in the helicopter, so unless your dress is a sleeker silhouette or you’re willing to make an outfit change, a helicopter ride may be snug.
Boat-loving brides can glide their way on the water in a variety of ways, whether it’s floating up to the ceremony space on a pontoon, holding a Lake Minnetonka reception on a yacht or taking a peaceful gondola ride on the St. Croix River with your groom.
“Taking a gondola ride is a fabulous way to decompress after getting married,” says John Kerschbaum, owner of Gondola Romantica in Stillwater. “The boats are very relaxing—when people come back, you have to peel them off the seats.”
Gondola Romantica’s two gondolas were both made in Venice and can hold up to seven people, which would work well if you’d like to give your wedding party a ride, too. Love the idea but don’t think you’ll have time during your busy day? They also serve as a great wedding gift (add to your registry!) or can be fun for a mini-moon or honeymoon activity.
Impress Your Guests
Don’t forget your guests! If your ceremony, reception and hotel are in different spots—or cities—providing transportation for guests is a nice gesture that they’ll surely appreciate.
“Sometimes couples will order buses for guests to use, and then people don’t end up using them,” Mazumdar says. “If you want to provide transportation for your guests and not have to pay for it if they choose not to use it, UberEVENTS can be a great option for large groups.”
This service allows you to create an account for your wedding, distribute a promo code or custom ride-pass link, which guests can use if they want a ride home. You only pay for the rides they take, which can be a great and potentially cost-saving option, especially since most coach buses have three- to four-hour minimums.
“If you’re going to get transportation, put some thought behind it,” Mazumdar says. “If you’re just looking for function, then do something less expensive. But if you’re going to do something unique, then go the extra mile and really make it special.”
Top Transportation Tips
- Book early. Because some transportation options have a limited fleet, you’ll want to make sure you can get your preferred vehicle for your big day.
- Double-check capacity. “Some people will go online and see ‘24 passengers’ and book sight unseen, but that doesn’t [necessarily] really reflect comfortable seating,” says Ashley Ebert, owner of La vie Charmé by Simply Elegant. “If you’re going to bring props or a cooler, you need to think of that. Give yourself 10 to 20 percent more room so people can sit comfortably.”
- Consider cancellation policies. “Some vendors are more flexible than others, and some book back-to-back,” says Rachelle Mazumdar, owner of Style-Architects Weddings + Events. “If you want a Rolls Royce from 1 to 3 p.m., then change your mind to have from 2 to 4 p.m., it may not be available.”
- Use time wisely. “The more time you book, the lower the hourly rate gets,” Mazumdar says. “It may be cheaper to book for the full day rather than have separate reservations throughout the day.”
- Ask questions. For example: What will it cost? Is the gratuity included? And so forth. “Ask a lot of questions if you’re not sure of something,” Ebert says. “Walking people through the process is part of the vendor’s job, and if they’re not up front or they make you uncomfortable, it could be a sign they’re not a seasoned professional.”
- Work with established vendors. “If you’re working with a newer company, they may not know the streets as well, including where there will be construction,” Ebert says. “Getting from A to B is super-important.”
Brainerd Helicopter Service
Gary’s Collector Car
Marine on St. Croix
Renee’s Royal Valet – Limos, Coaches & Trolleys
Silver Rolls Royce
Stillwater Trolley Co.