My efforts to help my stressed friend Barbara prep for her upcoming nuptials continue. Her plea: “I want to arrive in style!”
“We have a white wedding trolley, the ‘Felicity,’” said Erica Frost with Old Town Trolley Tours (619-298-8687). “It’s a propane-powered trolley on wheels, so it goes all over San Diego. It seats 22, and it can be used for pretty much anything the bride or groom would require. It’s great — you can see the people in it, and you can stand up in it, and there’s plenty of room for the bride’s dress. The inside is decorated with basic flowers and fairy lights, but some brides dress it up with their own colors. On the back is a little platform, and there’s a sign that says ‘Congratulations.’”
If you’d like to use the trolley only for a photo shoot, “You can book it for just one hour, which is $410. After that, the booking minimum is three hours at $275 an hour. Those rates include everything — tax, fuel, and gratuity” …and a tuxedoed driver and red-carpet rollout for passengers.
Michael Gunnerson of Rolls Livery (619-518-7655) took me through his lineup of classic rides. “We have a 1969 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow formal limousine. It’s a stretch — four inches longer than the standard Silver Shadow. It’s intended for just the bride and groom — there’s a privacy divider. If you want more passengers, we have a 1967 Silver Shadow that will carry eight. The exterior is still antique on that one, but the interior has been updated: stereo and CD player, TV with VCR/DVD player.”
I was tickled by the pink ’55 Cadillac Fleetwood limo. “That will accommodate six passengers,” said Gunnerson. “There are seats that fold out from the front seat to make a third bench. It’s great for photos, and since it’s a couple of feet longer than a regular Cadillac, there’s even more of that classic boat-ride feeling.”
Prices range from $175 for single cars, up to $1900 for multiple cars, with many options in between. “At weddings, all these cars come with red-carpet service, a Champagne or sparkling-cider toast, and a tuxedoed chauffeur.”
I pushed back even further into history. Heather Parker, owner at Carriages of San Diego (619-390-8255), told me that the company’s wedding carriage was “all white on the outside, decorated with silk flowers, and drawn by a white horse. It can fit with a modern wedding while still feeling old and romantic. Some brides will want their florists to decorate the carriage. We once had a florist for a bride. She wanted no flowers, just bows on the horse. That was fine; we try to customize where we can — once we had our drivers wear fringed jackets for a western-themed wedding.”
The carriage, said Parker, “is ideal when the venues for ceremony and reception are close together. Usually, we’ll meet the bride and bring her to the ceremony. Then, after the ceremony, we’ll take the bride and groom for a short ride while everyone else transitions to the reception. This gives the bride and groom a bit of time to relax and talk to each other — it’s the first time they’ve been able to talk all day, and it will be the last until after the reception. And it gives the photographer time to take lots of pictures. Then we bring the bride and groom to the reception for their grand entrance.”
The company also offers a cream-colored wagon. “It can be used to carry the wedding party or to give rides to guests.” Rates depend on location and range and run from $550 to $1000. “Typically, we’re there for about two hours, but if someone wanted us to give rides to guests, we could stay for four hours.”
Finally, I looked into a limo bus. Russ Van Huizum at Top Dog Limo Bus (858-581-3644) said he was one of the first to bring a bus to a bridal bazaar. “At first, it didn’t get the reception I was hoping for. But now it’s one of the hotter tickets for wedding transportation because people can fit their whole families. It’s convenient for keeping people together in a group — especially if you have a separate location for photos. We have leather seating for 28 to 30 people, a granite-top bar, adjustable lighting, and stereo. And we can take out the dance pole, which is nice when you’ve got Grandma on the bus.” Average cost is $140 to $160 an hour.