Operations

How To Work With Brides On A Budget

Anne Daniells
Posted on April 12, 2017

What do you do for a wedding that has no real budget? Discover what the engaged couple really wants to know and how you can help.

Transporting wedding guests has become more common in recent years, especially with destination weddings growing in popularity. But with this comes a price tag for transportation — often in the thousands. So, if a bride or groom calls with champagne tastes and beer budgets, work the call so everyone gets most of what they want. If the budget is limited, find out what most concerns the new couple.

A desire to transport festive attendees safely may be more important, for example, than a fancy get-away car, and their priorities will determine where they spend a small budget.

In the April 2016 issue of LCT, an article provided all kinds of ways to increase the revenue from a wedding, making it an event that truly spans days with multiple little occasions from bachelor parties to rehearsal dinners. [see article pp. 20]

With less money to spend, the conversation around transportation should be a bit more collaborative. For those couples whose goal is to keep guests safe but limit spending, consider these ideas to make the cost more affordable for young couples on a tight budget. While we’re in this to make money, remember, transportation is not yet considered something that must be provided to guests. So if you offer options, it may keep this source of business coming your way.

  • Remind the bride and groom the hotel might offer a free shuttle. This may relieve them to reserve transportation for the wedding party only or take care of the specialty rides for special guests like great grandmothers.
  • Coordinate passenger-paid rides. Most couples have websites with wedding information for guests. Ask to be included on that site as an alternative for guests who want their own chauffeur or need an airport transfer. Just getting your company name on the engagement website will drive guests to you directly and cost the bride nothing, yet the guests will see their transportation needs were considered, even if they are the ones paying for it.
  • For shuttles from a hotel to a wedding site, can you forego the full hourly rate while just sitting at the venue? Sure, it’s the ideal gig as an operator, but if you own the vehicle, maybe you can charge for two less expensive transfers, buy a nice lunch for your chauffeur in-between, and still make money on the deal, especially if the wedding guests book you privately.
  • A family with limited means might actually promote your service if it means getting a discount on the wedding day. If you get a dozen airport transfers, maybe you can drop your wedding day rates by a pre-set percentage.
  • Be extremely clear about costs and overtime. State everything in the estimate, including tip. Service cost surprises are particularly unwelcome on emotionally-charged days like a wedding. Try to get the wedding planner, if there is one, involved. Even if it’s crazy Aunt Sally, that person will work to keep the costs down and people moving on time better than a chauffeur ever could if they recognize what a delay will cost.

Understand the couple’s priorities, and you may find a life-long client. A specialty getaway vehicle with champagne just for them may be all they want for photos and fun. But for the bride who is happy on a bicycle while her guests are safely transported, your cost-conscious suggestions and flexibility will be the best gift of the day.

California operator Anne Daniells has more than 25 years of experience in corporate America and the limousine industry, and once owned an LCT Operator Of The Year Award-winning limousine company. She can be reached at [email protected]

Related Topics: Anne Daniells, Ask LCT, client markets, customer service, hotels, How To, shuttle vans, special events, Trolleys, wedding planners, weddings

Anne Daniells contributing writer
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