Whether you’re arriving in style or making a grand exit, your transportation sets the scene. Ashley Gehrke and Tim Barman took an antique steam boat across Geneva Lake to their Riviera Ballroom reception (labove), while Jordan and Ethan Gale took their family’s 1968 Ford Mustang out for a post-ceremony spin (below).
When it comes to wedding details, your list of must-haves runneth over. From the perfect dress to your favorite flowers, many small details make up your big day. One aspect that shouldn’t be overlooked is transportation. Now more than ever, the possibilities are endless—and all will have guests giving rave reviews.
“We love to infuse the style of the event into every detail, including transportation,” says Andrea VandeBerg, co-owner of Cherry Blossom Events in Madison. “If someone is going for an old Hollywood theme, we’d look for a vintage car to pick the bride and groom up from the ceremony. Plus, it adds to the guests’ experience to see the arrival or departure of the couple.”
In most cases, wedding transportation provides two benefits: getting people from point A to point B and serving as a great backdrop for photos. Some options may be more practical than others, but they are all sure to add a special touch to your day.
Reinvent the Wheel
For Jordan and Ethan Gale’s wedding, taking a spin in a blue 1968 Ford Mustang was one of the highlights of their wedding day. “It’s my dad’s car, and as kids, we’d ride in the Mustang to go get ice cream. This car has so much family history for me,” says Ethan of his September 2016 wedding at the Lageret in Stoughton.
When it was time for Ethan to get married, his dad finally had the perfect reason to fix it up with a new paint job, tires and exhaust. “Ethan and his dad bonded over the whole experience,” says Jordan. And the car just so happened to boast a license plate bearing the couple’s new last name.
The vintage car was displayed before the ceremony and afterward, the couple took it for a ride. They said it was a fun conversation piece for guests, and many of them even took photos alongside the classic car.
“For Christmas that year, we blew up a photo of the Mustang that was taken by the professional photographer and gave it to Ethan’s dad for a present. He just loved it,” says Jordan.
According to Alliey Kline-Weichelt, lead planner and CEO of Sash & Bow in Green Bay, it can be difficult to find a classic-car rental business in parts of Wisconsin. “Most brides have to find friends and family who might have one,” she says. However, there are several companies in Wisconsin that rent vintage limousines and Excaliburs, one of which is Keehn’s in Milwaukee. It’s the perfect touch for an elegant wedding—and it looks beautiful in photos.
Spin for the Win
To give your wedding a truly vintage feel, look no further than an old-school bicycle. “It’s a cute way to add a group activity to the processional,” says Aytan Luck, owner of Truly Spoken Cycles in Milwaukee.
He rented out bikes to a couple for their May 2016 wedding at the Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee, next to the scenic Oak Leaf Trail. The wedding party and many of the guests joined in a bike parade down the street by the venue. Luck says their location was perfect because they chose a venue in an urban area with side streets conducive to bike traffic.
Another option for pedaling the day away is the popular Pedal Tavern in Milwaukee. Co-owner Derek Collins got in on the fun for his own June 2016 wedding. Since he met his wife Sarah on the Pedal Tavern in 2012, taking a ride with their bridal party after the ceremony was a natural fit.
“It was a riot,” says Collins. “The cool part about it was that we got to watch everyone as we sat on the back.”
Collins says that many couples who rent the Pedal Tavern for weddings do so because it holds special significance: That’s how they met.
Up, Up and Away!
For some couples, the sky is the limit—which means air travel is the way to go. Renting a hot-air balloon is logistically complicated, but the experience is unparalleled.
Jerry Teed, owner of Gentle Breezes in Sun Prairie, says he’s done three weddings in the air. “If you want the most private wedding you can find, this is it,” he says. Rides usually last an hour and Teed can fit eight people in the basket with him.
Couples considering a hot-air balloon ride need to be flexible. Wind direction and speed dictate where you take off and land. Also, the flight can only take place twice a day at sunrise to two hours after, and two hours before sunset to sunset.
“A balloon isn’t steerable; it goes wherever the wind takes us,” says Teed. “We’re also at the mercy of the weather. Mother Nature is my boss.”
A more flexible way to travel by air is via helicopter. Lakeshore Helicopter in Kenosha offers charters that can take you from your ceremony to the reception, or on a scenic tour between events. You can also arrive and depart from multiple locations on the same day.
Rock the Boat
With so many lakes in Wisconsin and reception sites that sit directly on water, traveling by boat is convenient and chic. For two hours after their September 2016 wedding ceremony at the Abbey Resort in Fontana, bride Ashley Barman and her husband Tim sailed around Lake Geneva on the Lake Geneva Cruise Line’s Steam Yacht Louise.
“Our wedding had a vintage theme, and the antique boat tied into the whole theme,” says Barman. “It added such an extra-special touch to the day.”
About 30 people joined Ashley and Tim as they enjoyed cocktails and appetizers on the boat while taking in the scenery. After the ride, the boat dropped them off at the Riviera Ballroom where their reception took place, and the group joined the rest of the guests.
“The boat was perfect for relaxing with our friends and family before the party,” Barman says. “We could take a breather and really enjoy the moment.”
No fairy tale is complete without a horse-drawn carriage. Kline-Weichelt recommends Davisters Sunny Point Stables & Carriages in Green Bay. A carriage can deliver the bride to the ceremony for an enchanted entrance, or take the happy couple for a ride after the ceremony.
Horses or donkeys are also a part of traditional Indian weddings. Cherry Blossom Events has done several events that have included this element. Co-owner Sarah Sarbacker recommends Maharaja Farm, who she worked with to procure a horse for one couple’s baraat ceremony.
Like other important details, when it comes to your wedding-day transportation, VandeBerg recommends getting a head start. “Think about transportation earlier on,” she says. “If you know you want something specific, your options are more limited, so you want to book early.”
Photography: Dani Stephenson Photography
Escape the Ordinary
You’re in for quite a ride with these fun transportation options.
Bikes and Pedal Cars
Pedal Tavern, Milwaukee
Couples who want a rental for a Saturday wedding must book either a half or full day. Couples with Friday or Sunday weddings will find lower rates and more flexibility. 414.488.0427, pedaltavern.com
Truly Spoken Cycles, Milwaukee
In addition to selling new and used bikes, owner Aytan Luck also rents out bikes to bridal parties. He also offers tandem bikes. 414.263.2452, trulyspokencycles.net
Lake Geneva Cruise Line
From a 1954 cabin cruiser that seats 14 to a steamboat that seats 225, the Lake Geneva Cruise Line has eight boats for rent. 262.248.6206, cruiselakegeneva.com
Horses & Carriages
Davisters Sunny Point Stables & Carriages, Green Bay
Complete your fairy tale with a horse-drawn carriage. 920.468.8023
Maharaja Farm, Wayne, Ill.
Specializing in traditional Indian weddings and baraat ceremonies; book a decorated white horse, carriage and even fireworks. 630.363.3606, maharajafarm.com
Hot-Air Balloons & Helicopters
Gentle Breezes, Sun Prairie
Couples considering a hot-air balloon need to be flexible because everything is dependent on the weather. 608.577.9606, flygentlebreezes.net
Lakeshore Helicopter, Kenosha
A more flexible way to travel by air, chartering a helicopter means you can arrive and depart from several locations on the same day. 262.331.3468, lakeshorehelicopter.com
Vintage Cars & Limos
Excalibur Escort, Cedarburg
Rent a vintage Excalibur or Phaeton convertible. 262.377.6180, classiccars-forrent.com
In addition to an Excalibur and limo coaches, you can also hire Keehn’s valet service. 414.282.7060, keehnsonline.com
Sunset Limousine, Stoughton
Find a fleet of luxury limos (including a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Hummer and Cadillac Escalade), in addition to vintage limousines. 608.279.5466, sunsetlimollc.com
Door County Trolley, Egg Harbor
Take your wedding party on a tour to some of Door County’s beautiful lighthouses, which are perfect for pictures. 920.868.1100, doorcountytrolley.com
Spring City Trolley, Waukesha
Capture an era gone by with a vintage-style trolley. With 22- and 28-passenger options, your entire wedding party can catch a ride. 262.522.9359, springcitytrolley.com