A luxurious limo, antique car, or other special mode of transport will give you a ride to remember, but adding a few frills can enhance the romance of your getaway. Here's how to dress up your wedding transportation to ensure a blissful ride into married life. (Note: To protect their cars from damage, many limo and car rental companies have strict rules about what you can use on their vehicles, so find out what's allowed before you make any final decisions about your decorating scheme.)
1. Get a Handle on It
Tie bunches of flowers to the door handles of your getaway car. If you want fresh blooms, go with sturdy, economical ones like mums, roses, and carnations, says Diane Jamison of Diane Jamison Personal Flowers in New York City. Or keep it simple and tie ribbons and bows on the doors.
2. Let It All Hang Out
Wrap ribbons around the top of the antenna and let the ends flap merrily in the wind as you head out on your honeymoon.
3. Rise Above It
Fill balloons in your wedding colors with helium and tie them to the car's door handles, side-view mirrors, bumpers, or the luggage rack on the roof.
4. Get Hooked on Soaps
If you want to write good wishes on the car, pick up a bar of ordinary soap and get to work on the windows. To try something more exotic than a bar of Ivory, use a water-washable glass marker, available at a craft store or online. (Spiritfoam.com offers colorful puffy
foam that's safe on windows and clear-coat auto paint.) But skip the shaving cream—that goopy stuff not only destroys the car's paint, but it's liable to fly off as soon as the car speeds up.
5. Be Romantic
Tie roses to that fancy hood ornament.
6. Raise the Roof
Weave a net of ribbons, secure bunches of blossoms to it, then lay it over the roof of your car. Lash it down with ribbons tied to the luggage rack, side-view mirrors, or door frame (with the window partially opened). Though you could DIY, a florist's expertise might come in handy for this one.
7. Fill Your Plate
That's right: Your car can sport vanity license plates just for the occasion, so others will know that you are Just Married in the State of Bliss. Other tag options include your name and marriage date above and below the Just Married pronouncement. (If you can't find novelty plates at your local party store, Google "just married license plate" and explore your options.) Though the plates aren't legal for a road trip, you're in the clear just cruising down the block for the photo op.
8. Make a Daisy Chain
Consider creating a garland to deck the grill or bumper of your car, using either blooms or greenery. Fresh garlands have to be ordered from your florist, but artificial ones can be picked up from a craft store or your florist. If you can't use masking or gaffer's tape to secure them, garlands
can be tied with ribbons to ornaments, grillwork, or bumpers.
9. Sign up
Hang that ever-popular cardboard sign over the grill or trunk of the car with ribbons—after you dress it up with glitter, sequins, feathers, and silk or fresh flowers.
10. Slap It on
Beneath that shiny surface of paint, you'll find a solid piece of metal with magnetic properties. Limousine companies will often satisfy your decoration needs with magnetic Just Married signs that go across the trunk, but you can put your own signs anywhere on the car's surface. After enlarging photos or artwork, glue them onto magnetic sheets from the craft store, cut them out, and get slap-happy. (If you're using a new car, check it out beforehand—some recent models have plastic body panels, says Todd Libman, owner of Alliance Glass and Sign, in Dorchester, MA.)
11. Wrap It up
If you're ready to splurge on a really sleek look, go to a sign shop (look under truck lettering in the Yellow Pages) and ask for a semipermanent vinyl sign. The vinyl is applied directly onto the paint and then peeled off the next day without any damage. Advertisers often use the vinyl to "wrap" cars entirely in their logos, but the sizes of the signs can be customized. "One couple splurged by getting their names applied on the top of the windshield, "Just Married" on the rear window, and wedding bells on the door panels," Libman says.
12. Trail Away
Don't leave tradition by the wayside—go ahead and tie a few old shoes and tin cans to the bumper, and let the sparks fly.
13. Buggy Basics
There's nothing quite like leaving in a horse and carriage after celebrating your marriage. But the traditional tin cans are out. "All that noise that the horse can't see might be too much for him," says Angela Weinhold, coordinator for ESC Horse and Carriage Service, in Flemington, NJ. "We hadn't even finished tying the cans to the back of the carriage when the horse's ears started to lay back and he began kicking. We haven't tried it since," says Becky Mansell, co-owner of Jim and Becky's Horse and Carriage Service, in Peotone, IL. Ask the carriage owner what decorations are allowed before you buy.
You can usually drape garlands on the back and sides of the carriage, bank flowers on the back of the carriage, tie ribbons to the carriage door handles, and festoon the harness and bridles with flowers. "We put a feather plume on top of the horse's head that matched the interior of the carriage," Mansell says. And the "Just Married" sign? Most companies have it already tied with ribbons to the carriage's back fender so you can head into the sunset in style.