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At a glance
- How big is my bridal party?
- What colour and type of car will suit my theme?
- What size car will accommodate my wedding dress?
Wedding Car Association of Victoria celebrates its 30th anniversary
24 May 2011
In 2011, the Wedding Car Association of Victoria celebrates its 30th anniversary.
Formed in 1981, the Wedding Car Association (then known as the Special Vehicle Hire Association — SVHA) was formed to bring some semblance of control to a fast-growing and unlicensed industry. At this time, the state government (through the Transport Regulation Board) required all cars operating as hire cars to have government-issued licences. SVHA founder and now proprietor of the Wedding Car Association, John Gordon, formed a group of licensed wedding car owners to set standards of business to offer protection and quality standards to brides and grooms. “At this time, there were a lot of rogue operators of wedding cars offering poor levels of service and charging exorbitant rates,” says John. “The SVHA set out to clean up the industry by offering training and mentoring to all operators, providing a Code of Ethics that all members must adhere to and working to eliminate unlicensed operators from the industry.”
Today, the Wedding Car Association boasts 65 members who own and operate more than 450 classic and modern wedding hire cars. All members of the association operate cars that are fully licensed by the Victorian Taxi Directorate and all chauffeurs have the necessary passenger transport licences from Vic Roads.
In the 30 years since the Wedding Car Association’s inception, John has seen many changes emerge in the hire car industry, the most prominent of which is the popularity of stretch limousines. Despite this development, however, he still believes that the magic of arriving in a classic car remains after all these years. “Flashy comes and goes, but traditional and stylish seem to be staying as a constant,” says John. “Colours come and go in favouritism, too. We see more theming of weddings these days and, of course, the car type and colour play a big part in this.”
When you begin to consider your wedding transport, John suggests first thinking about the type of car and colour that will suit the theme and style of your wedding as well as the venues you have chosen.
“You will need to take into consideration any personal preferences your partner may have and then of course the practicalities for the day,” says John. “If the bride is wearing a full hooped dress, for example, then maybe a two-seater modern coupe is not the best choice.
“You will also need to have finalised the makeup of your bridal party. The more bridesmaids and groomsmen you have, the more (or larger) cars you will need. Finally, you will need to have a reasonable understanding of the timeframes for the day but actual times can be confirmed at a later stage.”
John suggests couples book cars as early as possible to ensure they get what they want. “Bookings are heavier during the September to April months and for the better operators weekend time-slots fill quickly,” says John.
The Wedding Car Association holds a spring wedding car expo every September on the bank of the Yarra River at Southbank. This free show attracts more than 40 of Melbourne’s finest wedding cars for you to inspect and enjoy.
Questions to ask when choosing a transport operator:
• Can I see the cars before I book?
• Do you have two or three matching cars?
• Do you have a minimum booking?
• Are the cars licensed by the Victorian Taxi Directorate? (There should be a current year sticker affixed to the windscreen.)
• How many passengers is each car licensed to carry?
• Do all of the cars have current RWCs? (12-month expiry for SV-licensed cars and 24-month expiry for RH-licensed cars.)
• Do all your drivers have Vic Roads Drivers Certificates?
• Will the cars I book be the one(s) that actually turn up on the day?
• What public liability insurance cover do you have?
• Do you have a contingency plan for mechanical failure?
• Are the cars air-conditioned and heated?
• How much is the deposit?
• What happens if I cancel?
• When is the balance due and how can I pay?
• What is your policy if we go over time?
• Do you have a surcharge if we are outside the metropolitan region and do you charge travel time getting to the first pick up?
• Do you provide a late-night collection service?
• What other services do you provide?
• Can you provide me with references?
• Are you a member of the Wedding Car Association and bound by their Code of Ethics?
As with most decisions you make, there will always be a certain amount of risk involved. You can minimise this risk by asking yourself a few basic questions before making your choice:
• Do I feel comfortable with this operator and would I like them to be part of the biggest day of my life?
• Do the cars look like they are clean and well maintained?
• Does this business look reputable and will it still be here when my wedding comes around?
If the answer to these questions is yes and you are satisfied with all the responses you have been provided, you should be able to trust your wedding to this operator.