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Limousines and Alternatives: Luxury Transportation for Your Event
by Melanie Magness

When planning a big event, many people consider hiring a limousine to transport their guests of honor in style. Luxury is not the only factor, however. There are also many practical reasons to hire transportation for your event

For weddings, a luxury vehicle provides a way to transport the entire wedding party to the ceremony, or from the ceremony to the reception. A limousine is not just stylish; it also gives the Bride and Groom transportation that allows them some time immediately following their ceremony to be together alone before the celebration begins again at the reception.

For a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, a limousine can make the trip to the synagogue especially memorable for your guest of honor and your household. Providing transportation from the synagogue to the reception is also a great amenity for other family members and friends.

With both events, you are likely to have out of town guests that you might like to honor with rides to and from the airport to their hotel, or from the hotel to the event. Limousine services can also help you plan your activities before or after the day itself. Luxury vehicles are a lovely way to transport your guests to rehearsal dinners, special luncheons, or tours of local attractions.

Before you call and book that stretch limo, however, you might want to make sure that this is the type of transportation that best suits your needs. Take the following factors into consideration:

1. Think about the size of the group that you will be transporting.
Both Lincoln and Cadillac certify their stretch limos to fit 8 "average size” adults. If you are hiring for less people, or more, be aware that many limousine companies also offer chauffeured luxury vehicles in other styles. Luxury town cars usually seat one to four people. Stretch SUV's or luxury mini-vans can accommodate one to twenty people. For even larger groups, there are party bus options.

The bus option allows your guests an opportunity to socialize during the downtime between ceremony and reception. Some companies offer food and drink options for their buses. This might open up the possibility of having a mini-reception for your guests if there is a distance between the ceremony and the reception.

According to George Raines, of Z Best Limousine Services, Inc. in Baltimore, Maryland, luxury buses have become an increasingly popular option over the last few years. "Luxury buses are more comfortable. They allow people to walk around instead of climbing in and out they way you have to do in a stretch limousine. This makes them much more convenient for larger groups, and usually cost slightly less.”

For a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, a bus is an ideal way to get all the kids from the synagogue to the reception. The kids will love this option, as it gives them a chance to get together and start the celebration right away. Having all of the children arrive together also eliminates gathering time once they reach the reception. Parents whose children are your guests will also really appreciate not having to schedule extra time mid-day to pick up their kids after the ceremony, take them to the reception, and drop them off again. You'll also have room for chaperones to travel on the bus and provide supervision.

2. Consider the ages and physical needs of your guests.
Stretch limousines tend to have low, soft seats in a long row. If you have guests who are aging or have physical restrictions, climbing in and out of this type of seating can be a huge struggle, sometimes impossible without assistance. In this case, other styles of vehicles would be a much better treat.

3. How smooth is the ride itself going to be for your guests?
The traditional limousine may be quite comfortable when moving slowly, but your guests could be thrown against each other when the car accelerates to highway speeds. For a group of young adults, this may not be an issue. The novelty and fun of being in a limousine could very well outweigh such concerns. However, for a group with elderly people or very young children, it might be a problem.

Taking the time to plan for your guests' individual needs will help you ensure that the transportation you choose for them will be the luxury treat you want it to be.

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