Sunday 24 September 2017

Get me to the church in style

The age of the sleek white limo may be passing. Geraldine Herbert looks at some unusual wheels for that big day out

ALL Revved up: Raicheal Cronin on her dad's cherished Harley Davidson on her wedding day
ALL Revved up: Raicheal Cronin on her dad's cherished Harley Davidson on her wedding day

A wedding day is one of the biggest days of a couple's life and there are any number of potential problems to keep the happy couple awake at night in their quest for the perfect day.

While for most the centrepiece and the talking point is the bride's dress, for some it is how they made an entrance on the big day that is forever etched in the memories of their family and friends.

We spoke to couples who opted for quirkier methods of transport to get them to the church on time.

Beth and Graham Curry got some unforgettable memories - not to mention some unique photos for the wedding album - when the thunderous roar of their MK2 Escort rally car echoed around the old stone arches.

"Both Graham and myself are car fanatics in relation to particular rally cars," says Jo Baalham-Curry a beauty therapist living in Bangor, Co Down.

"We choose a blue rally car because it matched the theme of the day, even my wedding dress was light blue.

"It was an excellent idea, we had so much fun in it and it was one of the most memorable parts of the day," says Beth.

"Though trying to climb into the rally car with everyone watching while trying to look ladylike in my dress with a hoop and petticoats and not get my dress dirty with oil, grease or dirt was a bit of a challenge."

The stained glass shivered and the guests drew a collective breath when Raicheal Cronin roared up on her Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

"Most people grow up with fast cars - but I grew up with fast bikes," says Raicheal, a production team member from Cork city.

A Harley-Davidson once owned by her dad was the perfect choice for her wedding to Ross.

"My father unfortunately passed away the previous year and left behind a Harley-Davidson, which was his pride and joy. If he had been alive for my wedding day I know that was how I would have travelled, so losing him made it even more poignant to arrive using the Harley."

"But on the day the bike refused to start, and I arrived 20 minutes late," says Raicheal "but it was so worth it. It is your day and your memories."

Most brides worry about getting to the church on time, but Sharon Leavy was in no rush when she married Philip in Co Longford in October 2012 and arrived at the Church in a tractor borrowed from friends.

"We chose this particular type of transport because I've always had an interest in tractors and we both wanted to put our own twist on the wedding transport," says Philip.

"Anyone who knows us wasn't one bit surprised to see the tractor coming down the road with ribbons on it.

"Looking back, yes - it was a great idea. We used an image of us perched on a bale of straw in the tractor's trailer on our 'Thank you' cards too; it was a lovely memento of the day and very different from the expected newly-wed photographs."

For Brian and Nora Lucey an iconic '60s camper van was the perfect way to add a little retro flair to their wedding day.

"As the owner of a business that converts VW camper vans, there was never any question about what type of transport I was going to choose" says Brian. "For as long as I can remember I have had a passion for VW camper vans, from the old split screens and bays to the more modern T4s and T5s."

And it wasn't just the happy couple that arrived in a camper van; the bridesmaids travelled in a 1958 VW Split screen, the bride was transported in her own VW T5 camper, while the groom and groomsmen had an abundance of vehicles to choose from, as all the like-minded guests had been encouraged to bring their VW campers with them to the wedding.

The wedding car was also the vehicle of choice for their honeymoon.

"We have always loved the idea of boarding the ferry to France and then cruising down the motorway to Spain in a camper van for our honeymoon - so it just appealed right from the start." says Brian.

Emma and Tony Bell shared a passion for steam engines so when they decided to tie the knot their choice of transport was no surprise.

"From a young age I was involved with steam engines with my brother and father travelling all over Ireland," says Emma.

"Looking back I wouldn't have changed it for the world and I am still driving that same steam engine at different rallies every year.

"Remember it is your day, so make it as much about you and your husband and what you love," says Emma. "And if anything goes wrong keep smiling because it's only you that will know."

Converted double-decker buses, particularly older ones are becoming increasingly popular alternatives and can make a charming addition to the celebrations. So when it came to making the entrance of a lifetime on the big day Claire Hobden, a dog groomer and ardent motorcycle fan, was determined she was going to roll up in something a bit different.

Claire chose a Routemaster double-decker bus that could also take the newlyweds and their guests back to the reception.

"It was the perfect solution" says Claire "Not only was there no parking issues and nobody was late, but it was definitely a talking point, people loved it!

"My advice to anyone planning something similar would be, check and double check the agreement, the choice of vehicle, the cost, the duration of hire, and the replacement if anything should go wrong" warns Claire.

"Get it in writing and ask to see their insurance cover and ensure the driver knows the route and how long it will take that vehicle to get to the venue. And enjoy!"

Sunday Independent

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