Getting hitched soon? Why not shift gears and ‘hitch a ride’ to the wedding venue in a posh car to turn some heads? With the likes of Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jeep and Jaguar just a booking away, many couples are opting to avail themselves of those options.
So, at your service are car rental agencies in the city geared up to chauffeur you down to your nuptial. “Nine out of 10 times, it’s more about the ceremony on the important day than comfort. For many, it’s fulfilment of a wish to arrive at their wedding in style when you are the cynosure of all eyes,” says Anoop Jacob, a tour operator of Apple Cars at Kumarapuram. The car rental service has in its stables Audi, BMW, Jaguar, while it also “sources” Range Rover for customers on request. Anoop says though the agency keeps a few premium cars under its direct ownership, depending on demand and customer choice, the agency “borrows vehicles” from within the owner’s “friend’s circle.”
Santhosh Kumar, proprietor of Darshan Holidays, who has been in the business for over 14 years, says he keeps a fleet of about 17 luxury cars that he “rolls” across his offices in the State. “When not rented out, we take the cars for personal use rather than keeping it parked in the garage. That way, the cars are maintained in running condition all the time for any quick bookings,” says Santhosh.
Since such premium automobiles are expensive, owners are averse to taking unwanted risks. “For luxury cars, even a minor body touch-up can make you dig deep into your pockets. Long-term rough handling can also create problems on the engineering side that prove pretty expensive to fix,” says Jishnu Shankar, operations staff at Southgate Travels at Kunnukuzhy. So the agencies mandatorily provide their own professional drivers as part of the package. It’s a “win-win arrangement”, as this also lays total responsibility for any damages incurred during a service within the rental agency, cushioning customers from any liability.
One partial exception would be the unavoidable floral decoration on the car if it is going to be used on the day of the wedding.
“Floral decorations these days are kept minimal and we insist on using only vacuum fixtures of bouquets on the car body, which can be removed without leaving any stain or scratches. We provide that along with the package for an additional charge. Use of stickers, tapes and glue are strictly disallowed and some of these cars are also ceramic-coated to prevent scratches,” says Sujesh Anspaul, proprietor of Wheel Man Tours and Travels at PMG.
Despite a wide range of choices, the Audi series seems to be popular. “Perhaps, that’s because Audi is deemed to be more photogenic. Jaguar arguably has a more masculine appeal, while BMW is more sporty. So for a formal occasion like a wedding, Audi fits the bill perfectly,” feels Anoop. But Sujesh disagrees. He observes that the Merc is quite sought-after among people from West Asia. Apart from the transportation factor, luxury cars also enhance the glam quotient of wedding photo-shoots, they point out.
Bookings can be made after checking availability of a preferred car. Rates vary depending on cars, availability and whether it’s ‘wedding season’ or not and fuel charges are often included within the rental charges that normally work on the basis of packages.
For certain “high-profile” weddings, mass bookings for a couple of days are the norm. “On such occasions, especially when the client is a well-known personality, we rent the cars on different terms and conditions as they may not need our drivers,” says Siras M, proprietor of Sree Tours in Kumarapuram.
Customers says they do not mind “splurging a bit” for an occasion “that happens only once in a person’s life.” Like, Nikhil Ravindran, a techie from Kazhakoottam, who had booked a white Audi A5 for his brother’s wedding a couple of months back. “We have a Honda Amaze but my brother, Aghil Ravindran, working in Bengaluru was keen on an Audi,” he says.
Certainly, one for the album.