Picture it: There you are, standing in front of a church or a courthouse on a beautiful, sunny afternoon. The newlyweds burst through the doors with huge grins on their faces, and their guests erupt into applause. The happy couple runs, hand in hand, to a beautiful classic car adorned with flowers, cans, crepe paper and that classic sign: “Just Married.” They fire up the engine with a roar and drive off together down the street, into their new life together.
But wait … who’s going to take care of preparing that classic car for them? Who’s going to get the decorations and make sure that everything looks perfect for that grand getaway? What’s the best way to have the best looking car for a wedding? How can you minimize damage to this awesome vehicle? And who’s going to make sure that they’re safely covered for any accidents around the corner from the courthouse? (Actually, we’ve got that part covered.)
If you own a classic car, chances are you may be asked to dress it up for someone’s big day – or allow members of the wedding party to do it. (And can you blame them? If you’re going to start a new life with someone, might as well do it with some style!) It seems like a simple task, but when it comes to safely preparing your classic car for a drive to the reception hall, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Here’s how to properly decorate your classic car for a wedding:
Car decoration for weddings 101
If you think “wedding getaway car” and immediately think of paint on the back window and some tin cans dragging behind, you’re not alone – when the credits roll on so many romantic comedies, there’s usually a decorated car driving away as the camera fades to black. To help you get that picture perfect vehicle for yourself, here’s a few decorations we love:
- Tin cans: After you empty your cans, make sure you’ve got them tied on with something strong like fishing line or high-tensile twine. You don’t want these breaking off and bouncing onto the hood of the car behind you.
- A “Just Married” sign on the bumper: Adhesives and tape aren’t great for your car’s paint job and finish but if you have to use them, do so sparingly. See if you can also secure the sign with the trunk lid, too.
- Paint on the window or trunk: It’s a lot easier to get paint off of glass than it is off your paint job, so defer to the rear windshield if possible and use a water-based type of paint. Some wedding parties have been known to use lipstick; apply that at your own risk.
- Flowers, garland, ribbons and bows: All of these flapping in the breeze can potentially nick or scratch a paint job, so hanging these along a vinyl roofline or attached to the bumper is probably the best way to go.
Wedding car decorations for your classic car
Every time you put something on the exterior of your car and take it out on the road, you do run the risk of nicking or scratching your car’s paint or dirtying the interior (all those grains of rice and flower petals have to go somewhere). With that in mind, we’ve assembled a list of lower-impact options that still look great on the big day.
- Balloons: You can get as creative as you want with inflatable letters (“Just Married,” “Hitched,” even a wedding hashtag), and tying them to the trunk or bumper is a safe, low-impact way to let them flutter around in celebration. Regular balloons or even tiny water balloons inflated with air in a variety of colors makes a great accent too.
- Tassels/fringe: A great way to add an accent to the back end of any car, and if you apply them beneath the bumper or on the inside lip, it won’t affect any visible parts of the finish.
- Banners or decals: A plastic or cloth banner hanging from the back of your car won’t hurt too much (as long as there’s no buttons or grommets loose that may add a ding to the paint) and you can even have custom decals printed to go on your window that use removable adhesive, so they’ll peel right off when you’re done.
- Magnets: Any good sign shop should be able to make you a custom magnet with names, dates, floral embellishment or a hashtag for the side, trunk or even hood of your car. They should be able to do custom shapes as well, but at the very least make sure they cut the corners into a curve just to avoid the chance of a scratch and ensure your paint is debris free before applying.
- Custom license plate: It’s not for the actual drive, but it makes a great option for pictures. Pop it over your actual plate and don’t forget to take it off after the reception … or the morning after.
- Door handle accents: Tying what is essentially a corsage for your car’s door handle is a nice, relatively safe way to add a small pop of color and a fun accent to a more rugged part of a wedding car.
- Car flags: Not a usable choice for convertibles, but pop some of these between the window and the trim for a safe, easily removable yet festive option.
Are there any wedding car rental options?
Good news – if you are looking for a classic car getaway after your wedding but you don’t own an appropriate ride (or if Uncle Bob won’t lend you his for the afternoon), there’s plenty of options out there. According to The Knot, the average price of transportation for a wedding runs around $750, and you can definitely find a good ride for an afternoon for that price.
If you haven’t taken a look at Hagerty’s DriveShare service, we think that’s the best place to start. Local car owners near you have offered up their classic rides by the day, and there’s options to contact drivers before you book to make sure that you can safely make temporary decorations to the vehicle before the big day. (And don’t forget to reserve the limo for the rest of the wedding party too!) Thinking about your honeymoon? Check out our DriveShare Travel Guide Collection.