After a “break” (well, not really) over Christmas and New Year, it’s time to resume my mini-series on local wedding experts. Today on “Meet the Wedding Expert” I’d like to introduce you to Catherine White who, with her partner Jason, runs Dorset Dub Hire. I know Catherine and Jason well, having worked with them on numerous occasions at weddings across Dorset. Anyway, enough from me, let’s hear from Catherine …
Tell me a little about yourself and Dorset Dub Hire.
A. The business idea came from our (mine and my partner Jason’s) love of classic VWs. We’ve owned VW camper vans for the last 12 years. Seven years ago we took our 1975 camper van ‘Ernie’ to my brother’s wedding as a bit of fun and he was a massive hit!
Soon after, I was made redundant. I decided this was an ideal opportunity to give self-employment a go and started to research combining our hobby with a business idea – to adapt iconic VWs into beautiful wedding vehicles. I searched for some time to find the “right” vehicle and knew as soon as I viewed ’Lulu’ our 1960 split screen for the first time that she was absolutely perfect. Following the fitting of her bespoke wedding interior she was ready to go!
Take up was initially quite slow as many couples felt that a more traditional car was the right option for them. However, Lulu’s good looks, the space she provided and the service we were offering really started to win couples over and within a year it was clear that this was going to become pretty popular! That was nearly 5 years ago now. I now have 2 wedding camper vans ‘Lulu’ and ‘Lottie’ and a classic 1965 Beetle, ‘Lilah’. I also market and manage bookings for individual VW owners who don’t want to start up their own business. This gives couples more choice and we have some really fantastic options for grooms as well as beautiful bridal cars.
We’re based in Wimborne Minster, Dorset but we travel throughout Dorset and into the surrounding areas.
What services do you offer?
A. A chauffeur driven wedding transport experience in a selection of beautiful vintage and classic Volkswagens.
What’s your typical day like?
A. A typical day when we are undertaking weddings involves a very early start to clean, fuel and dress the vehicles with ribbons, flowers and bunting to fit in with each couple’s theme.
We arrive at the pick up address in plenty of time for photos. Some brides choose to travel with their bridesmaids, Mum and Dad or their children – this is the beauty of the camper vans as they can seat up to 6 passengers. Others prefer a more traditional service with one car for the bridesmaids and Mum and one for the bride and whoever is giving her away. Many brides comment on what a special journey this is – their last journey as a single lady! The vehicles are also popular with the chaps and we have taken many a groom’s party to their wedding venue, sometimes via the pub!
We never rush couples on their wedding day and vehicles remain with them after their ceremony. We offer the opportunity of a little drive and some alone time or photos at another location. This first special journey together or brief time out is often the only chance couples get to have time to themselves and to take in the day.
If it’s been a rainy day the cars need to be thoroughly dried when they arrive back at base. This can take hours but is necessary to avoid rust!
Every wedding is different and our chauffeurs do an amazing job. They’re always on hand to help brides with their gowns, to offer a tissue when needed in emotional moments and an umbrella when the good old British weather threatens to ruin beautiful hair and make up!
What trends have you noticed for 2014/15? What do Brides want when they come to you?
A. There has been a huge increase in weekday weddings. 2014 saw a very large amount of weddings taking place from Monday to Sunday. 2015 and 2016 dates are looking like this is set to continue.
The Groom’s transport is becoming far more popular. Where the Groom has traditionally had to get himself to the venue more Brides are booking cars so that their Groom can have a relaxing and fun journey with his Groomsmen. This also makes for some great photo opportunities!
Brides do like the flexibility of the service that we offer. They enjoy being able to travel with whoever they want to and see transport as an experience and integral part of the day rather than just a way of getting to the venue. They also like to look at the options for personalising the vehicles to fit in with their colour scheme/theme. The cars really become part of the day and often even feature in the group photos!
What changes have you noticed in your field of business in the last 3 years?
A. The wedding industry has grown massively in recent years – there are so many wedding suppliers out there, particularly on social media sites. It’s great that couples have so much choice available to them but it does mean that it’s all the more important to ensure that suppliers are reliable, properly insured, have experience and are dedicated to providing the very best service.
What are the advantages of using a professional wedding transport service as opposed to going “DIY”?
A. Transport is sometimes a service that couples feel is an unnecessary expense. This is totally understandable as weddings are an expensive business!
However, hiring a professional wedding car service enables the Bride and Groom’s party to relax on the big day. A good supplier will ensure that everything is pre-arranged to fit in with the couple’s arrangements for the day. They can offer advice as far as journey and arrival times are concerned and they can also ensure that all members of the Bridal/Groom’s party are catered for so that no one is forgotten! Many venues don’t offer a lot of parking so providing transport for people does mean that the dreaded issue of parking is avoided and those who want to can enjoy a drink.
The Bride and Groom can concentrate on enjoying their day as can all those involved in attending the wedding and can make the most of the VIP treatment that they deserve!
A beautiful wedding car is also a real talking point amongst the guests and a fantastic photo prop. Something for everyone at the wedding to enjoy!
What advice would you give Brides regarding choosing wedding transport for their special day?
A. Viewing wedding cars is so important. Couples can meet the car owner, sit in the car and see if it will be suitable for the size/design of wedding gown chosen and to check if there will be enough space for the number of passengers hoping to travel.
Testimonials from happy clients and recommendations from other wedding suppliers are very helpful (particularly photographers when it comes to wedding cars as they see the vehicles up close and the chauffeurs at work!). Remember to ask what the chauffeur will be wearing as you might not want a fully uniformed chauffeur but you may not be keen on your driver turning up in jeans either!
Shop around but remember that overheads are high in a wedding car business due to the cost of maintaining vehicles to a high standard along with other running costs. Those offering the highest level of service and quality vehicles may well not be the cheapest!
What tips would you give a Bride currently planning her wedding?
A. Have fun and really enjoy what is such an exciting time. Go with choices that you feel comfortable and happy with. Also, book early if possible! We come across so many couples who have to compromise on venue or preferred suppliers. Top venues and suppliers get snapped up very quickly and book up 1-2 years in advance.
Just for fun – which celebrity wedding would you like to be (or have been) involved with, and why?
A. Well it would have been lovely to see Kate and William in a beautiful, classic camper. Lots of space for that gorgeous dress!
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 01202 848857
Meet the Wedding Expert – Dorset Dub Hire