Riding in Style

The best (and most photogenic) rides to get you and your guests around on your wedding day.

Jane Lindahl and Sean Howe’s June 10, 2023, wedding had a lot of moving parts.

After the couple met for a first look and photographs on a Chappaquiddick beach, they rode in a neighbor’s vintage white Volkswagen Thing on to The Chappy Ferry, where they met with their wedding party for a short ferry ride (and more photos) across the harbor. In Edgartown, the group boarded a trolley for the ride up-Island to the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury for the ceremony and reception. At the end of the night, everyone rode in buses to an after party at the Edgartown Yacht Club – and, for some, a pre-arranged late ferry back to Chappy.

“There were a lot of different legs of the journey we needed to make,” Lindahl said, and each had been carefully planned. Her family’s neighbor on Chappy had offered use of the vintage car, which was a special part of the day. “It was nice to build that special time just the two of us,” she said.

The couple’s wedding planner, Cristina Saltmarsh of Martha’s Vineyard Weddings & Events, arranged the trolley and buses from MV Sightseeing and coordinated the timing.

“Doing a wedding that’s in multiple locations on the Vineyard is complicated,” Lindahl said. “We really wanted to make sure the guests would have a smooth experience with everything, and nobody was stressed with getting there and how they would get there.

“Just think about every step and where you might hit snags and plan ahead, and build extra time,” she added.

MV Sightseeing has two trolleys that can accommodate up to twenty-four people apiece. Photographer: Arletta Charter

Wedding transportation on Martha’s Vineyard is especially important given the Island’s limited rentals, taxis, and ride shares, long dirt roads, and even ferry schedules to coordinate. But couples also have some diverse and unique options that make for memorable moments, scenic photos, and smooth travel for everyone on the big day.

“Transportation is arguably one of the most logistically challenging components of an Island wedding,” planner Saltmarsh said. “It’s important to have a detailed transportation plan for guests in order to keep the wedding weekend on schedule.”

Most transportation methods and options depend on where guests stay, she added, noting that vans are more practical than buses to pick up guests that are spread out across the Island, though buses are an effective – albeit less flexible – method of transportation if most people are staying at one hotel.

“I often advocate for a bus to the event, and vans on the way home so that guests can leave when they’d like,” she said.

Saltmarsh’s advice includes thinking through each guest and their needs so everyone is accommodated. “Just because a guest might be perceived as incredibly self-sufficient doesn’t mean they are expecting to be so for your destination wedding weekend,” she said. “Hosting a wedding is about excellent hospitality, and this often begins with a stress-free ride.”

And if you’ve factored in extra time for everyone to gather, “a hospitable welcome at the final destination with a glass of champagne or water, and a warm invitation to enjoy the view before the ceremony will go a long way.”

Taking the vintage trolley to her ceremony was a fun option, Lindahl noted. Scott Dario, the owner of MV Sightseeing, said his fleet’s two air-conditioned trolleys, which seat twenty-four people apiece and cost $1,000 per hour, add charm and character and are also great for photos. Couples often use them for wedding party transportation. His business also has ten buses, which seat forty-three people apiece and are $500 for a one-way trip down-Island; $750 for up-Island. According to the company, they are the largest capacity vehicles for rent on the Island. The trolleys and buses are also available for tours, which can make for a fun wedding weekend activity. 

All transportation, especially the trolleys, are often booked early, Dario said. He advised trying to secure them at least a year in advance.

Rachel Hines and Jimmy Alvarado rented Bob Gothard’s 1964 Ford Galaxie. Photographer: Arletta Charter | Wedding Planner: GATHER Event Company

Private event and transportation company ResortMan has a fleet of passenger vans, sprinter vans, and SUVs (a mix of Suburbans and Escalades) that are used to carry guests for events ranging from small ceremonies to 300-person weddings, according to Teri Pirozzi, who owns the company with her husband, Ralf. 

The vehicles are $195 per hour per vehicle, plus a 35 percent fee for administration, fuel surcharge, and gratuities. There is a two-hour minimum for all vans.

Couples, their parents, or the wedding party tend to use SUVs, Pirozzi said, while vans are often used to transport guests. At the end of the night, ResortMan often collaborates with the newlyweds to decorate vehicles with “Just Married” signs or to put flowers on car seats. The company also works with longtime, vetted drivers and will provide a wedding coordinator to direct guests toward transportation.

ResortMan has also honored couples’ requests to stop at the Jaws Bridge for a newlywed plunge, wedding outfits and all.

For some specific requests – such as a fleet of all white vehicles – the company often has to source off-Island. Pirozzi emphasized the importance of planning ahead. “There are only so many wedding dates, there are only so many vehicles on the Island. They are going to get booked up. Book way in advance,” she said, adding that she’s already booking for 2025. “Just like a venue, caterer, photographer, [transportation] is as important. Couples want to make sure their guests are being transported safely.”

This is an issue on the Island, she said, where Ubers or cabs can be hard to find, especially in some areas, and it can be difficult and expensive to find alternate transportation for large groups if everything is booked.

Some couples choose to rent a vintage car or use a friend or family member’s vehicle. Island photographer Bob Gothard, who long rented out his rare 1940 six-cylinder Oldsmobile “Woody Wagon” for weddings, recently decided to sell the car. But his 1964 Ford Galaxie is still available to rent ($650 for up to two hours; $300 per hour following that) for couples looking for a unique ride. Those getting married at the Winnetu Oceanside Resort in Edgartown have the option to rent the resort’s Jitney – a 1931 antique bus that seats up to ten people – or their 1956 fire engine that seats eight. Couples can rent the vehicles to take photos in different Island locations, or for transportation to off-site ceremonies at $200 per hour.

Following their ceremony, Natasha Nicholas and Colin Bacchiocchi hitched a ride with Sonnyside Rides. Photographer: Alex Paul | Wedding Planner: Timeless Event Planning

Another fun Vineyard alternative is traveling by horse and carriage. Sonnyside Rides, owned by Laura and Bruce Marshard, offers carriage rides with their draft horses – black Percherons Tex and Timmy, and Dudley, a honey-colored Belgian.

Couples often opt for the carriage to pick them up from one location and deliver them to another – from the church to the reception, for example, or to make a memorable and exciting entrance or exit as friends and family gather, Laura Marshard said. The horses are usually able to travel about four miles at most, and the carriage has a roof, which provides shelter in any kind of weather. The cost of carriage services depends on location, length of time, number of people, and season, Marshard said, with prices generally starting at about $525 and capping at $1,025 per hour.

Couples can spend time taking photos in the carriage or with the horses. Family members and children often join for a loop or a short ride. The carriages and the horses’ manes and tails can also be decorated. Some couples use extra flowers from the florist, while one pair opted for hundreds of live orchids. Other options include silk flowers, which hold up to cold or heat, a “Just Married” sign, or, for one recent couple, a family crest.

A carriage ride also provides a quiet time where people can collect their breath, Marshard said. If a bride and groom are being picked up at their ceremony and delivered to a reception, it might provide them with twenty or thirty minutes to “decompress or relax for a few minutes before the celebration continues.” 

And for those who want to revisit the day, carriage rides are available for anniversaries too.