When planning for her big day, many brides decide to book a limousine or party bus service. There may be more that goes into this than you are initially thinking. So, we sat down with AM PM Limo & Party Bus Calgary to talk about the booking process and all that it entails.
Thanks for sitting down with us and helping to make sure our brides are getting the best for their day! Can you tell us a little bit about your business?
AM PM Limo & Party Bus Calgary started out as a single car service providing airport transfers in Calgary and has grown to one of the largest limousine services in Canada. We have over 60 vehicles in our fleet & continue to grow.
Wow! So with that in mind, can you tell us how you manage a summer full of weddings?
As many brides plan for months (even a year or more) in advance for their magical day, we accept reservations as far into the future as they choose. We utilize software that allows us to see reservations on the daily, weekly, monthly basis & ensures that we have the right vehicle for our bride’s vision. We do book in minimum of 3 hour segments to ensure that every bride gets the times they want too. Our team actively communicates to ensure that we have drivers & we are ready to go on those busy Saturday mornings!
With that in mind, what are your recommendations for reserving a limo or a party bus?
There are a few things that need to be figured out before making your decisions, for sure! Our questions to our brides are pretty straight forward and make it easy to figure things out for their day once we know these answers.
The first question is, how many people will be in the limousine or party bus? That narrows down the choices. When you’ve got 9 or 10 passengers and a bride with a gorgeous big dress, a stretch limousine might not be the answer or if you have 14 or 15 and the groom is 6’4”, you may want to look at a party bus instead of a traditional limousine.
The next question is how long will you want it for. A typical wedding for us is that we pickup the groom and his party first and take him to the ceremony. We then go and get the bride & her party to take her to the ceremony. We will wait through the ceremony as it is usually 30-45 minutes and during that time we will do any necessary tidy-up and decorate the car with pom-poms and a Just Married sign, get champagne on chill and be ready for when the wedding party exits the ceremony. Then we’re off for photos with a final drop off at the reception. That time block is about 5 hours, depending on how long they need for photos.
That is a lot of things to take into consideration. Are there other factors?
Another is budget. AM PM Limo & Party Bus Calgary has a Lowest Price Guarantee and we will beat any competitor’s pricing for the same itinerary, date and vehicle. If budget is a concern, talk to us. We can help plan things to accommodate budget, times and work with our brides to make sure they are getting what they need to make their day spectacular.
How do you set yourselves apart from your competition in the competitive wedding market?
In order to continue to grow, and set ourselves apart, we have started having our limousines custom-made. Everyone has the same type of typical Lincoln Town Car stretch or stretch SUV. In order to stand out, we have had some unique vehicles produced for us. We started out with our Pink Stretch Limo which is very popular for bachelorette parties and for wedding morning salon trips. We now have our gorgeous Pink Ram truck limo, which again is popular for ladies nights out but has also become a big hit for weddings too! We have party buses ranging in size from 16 passengers Mini Party Bus to our custom 30 passengers Godzilla Party Bus.
Wedding shows and bridal fairs must be a big part of your winter months.
Absolutely. There are 2 major shows in Calgary and AM PM Limo & Party Bus Calgary has a booth at both of these shows. As they are held in a very large venue, we are able to bring vehicles in to allow brides to check out sizing and ask questions of our team during these shows. During these shows we offer show specials and incentives to the brides that have attended. In the weeks leading up to the show, we encourage brides to come visit our booth, check out the vehicles to help them decide and often brides will reserve that same day of the show!
Do you only service Calgary?
We have grown so much in the past couple of years and now have locations in Edmonton and Lethbridge. We service all of southern Alberta and the BC interior. We have many weddings in places such as Emerald Lake, the Kooteneys, Banff, Lake Louise and Canmore every summer.
You’re very busy! Can you tell us anything else?
In recent years with the focus on reducing impaired driving, we have created our Safe Ride Home program that is very popular for weddings. We have some non-limousine vehicles that we utilize and create very affordable end-of-night shuttle services for wedding guests to ensure that everyone gets home safely. A taxi chit can be an expensive venture to add to a wedding budget but having our service available for 3 or 4 hours at the end of the night to ensure that everyone is safe is cheaper and alleviates the worry. We also offer complimentary end of the night sedan service for the bride & groom to their home/hotel.
Can you tell us about some of the wedding packages you offer?
As we talked about before, we do have a 3 hour minimum package on busy wedding Saturdays. This allows for us to schedule every wedding that we can and ensures that the happy couple are getting what they need.
We have many trends come and go, but First Look seems to be here to stay. Depending on the rest of the day plan, we get the groom and his party first and take to the first look location and then get the bride & her party and take to that same location. While they’re doing photos, we wait and then take to their ceremony. That can be accomplished in 3 hours. If there are to be more photos afterwards, we would wait and then take them to photos and then to reception and that might be 5 or 6 hours total service. It is very important that we have a clear idea of what the bride wants to do, so we can provide the best service for them on their important day.
It is also important to note that we are a multi-cultural city and as such, we provide services for many different cultural traditions and ceremonies. As there are many traditions, we are more than happy to work with brides to ensure what works with what they’re planning. Some require a trip to their temple at very early hours of the morning, others have tea ceremonies that last all afternoon. Others that have celebrations that last for several days with large families in attendance.
With some of these larger celebrations, we also provide airport transfers for out of town guests which is a great added perk. We have sedan service for 1-2 passengers, SUV services for up to 6 passengers and shuttle van or bus services for larger groups. We offer meet & greet services for those guests and door to door service. This is a great way to ensure you can maximize your time before your big day and know that family is taken care of.
What do your packages include?
All of our wedding packages include complimentary car decorations, a Just Married sign, a bottle of champagne, bottled water and ice to keep it all cold. Often if just for a First Look, we will leave out the Just Married sign, however, as these are our gifts to the couple, we make it all available and it is their choice to include or not.
Are there any extra charges or fees that we should be aware of?
All pricing that we provide is quoted at the base charge and would be plus GST and gratuity. We always recommend booking for the duration that you think you’ll need so that there are no unexpected overtime charges. We welcome weddings from all over as we’ve mentioned before and they are welcome to stop as many times as they’d like or go anywhere they can in the time they have reserved at no extra charges.
For photos, do you recommend any locations?
Most photographers have a good idea of where they like to shoot and have discussed it with the bride & groom during their booking appointment. We certainly are familiar with the area and have many suggestions if needed. We do ask that the photographer have a list prepared for the driver on the day- of to ensure that no one gets lost as following someone or yelling from the back of a noisy limousine are not recommended.
In Calgary, there are some fantastic outdoor locations with beautiful views of the city and the mountains in the background such as McHugh Bluff or Scotsman’s Hill. The Wonderland sculpture at the Bow Building can provide a whimsical backdrop and the parkade at SAIT is a very common indoor back-up plan. There are plenty of city facilities as well, however, they require advance planning and sometimes a permit is required.
Do you work with wedding planners?
Wedding planners in Calgary are so easy to work with. They are very familiar with Calgary’s temperamental weather patterns and make sure they have a Plan B and sometimes even a Plan C in case of unexpected weather. As AM PM Limo has been around for almost a decade, we have established relationships with many planners. As we provide services for a variety of occasions, we have partnerships with many venues, restaurants, and officiants and we’re happy to provide recommendations or suggestions where needed.
On a different note, safety is an obvious factor, can you tell us about what AM PM Limo does to ensure guest safety?
Limousine safety is a huge part of our daily work day. To operate in Calgary, you are required to be registered with the City of Calgary Livery & Taxi Commission. That entails a lot of things, including an annual inspection of the vehicles, ensuring your drivers are licenced accordingly, and keeping accurate records. As well, under the Province of Alberta, as a transportation provider, the vehicles are inspected twice a year which also requires the accurate record keeping, driver logs and following their policies and procedures.
When comparing limousine companies and their fleets, the age of the vehicles is something very important to look at. Many operators are using vehicles that are 15-17 years old (or older) and stating the capacity is much larger than it legally is. Having more passengers than the legal capacity is a huge safety risk.
The limousine business is competitive but safety should be the number one priority and squeezing in one more person could be a life-changing decision.
Each vehicle is cleaned after each trip and often during a wedding, it is tidied up multiple times. Our vehicles are thoroughly detailed and washed at our facility & prior to each trip, an inspection is completed by the driver.
You have given us a lot to think about and information that is valuable for booking a limousine or party bus. Do you have any last comments?
We strive to make every reservation an event. Be it for a wedding, a graduation, a girl’s night out, bachelor party or even simple dinner transportation, AM PM Limo has the vehicle for your event. Drop us an email or give us a call and we can help make your occasion as memorable as possible.