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Is this the Death Knell for Classic and Vintage Wedding Cars? -

It has long been a tradition in this country for brides to choose a beautiful classic or vintage car to transport her and father from home to the venue of the wedding ceremony. This may not be possible in the future if the Law Commission has its way. The laws regarding private hire and taxis have needed reforming for a very long time and it is right that the commission looks at it. Under all previous relevant laws two classes of car have always been exempt from licencing, wedding and funeral cars. The commission has brought proposals for the much needed reform but buried in the multitude of clauses is “Weddings and funeral cars would no longer be exempted under primary legislation”. So what?

gone forever

One beautiful car that may no longer be available for traditional weddings

Having been hiring wedding cars for twenty-one years I would estimate that well over fifty percent of wedding cars are supplied by small companies or individuals with just a few cars to whom the cost of licencing would be prohibitive. Each individual car would need to pass a local authority test (see below for current costs). The vehicle owners/companies who operate the business would need a private hire operator’s licence and all drivers would also have to be individually licenced. The really difficult part would relate to the drivers who would normally be driving for weddings on just a small number of weekends in a year. They would also have to be licenced which involves having to take the DSA (Driving Standards Agency) private hire/taxi driving tests, have a CRB report (Criminal Records Bureau), as well as a group 2 medical examination and probably take the “knowledge” test.

gone forever

Do we really want to lose these wonderful traditional wedding cars

One other nasty is that under present law cars licenced for private hire use can only ever be driven by fully licenced private hire drivers which means your wife or friend cannot drive the wedding car to a car show, the shops, in fact never on the public road even for a road test following work on the car unless they hold a full private hire licence. Fortunately there is a proposal in the Law Commission’s proposals to drop this awful condition, having said that it does not have to be dropped in the final new law so may well still exist when ultimately passed by parliament.

You can read the full proposals online at: http://lawcommission.justice.gov.uk/consultations/1804.htm

If you don’t object to wedding cars becoming private hire cars you may well find in a few years time there are virtually no classic or vintage cars to choose from and any left will be very expensive indeed. Just think what would happen if you did find a car and the driver goes sick the day before the wedding and a replacement fully licenced driver could not be found? Then your car would have to be cancelled at the last minute leaving absolutely no time for you to find a replacement from one of the few remaining companies prepared to hire wedding cars.

Costings for licensing cars and drivers (Based on present charges from Waverley Borough Council)

Annual testing  £261 (per car)
Operator’s licence  £169
CRB report  £  44
Private hire licence  £100
DSA test  £  96
CRB report  £  44
Medical  £  90 (Fees are set by the medical centre used and will vary)


The total annual cost for an owner to hold an operator’s licence, driver’s licence and have one licenced vehicle would be £664. Each additional car would cost £261 and if the owner were to pay for the licencing of drivers the cost would be around £330 each driver. No occasional driver is going pay £330 out of his own pocket just to drive wedding cars on ten or twelve weddings a year. These occasional drivers are essential to drive wedding cars. Those driving vintage wedding cars are usually around retirment age but because of their age have the proper skills to drive these wonderful old cars. Young drivers of today have never heard of ‘double de clutching’ let alone know how to do it.

If you want to save one of this country’s wonderful traditions then please object to the Law Commission proposals and get your MP on side as well. Don’t let faceless bureaucrats take away part of the greatest day in your life.

Email the law commission at tph@lawcommission.gsi.gov.uk and refer to “Taxi and Private Hire Consultation” with your objections to the “Weddings and funeral cars would no longer be exempted under primary legislation” clause, also that you agree with the dropping of the present ‘licenced drivers only’ condition.

To find your MP and contact details go to:   http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/ then click “Find your MP”

bride on donkey

Maybe the bureaucrats will reduce us to this


23 responses to “Is this the Death Knell for Classic and Vintage Wedding Cars?”

  1. Johnny Hassell says:

    How on earth will this ‘proposed ‘ law be implemented,will there be a police officer standing out side every church,or registery office seven days a week?checking every car that pulled up outside,i have a 1995 Porsche Convertible that i intend to use as a ‘grooms Car’ ..privately hired out by me..what is my position,to all intents,i could be a friend of the groom,i also have a Delboy Van which i intend to use in the same way..

    • david says:

      If do that your insurance will be invalid and you would be uninsured and the vehicle will be liable to seizure and confiscation. You don’t even have to take money, benifit in kind will also render you liable to prosecution for not being licensed as well as losing your car. Just one small accident not even your fault and you could lose everything and be liable to a term of imprisonment. It’s your choice. Not one I would risk.


      • Johnny Hassell says:

        Hi David ,point taken…..BUT..what happens then ,if i am taking my ‘Brother’ ‘Friend’ ‘Cousin’ to get married in my Porsche….do i or the car need to have a special licence,and as i have said before how on earth can it be determined that i am doing anything illegal,the words ‘red tape. and grey area’s’ dont even enter into it.as i have said there would have to be a police officer,or local council officer in attendence at every Wedding that takes place throughout the country.for the want of a better phrase…..’Complete Bollocks’

        • david says:

          If that is all you are doing and there is no cash involved then there is no problem as you are not hiring your car for any form of reward.

          • Johnny Hassell says:

            Hi David,thanks for the reply,just as a matter of interest are you connected to the legal profession,or the Law Commission,or VOSA even,as any advise,or valid comments are of great interest to me,Best Regards Johnny

          • david says:

            I have just been running my own companies for thirty years and make a point to find out how the law affects my business so I can stay within it

  2. paul says:

    I welcome these proposals,it will get rid of the multitude of agencies and their “drivers”taking the business away from us well established wedding car co’s mine is 24 years old so we can build up serious co’s instead of been diluted by cowboys.

  3. Steve Hertfordshire Wedding Cars says:

    Dear all,

    Just had a letter back from my MP, Mike Penning. The person to target your objections to is Norman Baker MP, who is the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport. His address is Great Minster House, 76 Marsham Street,London SW1P 4DR

    He’s been sent a list of objections from me, outlining the following points :-

    • The review needs to see this whole issue in Perspective

    • The law requires any changes to be both Proportional and Necessary

    • Prohibitive costs will put most companies out of business

    • Most companies provide a service on less than 60 days of the year

    • Most cars do less than 2000 miles per annum (unlike taxi’s and PHV)

    • Drivers work perhaps 15 days a year

    • It will cost £261 to licence each car

    • It will cost £200 for each company to be a licensed ‘Operator’

    • It will cost £400 for each driver to become licensed. This includes a DSA driving test, a medical, a CRB check and a ‘local knowledge teat’ all to do 15 weddings a year !

    • Some Local Authorities will currently not licence a vehicle if it is more than 5 years old

    • Once licensed, a car can only be driven by a licensed driver, which means the owners of classic cars would have to be licensed, just to go to the shops, or to a classic car show.

    • Putting wedding cars businesses out of work would also :-

    • Depress the market for classic cars, as so many hit the market at the same time

    • Damage the businesses of car body shops and repairers ( having just spent £22k refurbishing one of our cars )

    • Provide a loss of income to the Government in respect of income and business tax

  4. Gary says:

    This stupid law will kill the industry stone dead. The only way to bring this to everyones attention is to do what everyone else does, drive to the centre of London at a given time and date and drive slowly in a convoy of classic cars, maximum chaos, maximum publicity! it will be on every TV station and all over press.

    • david says:

      At this point in time a demostration like that would be no good at all. If the proposed new law gets to parlialment in a year or so’s time then it could a good idea. Right now we have to make all our objections to the Law Commission first and our MP’s second to try and squash the proposal before it reaches Parliament. Join the new NAWCP which will be up and running in a few days time to maximise our objections.

      • Martin Howes says:

        David – it wasn’t a demonstration, it was to raise public awareness to object, that was the point I got, all over the media it said public object to, public object to. In a years time it would be too late to do any sort of demonstration as our local MP said once it’s past the proposal stage then it’s no good as once the Government get their teeth into something it’s no good fighting then.

  5. Martin Howes says:


    I really don’t think there is enough support for this at all, I can’t believe that there are so many wedding car businesses in this country yet there are a handful of petitions out there with less than 500 signatures. If only everyone could do as much these lot below then that would at least be a start, I’m sure others have but just not enough others.

    Published on SilverLady Cars facebook – We held a press event in Gretna Green which will be published in Carlisle News and Star, Cumberland News, Annandale Observer, as well as being featured on CFM Radio, BBC Radio Cumbria and also Border TV and their website – http://www.itv.com/news/border We have gained the support from our Local MP for Penrith & The Borders MP Rory Stewart OBE and we also invited other Local Wedding Car Hire businesses and other wedding professionals. tph@lawcommission.gsi.gov.uk

  6. Whilst the readers of this blog will probably be classic/vintage owners, we need to target EVERYONE within the industry, local wedding magazines and wedding fair organisers as they have big databases of brides.
    Calderdale council wont allow private hire registration over 5 years old! Therefore this proposal will effect so much more than us classic/vintage owners but VIRTUALLY ALL WEDDING CAR SUPPLIERS.
    If wedding car costs go up then couples may decide to either not have a wedding car or perhaps not even a wedding in this country and then the whole UK industry suffers, then the economy etc etc.
    Please contact everyone you can think of to get these petitions looked at as so far there are just a few hundred that have signed. thanks. fingers crossed…

  7. Paul & Helen Langley says:

    We run a small fleet of classic cars in a wedding car hire business. We only heard about this proposal today, so this consultation has been publicised hasn’t it!!! NOT!.. This will have a devastating impact not only on the wedding car industry but on the classic car movement too. Many classic car owners use their cars occasionally for weddings to help fund their hobby. If this was taken away then many classic cars could be lost too. We also agree with an earlier comment regarding the removal of the MOT test for pre 1960’s cars because as the government says, ‘owners of these vehicles maintain them to a high standard’ and ‘such vehicles are used for limited mileage’. This just does not make sense. Also if you cast your minds back a few years regarding previous governments, the idea of bringing in legislation to get old cars off the road was suggested in the past. Is this government now trying to ‘finish the job’ as it were? Businesses like ours would not be able to afford to upgrade newer cars….nor would want to anyway! No matter how well classic cars are maintained for the wedding transport industry they would still NOT meet the requirements needed to become a licenced vehicle. We all need to get our MP’s on side and add our names to the e-petitions going around to hopefully put an end to this proposal. Let common sense prevail.

    • david says:

      Hi Paul

      I agree with you 100%. Your MP is a good place to start but what is vital is sending an email setting out your reasons for objecting to tph@lawcommission.gsi.gov.uk by 10th August at the latest as this is the cut off date for the consultation.

      The Classic and Vintage Car Company

  8. An utterly stupid revision to the law. Weddings and funerals are nothing like private hire.
    Our local council won’t even register any vehicles over 5 years old and they have to be pre 73 to be exempt i think.

    We run 5 beaufords and have written to our MP and put the story on our facebook and website etc.

    As well as the petition running here, there is also an epetition one that has been set up which may be a good idea if people could sign that too. Its:


    We need to stick together and fight against this mad proposal. Im actually all for some regulation within the wedding car trade but not like this and will help in whatever way i can.

  9. It’s why Classic Car Weekly investigated this story and put it into print 3 weeks ago. Why should owners of older cars used for weddings have to jump through so many hoops, and at such an exorbitant cost?

  10. Its madness at the extreme. I met with Paul today as we are both Cornwall based as well as another operator who had arranged to be interviewed by BBC Radio Cornwall.

    We had a line up of both Classic and Modern Wedding Cars, outside a church in the sunshine. Countless people stopped and asked what was going on. NOT ONE said what a great idea in fact they all said its just stupid.

    I operate classic and modern Bentley’s I dont do anything else other than Weddings and if this law comes in I am finished. Like all of us my cars are maintained to a better standard than any taxi. My insurance is less than a local taxi driver with a normal family car.

    This just makes my blood boil, its a case of who can we pick on now.

    Ive tried to work out how to start a No10 e petition but Im not the best on a PC, if anyone can do it please do so and post the like.

  11. Kim Lund says:

    Please read and sign the petition and circulate it as far and wide as possible. we need 100 000 signatures to have an impact.



  12. Rob Bowyer says:

    Just been talking to my MOT man and he was saying you cant get a PCO licence on any car that is older than an 07 plate!

  13. I absolutely support everything said by Paul Hicks, being the daughter of a 71 year old Vintage enthusiastic who works on his cars from dawn to dusk lovingly maintaining them, this would not only most likely force the closure the 25 year business, which takes most of its turnover to maintain all of these old beauties but put a stop to brides being able to choose to travel to their wedding in an exclusive vintage vehicle, in turn this would dramatically reduce those Vintage cars running & kill my fathers passion. He counts his cars as his reason for getting up in the morning, this would break hs heart & those of our brides & grooms past, present & future. It is surely the case that these cars of yester year making up part of our British History should be given more respect as should those who have lovingly restored them & whose heart it is that keeps them going, such is the cost never mind increasing it further, so far fewer are left in existence. Visiting vintage shows one can already see the decrease in vehicles attending most likely due to the cost & time it already takes to keep these old cars to their former glory. This is a crime against our heritage, these beautiful old Vintage cars history, their restorers, owners, those who love to drive them & those who wish to travel in them to celebrate their wedding day.

  14. Paul Hicks says:

    I sent this to phil.hodgson@lawcommission.gsi.gov.uk who accepts comments on the consultation paper:

    Dear Sir;
    I notice with alarm that your paper proposes to require Wedding Car companies like my own to comply with the requirements of a licensed operator.
    My own operation involves 3 retired gentlemen who provide their services and cars throughout the summer as wedding cars. They provide these services as much as a hobby as a business. Nonetheless, the income that they receive helps pay to maintain their vintage style vehicles as well as supplementing their pension (on which they pay income tax). Our cars cover no more than 3000 miles in a year which includes not just the wedding hire but personal use.
    This paper proposes that we would have the demands of a taxi driver imposed on us and on our little company.
    Some 50% of all wedding car companies are small, owner operated companies like ours (source: Beauford Owners Club). This legislation would put most of us out of business. The cost of complying would cost us each more than we make.
    The paper quotes a reason for requiring compliance with the legislation is that of safety. This, in most cases, is an anomaly. The Government is just in the process of removing the need for an MOT from ‘vintage’ cars because ‘owners of these vehicles maintain them to a high standard’ and ‘such vehicles are used for limited mileage’ yet this paper infers that the MOT is insufficient to impose a satisfactory degree of safety. Most of the owner operators like me maintain our cars to a very high standard and limit our mileage to 3000 miles and this is acknowledged by the change in the MOT requirement. So I believe that this reasoning in the paper makes no sense at all and contradicts the findings of another government department. Left hand – right hand?
    The result of compliance with the proposed legislation is that we would close our operation. Having discussed this with other operators, this would apply to many others as well. Our source of supplementary income would vanish and we would then be forced to apply for tax credits! The cost of a wedding or funeral car would rise significantly. Those that do comply would then force an increase in cost and become taxis and able to compete in an already crowded market place. So much for a government supporting the small business.
    Finally, I am concerned that this proposed legislation is well hidden in this paper and most owners will not be aware of its impact. Greater advertising of the requirement should be made of such changes. The consultation period is insufficient to make all those concerned, aware of the proposal.
    In summary, I propose that changes to wedding car hire legislative requirements be removed from the subject paper.


    Paul Hicks
    Roaring 30s Automobiles

  15. This is something that I have been keeping my eye on, and have responded to the consultation process. We deal with retro VW Campers and hiring them as wedding cars makes it possible for us to generate funds to keep them in immaculate condition. We are a small company with three campers and the impact of such legilsation would be huge on our operating costs… I will be bringing this article to the attention of those on the VW wedding scene to get some more responses sent to the consultation.

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