Carriage breakdowns prevent British couples from tying the knot

Article date: 28 July 2006

With almost 42,0001 couples set to walk down theaisle this August, research out today suggests brides andgrooms-to-be should worry about their motors instead of beingjilted at the altar if they want to get hitched.

New research from RAC reveals that the mode of transport breaksdown in more than one in 10 (11%) weddings, meaning motoringmishaps affect almost 5,000 weddings each summer.

Despite this, planning for transport problems comes way down thelist of wedding priorities for engaged couples. Only 4% worry abouttheir car breaking down on their special day.

Instead, top wedding day worries are:

  1. Fears that bad weather will rain on the parade (26%)
  2. Being stood up by their partner (13%) 
  3. An embarrassing wedding day speech (10%)
  4. The best man losing the rings (6%).

But in reality, couples are almost three times more likely tobreakdown en route to the church than the best man is to lose thewedding rings.

Wedding planner Siobhan Craven-Robins comments: “Weddingclichés like the best man losing the rings or the groom having achange of heart are common currency in films and television showsso it’s little surprise they weigh heavily on people’sminds. As this research shows however, there are far more likelyoccurrences that can jeopardise a couple's big day. You can betAshley and Cheryl planned their transport carefully and it’simportant that other couples do the same.”

Last summer, RAC patrols attended more than 1,000 wedding-relatedcall outs and in preparation for a busy couple of months, RAC hasteamed up with Siobhan Craven-Robins to provide brides and groomswith tips and advice for getting to the church on time.

Prakesh Patel, RAC patrolman, comments: “Nerves, tension andthe summer heat can make for an explosive combination and best keptto a minimum. In my experience of rescuing distraught brides andgrooms stranded at the side of the road, I’ve always beensurprised at how easily people can forget to check their car beforesetting out. As our survey reveals, almost a quarter of couplesdon’t check their vehicle is in good working order the nightbefore getting married and with more than one in six peopletravelling to weddings in their own car, that’s just askingfor trouble!”

Siobhan Craven-Robins’ top tips for couplesinclude:

  1. Ensure the hire company checks and cleans their cars beforeeach hire, and that the driver does a dummy run the week beforeyour wedding so that he or she is familiar with the route and anyroad works etc
  2. If you breakdown en route to the ceremony, ensure someonecalls the best man to alert him to any delays
  3. Remember that weddings are nearly always delayed. Many otherpeople will have been in similar situations
  4. If you plan on travelling in a family member’s car, askthem to have it thoroughly checked over and to make sure that theyhave adequate breakdown and insurance cover in the event of anyproblems
  5. RAC membership covers you as a driver or passenger in anyvehicle so you can be guaranteed peace of mind no matter whose caryou’re travelling in
  6. If the breakdown occurs on the way from the ceremony to thereception venue, then again call ahead to the venue. Someone therewill be able to come and collect the couple equipped with somechilled champagne to calm their nerves.


1 Based on average numbers of weddings in themonth of August from 1993 to 2003, taken from Office of NationalStatistics figures

RAC Press office contacts:
Jasmine Agbulos orChris Lauwerys at Lexis PR on 0207 908 6402 or 0207 908 6465

Jon Day at RAC Press Office on 07800 690555

Notes to editors:

Case studies available on request.

ICM interviewed a random sample of 1002 adults aged 18+, bytelephone across the country between 12–13 July 2006. ICM isa member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.Further information at

About RAC
With around seven million members, RAC is oneof the UK's most progressive motoring organizations, providingservices for both private and business motorists. Whether it'sroadside assistance, windscreen repair and replacement, learning todrive, vehicle inspections and checks, legal and financial servicesor up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able tomeet motorists’ needs. RAC incorporates BSM, RAC AutoWindscreens, RAC Direct Insurance and HPI.

Aviva bought RAC in May 2005. The acquisition brings together RAC'spowerful brand and customer base with the expertise and leadingposition in motor insurance of Norwich Union Insurance (part ofAviva). Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer, insuringone-in-seven motor vehicles and with a market share of around14%.

RAC’s news releases and a selection of images are availablefrom the internet press centre at

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