inside limousine

A limousine can make or break your experience on a special night out or for celebrating one of life’s greatest milestones. Whether it’s your bachelor party, prom or one of the big birthdays, riding in style will take your party to the next level to be sure. We’d all like to be a VIP for a day, right?

Booking Your Ride

Before you rush out and book a limousine service, there are a few things you should know.

How to Rent a Limo
Step 1: Determine How Long You Will Need The Limousine
Step 2: Watch for High-Demand Time Periods
Step 3: Get a Head Count of Everyone Riding
Step 4: Choose a Type of Limousine
Step 5: Ask Limousine Company About Event Packages
Step 6: Ask About Amenities
Step 7: Ask If Alcohol Is Permitted
Step 8: View the Type of Vehicle You Are Getting Picked Up In
Step 9: Find Out Cancellation And Reservation Policy
Step 10: Determine the Price
Step 11: Have Gratuity Ready for the Driver

Don’t wait until the last minute and do plenty of research to ensure a stress-free experience — from the planning process to right up to the big event itself. Here’s a list of things you should know ahead of time to help you narrow down your luxury vehicle options:

1. Determine How Long You’ll Need the Car

Before you dive into the nitty gritty, let the limo company know how long you’ll need the car. The difference between four and six hours may seem like nothing, but it effects the booking schedule. It may impact your ability to lock down the vehicle you had in mind.

If you’re not sure how long you’ll need the car, it is better to overestimate. If you think you’ll be done with your event in four hours, get a quote for five or six, just to play it safe.

2. Be Watchful of High-Demand Time Periods

If you’re looking for a limo to help you ring in the new year in style, start thinking about your requirements as early as possible, as you’re likely not the only one who will be taking their celebration style to the next level. Summer months like June and July may also be busier times since that’s the height of wedding season.


Long story short, book early to make sure you get first pick — before all the stragglers rush in at the last minute. The date of use is very important. Even if the limo company is sold out of your desired option on the day you need it, they’ll be more likely to be able to find you something that closely aligns with your needs if they have appropriate lead time.

As a general guide, you’ll want to book a limo for a wedding or in-demand weekend night a few months ahead of time. If you’re renting for a mid-week dinner or during a slower time of year, a few weeks in advance will be fine. For an impromptu ride in a limousine car, a week in advance should be okay, provided you aren’t picky about the color, model year or in-vehicle features. At the end of the day, renting a limo is all about creating a memorable experience, not necessarily about securing a rental at the lowest possible price point.

3. Get as Accurate of a Head Count as Possible

How many people are going? Get a head count before the whole planning process even begins. If you’re not prepared with at least some kind of ballpark details, it can lead to issues later.
Trust us on this one. Just like with overestimating the time you’ll need the car, it’s imperative to allot some space for the unexpected. For example, if you’re expecting a party of 10 for your New Year’s night on the town, you’ll want to book a vehicle built for 12. Like any party, there’s always some last-minute decisions, or people who “forgot” to RSVP. That way, if an extra person shows up, no big deal.

On the other hand, having a couple empty spaces ensures everyone on the ride will have plenty of room to roam around freely. No need to cram all your favorite people into the car like a can of sardines. No one wants to fight off errant elbows in a wrinkled outfit. Keep your cool by being prepared.

4. Decide Which Kind of Vehicle Is Right for the Event

Alright limo novices — there’s a number of stretch vehicles out there in the world, with some better suited than others, for specific events. This is all dependent both on the occasion and the vibe you’re trying to cultivate. If you’ve got a wine tour or are attending a sporting event, a party limousine or bus might be your best bet. If it’s a bachelor party, you might want to go all out, impressing your boys with a stretch Hummer for a night out in the big city.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to keep things classy, for a romantic ride around town or for transportation to and from the church to the wedding reception, you may want to opt for a town car or classic stretch limo.

Plus, don’t forget about the style factor. Let’s say you’re having your wedding reception at a picturesque vineyard, complete with romantic tea lights and a breathtaking view — you’re not going to want an ostentatious bright pink stretch SUV rolling up to whisk you and your beloved off to the honeymoon suite. Instead, you’ll probably want a classic limo in black or white, adding another element to the ambiance.

5. Share the Small Details with the Limo Company

The more information you’re able to give the limousine company, the better. There are many unique limousine companies out there that like to get a sense of what event their vehicles will be at, so they can decorate accordingly. Child’s birthday? Think balloons, streamers and a kid-friendly vibe. Bachelorette party? Maybe something more feminine and fun. You get the idea.

Additionally, if you’d rather not leave these kinds of details up to chance, feel free to share your vision with the customer service rep while you’ve got them on the phone. At Premiere #1, we’re happy to be part of your big event, and we will do everything we can to make sure you get the experience of your dreams.

wedding limousine

Another note on this point, sharing the details of the event with the limo service might also allow them to share special options available for specific occasions. For example, some of the services we provide are transportation to and from scavenger hunts, Pennsylvania wine tours and more. You may find the event-specific packages are a much better deal. Again, it never hurts to ask!

If you’re a minor and are looking for transportation to and from prom, homecoming or other teenage rites of passage, keep in mind you’ll need permission from a parent or guardian. They’ll likely need to be present for the rental to happen.

6. Ask About Amenities

Amenities vary depending on what you’re looking for. A 56-passenger bus rental is going to be focused primarily on keeping riders comfortable and storing belongings, while options that seat 12 to 20 people will offer a variety of perks, such as beverage glasses, bottled water and a top-notch stereo system.

The amenities you’ll need depends on how long you’ll be riding in the limo. A wine tour or a sight-seeing trip will naturally require a bit more in terms of music capabilities, refreshments and more.

Find out what kind of plug-ins are available in the vehicle you’re checking out. Is your smartphone compatible with the plug-ins on board or will you need to burn some CDs or MP3s for the ride? You’ll want to know this ahead of time, so you can get cracking on those event-specific playlists. Ambiance is everything, after all.

Some vehicles of the fleet also have screens and DVD players installed on-board. This is great for bus rentals heading to and from a big sporting event or after a long day touring wineries and other all-day outings. On the flip side, watching a DVD while en route to a trip to the casino or right before a bar crawl can kind of kill the momentum, making passengers settle in for the long haul.

Also, amenities like strobe lights, mirrored ceilings and other decorative elements can work some serious magic if you’re looking to kick up the party vibe a few notches. Combined with your choice of tunes, the party bus or SUV may just be a whole lot more fun than the club. We won’t blame you if you just want to keep riding.

7. Find out About the Alcohol Situation

As far as event rentals go, the party bus is synonymous with loud music, lots of people and, of course, alcohol. We always picture things like enjoying champagne in a stretch limo or having a pre-party drink with the bridal party before taking on the town.

When booking your limo, you’ll want to find out whether alcohol is permitted. In most cases, the expectation is that there will be at least some drinking on board the vehicle, and many limos provide some provision-related amenities.

Before you dive into some of the hard liquor-related questions, consider the tone of the event. If you’re providing an airport shuttle for a special guest from out of town or need a fancy getaway car for your upcoming wedding, you may find paying extra just to throw back a beer is not worth it.

wine glasses

On the other hand, if you’re throwing a party where much of the time will be spent en route from point A to point B to point Z, your guests may appreciate the ability to have a couple glasses of wine or an ice water between stops. Same goes for food.

Many party buses, stretch SUVs and the like feature amenities like an on-vehicle refrigerator, ice and a drink-making station. If you’d like to drink alcohol or soft drinks during your trip, you’ll need to provide your own.  Our stretch Hummer, for example, comes equipped with glasses, water and an ice station. You provide the drinks —  meaning you’ll be in control of the budget and the choice of beverages on hand.

A final word on the alcohol situation. If you plan on serving drinks in the back, make sure all passengers are over 21 and come prepared with proper identification. No one wants to play enforcer, but the limo service is liable for any foul play, and they’ll greatly appreciate your attention to this matter.

8. Check out the Fleet Ahead of Time

Not sure quite what you’re looking for, but know that you want to house 15 of your best friends and a fair amount of beer and wine? You will want to get a sense of what vehicles the limo service has on hand before you make a reservation.

If you’re planning a major event — which is most people looking for a limo — you’ll probably want to take some time before the big day to take a peek in-person at the fleet. See what car you’ll be riding in and make sure everything is up to your standards. Trust us, you won’t want to be surprised when the limo driver comes to pick up your group in a pink Cadillac and you were expecting a black SUV.

9. Find out the Reservations and Cancellations Policy

Find out the cancellation policy ahead of time with the limousine company. If you have an outdoor event that may get rained out, or something comes up at the last minute, you’ll want to know how much you’re on the hook for. When you book with Premiere #1, we’ll go over this in detail, so you’re not in the dark regarding cancellations.

10. Determine the Pricing

Your standard car service will charge by the hour, requiring a minimum reservation of about three or four hours. In some cases, you may be able to lock in a flat rate if you’ll need the car for more than a few hours.

Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. No one likes to be blindsided by additional fees, but renting a limousine can sometimes add up in the same way as buying plane tickets. Just be upfront, and let the person you are talking to know you’re trying to set a budget and you’d like to have a clear picture as to what you can expect.

As far as things like going over the time limit, fuel surcharges and any other little fees, find out the policy upfront.

When in doubt, ask questions. At Premiere #1, we’re happy to answer any questions about the limo booking process — from the small details to anything regarding fees, charges and more.

11. Don’t Forget Gratuity!

If you’re planning a limo ride adventure, you’ll want things to run as smoothly as possible. That means if you have a happy driver, which you will with Premiere #1, the experience and service will be helped by a polite group of riders, as well as gratuity. Be sure to find out if gratuity is included or if you’ll need to tip your driver on the scene. You don’t want to stiff the driver, nor do you want to be surprised by any additional fees.

limousine door

We can’t stress this enough — don’t leave your special occasion details up to chance. Premiere #1 Limousine Service has long been providing quality limousine service to the Greater Harrisburg community, and we’ll be happy to help you figure out what kind of party limousine service is the right fit for you. From stretch Hummers and SUVs and pink Cadillacs to party buses and trolleys, our dependable staff will deliver you to your destination safely and in style, no matter what the occasion.

Call us today, and one of our representatives will answer all your limo rental questions — from the small details such as if there are drinking glasses provided, to the big issues, like price, booking info and more.