Saturday, April 17, 2010

How to Hire A Limousine Without Being Taken for a Ride...

It's spring as party season is kicking into high gear.

Meanwhile, limousine services' phones are ringing off the hook with calls from prom dates and bridal parties looking for sleek looking wheels to get them to the dance hall or church in style, and on time.

Whether you're hiring a limo for a prom, wedding, a bachelor party or bachelorette party, before you make a final decision take a tip from the experts on how best to hire a limo without getting taken for a ride:

Like all great party planning, don't leave the details to the last minute. Take your time and shop around for the best limo at the best price your can afford.

Word to the wise: When it comes to limo hire, cheapest is usually not the best. Would you entrust cheap, fly-by-night operation to move your precious belongings? The same rule applies to limousine companies and their performance as they safely whisk you and your prom or bridal party from point A to B.

First, check the Better Business Bureau for any complaints against your prospective limo company like no-shows, dirty interiors, or rude drivers.

If you have the time, make a personal visit to the company garage to kick the tires and inspect the cars they have in their lineup. Do they actually have that stretch Hummer limo they advertise? What about the amenities they feature such as a bar, TV, moon roof or any other features you would like included?

Next, ask for references directly from the company representative so that you can call or e-mail other customers about their experiences. Was the driver on time? Did they drive safely? Were they polite & courteous? And, finally, did they know where they were going or did they need detailed directions?

While most reputable professional limousine services will want a detailed itinerary from you anyway, don't sit back and get comfortable just yet. There have been nightmare scenarios reported about drivers not really knowing the best route to a party or wedding - leading to panic, anger and disgruntled guests - before the party ever started. So always have the directions written down, just in case.

Finally, READ THE CONTRACT before you sign it to avoid any unpleasant surprises later, or pay extra for costs already included (like the tip, for example.) If a tip is NOT included, the rule of thumb is to give your driver 15% to 20% of the total fare. Of course, that figure can be adjusted depending upon your experiences with the driver and the company. Hopefully, and with a bit of planning, it will be a happy one.

Have fun!

More about hiring limos around the Web:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mother's Day Party Ideas

One of the most warmhearted spring celebrations, every May in the US (or March in the UK) a special day is set aside to remember a mother's love and support that is often there for the asking throughout our entire lives.

To help remember mom on her special day, here are some great tips on hosting a celebration with family or friends that will honor mom in first-class style while still going easy on your budget:

Going Out for Mother's Day

While home celebrations In early May, start scouting out local restaurants that feature special Mother's Day brunch or dinner menus.

Often, a package deal is offered at an all-inclusive price that includes a cocktail, appetizer, and the main meal complete with dessert and coffee, so you can more easily keep track of costs.

With the money you've saved, ask if you can have a special cake (together with a rousing chorus of "Happy Mother's Day to you!...) or maybe a bottle of champagne brought to the table to toast the special guest of honor.

Getting "Fresh" with Mom on Mother's Day

On the other hand, hosting a party at home may be more intimate and heartfelt - and far less expensive, especially when everyone pitches in.

For Mother's Day brunch or garden party, be sure to decorate with lots of mom's favorite flowers.

Include on the menu: fresh fruit and fresh-squeezed juices, (if you're extra crafty, also try your hand at carving an edible watermelon basket); serve a platter of homemade deviled eggs and cold cuts; and don't forget the batch of fresh homemade biscuits.

For a more formal sit-down dinner, family-style one-pan meals of lasgna or baked ziti are both easy on your time and budget. Served with a salad and plenty of crusty bread - and dinner is served! Of course, special touches like fancy Mother's Day drinks, and Mother's Day desserts
make it that much more memorable.

Just remember - whether it's in a neighborhood restaurant, a formal sit-down or a more casual buffet at home on Mother's Day - make sure mom gets served first!

More about Mother's Day parties and menu ideas around the Web: