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Houston couple Ben Guez and Brenna Beers make a clean getaway in a 1965 Triumph convertible tied with gold-painted cans.

Come and Go—in Style!

Couples borrow old customs for their big-day entrances and exits while mixing it up with modern twists.

Grand arrivals and farewells have been a wedding tradition across many cultures for generations. In ancient China, brides hid inside a bright red wooden box, ushered into the ceremony for presentation to her groom. In recent decades, bridal parties tied cans to the newlyweds’ bumper—legend says the clatter of its wake scares off evil spirits and provides a safe send-off. While bumper accessorizing still happens today, some of Houston’s trendsetters are also borrowing the grandeur of cultures and eras past to pull off more elaborate hellos and goodbyes—from four-legged entrances to classic car peel outs.

“Weddings are rituals,” explains Charlotte Haney, associate professor of anthropology at U of H Clear Lake. “Rituals serve the purpose of transitioning a person from one social role to another. In this case, from man and woman to husband and wife.” Haney explains that the elaborate details of a wedding, such as a memorable entry or exit, symbolize the highly valued maiden and her transition into her new family.

During a traditional Indian Baraat, it’s the groom who makes his entrance, usually on a horse—and in more elaborate weddings, on an elephant. “This symbolizes the journey about to take place,” Haney says. And while horses are readily available for a Houston wedding, it’s imperative to ask if the animals have experience with big events to avoid having your knight ride in on anything other than a trained animal.

“There’s music, noise and dancing, and horses are normally reactive to this,” says Sheila Mayo, owner of Houston Wedding Horses (281.704.4906). “Our animals are trained to be calm,” she says. Mayo’s company also bathes and dresses the horse in formal attire for special events.

If grand exits are more your style, think about a classic car escape. “Brides want their weddings to be special,” says Joe Jordan, owner of Jordan Limousines (713.680.3181). “You don’t get married in jeans and a T-shirt, and you make sure every detail is picture-worthy.” The company’s luxury fleet includes vintage cars—think Bentley and Rolls-Royce—and also has a trolley service to transport entire bridal parties. For a personal touch, Jordan displays the newlyweds’ last name on the front license plate.

For weddings near the water, nothing says dramatic like a 58-foot ketch sailboat. Kathy and Bob Edwards, owners of Kemah’s Windsong Charters (281.332.3108) have just the rig. “Our boat is historic, built in Taipei with hand-carved doors and wood trim,” Kathy says. “We can bring the bride into the dock to meet her groom, or the newlyweds can enjoy an after-wedding sunset cruise.” They serve steak and lobster dinners, and for the adventurous couple, Captain Bob will share the helm. He’s also ordained, so a wedding onboard is an option.

No matter your style—or adventure threshold—a spectacular entrance or exit will carry you off into the sunset… and create lasting memories for both you and your admiring guests.