Sunday 17 December 2017

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Expert interview with Suzie Goodman from Kushi Cars

After falling in love with and buying the car from her own big day, Suzie Goodman tells SoGlosWeddings what makes her Cheltenham wedding car hire company, Kushi Cars, so special.

Suzie Goodman started up her own wedding car company seven years ago when a random web search led her to spot and buy the car from her own wedding.

Based in Cheltenham, her unique and eye-catching Ambassador classic car is available for couples hoping to bag a beautiful and distinctive wedding car for their big day.

In this expert interview Suzie talks to SoGlosWeddings about what makes Kushi Cars such a perfect choice for wedding days, and how to arrive in style.

Tell us what made you start up Kushi Cars?

I loved the car from my own wedding so much I decided to buy it! It was a huge leap of faith into the unknown and something no-one would ever expect me to do, least of all me. But I like to be different and I needed a business that could fit around my family.

What does Kushi Cars mean?

Kushi means ‘happiness’ in Hindi and sums up our ethos and brand perfectly. We bring happiness to everyone we meet because the car has a nostalgic 1950s look and an interior that is so incredible, it always raises a smile. I also chose Kushi because in English it evokes feelings of comfort and cosiness, something my car has plenty of.

Tell us a bit about the car itself. What is it and how is it decorated?

My car is an imported Ambassador from India based on the Morris Oxford. She is decorated in the Indian wedding style, so both bumpers are festooned with exotic flowers and her interior is lavished with rich fabrics of red and gold.

Pretty much every inch inside is covered in sequins, beads and bells for that ‘Bollywood’ look. It’s so over the top, it even has a chandelier on the ceiling!

Do you personally drive the car for wedding hires?

Yes, I always drive the car myself. When I first started Kushi Cars I thought that my husband might do some of the weddings but I love it so much that I couldn’t let anyone else do my job.

Apart from the decorations, what makes Kushi Cars so unique?

Not only is it rare to see women chauffeuring wedding cars in what is traditionally ‘a man’s world’, I like to offer an intimate, chatty and quite girly experience.

I pride myself on reading my passengers’ moods, as often the dad is nervous and quiet, so I focus on the bride and her wedding. My job is to keep her calm which is generally achieved with a good old girly natter!

What does hiring Kushi Cars include?

Hire includes me as your driver for up to three hours. A typical wedding will start with collecting the bride and her dad from home and driving them to the wedding venue. I usually wait until after the ceremony so that they can have some photos with the car.

I always work closely with their photographer to help them get the best shots. I know my car well and know what makes for the best photos.

Which areas of Gloucestershire do you cover?

We cover more than just Gloucestershire, driving about an hour from our base in Cheltenham. So that includes Bath, Bristol, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and parts of the West Midlands. We can even pop the car into a trailer and take her anywhere in the UK and beyond.

What is the best part of your job?

Getting the bride to her wedding on time, but in a way that’s fun and exciting. Nerves can play havoc with people on the day so it is my job to focus all my attention on my very important passengers.

How has the business evolved since you first set it up?

Amazing feedback and five-star reviews from couples means I’m in the lucky position of getting new clients through word of mouth recommendations. I’m also a recommended supplier for some of the Cotswolds’ best and busiest wedding venues, which means I rarely advertise or go to wedding fairs nowadays.

What is the most memorable moment you’ve had since starting Kushi Cars?

Probably my first wedding. I was understandably nervous but couldn’t tell the bride that she was my first! It was a beautiful barn wedding out in the Cotswolds and remains one of my favourites.

Afterwards they wrote to thank me and let me have their photos with the car. As someone who is paid to provide a service, getting a personal thank you is really special.

Do you have a favourite wedding that you’ve been part of?

That would be like choosing between my children! My favourite weddings are the ones where the couples, their friends and families have all pulled together to make it work.

What’s the most unusual request you’ve had from a couple planning their wedding?

As part of an Indo/Anglo fusion wedding last year, the priest asked me to drive over a coconut at the end of the Hindu ceremony. This is the final part of the two-hour long rituals and symbolises the removal of obstacles for their first journey as husband and wife. It was a bit of play acting and pantomime, but honestly the most fun.

What’s the most romantic request you’ve ever had?

I think one of the most romantic weddings was a couple who married on a quiet Monday at Cheltenham Registry Office. There was no photographer and no flowers; you could almost call it a ‘naked’ wedding.

Don’t get me wrong, I love big all-singing and all-dancing weddings but this one was stripped down to what it is, two people and their commitment to loving each other forever and ever.

How many people can the car fit? How about brides with big meringue dresses?

Easily three bridesmaids in the back and we can comfortably accommodate brides with ‘meringue’ dresses because Ambassadors have comfy, deep back seats. It’s one of the reasons I bought it.

Often we have one in the front too, which means most of the bridal party get to experience riding in the most amazing car.

Have you had any wedding day disasters, such as breakdowns, getting lost, burst tyres or last-minute jitters from the bride?

Thankfully not many. I’ve had one bride burst into tears when she saw the church. I think the emotion of the build-up got to her. Luckily there was plenty of family around her to help and after five minutes she was marching down the aisle.

Do you have any new and exciting plans for Kushi Cars in 2017?

Later on in the year, we have been asked as a surprise from the father-of-the- bride to remove the artificial bumper flowers and replace them with fresh garlands of roses.

We’ll be working with a florist to achieve this and I’ll be driving extra slowly that day. I can’t wait to see what my car looks like; it’s going to be really special.

Would you like to have a fleet of cars eventually? If so, would you have all the same cars?

I definitely would like another car when the time is right. It would be fun, quirky and decorated similarly, but not necessarily an Indian car this time.

For more information, see Kushi Cars, call (01242) 248190 or visit directly.

© SoGlosWeddings
Thursday 29 June 2017

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