Today’s supplier feels really close to my heart – we had a VW campervan at our own wedding which we then trundled off in on our honeymoon! Sigh…anyway, back to todays supplier – the wonderful Canny Campers based in North East England. Offering the classic Little Joe – a split screen VW campervan (from 1964!!) and the super sleek Millie, a black VW convertible Beetle. Two super cool vintage vehicles to help you turn up to your wedding in style! We chatted to owner Paul to find out more about Canny Campers (you might need a tissue ready for one super cute wedding story involving bag pipes…!)
Tell us a bit more about Canny Campers…
Canny Campers provide the highest quality fully restored VW Wedding Transport for North East Brides and Grooms. We currently maintain a very small fleet of two vehicles, our 1964 campervan and our 1976 beetle convertible. We also offer unique VW Wedding Favour Boxes which you can fill with sweets, maybe cake or even better a little bottle of booze or tonic! Established in 2009, we have used these years of trading not to expand but to improve our vehicles, our service offering and our business system. We are confident in our service offering, based on testimonials and feedback gathered over many years. Continued improvement is our goal.
What inspired you to start your business?
Firstly – a love of VW Campervans. Secondly – a hatred of my at the time current day-to-day job. Thirdly – I actually meant to start a different business, hiring out VW Campervans for self-drive holidays, hence the non-wedding based name “Canny Campers”. I had noticed a trend for this kind of business and thought it would be a great thing to have a go at. Unfortunately as I spent more time and money on restoring my camper ‘Little Joe’ I just couldn’t hand the keys to someone I didn’t know. Stuck with a lot of debt I had to do something and thankfully another company handed me a lifeline. They were doing VW weddings just outside of my area and as nobody was at that time covering my patch they were more than happy to refer business my way. This worked perfectly for many years as we worked business amongst each other.
How are you different from any other similar suppliers?
Today the market is much more saturated with VW suppliers. We are however still a friendly bunch who all recommend each other when we are already booked. It is more important than ever to stand out from the crowd and we do this by improving and not taking our current position in the market for granted. To date we have spent nearly £40,000 on our campervan alone (including the purchase cost) as we have restored the bodywork, electrics, engine etc. At the end of next season, after being on a 2 year waiting list, we will be replacing the full interior of our campervan. This will all be handmade bespoke wood from a company called All Things Timber, it will be a mix of campervan and wedding vehicle features. The interior will also be completely re-upholstered using the finest materials from a company called moon fabric and trimmed by Bromsgrove Auto Trimmers and finally internal electrics including a 12volt fridge to cool the Champagne and a sound system will be fitted. The current interior is beautiful, original and represents true vintage. As the market changes and new VW suppliers occupy the same space. We are going to move away from old vintage to plush vintage.
What do you love most about working in the wedding industry?
The wedding industry is a fantastic space to work if your true aim for being in this market is to do the best by the bride and groom. The bride and groom are your employers for the day but also uniquely I think. When doing a wedding it is like going through a mini relationship all in a few hours. You have to be a people person to meet a relative stranger in the morning and have a bond of friendship by the afternoon. To that end my favourite thing about this industry is the positive feedback received from providing a special memory on one of the biggest days of somebody’s life.
What would be your number one piece of advice for a bride to be?
I hear the same thing said by many a bride “I can’t believe how fast the day is going” usually followed by something like “I didn’t even notice the flowers Aunty Sandra put together for the church”. So my advice is to savour every moment, don’t be nervous in yourself and definitely don’t spend your time worrying about other people. You will have spent hundreds of hours and thousands of pounds on your big day, so love it as your big day!
Tell us about the best thing you have seen at a wedding you have been to?
At a wedding I did this year, the mother of the bride – a passionate Scottish lady, was dismayed that the bride had little interest in having any Scottish elements as part of the proceedings. As a surprise and as a bit of a joke, the Bride’s Mother paid a bag piper to play at the side of the road on the way to the venue. (and as I was the driver I had to drive a certain way). It may not seem such an amazing story but it sticks in my head as when we pulled up beside the bag piper, the bride got out (which wasn’t meant to happen), she then danced at the side of the road with her bridesmaids watching. On getting back into the camper she burst into tears and we slowly drove on to the venue, where she was to be married. No doubt feeling a mix of happy and sad emotions at the change from her old life with her parents, to a new adventure with her now other half.
Finally, in one sentence why should someone choose Canny Campers?
Our VW Wedding Hire Service has been improved and refined since 2009, it is quality not quantity that we are about.
Paul’s quick fire questions!
Platinum or gold…gold
Hotel or campervan…hmm I wonder…campervan!
Up or down…up
Dinner party or party party…
Band or DJ…band
Coffee or tea…coffee
Smart or casual…smart
Sunrise or sunset…sunset = glass of wine, sunrise = hangover so sunset
Thanks so much Paul! (and we are very glad you didn’t choose ‘hotel’ on the quick fire questions!!) If you want to see more of Paul’s beautiful VW’s or get in contact with him, then have a look at Canny Campers in our directory.