Booking transportation might feel like an easy task to a couple booking with Absolutely Charleston, and that’s exactly how Karen Dhooge, director of operations at the company, wants it to be. But what goes on behind the scenes is really where the magic happens.
“We set ourselves apart in the way we plan things. We don’t just take a call and set up a booking. From the very first phone call, we are planning. We work with the city to know where you can be picked up and dropped off. We map locations for the different times of the day and figure out how long different transfers are going to take,” explained Karen.
All this logistical planning makes the difference between on-time arrivals and delays.
“Our planning ensures the bride’s day is everything she planned, running according to schedule without any delays or unexpected problems,” she said. “We have a really strong focus on detail that’s helpful to our couples.”
While the attention to detail and level of service is what makes couples book with Absolutely Charleston, it’s their fleet that initially attracts couples to them. Couples looking to add that boutique experience or a little Charleston flair to their wedding can do just that with the company’s vehicle selection.
“Our vehicles are something you can’t get anywhere else,” said Karen. “Our most unique vehicle, and the ‘baby’ of our fleet, is an old city bus. It is a 1923 replica old city bus that was actually rebuilt by hand by the owner of our company as his passion project. It has a lot of great details that make it standout. We also have a fleet of trolleys, which add to the Charleston experience, and a fleet of mini coach buses.”
The company has been in business for 17 years when the owner at the time, Walt Thorn (who has since passed away) bought a couple of vans and hired a few tour guides. At the time, the company was doing small moves of people staying at hotels downtown or tours of downtown Charleston. They eventually added airport transfers to the cruise terminal.
“Walt wanted to see what we could do with bigger vehicles. That’s when he ended up acquiring one of the antique style vehicles. He sent it to a family wedding, and it was a huge hit. He decided he wanted to go into the wedding market, and brought me in to help,” said Karen.
It’s been 14 years now since Karen joined the company. While they still offer assistance for any type of transportation need, weddings are their specialty. She is always focused on raising the bar, service-wise, which is why they’ve become such a staple in the Charleston wedding community.
“The best part of servicing a wedding is truly being a part of someone’s big day. It’s not just work or crunching numbers. We appreciate being a part of the celebration and want to make sure their day is perfect. It makes all the work we do in the background worthwhile,” said Karen.
After all, that background work that keeps everyone moving on time is invaluable to a couple’s wedding day.
Still looking for a unique way to transport yourself or your guests for your Charleston wedding? Contact Karen and her team HERE today!