Photo courtesy of Andrea Elizabeth Photography
So you have your accommodations worked out for your guests, but now the question is how are they going to get from point A to point B?
Transportation can make a huge difference for the guest experience. When you provide a shuttle for guests, they don’t need to worry about renting a car or how much they might drink at the wedding. However, the logistics of guest transportation can leave anyone feeling a little overwhelmed. Where do you start?
Photo courtesy of Jeremy Minnerick Photography
Transportation by DFW Vintage Cars
In this case you are actually going to want to start at the end of the night. How many people are going to possibly want to ride the bus back after the wedding is over? Are your family, wedding party, and their significant others included in this count or will they be in a separate vehicle? Where will they be going? At the end of the night, you need enough seats (whether in one or more vehicles) for everyone remaining to leave in one trip as the event ends.
Once you know your possible count, you can look at your options for vehicles. A mini bus can carry about 20-35 people, while a coach can fit 50-60. They can be rented at an hourly rate, but most have a four hour or more minimum. You might also consider renting a hotel shuttle, although you will want to be very careful about the number of seats as sometimes these are simple passenger vans, carrying only 5-10 guests. Hotel shuttles can also be restricted by time (some don’t run as late as your event time) and distance from the hotel.
Photo courtesy of Ciera Chante Photography
Transportation by Vintage Limousines
If your crowd is more technologically inclined, Uber and Lyft have group services for weddings and other special events. As a host, you can pay for a ride credit and distribute the custom code to your guests. The company will incentivize drivers to arrive at your venue at the designated time, so that your guests get home safely. The major caveat is the location of your venue. Even with incentives, it is not as likely that drivers will go all the way out to your wedding in the country, as they are more likely to converge downtown.
“Hold on” you say. “I know you said we need to make one trip at the end the night, but what if we rent a smaller vehicle and make multiple trips? Wouldn’t that be more cost effective?”
Photo courtesy of Braden Harris Photography
Transportation by Blue Diamond Limo
You can absolutely have your vehicle make multiple trips to your venue throughout the day. It’s a great way to get the most out of your hours and make sure your wedding party and family arrive when needed for things like hair and makeup or photos. You’ll need to get your guests to the ceremony either at the same time, or within a 30-minute window, so you’ll need enough bus seats to accomplish this given the time it takes to drive round trip from the start location (hotel) to your ceremony location. Multiple vehicles are great for offering shuttle services after dinner so that guests who want to leave early have that available.
Photo courtesy of Absolute Photography
Transportation by Happy Trails Carriage
However, even if you offer these options throughout the day, you definitely need to have enough seats at the end of the night when your event ends and everyone must leave on time.
The last thing you want after your wedding is over is for your guests to be waiting outside your venue for the amount of time it takes for your vehicle to make a round trip. There will be nothing to entertain them, as all of the vendors will be tearing down and packing up. Additionally, if it takes too long, then the venue might charge you extra for going over your contracted time.
Photo courtesy of William Bichara Photography
Transportation by Knightsbridge Vintage Motors
Once you know the size, quantity, and hours of service for your transportation, you can begin planning the logistics. Make sure when planning you note what time each vehicle begins its service, what locations (and possible entrances to the venue) guests will be picked up and if the vehicle is making multiple trips throughout the day, what time it is available to guests for shuttle services. You will want to communicate the place and time of these runs to your guests so there is no confusion. Easy ways to do this are to include a note to hotel guests as they arrive and/or you can send an email or use social media to spread the word to those guests possibly using this service. Your guests will appreciate this thoughtful gesture and love that you provided them with details!